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New member limitations and how it can be fixed

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Teo, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. Teo

    Teo Banned

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi,

    Today I closed two announcement windows that appeared on top of every page in the forum. These are faded yellow lines with big text on them. One said "read forum rules" and the other was about reservations for an upcoming event.

    My suggestion is to use those announcements for new members so they don't have the same problems I had. The warning could say something like "Read new member limitations about posting links". When you click on it, it should open to a page that makes it clear that:

    1. There is a limitation on new members.
    2. If they add links or images their messages will be on hold pending moderator approval which could take a few days.
    3. When the message is approved it will appear in the topic on the last page at the time it was originally posted. For example when you post a message and the topic is currently three pages long and two days later it is on the sixth page, your message will appear on the third page making it practically invisible to all people who have been following or posting in that topic. This is another reason why new members should avoid adding links until the limitations are lifted.
    4. If they post a follow up message immediately after a message that is on hold, the follow up message will be invisible until the first message is approved even if the follow up message is just plain text with no links. The reason for this is because follow up messages are merged to previous messages if there is no message by somebody else in between.
    5. Also it should mention that the edit feature is disabled too but after a few messages all limitations will be lifted and when users see an edit button under their messages it means they can now post links without moderator approval.


    I had a terrible experience with those limitations even though I bothered to check each of the following pages trying to find information:

    1. FAQ
    2. Forum Rules
    3. Terms of Service
    4. Advertising policy

    The limitation was lifted on my 8.th message but by the time I had already 4 messages blocked in two different topics. First I posted a long message with lots of links and text on it. It took me half an hour to write and research. After I posted it, it didn't appear. It still hasn't appeared after two days. I can see the topic in my subscriptions along with every other topic I posted in but my message isn't in it. Even if it appears now it is pointless because the discussion has moved on and approved messages appear in earlier pages depending on the time they were originally posted, not on the last page.

    If I knew how the limitations worked I wouldn't have posted that message before the limitations were lifted. I would have waited until I saw an edit button under my messages if I knew the edit button was an indication of lifted limits for adding links.

    In another topic I posted another message with some links and it was blocked too with a message saying pending moderator approval. At that time I knew from my earlier experience that it would take far too long to appear. What I didn't know was that the limitation depended on message count and I could tell that the limitation was lifted when I see an edit button.

    If I knew that instead posting messages with links, I would have joined a few off topic discussions until I saw the edit button. Anyway so my message in this second topic is blocked too and I knew nothing about how this works. So I tried to work around the limitation by retyping the whole message and trying to post links as unclickable text. That didn't work because after that second message again I saw the moderator approval pending warning. I thought this is getting silly. I will just post plain text with no links. So I did that and this time I didn't see the moderator approval pending warning. However my message didn't appear either. Of course the reason is because follow up messages are merged to previous messages.

    In the meantime I wrote a few messages in this feedback section and the limitations were lifted. So I went back to the topic that had blocked my 3 messages. They were still blocked. I re-posted the same content. At the end I posted the same content 4 times. When the earlier 3 suddenly appeared it was confusing and messy to other people who are trying to find information.

    If I compare my experience as a new member on this website to other sites, probably this hasn't been the best user experience I had. Problems with settings and website functions can happen in any website. I think what makes the difference is how people respond to problems. So I hope the site administrators here will care to improve the experience for new members.
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    In my opinion--I'm not a moderator--the restrictions last for a very short time and it's no big deal.
     
  3. Teo

    Teo Banned

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    #3 Teo, Jun 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
    It is not a big deal if you tell users what you have just said. Also it is not a big deal if the blocked message happens to be a short one with a link on it and not an article-like long message with 10 links or images on it which is what I wrote and got blocked and is still not displayed after two days. Still those links I posted need to be checked by someone even though I'm not restricted anymore but I can't re-post that long message because I already spent half an hour writing it and I don't have a copy of it. Also it is somehow lost now and can't be found to be approved.

    A new member doesn't know that:

    1. There are restrictions about posting links, images and editing.
    2. The limitation is tied to their message count and will be lifted after a low number of messages
    3. They can tell when the limitation is lifted from the edit button that will appear under their messages

    I think the volunteer moderators who have to check and approve hundreds of links every day unnecessarily even after people who posted them are already unrestricted, would disagree with you about this being not a big deal. Somebody said those volunteers have to open links to videos and watch them to check the content of the videos. If there is an advertisement before the video (sometimes those are 30 seconds long) they will have to wait.

    This whole thing creates a bad experience for:
    1. New users who are not given any information about anything regarding the restrictions.
    2. Volunteer moderators who have to check all those links.
    3. People who asked a question buy didn't get the answer for a day or two.
    4. Viewers reading those topics later who are confused with similar content that appears multiple times.
    5. The sequence of messages that doesn't make sense after messages are approved.

    Approved messages appear in the original sequence they would. In other words, somebody asks "how does this work?" and you say "it works like this look here" but that message gets blocked. Then another person says "it must be like this look here" but that information is incorrect. Then people keep talking about incorrect information. But a day later the blocked message appears and now it is before those incorrect messages. Now you have people wondering how this happened. Why would they kept speculating after somebody had already posted the correct information. Sometimes people even apologize for not seeing the message and you have to tell them it is not their fault because the message was indeed invisible for a while. That is a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication, delay and extra work that could all be avoided easily if people stopped saying it is not a big deal without looking what actually happens in those topics.
     
  4. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Tip: If you're writing some sort of long post that takes half an hour or more, compose it in a WP program of your choosing with auto-save enabled. You can copy and paste it to the forum later.
     
  5. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Thanks for the feedback but so far over half of your posts are about how to fix the site. Give it some time and try reading the content and posting about Tesla and the other topics here too. There is a lot of good information on TMC.
     
  6. Auzie

    Auzie Tree Hugger Member

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    It really depends on your perspective and expectation.

    On my initial visits to this site, I felt like solving a puzzle in trying to figure out what happens. I enjoy puzzles and I liked how site makes me work to figure it out. Not that I figured much out:biggrin:

    I completely forget about the site intricacies and intriguing mechanics when I get access to so many brilliant people that come here to share the information and their excellent analysis of various topics.
     
  7. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    The new member limitations exist to hold back the tide on spammers. If we tell you exactly what the limitations are and how to get around them, then the spammers will also have that information...

    How about just participate and let it roll? Participate a little and you will have no limitations in due course.
     
  8. Teo

    Teo Banned

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    Doug, even that little information you just said in that sentence is not known to new members. There is nothing. There is no information at all anywhere. I'm not suggesting giving all the details. Even some rough statements would help.
     
  9. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Teo, this has not been an issue until now. I understand you're bothered by it. But your point has been made. The administrators and site owners are well aware of your suggestion. Thanks for wanting to make the forum better.
     
  10. Teo

    Teo Banned

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    That's not correct. There are some other forum topics right here in the Site Feedback section where others were trying to find information. In fact after I had problems as a new member, first I checked all the content on FAQ/Forum Rules/Terms of Service/Advertising policy pages. After I couldn't find anything I thought this must a problem others experienced as well and indeed I was able to find other forum topics about it.

    I understand your view that I made my point clear to site administrators but I wasn't trying to make it clearer by responding to Doug. I was simply telling Doug that what he just said makes sense but is not available to new members.

    Again by responding to your statement that this hasn't been an issue so far, I'm not trying to bring more attention to the problem. I'm just saying that your statement is incorrect and I would be happy to show you a number of messages where people were confused about new member limitations. In fact there was another topic just today, as you already know. But there are also older topics.
     
  11. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Thank you for correcting me so clearly and thoroughly.
     
  12. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    Lord, have mercy.
     

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