Something I've wanted to do for a while now, but never got round to, is to analyse a snap-shot of the questions on the LDD Gold Forum. My idea being to see what category the first page of 50 or maybe the last hour's posts fall in to. Be they posts that could have been answered by a simple search, posts that have nothing to do with Notes/Domino, posts that show a basic lack of understanding or the infamous "second post!"s. All of which make the site itself virtually useless. My bet is that, for this snapshot, only about 10% of the posts are actually worth being asked and the other could be solved by the smallest amount of research.

This year I personally have only posted one question on the forum and I ended up answering that myself. The forums are no longer useful for, dare I say it, the advanced developers. The main reason to visit, following boredom, is to bestow knowledge on those "less advanced"...

One thing the forum really needs is the ability to distinguish questions about the Notes Client from those for the web browser. The number of times I've read a problem and found myself wondering whether they mean the web or the client. Whether there would be any use in an option to specify the level of the question (i.e. beginner, intermediate, advanced) is another matter...

On a totally different subject. Travel to foreign countries is made ever more dangerous by not knowing about things like this.


  1. It is pants, i agree. I rarely post questions, and like you, often find myself answering myself.

    Then there are people like Stan Wofford who pst once a year, and are just trolls.

    Of course, we have the people who just don't acknowledge the help you offer, and then we have the downright stupid.


    But I do post replies there quite a lot. They're just not always polite ;-)

  2. It appears that a lot of people posting can't even be bothered to read the help files

    As a newbie developer i find the forums useful - but you have to be bothered doing the research. As a CLP Admin, i'm finding that i answer most of the problems myself after a lot of work.

    I have to say one positive thing about the IBM integration - i've been able to get a LOT more out of the support site since they moved over.

    I for one, am always thankful for any help on a post - no matter how small or trivial (although, i must admit i'm bad at acknowledging it on the forums)

    • avatar
    • Stu
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 08:40

    Do you think your some sort of GOD.

  3. Why yes. How 'bout you Jake?

    • avatar
    • Mike W
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 09:01

    Totally agree with Jake's comments, and I can vouch for Ben - he's the man.

    Stu - Your post comprises 8 words, yet you've still managed to include 2 errors:

    1) Your means "belonging to you." I think you meant You're which is short for "you are"

    2) Questions normally end with a question mark, not a full stop.

    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 09:01

    Yes. And, my dear child, you mean "you are" not "your"...

    • avatar
    • Scott
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 09:08

    Let's strap him in the BDSM car....

    • avatar
    • ihowe
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 09:08

    I agree that the forums have limited use now. I think it's main purpose is as a archive of information for searching only.

    I espectially love the 'URGENT' posters.

    Also this is my favourite thread of all time.

  4. Oh I remember that one... a true classic. Plenty of contributions from Lee Helm too. He's always good value!

    Check out his stuff today!

    • avatar
    • Stu
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 09:24

    What's the BDSM Car?

    • avatar
    • ihowe
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 09:27

    Yeah, Lee always provides something. Don't think he'll every get the 'Member Spotlight' though. ;-)

    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 09:29

    A case in point Stu. DO A SEARCH. I too found myself thinking "BDSM. What's that?". So I highlighted the letters BDSM, dragged them in to my Google toolbar and all became clear.

    If only others did the same...

  5. Thanks for ensuring that Jake thinks once more about removing this "comments" feature from his site.

    • avatar
    • Stu
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 09:38

    Thanks Jake. Everything becomes clear. Scott i would rather walk.

  6. Lee in the Member Spotlight? No, probably not. But I don't imagine I'll make it either... only dweebs get in there, eh Jake?


    • avatar
    • Stu
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 09:41

    Why don't you nominate him?

    • avatar
    • Mike W
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 09:47

    Jake - thanks for deleting the response to my post - you saved me from lowering myself to respond in kind.

    FYI i find www.acronymfinder.com really handy. It gives 2 definitions of bdsm, one is "Black Dragon Scale Mail." You can look up the other for yourself :-)

    • avatar
    • Stan Rogers
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 13:09

    A way to differentiate between Notes client and web postings on LDD? All you'll get is the default value -- the same way we get "All Releases - All Platforms" for almost "All Questions" now! With ND6 in the mix, that would give use "All Releases - All Platforms - All Clients - All Protocols" >:(

    • avatar
    • Sam
    • Tue 9 Apr 2002 16:26

    Be they posts that could have been answered by a simple search, posts that have nothing to do with Notes/Domino, posts that show a basic lack of understanding or the infamous "second post!"s.

    OK, I'll play devil's advocate here. That's all true, but you have to consider that, when you're new to Notes developing (as I was not very long ago), there are many times that you don't even know where to look for an answer. Even looking at the FAQ, your eyes can glaze over at all of these new, unfamiliar terms. Or you think that, I don't know, a form is really called a page and so you waste hours looking through search results for "page" for your particular question. Or sometimes, you ask a question and you'd be happy enough if someone just points you to a resource where you can find the answer.

    LDD is good and useful because (1) it has high exposure, being on Lotus' web site, (2) you can simply and quickly throw a question out there and get someone to work with you and not only help find an answer, but also figure out what the heck you're asking in the first place. =)

    Maybe it doesn't help you or the other Notes dieties anymore, but hey, that's what makes you dieties. You already know everything that us mere mortals could offer. Meanwhile, I can attest that if you're new, and you sift through all those second-posts and dumb questions, you can learn quite a bit.

  7. OK, I'll bite. You make some good points. But the FAQ isn't exactly rocket science -- the links in it concerning certain coding issues that come up again and again are, sure, but the general etiquette stuff isn't.

    And for all those who live and learn using the site, there are others that just don't take heed of any advice you offer...


    And again...

    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Thu 9 May 2002 03:56

    Sam, you miss my point.

    As you can see from the part of what I said that you quoted, I am merely talking about its misuse. Having been a "newby" myself I think the forum is an amazing place. No longer though! Which is a shame really. Is there any reason that "newbies" and "experts" can't cohabit?

    As with the rest of the internet, the best sites get ruined when the idiots arrive.

  8. I nominated Lee for the spotlight once and based on the knowledge that my previous nomination got the award based on that nomination alone I thought he had a good chance.

    I have no real objection to people posting the same old things as long as they say what they have already tried (thus demonstrate some effort), don't make staunch requests for code snippets based purely on the fact that their problem is "UGRENT!!11!!", and don't get bitchy when I pick them up on their moronic statement.

  9. What the forum provides, which help doesn't, is a place to ask/discover the best way to do something. In the original question on the Lee Helm post mentioned above, the developer didn't know about copyitem; it's generally only with experience that you built a build a knowledge of 'best practice'. Lee was right, though, to send the guy to the help DB once he had that knowledge.

    As for a place where 'newbies' and 'experts' can cohabit, I don't think it's possible. The intersts and knowledge is too diverse. Remember, though, that a newbie administrator could be an expert developer...

  10. I quite like the way the Sun Java forums are organised in that respect, in that there is a specific "Newbies" forum.

    That being said, there can be annoying overlap -- some of the stuff in the newbies forum could quite arguably be defined as advanced.

    And you get still get slackers asking for others to just code their whole solution for them. Which I hate!

    • avatar
    • Tone
    • Thu 9 May 2002 07:20

    I, for one, am guilty of posting quite a few questions.

    The point is, my questions are intended to be discussion topics, rather than explicit support requests. More often than not, I already know ONE way in which I could answer my query. But I am interested in other people's methods, and their opinions on my methods. I do try my best to word my questions to reflect these intentions

    I don't know the validity of my approach to the forum. But as it is the 'main' forum for Notes/Domino, and I don't see any point in having loads of different ones on this subject, I use it for such discussion-type questions.

    Mybe 'support' and 'discussion' could be separated. But with overlap such an inevitability, this could be equally frustrating for the advanced guys.

    When I first registered on the forum, as a real beginner, I was guilty of using words like 'urgent' and 'aarrgghh' etc in subject lines. Ignorance on my part. I didn't understand when I got flamed for it, and so didn't change my approach. Then someone eventually explained the problem of doing this, and I was politely made aware that it's a forum for independent contributions, NOT a Lotus/IBM/Iris support forum, and I understood. With this information, my approach changed radically.

    It is worth remembering that we are born with complete ignorance. Understanding and social norms must be LEARNED.

    My ignorance in thinking the forum was a good place to beg for support and complain to Lotus was drawn from having no other knowledge. But also, I was referred to Notes.net from the Domino Designer 'Welcome' page thing, which led me to think it was a official support forum for the kind of posts I initially made.

    This (rather long - sorry Jake) comment is not intended to justify my initial approach to the forum, nor to condone it. I make this comment merely as an insight as to how I became so misguided.

    A topic was recently posted on this subject. Someone suggested registration for the forum should include a TEST, to ensure users have truly read and understood the guidelines for forum use. That would have prevented me being a twat when I first logged on, and so may very well be an excellent idea.

    • avatar
    • Sam
    • Thu 9 May 2002 08:03

    Here's a thought: add a field to the LDD Submit a Question form to indicate your skill level with Domino. Something as simple as "Beginner", "Intermediate", and "Advanced" should do the trick. Then, you can perform searches for "Advanced" development questions if you don't want to bother with the idiot questions, or "Beginner" questions if you need to start with Notes developer fundamentals. (Has this been done before at LDD? It seems too simple of a solution...)

    Also, I would remove the "most recent posts" view as the default LDD view. That would keep people from feeling they must post those irritating "second post" and "third post" questions. Maybe a "by category" view would be a better choice for a default.

    • avatar
    • Tone
    • Thu 9 May 2002 08:41

    I totally agree. Why should a post only created in the last 9 hours (or whatever) be displayed to people on entry? Is it more valid than one that's been waiting around for a while longer? Is an older post somehow less worthy of exposure? The default view strongly encourages reposting, I couldn't agree more.

  11. Tone, your comment re your current approach to posting -- to see how other people would tackle an idea -- is right on the money IMHO.

    A lot of developers often find themselves in a "vacuum", where no-one of an equivalent skill-set is around (I always want to do a "sanity test" of complex code), so I would say that is an excellent way to use the forum.

    And yeah, test 'em when they register! ;-)

  12. A few points here. 1) The Ravi thread on LDD is one of the most hilarious things I have read in ages 2) My issue with those annoying second posts is the fact that people seem to submit a post and then forget to refresh their browser! 3) As far as changes to LDD are concerned, you could add a "DogPound" section like they have on searchDomino, but I am dubious about gaining entry - after all, I could copy some of Jake's great code from here into a tip there and then I would probably get membership. Not being a dogpound member now means I cannot really comment on how good a resource is - maybe someone else reading this can comment?

  13. Oof. Almost without exception, every tip I've seen over at SearchDomino is either:

    - simply faulty: it doesn't work OR;

    - ripped off from somewhere / someone else OR;

    - just pointless. "To close a window in Notes, simply click on the 'X' box in the top right-hand corner"

  14. I always find searchDomino really difficult to look at.

    There's too much stuff, plain and simple.

  15. Agreed. Too many ads, and they don't use Domino at the back end! But my point is - would the dogpound idea (implemented in a better way) work on LDD?

    • avatar
    • Brandon
    • Thu 9 May 2002 13:27

    In my opinion, what's wrong with Notes.net (besides its new name) is that it's designed as an open-ended *discussion* (Tone touched on this a little) rather than really being designed as a *support* forum. They took a basic discussion template and prettied it up and added some features, but the basic design is the same. A support forum would be organized around "Problem" and "Resolution", rather than "Main Topic" and "Response" and "Response to Response" (ad infinitum). The latter conception of a discussion is bound to be rambling because it was practically *designed* to be that way.

    Exactly how this better approach would take shape, I'm still thinking about, but wouldn't it be useful if in Notes.net you could limit your search to resolved problems, instead of searching through every cotton-pickin' post ever made?

    A view of resolved problems would become a sort of FAQ. You could read the problem and the solution, and skip all the intervening discussion that went on to 1) define exactly what the problem really is and 2) how to solve it.

    The person who asked the question/posed the problem, would be responsible for composing the results into a Resolution document, or a Synopsis document, or whatever.

    The initial form the questioner fills out might contain two fields: Problem/Question, and Keywords, with details to be added later. On submission, a search would be done based on the keywords (and perhaps the P/Q, too) of all the resolved questions (and maybe unresolved ones shown below in a different list). The user would then be asked to read through those to see if any of them answered their question or solved their problem. If not, they would continue posting by putting in the details and submitting, at which time it would be entered into the pool of unresolved questions/problems.

    Of course its not that this design lets you do things you couldn't do before, it just makes them normal. Putting directions in a document and telling people to read it doesn't work. They use the database the way it was designed to be used, rather than the way they're instructed to use it.

    • avatar
    • Brandon
    • Thu 9 May 2002 13:34

    Re: double posting:

    regarding double posting on Notes.net--it's not necessarily the fault of the poster. I once posted something and got a server error in my browser, and when I went to the thread to see if my post was there (and refreshed) found it was NOT. So I hit the back button a few times, and re-posted, and everything came through fine that time. Then, days later, I found that they had somehow recovered my original post and there were two almost identical posts from me, as though it was all my fault. (Luckily you can edit your posts, so I explained in one what happened.)

    Further, in this discussion, I just posted something that is not appearing. Not only did it not appear, but the two posts before are gone too. Maybe Jake removed them for flaming searchDomino. I don't know. (there are other flames to be removed, if that's the case.)

    • avatar
    • Stan Rogers
    • Thu 9 May 2002 13:53

    The double posts and "miraculous recovery" of missing posts can be put down to clustering and testing. You submitted to one server, then were re-directed to another server as a load-balancing measure. Replication between all servers in the cluster is usually complete within 5 minutes, but there were some periods during the D6 testing phase when replication in the cluster scurried off to the loo for a long stay. Keep in mind that Lotus tests their new servers under load at LDD/Notes.Net, and that builds bugs in a particular QMR or version upgrade may tank one or more servers in the cluster.

  16. Apologies to Jake for speaking for him, but to respond to Brandon, i don't think you'll find that Jake exhibits a particularly censorious attitude on his site.

    The only post I know he removed from this discussion was for good reason, as it was an extremely offensive (and childish) personal attack, with no merit whatsoever.

    With regards LDD, as Stan has pointed out, the culprit is invariably cluster replication on what is, afterall, a pretty busy site!

    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Sun 9 Jun 2002 04:15

    Ben's right. There was only one post that I deleted and with good reason. I would ban the user's IP if it were simple enough.

    Talking of rambling. I purposely made these posts "flat" so that they didn't become discussions. They are doing and I am finding myself thinking about removing this feature.

    The idea is that you share read the post, share anything you think would be of similar interest and leave it at that.

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