Site Suggestion User skill levels

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by Shagas, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. Shagas

    Thread Starter Active Member

    May 13, 2013
    802
    74
    Hello

    I have a suggestion.
    There is something this forum lacks in my opinion , something that slightly bugs me almost everytime I browse it or get answers from users. That thing is that I don't know the skill level of a specific user in a specific field.

    This is also an issue when a newbie (is he/she really?) opens a thread and asks some questions and you don't know what to suggest .Does this person have any electronics experience? Do they even know what a DMM is?
    Have they ever programmed an MCU?

    Perhaps upon account creation for new users and in profile editing for current users we could put in specific info that describes our skill levels in certain fields. Some sort of infomation format that could be placed below the avatar or under the comments perhaps which is as manditory(or not) as as having a username or profile picture.


    Just my opinion.
     
  2. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
    5,142
    1,266
    This is an interesting suggestion, which I have never heard before. However, let me dissect it a bit, in order to promote the discussion.

    As you say, it is helpful that this feature would allow old members assess the competence of the thread starter, based on his proclamations. For example, a new, humble member would notify the rest of the membership that he is a "newb" and the rest would treat him as such.

    However, I find two other drawbacks.
    The first is the case where the thread starter is actually a beginner, but judging by the fact that he got a MsC in Electronics 30 years back (but never practiced the profession) describes himself as a competent user. The rest of the membership would provide answers confusing to the thread starter.

    The other case is the one where a member self-describes himself as an "Electronics Guru" despite being anything but. A new member, having this "Electronics Guru" answer in his thread, would follow his instructions to the 't', which would be a very, VERY bad thing to do.

    As you can see, assessing another member's competence level (or ever assessing your own) is a very hard thing to do. Personally, I encourage the new members to be humble and descriptive about their skills and experience and the old members to proceed investigatory and maybe take a look at the new member's other threads. Finally, when in doubt, just say so!
     
  3. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
    15,638
    2,344
    Hello,

    It is very difficult to set a users skill level.
    Someone who just finished university, but has no practical experience, might give perfect theoratical answers, but in a practical way he can be a noob.
    On the other hand, if one has no highschool, but a lot of practical experience (like me), has most likely a lower theoratical level, but may give fine practical answers.

    Bertus
     
  4. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    1,008
    351
    Whilst I sympathize with the point of view it's worth considering the Dunning Kruger effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect when thinking about things like this. However much you know about a thing, there is always someone who knows more, so who gets to say what level you are at? Also the subject is vast, encompassing everything from semiconductor junctions to software development so to be meaningful it would require a lot of categories, which most people would not look at.

    A simpler solution may be to display the number of times a person has been "liked" in the details under their avatar.
     
  5. Georacer

    Moderator

    Nov 25, 2009
    5,142
    1,266
    Which also has been rejected, because people often treat the number of likes more as a personal evaluation, rather than what it really is: the number of times other people clicked a button under your posts, for any reason they deemed fit.
     
  6. ericgibbs

    Senior Member

    Jan 29, 2010
    2,499
    380
    Clicking the username, near his avator, pops up a small window with all the basic info about the user, likes, posts etc, any other information is opened by clicking the user Profile.
     
  7. tom_s

    Member

    Jun 27, 2014
    285
    333
    glad to see i'm not the only Bertus here :) /me many years of practical, lacking in education. so where does one draw the line between the two?

    aside, also very reluctant to give out any personal information to anyone, some others may feel the same way and not a fan of the 'likes' option but guilty of using. would rather leave a forum comment.

    maybe suggest to new members/posters to read the forums first? i moderate forum elsewhere and the biggest issues i've found (1) rules for posting NOT read (2) search function not used. pages were altered to 'read posting rules' and 'use search function' before posting. amazing how many can't see that either :)
     
  8. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    1,008
    351
    That's interesting, turns out I have "trophy points" whatever they are.

    Do I win a prize :)


    Seriously though, another site I use regularly (stack overflow) has "accepted answers". I think it would probably only be of limited use on here because not every thread has a clear question and/or a definative answer but it gets me thinking, and this is just idle musings, if some linkage between likes and topics or keywords could be useful.

    For example ericgibbs has helped me with LTSpice questions (thanks BTW) so by combining erics posts in threads on LTSpice with likes or accepted answers or whatever then he could get an LTSpice "badge" or whatever. Anyway now I have got that out of my system, feel free to ignore...
     
  9. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 9, 2007
    5,005
    513
    Stack overflow has some pretty high flyers responding, and in general is a reputable forum for reliable information.

    It should be noted that evaluation is a two way process and a newcomer has equal difficulty deciding whether what he is told is valuable or just hot air.

    Having said that the original poster is the petitioner so it is in her interests to state/describe the anticipated level of the answer.
    Certainly I have said, many times, the quality of the answer depends heavily on the quality of the question and the information supplied.

    Some useful idea can be found by encouraging posters to post in the appropriate part of the forum.
    So we have a practical section, not enjoyed by many other forums,
    A general section where less theoretical answers would be appropriate and some quite theoretical sections in the support sciences to electronics (maths and physics etc)

    We also have a pretty lively jokes section.
     
  10. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,416
    3,354
    Assessment by self or otherwise of someone's technical knowledge is a thorny issue.
    Once the posts and responses get flowing you can quickly get a sense of knowledge and ability from the posts.
    When there is doubt I will usually ask the original poster to state their level of knowledge and take it from there.
     
  11. ericgibbs

    Senior Member

    Jan 29, 2010
    2,499
    380
    I notice that some of the 'older experienced helpers' when reading the OP's first post ask the OP a simple technical point about his query, in order to get a feel for the OP's knowledge level, before committing themselves to a detailed answer.
    Its saved me a lot of grief.;)

    Eric
     
    MrChips likes this.
  12. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,248
    6,745
    Trying to find the right way to address a person is a daily experience here. Everyone miscommunicates occasionally, but this is a friendly site and all you need to do is say, "Oops. I missed with that one :oops:"

    I think that trying to establish a universal method of describing the correct level for your responses is futile.
    One of the major strengths of this forum is the variety of voices we have. Somebody almost always connects with the O.P eventually. In other words, it's working. Sometimes it isn't quick and efficient, but we get there.
     
    MrChips likes this.
  13. faley

    Member

    Aug 30, 2014
    94
    13
    Often, in life we expect some sort of an official stamp of approval to validate and/or protect us. On one hand, if possible, it might be nice. On the other, it would make for a very lackluster and myopic life. As for myself, I find that the forum, as it stands, keeps me on my toes and occasionally wakes me up. Frankly, I find that the diversity of thought, conventional and otherwise, stimulates contemplation, if nothing else. My "two cents".
     
  14. KL7AJ

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
    2,039
    287
    Sounds more like the Freddy Krueger effect. :)
     
  15. tom_s

    Member

    Jun 27, 2014
    285
    333
    enjoy reading the forums, though i do have a habit of (silently) judging the persona of the poster. lack of literacy is ~ vexing

    resisted the temptation to press the 'like' button :)
     
  16. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    2,428
    1,328
    It would be nice to have the "thanks" (or with the newer software, "like") count under the avatar, possibly right below the "Messages" count. I know a lot of sites that do that, and it's very helpful. It doesn't tell you specifically what the user's experience level is, but comparing the number of "likes" to the number of messages could be very valuable.
     
  17. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,248
    6,745
    I have peeked at the statistics and found that most people have about 20% to 25% "Thanks" compared to their total post count. In my eyes, this diminishes the value that DS8 described.
     
  18. faley

    Member

    Aug 30, 2014
    94
    13
    I don't pay much attention to popularity. That can be pretty subjective. Instead, I prefer to read a given member's responses. Usually, the folks of substance can be readily identified in short order.
     
  19. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,248
    6,745
    I only hope I haven't looked foolish 9,000 times. :D
     
  20. faley

    Member

    Aug 30, 2014
    94
    13
    Not to worry. We're all foolish. You're in good company. ;-)
     
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