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The Teacher Q&A - please try it out

Discussion in 'Personal' started by mikeshaw, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. mikeshaw

    mikeshaw Administrator Staff Member

    Yikes - thanks @peggylu. That's a bug with the emails. Sorry. We'll get it fixed.
    peggylu likes this.
  2. mikeshaw

    mikeshaw Administrator Staff Member

    Good question - thanks @marlin.

    The validity of the answers will depend a lot on the date when they have been posted (true of any information online). But the idea, as with other similar sites, is when it becomes apparent an answer is old, visitors may add a fresher response and that will be upvoted while the out-of-date one is downvoted.

    We'll be adding some of the tagging for "verified" experts, such as Andrew Maiden who already answers questions in the Leadership forums and Bukky in the Career Clinic, so you'll be able to see those who have been specifically asked by Tes to take a look. And they'll no doubt keep a watch out to see if popular answers on popular questions really are correct. But the aim - as with the Community forums - is the answers come mostly from regular users.

    If you have a better or more up-to-date answer to a question, please add it!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  3. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter

    Thankyou :)
  4. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    So Mike, how do you think the new forum is working? Lots of questions but very few answers. The old way at least meant that a question would get asked in a forum populated by people in a position to answer. The new forum is only populated by people wanting to ask questions and not those in a position to answer. In the old way you would come across questions whilst looking a other stuff in the forum. Now someone has to deliberately trawl through there looking for questions they might want to answer. How is that more efficient?
  5. mikeshaw

    mikeshaw Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Blazer - thanks for this.

    Of the 100+ questions in the Q&A (as of this morning) only two - both on supply teaching in Australia, oddly - haven't received answers yet. Though by this afternoon I hope they will. So compared to certain of our longstanding forums, that's actually not too bad.

    A reason for that may be the "Top unanswered" questions box, which shows all the questions that are without replies.

    You're right though, that in this first stage, it's pretty quiet as it is a space where teachers are less likely to stumble than the established discussion groups. The next stage for us is to make those more intertwined, so the Primary-tagged questions are displayed clearly in a panel within the Primary forum, for instance.

    What we can also potentially do - which we can't with the Community forums - is re-post the questions directly into the logged-in home page / newsfeed of relevant users. So if someone posts a question tagged as Geography, for example, we could flag that to all the Geography teachers logged-on within the site - many of whom may never use the Community forums normally.
  6. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    But in the old system not only would a question get answered it would also get discussed by many posters and any erroneous or incomplete answers would be corrected or discussed. The discussion may even generate more questions and give the OP the opportunity to discuss further with a wider range of people. I am still struggling to see how this is am improvement.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. cliftonc

    cliftonc Administrator

    @blazer it is highly likely that if a question turns out to be better as a discussion that we will create a companion discussion in the forums, and direct people there (locking the question). Much like the question raised by @Rott Weiler last week: https://www.tes.com/answers/what-is-the-point-of-teacher-qa-153, which points back here.

    Your feedback echoes some of the discussion we had here at Tes Towers while thinking about whether or not this was something worth doing. In the end we decided (based on all the reasons @mikeshaw outlined) that getting this live and observing people using it we'd be able to see if it was an improvement or not.

    As @mikeshaw also mentioned in his answer to the Q above, a huge proportion of the global user base of tes.com do not actually use these forums, and find the format makes it quite difficult to find what they need. This is an attempt to make the immense knowledge and experience contained within our community more accessible, faster and easier to access.

    Other sites that use a similar format (we didn't invent this, but were inspired by others), have a reward mechanism to encourage those answering questions to answer more, and connect a question to those with demonstrated expertise in a topic (e.g. you have answered questions in that area before) - we've not implemented these yet because we wanted to see if the basic mechanic worked, and observe how the community responded before we invest more time and effort into it.

    Also, it may not be prominent enough, but the 'comment' option allows you to make a comment on a specific question or answer, encouraging that user to amend something that may not be correct or questioning something within their answer.
  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    O K (said very slowly. Lets see how it plays out. However I am one of those old fashioned people who thinks if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    calamansi likes this.
  9. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter

    @mikeshaw or @cliftonc

    Would it be possible to have an edit function for posts/answers on the Q&A forum?
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide


    @mikeshaw or @cliftonc

    The Teacher Q&A site seems to have no way to report spam and junk posts.

    This one - "Should we take future advice from a clairvoyant" - appears to be a spam post advertising a French commercial website promoting a clairvoyant


    As the poster hasn't posted on TES before I assume there is no pre-moderation of new posters on Teacher Q&A as there is on the main forums. Maybe there needs to be?
    calamansi likes this.
  11. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide


    On the other hand @mikeshaw or @cliftonc although the new spam poster isn't moderated for some unfathomable my reply to @lardylady on this Teacher Q&A thread has been


    I can see it still when I'm logged in, otherwise it does not appear.

    As no moderator has contacted me I'm wondering if there's some sort of unadvertised auto-moderation facility. If so it needs training in what STPCD is! Surely no human moderator could find anything inappropriate in this?

  12. mikeshaw

    mikeshaw Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks @Rott Weiler - that's weird.

    To answer your first question, yes we expect we'll add a "Report" button (a la Community and Resources and so on) pretty soon. We've set up a spam filter that's generally doing a good job of keeping automated spam off the pages (as they do on here). But we had an odd post from a clairvoyant today that slipped through...

    I'm puzzled why your answer was moderated, and wonder if that may have been for an automated reason. I've unmoderated it in the meantime.

    Thanks for letting us know.
  13. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Posts from clairvoyants were obviously unforeseen! (Someone had to do it);)
    calamansi likes this.
  14. BetterNow

    BetterNow Occasional commenter

    Would it not just be better to make the search functions work properly do you can actually search for something and find results...?
  15. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Hi Mike,

    How is your assessment of the Q&A forum going? I've just taken a look. First page has 20 questions going back 4 days. Only one has an answer, many have not even been viewed. I wonder how many answers, comments and debate the same questions would have got in another forum, either subject related or workplace dilemmas?
    chelsea2, BetterNow and marlin like this.
  16. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide


    Looks like there's been some spamming on the Q&A section.
  17. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hello @marlin,

    Thank you for flagging up the issue.
    marlin likes this.
  18. violingirl

    violingirl New commenter

    Seems like a waste of time to me as the Q and A is full of spam and has been for days.
    BetterNow and blazer like this.
  19. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    The spam appears to have been dealt with but page 1 still has 20 questions the oldest of which has been up for 6 days. None of them have an answer or even a reply. So perhaps it needs a name change from Q&A to just 'Q'? I still think the Qs would be better asked in the other forums where everyone else lives.
    BetterNow and calamansi like this.
  20. calamansi

    calamansi Lead commenter

    Isn't this, in the end, a (possibly) useful experiment that has failed?

    Over-complication seems to be a serious issue in a world where innovation is there for innovation's sake.
    BetterNow likes this.

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