NetPro Etiquette

Unanswered Question
Jun 8th, 2009


What is the general feeling about rating responses to threads to which you have not contributed?

Whilst browsing NetPro I often see some great responses with no rating. Is is acceptable for me to rate them to show their value or should this only be done by thread contributors?

(I would also be a fan of a -2 to +5 rating system as has been discussed on here previously).

I have this problem too.
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Overall Rating: 4.7 (6 ratings)
Daniel Bruhn Tue, 06/09/2009 - 04:16

Hi James,

You should absolutely rate valuable content even if you aren't the author of the conversation. This helps other members easily find the most valuable content and also recognizes the efforts of the members who authored the responses.

As for a -2 to +5 scale that would be very difficult to manage. Members could use the -2 maliciously to knock down another members status. It also discourages novice members from attempting to respond in fear of negative ratings. That isn't the type of environment we want to provide here. My suggestion is if the content isn't valuable then just don't rate it.


Dan Bruhn

NetPro Community Manager

Leo Laohoo Tue, 06/09/2009 - 14:27

I have seen a number of post where the author post their problem(s), get solution(s) and then do a Houdini.

Some authors would post something like "Hey, it's working. Thanks." and that's it.

I don't want to be rude to anyone but sometimes I put a line in the bottom of my post of "please rate my post" or something ... I am, however, tempted to add " ... otherwise, you won't get another peep from me!"

Please rate if applicable ... He he he ...

Rob Huffman Wed, 06/10/2009 - 05:21

Hey James,

If you see an answer that you feel is worth rating then I would highly encourage you to go ahead and give it a nice rating. I have always tried to take a few minutes each week to rate and comment on excellent answers that I have read.

This is especially true when, as Leo nicely noted, the OP has not taken the time to thank and rate the NetPro who has helped them out.



PS: Dan, I'm still all for a 3 to 5 rating system :)

Sushil Kumar Katre Thu, 06/11/2009 - 20:11

Rob is a prime example of this. I have always observed Rob rating other NetPros even if he has not participated in the conversation. Not only he rates he also puts a nice reply appreciating that NetPro.

Looking at Rob, even I started doing the same... :)

-> Sushil

Rob Huffman Fri, 06/12/2009 - 05:14

Hi Sushil,

Thanks so much for your kind words my friend! It means a great deal to me :)

Keep up the great work!



Leo Laohoo Thu, 06/11/2009 - 21:15

More than half of my score comes from Rob.

Let us know when you are running for government so I can make my vote count.


Rob Huffman Fri, 06/12/2009 - 05:18

Hey Leo,

Your humor continues to brighten my days here @ NetPro! I know for a fact, that half of your "well deserved" points did NOT come from me. But hopefully I have caught some of your best answers and given them the rating they earned. The continued improvement here is due to people like you (and too many others to mention here)

Keep on Rockin!


PS: Congrats on your bright new Gold badge!

Leo Laohoo Tue, 09/29/2009 - 17:06

I don't know with the rest, but I am apprehensive responding to queries that the OP does not like (or expect) because 9 out of 10 the OP does not leave a score or even a "thank you".

It's just our good nature to help, I guess.

scottmac Tue, 09/29/2009 - 17:40

I put an answer in, whether I feel the OP will like it or not.

While the question comes from the single source that was motivated enough to ask, the answer will likely serve many more times the people who just search to see if their questions has already been asked.

Giving only sunshine & flowers answers doesn't serve the greater community; you gotta call a stupid idea a stupid idea ... it might save someone from walking down a seriously bad path.

You can sense, in many cases, when an OP is looking for validation of what they feel is a good idea (or at least acceptable idea - but it's really not, in any sense) ... in those cases, IMO, you have to lay it down hard to let them know how far outside the "best practices" envelope they are heading.

I don't chase ratings, I've never asked for a score; I answer when I believe I have helpful input (and will have time to follow-up if necessary).

It's not about the score, though there is an undeniable anticipation ...

paul.matthews Fri, 11/13/2009 - 08:25

I will rate posts I have not contributed to. Sometimes I look down the list and see an interesting question with only one answer. I will click on it to see if I can help, and the one answer is bang on.

To say something else is wasting my typing, but I use it as a way of giving that post a thumbs up. If the OP sees a response, and sees someone else has already rated it, it gives them a little more confidence in the answer being suggested.

Danilo Dy Sat, 11/21/2009 - 22:06

Hi James,

Some thread starter don't bother to rate replies either the reply helps them or not. This could be ignorance of the rating or for a few they pretend to be ignorant - there's are people like that in the human race, doesn't know how to appreciate things.

I visit NetPro now and then and I have 3 objectives; to help others, to ask for help, to learn from others.

When I see an interesting topic I rate the response of other NetPro whether it rated before or not.

Sometimes I find thread starter question interesting and productive. For example, I'm using the same product/service as what the thread starter is using and he/she is having problem (I may not have a problem) but when the thread starter post a question from the other perspective, the response makes me realize I can optimize my setup. I wish Cisco allows us to rate the thread starter as well

Best wishes,


Leo Laohoo Thu, 02/11/2010 - 15:10

Is it me or (maybe the meaning is lost in translation) do some of the people who post their issues or topics believe that the NetPro regulars are "expected" to solve their problems.  When we give them links and documents for them to read, understand and hopefully follow, they seem reluctant.  I've heard of spoon-feeding someone but this is too much. 

paul.matthews Fri, 02/12/2010 - 00:50

I don't think that expectation is restricted to netpro - it is the same across many forums across the internet, and numerous other places. I also see an expectation that people can provide answers to questions like "my network crashed last tuesday. I just switched it all off and back on and it worked. I need to know what the fault was and what we can do to stop it hapenning again"

"OK, tell me a little about your network"

"Why are you asking so many questions? I just want an answer"


Leo Laohoo Fri, 02/12/2010 - 01:11

paul.matthews wrote:

"Why are you asking so many questions? I just want an answer"

Ouch!  If I get a question like that I'd respond in the tune of, "I apologize.  I am a network guy because I failed in my quest in mental telepathy."

marikakis Fri, 02/12/2010 - 01:52

Hi Leo,

Some authors, especially senior engineers, follow an on the job tactic to not rate responses from their paid consultants and doubt everything at every step of the way. Imagine the doubts those people might have about not paid consultants that offer answers without any immediate responsibility to be correct (BTW: I think one of the powers of the forum is exactly this, i.e. that answers can come faster if member doesn't feel too reluctant to provide an answer, has some drawbacks too, but it generally works due to the many members in the forum reviewing posts). I remember more experienced engineers at work wouldn't let me rate a consultant after our issue was (somewhat) resolved. I guess they got used to doing that and they just can't stop doing it everywhere. As a thread author, I find it say 'not smart' to not rate members. I mean, when it's obvious you generously rate responses, even when not exactly what you expected, everybody will step in to offer a helping hand. I would add this to the tips for getting faster/better responses It's free for heavens sake and it works!

If author has an issue and you respond with a solution, everything might go fine. BUT, if you say 'no, that's not possible', you should expect doubt. Remember the thread about measuring power? If the answer was 'yes', author would be happy from the beginning. Since the answer was 'no', more members had to step in to support the 'no' answer. Generally, if member says something like 'man, your network has cancer', an 'I want a second opinion' response from the author should be expected. The only workaround I have found for this is to demonstrate with a lengthy post that you are really interested in resolving the issue and eliminate doubts about being ignorant or just bored to provide a better answer. The older I get, the more I believe support is more about tactics than knowledge.

I remember a couple of discussions where what I am basically doing is trying to convince the author the answers already provided from cisco engineers are good. Usually it is the other way round (i.e. author doubts member until cisco engineer steps in, in such cases I might directly ask for help from cisco engineers that happened to step into the thread), but everything is possible in this forum. We talk about ratings and authors, but I think we should also focus on our own community tactics to get issues resolved. It doesn't matter who gets the rating in the end, as long as issue is resolved. I think collaboration instead of competition will take our community to the next level. Of course, it is not always possible for members to review discussions and support someone who has provided good answers. Still, this kind of 'unfairness' happens to everyone.

BTW: I think the most interesting situation is when an author who has earned a badge in the forum doesn't respond or doesn't rate helpful responses. Now, how can you expect things to be better with people who might not be aware of how things here work?

Kind Regards,

burleyman Fri, 02/12/2010 - 06:23

I joined this forum some years ago and have found the people and advice I get here to be unmatched anywhere. I applaud everyone for their effort and time. I have only recently felt comfortable, as I continue to learn, to start posting answers to some questions and I have to tell you when I got my first 5 rating and that I actually solved the persons question I felt great. Now I have earned my first star and look forward to continuing upward, who knows may catch Rob....yeah right.... . As far as the ratings go, when I first started and until recently I rated everywhere from 1 to 5, but I got a little flack once when I gave someone a 3 rating and they thought I was dinging them when in my mind I was saying, "it did not solve my issue but the info was helpful so I will at least rate the post and thank them" so I put a 3. After he responded asking why the low rating I tried to explain and then I realized that it hurt his overall rating average so I was more careful after that and rate a little differently. I have also started rating posts that I have come across when I search for some solutions to issues I am having, but I don't post who gave them the rating, should I? Again, Thank you to everyone and I look forward to beating some of you Pro's to the solutions.


Mike "Burleyman" Burley

marikakis Fri, 02/12/2010 - 07:14

I don't remember what the first ratings I got were about. Sure it feels good, but as with all tools, there are pros and cons. When the new site was launched and people were talking about missing points, I honestly didn't remember how many points I had before the migration. I guess that was good news for Dan: one less member complaining about missing points. I must admit I do have a weakness. I like it when an author responds to me with some variation of 'you are the man' more than I like a rating. I'm thinking, in a jokeful manner always, 'at least you got that one right'! I like this so much, next time I get a chance I will ask for the description of 'extremely helpful' associated with a 5 rating to change to 'you are the man'! Hope you guys will support me on this one. I guess there is no point in trying to reduce the competition among the guys. You must have it somewhere in your blood. In any case, keep up the good work.

Kevin Dorrell Fri, 02/12/2010 - 08:28

Thank you Maria for bringing a smile to a Friday afternoon!

The business about 1-5 or 3-5 is a tricky one.  One man's '3' is another man's '1'.  It seems to me that if you regard a rating of '3' as 'low', then we have a severe case of ratings inflation.  '3' is bang in the middle of the ratings, so average.  Is the posting about average for the forum?  It's like noticing that about half the people are below average height, and so launching a campaign to get children to eat better to remedy the situation.

(Oooops ... am I talking down my own ratings here?)

It's a bit like the GCSE exams in the UK.  Grades used to be from A to F.  Then so many people were getting 'A's that they had to introduce A*.  Now I hear they are about to introduce A** and A***.  The whole thing begins to look so arbitrary.

At the end of the day, it's a game, and it makes us feel appreciated.

BTW, I seem to have lost all the ratings I got way back when.  Somehow I have managed to get two accounts, both with the same name.  I hope Dan can sort it out.  Otherwise I'll just have to start all over again.

Have a nice weekend everybody!

Kevin Dorrell


Wilson Samuel Fri, 02/12/2010 - 08:36

Kevin Nice point... however so surprised to see about your Points (I presume you are the same Kevin Dorrell whom I have had few NetPros way back in 2009 and 2008)

I guess, the present rating is relatively ok, however the crux is the spirit to get engaged and be engaged in the process of providing solutions and keeping one upto the point.

Personally speaking, I have not cared tooo much about the points, the only thing I really care about is the learning which I get from reading all the posts and the wonderful answers I get here.

Sam Wilson

Rob Huffman Fri, 02/12/2010 - 09:03

Hey Folks,

Hope you don't mind me jumping back in for a moment here

Ratings..................always an interesting topic, for sure. I guess they

play an integral part in an open forum setting like this. It's really Human nature

to want to be liked or appreciated. But, sadly, not all people feel the same way

which is good as well I guess or we'd all be clones. If we stick with the general

principal/creed that we are here to help, then the good always outweighs the bad!

We know that the feeling we get from the simple two words "Thank You" is really

unmatched, so we we all work towards achieving this feeling. Sometimes,

you may answer many questions without so much as a peep coming back

your way. Then on other days you may get two 'you are the man' responses

(just for my friend Maria ) that completely make your day. All in the world of

NetPro is good again. You may also work up an awesome answer

(in your own mind) and never hear anything ......and you're

wondering again "is this really worth it??"  For me, one "Thank You"

or 'you are the man' is worth a world of no responses.

Leo...thanks for being the Crazy Aussie that you are! NetPro wouldn't be the same without you.

Paul...thanks for your insight here! Keep on with this type of thinking, we need lots of good humor!

Burleyman ...I'm glad you are feeling more comfortable with posting here!

Thanks for bringing some great new ideas onboard.

(You'll catch and pass me I have no doubt!)'s always great to see and hear your words! I have missed them for sure.

Always a +5 for you!

Sam... Thanks for confirming what we all know! "It's not about the points" Cheers to you! always, the finest of posts! Your thoughts always crystallize

what I'm thinking. Here's a special 'you are the man' instead of a more

traditional 5 that you deserve.

Cheers to all!


Jon Marshall Fri, 02/12/2010 - 13:05


You may also work up an awesome answer

(in your own mind) and never hear anything ......and you're

wondering again "is this really worth it??"

You can say that again. In my own mind all my answers are awesome Seriously though have you ever gone back and read some of your old posts. I came across one a while back and thought what the hell was i thinking, makes me wonder whether i should be giving anyone advice !! I was so embarrassed i had to go back to the books to make sure i didn't do that again.

I have to be honest and admit there are certain frequent posters whose questions most of the time i do not get involved with. As Leo says, some people seem to think we are obliged to answer and often all we are doing is providing a link to a doc they could quite easily have found with a search on CCO. I don't think there's a lot we can do about it, some people will always want to be literally spoonfed. As Maria points out, it's free for crying out loud !!

Good to know i'm not the only frequent poster who sometimes thinks is it really worth doing this. And then as you say someone says thank you and you can feel their relief and it all makes it worthwhile

Edit - I came across one a while back and thought what the hell was i thinking - just in case anyone was thinking i am a foul mouthed brit the 4 letter word **** out was simply ellh (move the h to the front).

Dan this is the most sensitive swear word checker i have ever come across


burleyman Fri, 02/12/2010 - 13:35

Everyone makes a very good point about people seeming to demand answersrs. I will admit I have sometimes, not realizing it, sounded short a demanding in some of my earlier posts but it was never intended that way. It was more of a crisis happening and looking for the path to travel. I to have also sometimes posted to get a quick answer before I searched but I have always searched at some point right after. I have used this forum as a learning tool and I have to say you guys are great teachers.

I do have one thing to say to everyone on this post....... Thank you!! Without people like you this forum would be nowhere what it is today.


Rob Huffman Fri, 02/12/2010 - 14:08

Hey Jon,

Too true my friend

I have thrown up some real doozies (is that a real word?) and sometimes I stumble

upon them and laugh and sometimes cry. But this,of course, speaks to the

true essence of what these forums are all about "the freedom to try to help
someone". At the time I'm sure we thought that this was some stellar

advice we were offering up. And now we realize ...."not so much".

That's the beauty of it all, keep on postin' Jon and I will try as well

and I'm sure we'll hit some **"Home Runs" and have some "Strike-Outs"

along the way.



**Special added Baseball analogy just for Maria

Leo Laohoo Fri, 02/12/2010 - 16:07

I remembered my first post in 2009.  I was reading a documentation and on the bottom was a Discussion Thread and I went, Aha.  I know the answer to that.  So I posted the solution and then I found out (a few days later) a few more threads with the same issue.  A few copy-n-paste sessions later, someone (I've forgotten who) gave me a score.

My supervisor has started a joke around our section that I received the NetPro recognition just to shut me up. 

Daniel Bruhn Fri, 02/12/2010 - 10:15

Hi Leo,

Just when I thought you had an answer for everything   We have tried to set expectations that CSC is a community made up of volunteers and answers aren't guaranteed, but not everyone seems to understand.  Some time back, I believe it was Jon who suggested we create a "Tips for getting a faster response" document which would highlight some of the common problems we see on CSC including the one you're posting about.  We thought it was a great idea and created the document .  This document is open for all members to edit. I encourage anyone who has something to add to go ahead and make changes accordingly.  We can always highlight this document on landing pages if everyone thinks it will help.



Leo Laohoo Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:33

Just last week, George and I were just dumbfounded to see the same topic (something like "How do you configure a WLC") posted by three people at the same time.  If they had learned to use the search button, these posters would've found the answers.  And that's the good news.  The bad news is when we gave them links to the configuration guide two of the three are reluctant to read `em.  It's like what they really meant in their post goes in the tune of "I don't want to read.  I'm in a hurry.  I want someone to fix my problem.  NOW!"

I don't want to be rude or condescending (I hope I'm not!).  I enjoy this forum mainly because of the things I learn from others.  But trying to troubleshoot something that was caused by someone who's unwilling to read the configuration guide is just plain ... ummmm ... what a good word for this ... tell y'all what, you decide the word and let me know!  (I've got the word in my mind but I don't want the "expletive engine" to go mental.  All the hard work Tim, Dan and the rest going down the tube because of a few "colourful" adjectives.)

I know it's a guy thing (ok, ok, ok.  I am!) not to read manuals or something but when I'm dealing with equipments this expensive, I HAVE TO!

I agree with Dan that some should read the "Making the Most of CSC Discussions (NetPro) : Tips for Getting Faster Response" but the question is this:  If they won't read the document links we've posted will they ever read this?  I hope no one will take any offense when I say that the Cisco Support Community forum is a professional forum.  It's not one of those "hobby" forums where one has to read the riot act before you can post anything or something.  No siree.  We are professionals.  Professionals with ethiques ... and professionals who rose the corporate (public service included) ranks because we READ THE FR1GG1N MANUALS for goodness sake!

Rob, Jon, Mike, Maria:  Don't get me started with the points.

Hey Dan, just a question.  If, for example, Mr.  A makes multiple post of the same topic can I request the duplicate post(s) be removed?  If I can, may I just put "Duplicate post" in the Report Abuse section?

Now, just on the lighter side ... In EDS, there are three notorious questions no business unit wants to hear me ask.  They are the following:

1.  Are you throwing that away?
2.  Can I have that?
3.  Guess what I found!

Everytime I ask the third question, I can hear a mad scramble from various business units to check their equipments, do a quick inventory or peer over the partition to determine what equipments I've lifted/nicked.  In 2006, I entered our building with a shopping trolley filled with Cisco routers, switches and other network equipments.  "K-Mart was having a sale," I told `em.

Jon Marshall Fri, 02/12/2010 - 17:05


Everytime I ask the third question, I can hear a mad scramble from various business units to check their equipments, do a quick inventory or peer over the partition to determine what equipments I've lifted/nicked.  In 2006, I entered our building with a shopping trolley filled with Cisco routers, switches and other network equipments.  "K-Mart was having a sale," I told `em.

Sounds like we have something in common. Last job i was in i needed a lab to test solutions before going live. There was no official funding so things just kind of got "misplaced". I actually managed to get up to a pair of 6500 switches with sup720s, FWSMs etc., a couple of 7200 routers, some ASA firewalls etc.. before my boss realised just how much i had managed to get hold of and volunteered to lend the 6500s to the oracle developers for a while.

Never got them back but learn't an awful lot in the meantime


George Stefanick Fri, 02/12/2010 - 17:45

I think that is the LONGEST post Leo has ever written here at NetPros! I didnt know you had that much hot air in ya! LOL

... I would respond with something meaningful, but I am 7 beers into my Friday!

Leo Laohoo Sun, 02/14/2010 - 15:09

Sorry if I wasn't able to respond in time.  I was smashed and drooling all over the carpet.  He he he ...

marikakis Sat, 02/13/2010 - 11:50

Hi Leo and all,

I had opened a couple of cases here about wireless in the past. Had to learn wireless in 24 hours to help a colleague with the writing of some project specifications. I am a documentation person, but there was not enough time for me to read the documents or even search extensively for them. Search is easy when you kind of already know well enough what you are looking for, choose proper keywords, etc. (Yes, I should have said 'no', but 'no' was not an option and I have issues with saying 'no' anyway). If some people could give me the answers right away, it would be great. If not, less great, but it was mission impossible anyway, and I didn't mean to take the pressure away from me and pass it to the community members. A star of the wireless section tried to kindly persuade me to search and read the documents. I'm kind of reading everything there is out there (not only technical) and everyone says I should read less. What was this guy talking about?

So, a document with tips won't do a lot of good. The question then becomes: what can we do about this besides discussing it? Support people are used to fixing machines and they sometimes think they can fix people as well. Well, you can't fix anyone that doesn't want to be fixed. You have a job because some people won't read the documents. Others have jobs because developers can't stop producing bugs. Policemen, lawyers, judges, etc have jobs because criminals exist. Doctors have patients because some people keep using 'cancer sticks' (Aussie slang for cigarettes). The forum would be less of a fun for me if everybody played by the rules and I bet there wouldn't be many discussions in here if everyone was strictly professional and read all the resources to resolve their issues on their own. Come again: how many discussions you regulars have authored? I like people who ask questions. Sometimes the questions are more interesting than the answers themselves.

Now, if someone is on fire and you try to diffuse the situation, a bomb might explode, so, just so you know I'm not a saint, I think there is at least one author out there who lets us do his job while he is out with his girlfriend, and this wouldn't be a problem unless we were getting paid instead of him. But, hey, this is a forum of volunteers, isn't it? Are we forgetting what the authors seem to forget?  We have the option of not responding to questions that anything in them makes us feel negatively in any way.

How about a NetPro Cafe for chatting while Dan doesn't have to read our long war stories? Maybe we could serve alcohol as well (seems we should serve at least beer). We are all supposed to be above 18 according to membership agreement. For further limitations, the law of state of California might apply.

Kind Regards,

Leo Laohoo Sun, 02/14/2010 - 15:07

Hey Maria,

I agree with a "cafe" or a "lounge room" section (+5).  Preferably a thread where participants won't get request to help them solve their Cisco-related issue.

Hey Dan or Tim,

Can we get one up?

Kevin Dorrell Mon, 02/15/2010 - 01:08

I like the idea of a virtual cafe as well, as long as it does not detract from the "chattiness" of the technical sections.  I rather like the techie banter as it is.  There shouldn't be any "This is OT and should be confined to the cafe."

Kevin Dorrell



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