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Hall of Fame Super Gold

Sick and tired of trolls

The scenario is always the same:

A no-previous-posts someone comes in with an opinionated believing about something. Often it is in the form of a question, to which only some answer will be accepted.

When the plain truth is exposed to the person, even with plenty of supporting motivation, some insisting reply is received, and then low ratings of 1 or 2 when generous. Typically the person will never shop up on the forum again.

One example for all:

https://supportforums.cisco.com/message/3160586#3160586

I routinely respond to these people, and very interestingly I never get a factual reply to say where I was wrong. Only sometime, I get apologies, of the type "I was new and not sure".

Now, I understand that it maye be difficult, that we should just put up with these, that there can be one hundred reasons against, but I am afraid that unless we can have protection from unmotivated low ratings, I will have no desire anymore to post answers.

54 REPLIES

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Read through the post and you are correct. I would ask thought you consider those as someone not worth dealing with in the future as they are ungrateful. I would ask that you continue posting as you along with many others in this community have a great wealth of knowledge and I along with many others depend on your knowledge and your giving of your free time. I myself have read and learned much from your posts and if you left it would be a big loss to this community. There will always be people out there that just don't get it but that should not stop anyone from doing good. I personally thank you for your time and the knowledge you have shared and I hope to learn much more from people like you.

Thanks,

Mike

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Hey Paolo,

I think, in my humble opinion, everyone of us who are regular solution contributors are "victims" of some new form of human behaviour:  the lack of understanding.

Some believe that you, for example, (or anyone with a "badge") work(s) for Cisco and, therefore, is obligated/obliged to give a response of their choosing and/or liking.  (Emphasis on the phrase "response of their choosing and/or liking".) Even if the solution they are trying to verify is wrong, if they don't like your answer, don't expect them to give you a high score (or a score even).     And some have little or no understanding about the ratings systems.   Some posts, and in their excitement about the correct solution to their issues, seem to forget about their posts and leaving it un-"Answered".

I have seen and read a significant number of your posts (Ricks, Jon, Rob and even Edison and Joe) and 90% to 95% deserve a high rating but didn't all all because of the observations mentioned above.

As a result of this observation, I've taken a leaf from your book and ask posters to not forget to "rate our useful posts" or if they say that the solution has been rectified, I'd also follow-up by asking them to mark the thread as "Answered".  I check my score regularly, I make it an effort to "thank" the people who gives me some form of rating.  In my opinion, if you took the effort of giving me a rating, then it's polite to reciprocate and give thanks.   Very lame reason frankly, but I believe it's justified.

There is no easy reason to this.  CSC has tried various ideas but each one doesn't seem to be the right "fit" for the job.

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Hey Paolo,

Don't be disappointed.  Take this post, for example.  We gave the right answer, provided the right links BUT look at the score!

https://supportforums.cisco.com/message/3161083#3161083

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Leo, you exposed the issue perfectly.

Maybe, what has not been discussed before, would be if some "super-partes" people could the remove unfair ratings, and block further ratings on any given thread.

I do not care much If I give a great answer and I am not rated. What bothers me, is that any anonymous, with near to zero understanding in networking can come and vent his frustration with the fact he has to buy a different router (just an example), taming my reputation here.

BTW, I chimed in and re-balanced on the link tread above. At the cost of seeming contentious,. I'm not giving up yet.

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Paolo,

Thanks for sticking it out. Like I said before I rely on people like you for not only resolving problems but in your sharing of knowledge so myself and others can learn. I went to the post you referenced and read it and I rated it as it should have been rated, I know it is not much but it boosted the ratings so other may look at it for correct solutions. I have read not only your posts but others and have learned much and when I go to those posts in the past I have just gone there and left with out rating because it was not my question so I did not rate. Well what I am going to try and do going forward is when I read a post that is not mine and it helped me in anyway or if I see that it resolved the posters answer I am going to rate them myself going forward.

Thank you Paolo and everyone for all you contributions, what I have learned from you is tremendous and I thank you.

Mike

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Burleyman, thank you very much for your appreciation. Words like yours certainly help seeing things in balance. You see that my knowledge is primarly of a practical nature, and I have no problems sharing it with people that can appreciate it.

CSC moderators: please understand how the continued provocation led me to the the closing statements in the thread referenced.

If you judge that it has to be removed, I will certainly understand your actions.

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

No problem. Remember there are far more people out there that apprecite what you and all the others contribute than there are the type you ran into.

Mike

Hall of Fame Super Red

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Hey Paolo, Mike & Leo,

Excellent thread indeed and coming from three experts like you guys

it carries alot of weight.

Sadly, this is just "human nature" and cannot always be avoided. We have all felt

the pinch of unfair ratings that really suck, but what can you do?? The only reason

we really come here is to try and help each other out with solutions. Some people like our

ideas and others don't, but we keep on trying! It's not in our nature to give up because someone

doesn't know how to participate fairly. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!  Don't let the B@3!3rds get you

down Paolo, you're too good for that my friend!

This does highlight something that I (and others) have been pushing for some time now......the

need to eliminate the 1&2 point Ratings altogether! They are of no value and only cause situations

like this. Let's all work together to convince Dan and Tim to scratch these Ratings off CSC.

Just for a little added levity and info here let's look at this thread from a great "Ask the Experts" from

not too long ago It might make us all feel a bit better;

Hi Janelle and Jimmy,


First off, thanks for taking the time out of your schedules to participate in this event!

My question is this, most of us in the service industry have taken some type of customer service training, but how do you deal with the 1 out of 100 clients that you just can't seem to win over?
You try to provide great service,timely, friendly and with great follow up etc. And they still seem to have some level of distrust? Are there just some no win situations?


Thanks again,
Rob

Here is the nice response from Janelle;

From Dr. Barlow;

Hi Rob:

Thanks for your question. Indeed, there are those people who are very difficult to win over -- for a variety of reasons. And the number may be higher than 1 out of a hundred.

? There are some no win situations. Bottom line. You won't please everyone. Don't set it as a target.

? You don't always know what is going on in the customer's mind. The key question is whether they come back, not whether they look like they distrust you. There may be reasons for that distrust that have nothing to do with you.

? Talk with them. Tell them you are working very hard to meet their needs, but your sense is that they don't seem to respond in a way to indicate this is happening. Ask them if you are misreading them. Engage them in a dialogue. You may actually learn something very important from them, or at least open up a dialogue where they become more conscious of how they respond to you.

? If yours is the type of business where the customer deals with one person, perhaps they just don't get along with that person. Consider asking someone else in your organization to interact with this person.

? Finally, don't blame yourself if all your customers don't like your offering. Attempting to please everyone is not the best strategy in the world when it comes to building a brand.

Good luck,

Janelle Barlow, Ph.D.

Cheers Guys!

Huff

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Great post as usaual Huff.....+5

Now putting me in the area of "three experts like you guys" is a big streach indeed but thanks for that and it made me chukle...

I do agree the 1 and 2 ratings should be removed they serve no use here, just don't rate if you think they are not helpful.

What are your guys thoughts on someone like me who goes to a thread and reads it and finds it knowledgable but did not post, should I rate it if it helped me in learning something new.

Also, what are your thoughts on listing the people who rated a post...like hover over the ratings and it will show a list of who rated and what they rated?

Thanks

Mike

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Hey "Smooth" Rob,

Guy, you sure know how to butter people up ... or you can't count!  He he he ...

I sure ain't categorize as an "expert".  I will be happy to fall in the ranks of "someone who knows some stuffs" but one thing though, I am a person who likes to learn.  I learn from people like you, Paolo and more.  I also learn when THE experts correct my mistakes and set the records straight.

So to all the "experts" (too many to name and I don't want to start name-dropping), y'all see that badge beside my name?  Well you guys/gals are responsible for giving `em all to me.

Anyway ... let me bring some humour here ...

Question:  What's the difference between a politician and a snail?

Answwer:  A snail always leaves the slime BEHIND.

NOTE:  Dan, I don't believe I have yet to see a network guy who also happens to be a politician.  So I hope I am still following the rules. 

PS:  If some of you reading any of my posts think that I've "crossed the line", please let me know.  I try to police myself but sometimes ... things happen.  Remember:  Don't drink and post! 

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Ratings my favorite CSC topic.  It always seems to bring out the best in us :-)  I'll try and respond to all your questions here:

1.  Poor Ratings---  Do not assume the person who posted the question is the one who rated you poorly.  You need to remember ANYONE can rate responses.  This was intentional so others could rate content they find useful.  We can remove this and only allow the author to rate content, but I assure you overall ratings will drop.  If someone rates you a 1 or 2 I would suggest not calling it out and just let it go.  If you do, it will only encourage them to rate all your other responses a 1 or 2.

 

2.  Correct answers go unrated---  This is an issue in all communities on the web.  Not everyone takes the time to rate content.  I encourage all of you to rate content whether it's your post or not.  When other users come to a community and see rated content they are more likely to also rate.  We are looking at migrating to a new version of software that would allow Cisco to mark questions as resolved.  It would show on the site as "resolved by moderator".  Thoughts on this?

3.  Eliminate 1&2 ratings---  If we removed the first 2 stars then 3 would technically become 1.  I'm not opposed to the concept but trying to understand how it would work.  The only thing I can think of is remove stars 1&2 from the front end but in the computation keep them intact.

4.  Allow users to see who rated---  To be honest, I don't think we want to go down that path.  That won't do much except cause wars between users.


Our goal is to have the most fair and useful rating system as possible.  That said, it will never be perfect.  Ratings are a key discussion at all community conferences and no one seems to have found a perfect solution.  I encourage everyone to continue giving us feedback.  Ratings are a significant part of CSC and we will do our best to make them as useful as possible.


Cheers,

Dan

Cheers, Dan
Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Thanks all for the great discussion.

Dan, I like the idea .2. above, as I mentioned before my only change proposal would be some kind of "right of appeal" to unfair low rating. Possibly followed by a rating ban on the appealed threads only. This to prevent further siding on controversial matters.

Be reassured it is very clear to understand who low rated on certain threads, because they all follow the simple dynamics I have exposed above, so please give my proposal a thought.

On the other hand so far I have not seen anybody vindicative enough to pervasively misuse the system, beside than the occasional frustration-driven low rating, so overall I am happy with the system as it is now.

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

I have not seen anybody vindicative enough to pervasively misuse the system

Don't encourage them.

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

If someone rates you a 1 or 2 I would suggest not calling it out and just let it go.  If you do, it will only encourage them to rate all your other responses a 1 or 2.

You got a point here particularly the "retaliation" side.

We are looking at migrating to a new version of software that would allow Cisco to mark questions as resolved.

I like the bit where if a post is marked "Answered" an automatic "5" ratings is registered.

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Regarding issue 2, as far as I understand, most regulars would prefer their posts to be rated by the authors themselves. This is logical I think, since the author is the person being helped mainly and other regulars might not always have the time to set the record straight, especially when they have many of their own posts often going unrated. Anyway, I think many regulars do rate each others posts and if cisco could give a hand, I can't see why would anyone disagree with that.

Back to the authors: The rating FAQs are ok as long as one is willing to read them. However, most people do not like to read long documents in order to do a simple thing (e.g. use a cell phone, use a DVD recorder, open a CSC discussion). Generally, if you want to increase your chances of someone reading something it should not be long (are you still with me? ). How many times have you checked a "Yes, I agree" without reading the agreement?

I have one suggestion at the moment: put some pressure on the authors for feedback. So, where can we find the authors and ask them for feedback? I guess we can't chase them with the rifle around the corner outside their homes (please don't ask "why not?" ). E-mail notifications (suggested in the past) can go unnoticed. I believe a good place and time to catch the author is when author is here in CSC and tries to open a new discussion.

(BTW: the e-mail feature for posting replies has the side effect of some authors opening discussions, then losing touch with the CSC web interface, and eventually makes possible for them to avoid to log back in, not only for posting replies, but also for rating of posts.)

The first time author opens a discussion, everything flows as usual (or perhaps with a short message about ratings) and author can get away without rating the replies. The second time authors tries to open a discussion, author receives a webpage asking him/her to rate any of the replies of the first discussion before proceeding. That is if he/she hasn't done so already and first discussion is idle for say 1 week. At this point, author also receives some short piece of advice ("avoid low ratings, etc", no fancy words, no lots of reasoning). Author also has the option to say "No helpful replies received" or anything else, and this can appear on the thread for everyone to see. If author provided feeback either in the form of points or in the form of a comment, they can go on and open another discussion. Additionally, the total number of ratings by author could appear on the thread, which would expose the identity of ratings of the author to some extent, but not totally. Still, this is not necessary for the rest to work, I agree with Dan on his 4th point, who wants to open the Pandora's box? (Such a variable might also help the code to determine if author rated a discussion by examining a single value).

Some authors might open discussions close in time and could get away without rating, but generally they will eventually receive the page if they keep opening discussions over time. Others might open 1 discussion in their lives, in which case they can get away without rating. In such cases we might not want them to rate anyway (or we might risk going from issue number 2 to issue number 1 above). Since things are loose the first time, any complexity associated with the opening of discussions for newcomers is not increased. Also, if something like that was implemented it would affect only future discussions.

There can be more complicated solutions (the one I had thought initially was more complicated), but this particular suggestion is messing up with the opening of discussions, and the more complicated it is, the more we risk being left without discussions during a potential software debugging phase.

So, you won't have to ask for ratings anymore (which might reduce tension inside the thread). System will do it for you. If author is a bit exposed, their ratings might become more appropriate. Anyway, the fairness of ratings is difficult to handle (since it requires knowledge from the author's part), so cisco could give a hand on this one. I haven't thought this fully, since we have many people here to make improvements if necessary and if suggestion is generally acceptable. One advantage of this suggestion is that it shifts the burden of ratings from regulars/cisco to the software (automatic, less personal) and the author (who is the one being helped). I personally wouldn't have gone that far, but it seems many people get frustrated with the ratings. So, why don't we all stay here until we either find solutions or conclude that some issues cannot be solved and get on with our lives?

Hall of Fame Super Silver

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

I agree that we want to find ways to motivate users to use the rating system. But I worry that a web page to nag the user about rating might become counter productive: if a user feels pushed into rating will they tend to rate high or to rate low? If a user feels pushed to rate - how many of them will just hit cancel and go away from the forum??

HTH

Rick

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Hi all,

Rick, I see your point about the webpage. As I said previously, I wouldn't personally have gone that far, but I think in some cases some threads tend to have tension because people keep asking for the ratings anyway. And once they don't get them or get poor ones (user feels pushed in a similar manner that you described), the tension might move from one thread to another. The advantage of the webpage is that it's not personal. I won't defend the idea any further, since I don't personally ask for ratings, I hardly ever participate in ratings discussions and I wasn't doing it for me anyway.

I have been the victim of 1-rating twice (if I remember correctly). The first time I was angry. It was unfair (or so I thought). The second time I wasn't angry. I let it go. In both cases I wondered what I had done wrong. Ok, in the second case my phrasing might have looked insulting in some way I didn't intend. I tried to avoid that in future cases. In one later occassion author was angry with something I said. I didn't respond, so I got away without getting the 1-slap. Anyway, my point is that the advantage of low ratings is that they can help members to behave themselves and keep a more professional environment. Just because some people are asking for help that doesn't mean we should treat them with disrespect. And remember: if you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you always got.

BTW: The "youtube generation" is out you know, so watch out because some of them might have entered the networking field. Have you seen how thumbs up/down on youtube work? No logic at all or "if I like what you like"  thumbs up, "if you dislike what I like" then thumbs down, etc. Which reminds me of the approximate lyrics of a play "I will listen to her only if I like what she has to say".

Kind Regards,

Maria

Hall of Fame Super Silver

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Maria

I have received my fair share of 1 ratings and sometimes I do wonder what caused the person to rate that way. Sometimes I wonder about "what if I had phrased it differently".  But I believe that the low rating usually has more to do with the reader and less to do with what I said. So I have learned to let them go and to move on.

I may be in a minority but I would vote to keep the 1 and the 2 in the rating system. We may try to say that 3 keeps its original meaning, but I do not believe that most raters would really feel it that way. If 3 is the lowest score available then 3 becomes not very good. And I do believe that there is some merit in having a score that says "not helpful". There have been some posts (though not so many) that I thought were really bad (or really wrong) and I have rated them as a 1.

HTH

Rick

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

One more thing regarding Dan's comment on point 3:  If we removed the first 2 stars then 3 would not become 1. Each number is also associated with a characterization. 3 means you were at least helpful. 1 means you were not helpful and is technically equivalent to "go away".

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Here is another one.

https://supportforums.cisco.com/thread/2038265

Exact same dynamics as reported before.

CSC admin, please stop the abuse now !!!!

DO anything, but do something !!!!

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

I have received my fair share of 1 ratings and sometimes I do wonder what caused the person to rate that way.

Hate to say this but I've seen alot of you gents/gals receive a low rating for a perfectly good answer to a poorly written question.  The answer why a low score is mostly a new trend of "human behaviour".

People don't like to be told that their multi-thousand dollar equipement/design is wrong because of the lack of understanding of the equipments and/or technologies.  They want someone like you guys/gals to tell them that although they got the wrong equipments (and they can't return/exchange it) it will still work.  Like, for example, someone purchasing a 830 router on e-bay and hoping it could do 100mb of full duplex and full encryption with full BGP table.

This is one main reason why I hate telling people that their design or equipments purchased is not up to "specs" because of the risk of getting a low score or no score at all.  One thing I've tried, with mixed results, to make it go down "easy" is to put a light tone of humour.  Like the "example" above.

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Paolo,

The rating system isn't something we can simply turn on/off or make edits to.  I promise we will be doing a review on how ratings work.  Our goal will be to see if we can make it more user friendly.  I ask all of you to continue giving feedback, but to be honest, if we decide to make changes it won't happen overnight.  Ratings are a significant part of CSC so any modifications would take time to test and implement.  I'll have to ask patience from everyone on this.  If anyone thinks someone is abusing the system please send me an email and we'll review it.

Cheers,

Dan

Cheers, Dan

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Hi Dan,

When your team will be reviewing how ratings in CSC work, you might also consider adding a way for us to vote for Dan for the next president of the USA. Because you have politics in your blood man (and I am saying this in a positive sense)! I am always curious to see how you will manage to maintain balance in every situation!

Kind Regards,

Maria

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Hi Maria,

Thanks for the kind words.  I'm not so sure voting would go my way.  As you can see by this thread I have enough problems keeping everyone happy on CSC   

Cheers,

Dan

Cheers, Dan
Hall of Fame Super Silver

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Dan

I like the idea of having something like "resolved by moderator". There are frequent instances where a response to a question is obviously the correct answer but the original poster does not acknowledge it and this would be a way to address this situation.

I agree with you that eliminating the 1 and 2 ratings would not be particularly useful. And I certainly agree that Allow users to see who rated would probably cause more friction than it solves problems.

I try sometimes to provide positive reinforcement to a user, especially if they seem new to the forum, when they do rate or when they post to a thread that they started and indicate that they found a solution and what the solution is. I think that many of us could better  about rating good posts and about providing some positive reinforcement to users.

HTH

Rick

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

After thinking about showing who rated who I agree there is not much value add for that and I can see where it could cause some issues. I do still think the 1 and 2 ratings could just be hidden and 3 could still be 3 points and so on just hide the first two ratings. I don't think there is any value in those rating except to cause hard feelings kind of like showing who rated who.....no value add for either.  Just my two cents. 

Mike

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

And another one, only this time Giuseppe took the slap too.

https://supportforums.cisco.com/thread/2038309

It is becoming simply unbearable.

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Paolo, I apologize for not clearly sympathizing ealier about this issue. When I decided to participate in this thread the initial link to a thread you had posted was gone, so I see now I must have been missing an important part of the situation (that is the frequency of events). Sorry again. Anyway, it seems to me that the frequency of those events is rather unusual. Have you determined any specific patterns or when exactly all this started happening? Or have Dan's admin tools found anything weird related to those events?

Hall of Fame Super Gold

Re: Sick and tired of trolls

Hello Maria, thank you for your interest, actually you do not have necessarilty sympathize with me altough I am such a nice person

Seriously, I think the problem is due to the open, excessively permissive nature of the rating system. Here is what the Gent. reported in the case above:

OK, you are right.

I hate Cisco's rating system. I moved the cursor over the stars checking the written ratings and I show the rating was choen. I wasn't able to modify any more.

Guys, ANY system is welcome, but please change this.

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