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A request to improve the accessibility of useful information

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A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 08:39
Dear all

Organizing the valuable information on GMAT Club and making it accessible is as important as the information itself. There was a suggestion to have a separate forum for archives. I think it will only address the problem somewhat. We want to address the issue at a much more deeper level. As a user, the (understandable) temptation is often to just post the question and get it done and over with.

To the extent you can, we request you to chip in to help us achieve this goal. A lot of useful information is often 'lost' on the forums. If we have your support, we can take some steps to address this.

a) On my part, this is something that I have been doing: I have started posting a collection of links on questions that I think has been addressed before. This not only helps the author of the post, but it also help anyone else who may have a related question. Eventually, we want to build a directory of useful links.

b) Instead of saying posting "thank you" to a useful post, use the kudos system to reward good participation. Not sure if you have reviewed the "best posts and posters" feature (top left).


Think of this as a digg system for GMAT Club. We have to organize this by forum - for now, this list will help users identify useful posts. This is obviously going to be a issue when we have a lot of posts. At some point, we are going to have to set a minimum of kudos for a post to be considered valuable.

c) Use your signature to highlight a couple of threads that you find most useful.

We welcome your thoughts.
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 09:21
I am new here, and love browsing, but I agree with the above problem.

Perhaps a solution would be a Kudos for each individual post, as opposed, or in addition, to each user.

That was we could search for posts with the highest kudos... might be a good way of bringing the most valuable information to the top, and letting the 'thanks' and 'lols' drift to the bottom.

Just a thought?

Thanks!

EDIT - And of course, now I see the button at the top to show best posts. Lesson - explore before you post.
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 09:38
Hey Praet,

Good ideas. I like the best post kudos. We can see how that works before fine tuning it.

As for the collection of links, if we can have a "Knowledge Vault" forum area where we can have a gathering of links for each major topic, this will make it easier for the new members to go look it up before posting a question, or for the mods to redirect them to the forum.

For example, we can have a thread set up in that forum for:

- Interviews
- Essays
- Application Best Practices
- Financial Aid
- School Research/Visits
and more.

In each thread, we will have relevant links (with their topics) like you often post right now. The mods can go and add links as they find them so we will eventually have a "link database" for every major topic in one place that's easy to browse (kinda like the "Pants Pooping" thread).

Will that work?
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 09:47
I hate to point out but if people are too lazy to use the search function do you think they will put the effort in to figure out the best post thing? Generally its the newer posters who probably havent been around here all that much who do these posts asking for information that has been beaten to death multiple times. Chances are they will not know about our kudos system.

I think that once things are put together on the wiki then repeat questions will start to decrease. The hardest thing is finding all the information, not really compiling it in wiki form. I know without aau's rec form a lot of us this year would have been lost, having the rec section of the wiki is a great guide and if people read it, will eliminate tons of questions. Without the wiki, aau's guide might have been lost in the noise of this place. Maybe once spring hits and almost all decisions are done we can start threads to compile information from all other threads and then transfer that into wiki form. Then at the top of the forum next summer put together an announcement with a guide on how to approach the app process, with timelines and links to different wikipages.
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 10:17
river, you are right about the new users. We just have to wait and see how this plays out. The kudos system has been received well so far, so we are optimistic. The directory of links is meant for new users. The kudos system is dynamic and hence intended for regular users. The signature idea will certainly help the new user too.

I will address all the comments in this thread - have to be somewhere else right now.
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 11:38
I think compiling all the links into threads in a separate Vault forum will be a good first step, and it'll HELP us mods when we try to fill out the wikis. Imagine this... you're bored at work one day (or every day in my case :P) and you decide to do a search on interview guides... you read through 50 threads from 2006-7 and find a few nuggets. You copy and paste those links into the correct "bin/thread" in the new forum, so that others (whether new or old users) can find the thread too. We can then direct new users to that forum (yes, they may be lazy, but we can still provide the service) to read through all the useful links before they post more questions. It saves us and them time.

THEN, when we have time in the spring, all we need to do is read through the various links in that Vault forum and add stuff into the wiki. That will save us TONS of time compared to doing a search and finding nuggets later in the spring when we want to edit the wikis. My suggestion is pretty much splitting the work into 2 phases, where the first phase (links) is spread out over many months and allows many users to help us find good old threads.

What do you think Praet?
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2008, 20:27
Guys, I hate to be the odd one out, but I usually am, so....

A good part of the value of this place is from the interactions we get...it's not about the "should I take an online class?" or "how to go about recs?" aspects of applying. I care about this community. Rehashing stuff each year is worthwhile, at least, I think so. I like the idea of a wiki, and collecting links is ok too. But let's not discount the value of talking to each other. If this place were simply a repository of FAQs, I would have stopped by a few times and called it good. Instead, I kept coming back, adding to the discussion, getting to know new friends, etc.
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2008, 20:46
All,

What we are proposing are additions, not replacements. We are only trying to improve accessibility, not trying to limit discussions or repeat questions or trying to make this perfect - an improvement, that is all we hope for. If someone thinks that they have a question not addressed before, it is certainly reasonable to post a new thread.

We think that the wiki is going to be a asset - again, an addition , not a replacement for anything.

We think the kudos systems improves accessibility - it highlights useful posts.

We think the signature could nicely complement the sticky's and announcements.

Kryzak, I think a knowledge vault could be condensed into a single thread with one post dedicated to each topic - this is how we maintain the list of school threads right now. This would be more efficient and more comprehensive. There will be a time when we will have to have a knowledge vault forum - I am just looking for a very strong justification for an alternative to a single thread approach.

aaudetat wrote:
Guys, I hate to be the odd one out, but I usually am, so....

A good part of the value of this place is from the interactions we get...it's not about the "should I take an online class?" or "how to go about recs?" aspects of applying. I care about this community. Rehashing stuff each year is worthwhile, at least, I think so. I like the idea of a wiki, and collecting links is ok too. But let's not discount the value of talking to each other. If this place were simply a repository of FAQs, I would have stopped by a few times and called it good. Instead, I kept coming back, adding to the discussion, getting to know new friends, etc.


touche. I remember that you had a similar point of view when this had come up earlier. I guess we want to 'preserve' the most useful posts. Just to use an example, we want aaudetat's recommender's guide to always be 'available'. So aaudetat could use this link in her signature. Could a lot of people do without it? They could, but we would rather they not.

Finally, please do not be discouraged if your ideas are not implemented right away.
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2008, 20:50
Praetorian wrote:

aaudetat wrote:
Guys, I hate to be the odd one out, but I usually am, so....

A good part of the value of this place is from the interactions we get...it's not about the "should I take an online class?" or "how to go about recs?" aspects of applying. I care about this community. Rehashing stuff each year is worthwhile, at least, I think so. I like the idea of a wiki, and collecting links is ok too. But let's not discount the value of talking to each other. If this place were simply a repository of FAQs, I would have stopped by a few times and called it good. Instead, I kept coming back, adding to the discussion, getting to know new friends, etc.


touche. I remember that you had a similar point of view when this had come up earlier. I guess we want to 'preserve' the most useful posts. Just to use an example, we want aaudetat's recommender's guide to always be 'available'. So aaudetat could use this link in her signature. Could a lot of people do without it? They could, but we would rather they not.



Praet,

You always know how to get to my heart. As long as it about preserving MY stuff, I am all for it. A best practices, top-10 resources or FAQ or whatever is great. Squelching conversation in the interest of efficiencies is not. But you get what I'm after. How about a banner of some kind -- sort of like ads -- but internal, with a "super-fabo link of the day" or something like that?
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2008, 21:48
Praetorian wrote:
Kryzak, I think a knowledge vault could be condensed into a single thread with one post dedicated to each topic - this is how we maintain the list of school threads right now. This would be more efficient and more comprehensive. There will be a time when we will have to have a knowledge vault forum - I am just looking for a very strong justification for an alternative to a single thread approach.


Hi Praet,

I understand what you're trying to say, but the reason I suggest a vault with one thread for each topic (instead of one post for each topic all in one thread) is for the ease of "viewing". It is a LOT easier to go into a forum area (for example, the Member Profile or the Essay Vault forums) and glance at 20-30 different possible schools, topics, etc... As compared to one thread with each post on a different topic, after 10 or 20 topics, you'll have to go to the second page to see the other ones, and one might not know the order or where a certain topic is. It also discourages discussion (which AAu brings up) because for each thread on a topic, someone can ask a question, propose a new link that the mods did not find, or comment on the usefulness of a certain link. Those posts can then be deleted after a few weeks to reduce "clutter" in the thread, but it is a good tool to help the mods and admins comprehensively compile all the links that will be useful to people.

It is similar to the stickys I put up like "Comprehensive Financial Aid/Scholarship Discussion" or "Comprehensive XXX Guide", where my first post has all the links and the discussions are below (we would limit discussions in this Knowledge Vault).

Again, if you believe that these reasons is not enough to create a new forum, then that's ok. But I do feel strongly about the usefulness of an entire area with threads for each topic (and allowing limited discussions or contributions) than to have everyone in one thread. I personally did not find the "schools info thread" to be that useful, and it was hard for me to scroll around the different pages trying to find the school I'm interested in.

Thanks for considering my request. :)
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2008, 18:12
aaudetat wrote:
Praet,

You always know how to get to my heart. As long as it about preserving MY stuff, I am all for it. A best practices, top-10 resources or FAQ or whatever is great. Squelching conversation in the interest of efficiencies is not. But you get what I'm after. How about a banner of some kind -- sort of like ads -- but internal, with a "super-fabo link of the day" or something like that?


Thanks for the suggestion. Your idea reminds me of Drudge Report and to a lesser extent, what mahalo.com is attempting to do.

At the end of the day, what we have at GMAT Club is a (local) search problem. A search engine can be sensitive to input and so we have to find multiple ways to determine what is important and present it to the user.

As for the heart-to-heart, it is a lot easier to connect with people who have given so much to the Club. So many of you 07ers have been so generous with your time.
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2008, 18:21
kryzak wrote:
Praetorian wrote:
Kryzak, I think a knowledge vault could be condensed into a single thread with one post dedicated to each topic - this is how we maintain the list of school threads right now. This would be more efficient and more comprehensive. There will be a time when we will have to have a knowledge vault forum - I am just looking for a very strong justification for an alternative to a single thread approach.
.

Thanks for considering my request. :)


No, thank you for taking the time to care. You guys are the real users and we are always looking for ways to make GMAT Club better.

If I may, will you help us implement the suggestion? I will request riverripper to help out too. Let me create a forum for you - allow me a few days- things are crazy busy right now. You can move stuff around and organize stuff according to your needs.

thanks again.
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2008, 18:48
Hi Praetorian,

Of course! I wouldn't suggest something as extensive as that without volunteering! :) And I'm sure River (with all his free time these days :P) will help out too.

I just wanted to ask you to create the forum (since we don't have that power as mods) and we will do the rest, like I did for the Essay Vault.

I'll probably start off with the general categories, and then start putting links in there with the format:

Title of Original Topic
<link>

If I have more time, I'll try to sort them by sub-topics, but that might be saved for another day...
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Re: A request to improve the accessibility of useful information   [#permalink] 16 Jan 2008, 18:48
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