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How to improve the forum search function for others

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How to improve the forum search function for others [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2010, 13:11
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While using the forums lately I've noticed it can be difficult to find explanations to previously discussed questions. If you post for help on a question then chances are someone else will need help with it later on!

Here are some simple tips to make the questions easier to find for the next person:



  • Post the entire question as text!

    When using GMATPrep, I understand you probably took screenshots of all the questions you missed to review later. However, if you post the image, then nobody can search for that text! If you feel the need to attach a document with the question, go ahead, but at least provide the text also.

  • Make sure you type the question in exactly as it was stated from the source.

    Don't try to shorten the question, reword it, or change variable names. This just makes it harder to find for others

  • Use formulas instead of shorthand

    Spend a few minutes learning how to write formulas in the forum (here: writing-mathematical-symbols-in-posts-72468.html) - it will provide you with a much better result, and get a lot more replies

  • Tag your problem

    At the very least put it in a general category such as Geometry, Sequences, etc. and the source! I realize it is difficult to gauge whether the problem is 500-600, 600-700, etc. so check them if you know the level. The search tool is very powerful, but if you don't tag your posts then those search options are useless. Additionally, you can edit the tags even if it isn't your created topic. If you find one that wasn't tagged properly, then correct it for others in the future.

  • Avoid "mega" posts

    Sometimes I find the question I'm looking for buried in a post with 10 other questions. This makes it impossible to follow the discussion about one question without going through a lot of irrelevant posts. If you want to post a collection of problems, post each problem individually, and then post an additional topic with links to all the problems. This gives you a place to discuss the problems (not the solutions) in one place while not cluttering up the solutions or discussion of the solutions.

  • Provide answer choices for PS questions

    The answers often provide valuable hints as to how you should proceed. Sometimes the best strategy is backsolving and for this you need answer choices.


Additional tips to make your topics better:
  • If the question contains a figure, attach it as a common image format (jpg, png, etc.).

    The common images show up inline with your post and nobody has to do any additional clicking to see the entire problem. I've seen some images attached in PowerPoint, but not everyone has PowerPoint installed.
  • Provide the official answer

I've posted several questions asking for help. This community is great at coming along and explaining the solution. Usually you will even get more than one explanation. There is no reason to post that you will give the official answer once the problem is explained. Maybe someone just wants to attempt the problem, but doesn't have time to help you. Let them decide.

Last edited by Bunuel on 20 Aug 2010, 15:29, edited 2 times in total.
Added the part about the answer choices for PS questions
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Re: How to improve the forum search function for others [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2010, 13:36
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Re: How to improve the forum search function for others [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2010, 16:48
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I agree as well - also updated the original post with a few additional ideas.
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Re: How to improve the forum search function for others [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2010, 22:15
Thank you very much, I've found some great questions that were initially missed because they weren't tagged.
Re: How to improve the forum search function for others   [#permalink] 19 Aug 2010, 22:15
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