Friday, September 19, 2008

OTN forums : 28 days later, what else ?

In reference to the horror movie 28 days later.

Tomorrow, already 4 weeks later. Or 28 days later... (to continue the movie reference, read this article : 500)
28 days after the OTN forum's software upgrade. And ?

Well, a lot of posts have been written about new features around the blogoshpere- like the most (in)famous point system.

So, 28 days later, where are we ? Instability is still the main problem, at least from some part of the world.We have to be patient, or learn patience... down... up... down... up... and network issue...

Instability.

The top user list has been dropped down. Since OTN forums is cumulated points and no more the number of posts for the top10 users, everyone have seen his point counter dropped to 0.
Ok, if this is not a problem in the two major forum (Database - General and SQL & PL/SQL) where there is enough activity to show this activity, I think this is a real problem on some less popular forum like one of my favorite - Peoplesoft.
Between instability, no more people in the top users list, and a point system not very well explained, people are went away. There was some sort of activities in such forum, but since... there is very, very, very few.

Less acitvity.

Then, some new behaviours have been seen. Ok, there is an report abuse button, very good. But...
Sometimes, there are a bunch of answers without more questions about the requirements where it would be required. Pity.
Some people copy&paste what they found over Internet/Metalink without given the link reference, and they got points, because the OP doesn't realize the plagiarism (it seems to me it happens much more than before). Pity.
Sometimes answers are marked as correct when obviously it is not. Pity.
Sometimes answers are marked as correct for giving a link to http://tahiti.oracle.com/. Does that make sense ?
Sometimes people claim their points. Pity. Did they claimed a thanks before ?
It is interesting to see how point system has motivated some people to try their chance, and also to "reactivate" some old account. Indeed, I haven't seen so much active "old" account since a while.
I have no statistics, but seems to be a lot of new users have been created after the upgrade...
In the mean time, a lot of other people disappeard.
Coincidence ?

New people. New behaviour.

Well, finally, it seems we got a new "OTN forums world", like a new world 28 days after pandemic with only few survivors.

I wish a long and a workable life to the OTN forums.

Have fun,

2 comments:

ebrian said...

Nicolas,
I couldn't agree with you more !! I personally think the new forum format is a debacle on MANY levels. The forums are completely unstable, the ability to effectively format posts has been degraded and the point system is the absolute WORST feature the forums could have adopted. If that wasn't enough, one can no longer determine what threads they have read or threads that have updated content. And FORGET about trying to utilize the search capabilities. For a company that was established on retrieving and utilizing data, it is unconscionable that Oracle can't provide an effective mechanism for searching within their own forums.

It's quite evident that individuals are coming out of the wood work to contribute worthless postings that are reiterations of answers that have already been provided by previous posters in the same thread. It's almost a race for folks to be the last person to submit a response in hopes that they will be the ones awarded points. The philosophy of points enhancing the forum content and/or credibility is doing nothing but breeding contempt among the posters and as you mentioned, provoking many of the longtime posters to stop contributing.

For a multi-billion dollar company, in my opinion, the Oracle forums are a complete embarrassment for Oracle and debasement from the previous format. I honestly can't suggest one thing that is an improvement to the forums. The forums' environment has degenerated to the point that it no longer gratifying to contribute. I understand that the forum administrators mention that updates/fixes to the forums are currently being worked on, but WHY would the current format be released with so many broken parts ?? Unfortunately, it appears that the meaningless point system is here to stay and many of the esteemed contributors may not be.

Just my opinion of course ! Fortunately, there are other Oracle forums on the net.

Aman Sharma said...

Hi Nicolas,
I just found your blog today when looked at Oraclecommunity's profile. Good to see it and it will be added in my blog rolls now.
About the forums, well I just replied over a thread where a guy Hub mentioned about the disliking of points. For me, your words over a thread( can't remember which one) were the best and sort of eye-openers," when we didn't bother about the thanks in the past, why bother about points now". It was a spot on for atleast me.
Points or no points, for me all of you guys who are old and senior over Forums are a great source of knowledge and inspiration. I am sure, as much possible, you guys would help all the novice people like to me to get corrected/improved. Thanks to all of your help,support and guidance and hope to get it in future as well.
Warm regards
Aman....