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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Telling people to use the "search"
    Some people here spend more time and effort complaining about folks not using the search function than they do in answering a question.


    I would think if a person asks a question that has been asked before, and you are too busy to answer such a question, and then you could just ignore the question and let someone else answer it if they are so inclined.

    I see this happen so often. A question is asked that has been discussed before, there are usually several folks quick to tell the "stupid" person who asked the question to do a search, and then there are the helpful folks who are willing to answer the question in such a way that is not offensive to the original poster - in spite of the fact that they have also seen the question before.


    Thank goodness for those who are willing to respond without jumping to make a fool of someone?

    The best way to answer a relatively new person's question that might have been covered before is to give the person a very brief overview and refer him/her to a specific thread to find more.

    You'll be helpful, kind, and make the point about searching - without inflicting pain, and in a much more memorable way.

    If you don't have the time, don't answer.







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    Bob Pets Warehouse
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  2. #2
    http and a telephoto
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    Bob, you are misinterpreting the point of telling people to use the search function. It has nothing to do with not wanting to answer the question or making the poster feel stupid. Many newbies aren't familiar with how the search function would work, and once pointed to it start using it.

    Another point to telling them to do a search is to get them to start looking around so they can find the wealth of knowledge that is buried here. Searching and wandering around is much more valuable than just handing over the answer to most common questions. Digging unearths treasures.

    Learning is a process, I bet you were one of those guys that when you asked the teacher a question and they said "Go look it up" you thought they were being arrogant. Instead they were teaching you how to fish instead of handing you the fish.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Debbie you would lose that bet!

    The "conversation" or interchange of information is what makes a forum different than an archive. If you're going to post "do a search" then you're really not contributing anything to the conversation, and you should just let someone answer the question. This allows some of the newer members to show off their newly acquired knowledge and to feel "ownership" in the Forum.
    Who knows how many new members have been turned off to the Forum by someone who (probably in good faith) answered "do a search". That just makes new members feel like jackasses or, at least, outsiders.

    Obviously, search is an important feature of the forum, and new members should be made aware of that. The best way to do that is by posting something along the lines of:

    "I did a search and found these posts:
    <link 1>
    <link 2>
    <etc.>
    The bottom line is that <summarize the answer>"


    That way the OP will get his question answered without being made to feel like an outsider, and he will learn that there is a search function.



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    Bob Pets Warehouse
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  4. #4
    http and a telephoto
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    Well, if you have time to do the searches for the newbies, have at it. When I was a newbie I was told to search and I did and I learned more than I ever expected to.

    If a newbie is turned off because things aren't handed to them, they don't belong here or in affiliate marketing.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetsWarehouse.com
    "I did a search and found these posts:
    <link 1>
    <link 2>
    <etc.>
    The bottom line is that <summarize the answer>"
    I'm more included to respond like Bob suggested above. That answers the question and encourages them to try search next time. Sure, the (repeat) newbie questions can get annoying at times and you don't always have time to respond, but there are more factors to consider than just that newbie.

    1) Others will see (what they might consider) the rude attitude and choose not to participate as a result.

    2) You never know which posts will get indexed in search engines for which terms. If someone found ABW by searching for something they had a question about, would you rather they found a page saying "search and find it yourself" or a concise, friendly response like the one Bob suggested? I know I've searched on some other forums for something I was trying to figure out and found a dozen or more threads that say "this has already been asked. use the search." Sometimes I never did find where it was answered. Not useful at all.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    If a newbie is turned off because things aren't handed to them, they don't belong here or in affiliate marketing.
    They don't belong here!

    Yep the hell with new affiliates

    The hell with new merchants, why on earth would we want to help them?

    IMHO--Bad attitude Deb! very disappointed with that answer
    Bob Pets Warehouse
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  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    First, if you think that's a bad answer, you're not reading what she wrote. She didn't say "all new affiliates" she said "people that want things handed to them". That is an attitude I wholeheartedly agree with. People who don't want to put in the work do not belong in this industry.

    Second, there are nice ways to say "use the search" and arrogant, mean ways to say "use the search". I don't think Deb was suggesting the latter.

    Lastly, threads rarely die with a "use the search" response. Someone usually comes in, complains about the person suggesting that the OP use the search, and then answers the question. So really, this is largely a moot conversation.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly

    If a newbie is turned off because things aren't handed to them, they don't belong here or in affiliate marketing.
    She said what?
    Bob Pets Warehouse
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  9. #9
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    I agree that new users should be encouraged to use the search function but sometimes the search function can be a little daunting, especially when they don't know where to search. If a new user has a question on PPC and does a search on that term they will get 89 pages of search results with over 4,000 individual posts. Now, it would certainly narrow the search if they were more specific, but remember, a lot of new users here are also pretty new to AM, they don't know how to be more specific on that topic. Add to that the fact that a lot of thread titles aren't exactly descriptive of the content of the thread and search really doesn't help much. Even if the question has been asked and answered dozens of times.

    They also won't know who Donuts is and about some of his great posts on PPC or the PPC tutorial that Rollerblader (the affiliate formally known as Liquidate) did a few months ago. Digging through hundreds of posts to find these gems is pretty frustrating. Granted, they may find other useful information while digging through all of these threads, but that still doesn't get them any closer to their answer.

    Too many times a new member asks a question and the next 5 responses are to use the search function or search is your friend. Frankly, if that's all I have to add, there's no point in posting and it really does seem rude when everyone jumps on them in this way.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  10. #10
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    I think often times the risk/reward ratio comes into play when determining assistance beyone "use the search function" for newbies.

    If you pour your knowledge and thoughts into an answer post for them, will the newbie be around tomorrow to see it? Of course the answer is not expressly for them, but the threads where someone posts a question and then doesn't participate in the conversation any further are disappointments to me.

    Normally I look for someone who shows a posting history that shows they are indeed interested in learning. Even if the topic has been somewhat covered before, there can be new ideas, opinions, and technologies that can be uncovered by having a new thread on the same previously-posted topic.

    Newbies often are looking for acceptance along with knowledge. Veteran ABW'ers gotta admit...this place has to be one intimidating place.

    -sfcom
    Last edited by sfcom; February 4th, 2008 at 10:50 AM. Reason: technologies


  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Bob, I really don't understand how you're interpreting that statement.

    "If a newbie is turned off because things aren't handed to them, they don't belong here or in affiliate marketing."

    The key part of that sentence is "turned off because things aren't handed to them". What's the problem with that? Are you suggesting that people here should spend their time and effort (for no compensation) giving away everything they know just because someone asks? That's what it sounds like you're suggesting. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I just think people should have to put in the work, that's all.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    I recieved a email from a newbie and with their permission will quote it in part.

    "I personally am one of those newbies who WAS personally offended and I by ALL MEANS was not looking for a quick answer or something handed to me.

    I continue to be amazed with the bullshit that is allowed to go on in here and am especially taken back by the heirarchy of virtual nepostism and entitlements of the "in" crowd. Why is it that if "someone" says something but if "someone else" says something the EXACT SAME WAY......that "someone else" is ridiculed, ignored, and even banned for what they said? Its amazing!"

    Interesting????
    Bob Pets Warehouse
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  13. #13
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetsWarehouse.com
    ...
    I continue to be amazed with the bullshit that is allowed to go on in here and am especially taken back by the heirarchy of virtual nepostism and entitlements of the "in" crowd. Why is it that if "someone" says something but if "someone else" says something the EXACT SAME WAY......that "someone else" is ridiculed, ignored, and even banned for what they said? Its amazing!"

    Interesting????
    I think it is good to be a little more open minded than your newbie friend. This is a community. Sometimes we answer differently because we "know" who is writing. We know that that person has participated and hasn't just asked the same questions over and over.
    I've found that ABW has been very open. If you earn respect, you'll be treated with it. We also must remember that people occasionally have bad days.

    When I was a newbie in 2007, I had asked a question and been told by Loxly to use the Search. I wasn't offended. I thought "oops" and I started using that feature before starting a new thread. While I don't always find the answer, it does reduce the number of threads I start and my questions are normally a lot better than if I hadn't searched first.

    As far as someone being banned for asking a question. I don't believe that at all. Haiko runs a great Forum. He'd only ban someone with good reason.

  14. #14
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetsWarehouse.com
    I continue to be amazed with the bullshit that is allowed to go on in here and am especially taken back by the heirarchy of virtual nepostism and entitlements of the "in" crowd. Why is it that if "someone" says something but if "someone else" says something the EXACT SAME WAY......that "someone else" is ridiculed, ignored, and even banned for what they said? Its amazing!"

    Interesting????
    I'm confused. Am I part of the "in" crowd??? Please say yes. It makes me feel important. lol.

    Try to keep in mind that we don't pay anything for ABW access. Possibly if this were a forum where a fee was required in order to view or post then I would expect things to be policed in the way you say. Being that this is a free forum, that is not to be expected.

    Uniform justice is not easy when you have a forum with volunteer mods. One thing I know for sure is that nobody can say ABW is not worth the cost of admission. It is hard to beat free.

    -sfcom


  15. #15
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    I had to put an end to "use the search button newb" on my site too. Because honestly the VB Search button isn't the best way to find informaton unless you use specific keywords.

  16. #16
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Yes, search is a great feature for new members to learn.
    Yes, affiliates need to learn to be self sufficient if they want to succeed.
    Yes, it's annoying to see the same questions asked over and over again (remember as a new member, they probably don't know it's been asked before)
    Yes, everyone here is right.

    But remember these are new members that we should be trying to make feel welcome. Sometimes suggesting that they use the search feature is the best response, but there are ways to do it without making them feel stupid at the same time. As SFCOM said, "this place has to be one intimidating place".

    Several members have a great way of way of recommending the search feature as well as great places to start like The Magic Bullet Thread. Others appear to be more sarcastic in their suggestions to use search and it comes off more like "you're ugly and your mother dresses you funny".

    Maybe we can try to be a little more gracious and a little less condescending. Or simply don't respond at all.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetsWarehouse.com
    <snip>

    Interesting????
    That doesn't really answer my question. It's not a matter of one person taking offense at the suggestion that the search function be used - we don't know the circumstances of what happened (was the suggestion made rudely?).

    There's a big difference between "since you're new here, let me point out the Search button in the row of buttons up top, you can find a wealth of information with it" and "stfu and use the search button NOOB". I don't see a problem with the former.
    Daniel M. Clark
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    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    If someone was offended by my suggesting they use the search, considering I wasn't snotty in my post and was just making a friendly suggestion, then they are pretty sensitive and perhaps this is not the place for them? It was not like I was rude or even one bit insinuating that they were idiots.

    Considering there is a whole section here on Parasites I thought that looking there would offer more examples on parasites than I could post in one post. Had it been a question regarding something that might have been harder to find I would have gladly answered the question the best I could. I just thought with a whole big section on parasites here, if the person had even looked at the forum listings they would have found that section and not had to ask.

  19. #19
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamingoworld
    If someone was offended by my suggesting they use the search, considering I wasn't snotty in my post and was just making a friendly suggestion, then they are pretty sensitive and perhaps this is not the place for them? It was not like I was rude or even one bit insinuating that they were idiots.

    Considering there is a whole section here on Parasites I thought that looking there would offer more examples on parasites than I could post in one post. Had it been a question regarding something that might have been harder to find I would have gladly answered the question the best I could. I just thought with a whole big section on parasites here, if the person had even looked at the forum listings they would have found that section and not had to ask.
    There was nothing wrong with your response. You provided useful information to the user and gave them a starting point. 2busy took it a step further and provided a brief definition and reinforced your suggestion to use the search feature. That's how it's supposed to work in a forum, each post can build upon the previous post. It's when several posts in a row have nothing to add other than "use search" that I find it annoying.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  20. #20
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    OK, I can't shut up. Want new members to use the search function more? Then make the search function more relevant. Use descriptive titles (as others have suggested before) when you start a new thread. "I'm having a crappy day" really doesn't tell me that the big "G" just beat the crap out of you. Or that a particular merchant just reversed all of last months sales. "I'm having a crappy day" is fine when it's a new thread, makes no sense six months later.

    I also just noticed that we very seldom take the time to rate a thread (me included). This would go a long way toward pointing new members toward the threads that most consider worthwhile or important.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  21. #21
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    .....I also just noticed that we very seldom take the time to rate a thread (me included). This would go a long way toward pointing new members toward the threads that most consider worthwhile or important.

    -rematt
    You are right about that rematt. I don't think I have rated a single thread here at ABW.

    It is kind of a tough issue. If ABW had the most relevant and helpful posts organized and rated by the users here, that would indeed be extremely helpful to a newb. It would be like the "ABW Super-Affiliate Handbook". But then there will always be those who feel: "Hey I had to look it up so they should too." Two extremes.

    Personally, I am not sure about someone coming here and just being able to find the best and most helpful posts right away. Maybe by reading and sorting through everything they will become a more well-rounded affiliate/etc. and possibly this will give them perspectives they otherwise would not have.

    I think I have enough competition though, so right now I am glad our collective work, the "ABW Super-Affiliate Handbook" is scattered about.

    Search away my friends. Search. Search. Search.

    -sfcom


  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I don't see anything wrong with suggesting a search, I have done it many times, especially on Newbie Intro threads when the newb has received several responses "handing them" the info requested without suggesting a search.
    On the thread in question, it was at the top of the "new Posts" when I came in and I had the free time to answer. I also noticed it was the first post and that their username was very similar to a merchant on SAS and I fugured they had posted in the AvantLink thread after some kind of a search regarding parasites. All of my 'assumptions' could just as well have been wrong.
    This forum is large and intimidating to a newbie. I was in here for a few weeks before I saw the Introduce Yourself thread so I never used it. I came into ABW via a link in my SAS acct so my view was not the same as someone who came in via a single thread or of someone following a link to the Main forum page.
    I'm just saying that I don't think a set of fixed rules or attitudes can address any question out of context.

  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Just noticed this thread, but I'm too busy to respond. If you want to know what I think - just use the search feature!
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Hamilton
    Just noticed this thread, but I'm too busy to respond. If you want to know what I think - just use the search feature!
    Daniel M. Clark
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    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador John Kruger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Hamilton
    Just noticed this thread, but I'm too busy to respond. If you want to know what I think - just use the search feature!
    Mt. Dew does not feel good coming out through the nose!

    I love the search function, but even when using it, I do not always find what I am looking for.

    Every forum I participate in reminds people to use search, some in very intimidating ways, but each community has an unique identity.

    Who here has attempted to describe affiliate marketing to a friend? It is not easy, so when a new person comes here, they may not understand what they are looking for, but could become a top noch aff marketer.

    I think it is good for us to remind people to use the search function, maybe the welcome email could contain a "top ten list" and a reminder to use search. This forum has a good community feel, a community which is not difficult to become a part of, full of hard working individuals.

    I think the hardworking aspect of this community is where an issue comes up when someone wants you to hand them the "key to the city". Earning money on the internet is not "easy", as so many websites proclaim, the new users have a mindset they will make a million dollars in a week, we need to show them how much work really is necessary to be successful.

    Affiliate marketing is for anyone, but not everyone.

    John
    Respectfully,

    John

    ----------------------------------------------
    work = Initiate Demand
    passion = Global Ground Work

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