Question Dealing with new users demanding info

MolotovMocktail

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#1
We discussed this in chat a few nights ago but wanted to start a thread about it.
A lot of changes seem to be coming to StP and I wanted to discuss something that annoys a lot of dedicated users. At least once a week, StP gets a new user whose very first post (without even an introduction) is a demand for information. A lot of times they're asking for trainhopping information.
A lot of folks who are more involved in this site object to people's demand to be spoon-fed information. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for help but it's kind of shitty to sign up for the site and ask for help without giving back to StP. I think we should somehow make it clear that StP is a community site and that users are expected to contribute if they want others to help them. There's also an issue of whether the people can be trusted with information on something dangerous and illegal like trainhopping.
Obviously, the type of person who posts something saying they want to try trainhopping for Spring Break or whatever won't have much to contribute in terms of traveling info but I think we all have something to contribute, even if it's just their opinion on something or a detailed introduction.
So what can we do to inform new users that they need to contribute to the site if they want others to help them? When we talked about this in chat, there were suggestion of banners on the front page or maybe a pop-up when you first sign up. There was also a proposal for a minimum number of posts one would need to have before asking for something like train info.
I know there are a lot of changes happening to the site so it's not something we have to work on immediately but I think it's worth discussing. What do all you folks think?
 

zim

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#2
Could set up title prefixes in the trainhopping section, require them to be used. Using the request prefix requires a number of posts or something?

Could require users to have a few posts before they have access to the trainhopping section. I know thats been tried before and was met with some backlash. Something to consider though
 

kaichulita

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#3
Well, I definitely didn't immediately write an intro when I signed up on StP but I think that should be a required first post before allowing someone to do much else on the site. I think that will help people on here weed out new users who probably aren't going to contribute. As for the trainhopping info, I am grateful that it's there because I would like to try that one day... Idk if there is a way to monitor how much time a person spends reading trainhopping threads, but if there is, maybe we could set up a certain amount of time a person has to spend reading before asking anything about trainhopping?
 

wizehop

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#4
This topic has come up more times than I can count over the past few years, and all the above tactics have been attempted with little success. New kids will be new, both to this site and to train hopping, therefore as they come in they will not know how shit is supposed to be. It has become clear that no amount of expectations from us will ever change that.
Maybe what we should do is have a sub forum in the train hopping section for new kids who want to ask newbie questions. That way people who don't want to keep seeing those kind of posts can avoid reading their posts, and people who want to help can go in and help as they see fit. I think due to the many facets that is train hopping, we could use a few more specific sub forums to keep certain topics segregated.


SO maybe like

TRAIN HOPPING
- LET THERE BE LIGHT (A PLACE FOR NEW OR FUTURE TRAIN HOPPERS TO ASK PROS FOR ADVICE)
- THE JUNGLE (A PLACE FOR EXPERIENCED RIDERS TO SHARE PERSONAL STORIES AND FICTION)
-THE LOW-DOWN (A PLACE FOR RIDERS TO SHARE CURRENT INFO NOT CONSIDERED HUSH HUSH)
- INTERNATIONAL (INFO PERTAINING TO RAILS OUTSIDE CANADA/USA)

I'd be down for more but I know that just means more to manage. Either way, I think if we at least give new kids a place to be new, it will give the old kids a break from having to see the same old posts. Even though there is a search function, reading over old posts doesn't give people what they are looking for, which I think is to actually communicate. Which to be fair is kind of what forums are for.
So some of you guys should jump at the chance to share your perspectives on what train hopping is before these kids learn it from some skid who teaches them all the wrong habits. It be a shame to throw away opportunities at shaping future minds.
 
K

Kim Chee

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#5
*Mandatory introduction to gain access to the trainhopping forum?
If a member has already made an introduction elsewhere, that's ok, they'll just need to make an intro in the trainhopping forum to gain access.

Things which can/should be mentioned in an intro in the trainhopping forum:
Rail experience (if none, say so)
What member can offer (or have already done) for the forum/community
What member is looking for in belonging to the forum
Places member has traveled
Etc. Etc.

So, basically everybody here who wishes to continue to use the trainhopping forum will need to make an intro.
 
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#6
I think wizehop made some pretty interesting points. sometimes you might be in the mood to tell someone some train info but other times you may just want to have conversations that dont start with "so, I have spring break off and...".
 

highwayman

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#7
STP isn't just a Train hopping website. What seems to happen is that once people come across STP they are attracted to hopping trains like moths to a flame. It is a culturally romantic mode of travel. Either a way out of their parents house, a boring 9-5 nowhere job, bad relationship or whatever makes them lust to wander. Now we have people who want to start traveling beyond their ability right away. They are all too ignorant & lazy to know anything about the road, life & survival. There are no cheat codes to hopping trains but there may be some faceborg pages that they will eventually find.

We inherited this culture & why would we hand out the keys to the castle to who will make everything more complicated for the community as a whole. I dont want to be elitist but I do pick & choose who I take my time to help out in detail. Whether on the road or by exchanging multiple pms,emails,texts & phone calls. I am a believer in quality over quantity & that everyone should pull there own weight & not shit where they eat. Its a basic expectation in any communal style environment.

I don't think everyone who is a donator or has been active here for many years or is/was a mod is somehow better or in charge but I do think that they have a vested interest in the future of STP & traveling culture as a whole. If users have to have 100 post before being able to ask a stupid question, they will find a way. They will post 100 useless 1 word responses just as they sign up to add fake twitter/instagram followers. It is unknown how much new users will put into this new hobby & potential fad that they will change in few months. I am unsure what the solution is but would like to be part of it. I guess until we figure it out I will just keep giving people a hard time in posts while encouraging them to do more for themselves to help us all.
 

EphemeralStick

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#8
There have been all sorts of attempts to keep these kinds of posts off the boards but as @wizehop said, none have ever really worked. I think having a specific sub-forum for trainhopping newbies could be useful for clearing up some of the redundant posts but the major issue is still the same. That being how do we distribute information effectively and responsibly to newcomers. I think the biggest issue is the fact that travelers in general are self-reliant people and one of the major skills needed to survive out there, be it on the road or the rails, is the ability to take care of one selves. When newcomers instantly demand info rather than going through the effort of researching on their own, it gives off the impression that they are not self-reliant and thus are not responsible enough to be trusted with that kind of information. There doesn't seem to be an easy solution to this issue since it has come up so many times over the years. The trainhopping forum has had mandatory post limitations before and that just resulted in spam posts to see it. It's been password protected but that just gave off a nasty air of elitism. Hell the subforum was removed from the site altogether but that STILL didn't stop the questions.

I think the newbie sub-forum is worth giving a shot but ultimately it falls on the users to handle these questions appropriately. There is truly little else we can do.
 

Tude

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#9
Good info here. I like a mixture of this - Wisehop, I think you're onto something great. Many of you people have dealt with this stuff - and answered many times to these questions. To be able to point the new people's questions nicely to where the info they want would be cool. I'm quite tech/web savvy so when I find a site, etc I usually head towards the search functions, etc - sometimes people are not quite that savvy so meh - help them out.
 

Matt Derrick

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#10
i'll just be honest and say that i no longer feel like dealing with it. i almost never read anything that happens over there either. if it is to continue, i think we need someone we can all agree on to be the "leader" of that section, someone that's willing to put up with the bullshit of answering questions and perhaps just be a moderator for that section alone. but, i honestly doubt we're ever going to find that person. personally, my patience ran out on that section of the site 5 years ago, and i've just kept it around as a courtesy to those interested.

either someone should step up to be a teacher of the greenhorns or we should just nuke it. that's my opinion.
 
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#11
I can understand that people get sick of answering stupid repetitive questions all the time, that's all that I can understand here.

A forum is a place where people come to online because of an interest in a subject, it's typical in any forum to ask a few questions, then you slowly become a member who answers as well as asks. Why should people earn the right to ask a question?

As for danger, that's not my problem unless I give really bad advice. Answering a question on train surfing is not the same as pushing someone under one.

I also think imposing set numbers of posts is asking for spam, you'll achieve the opposite of what you set out to do.

The only idea I like here is the mod for the section, somebody would probably be happy to take that on. I'm not volunteering as my knowledge is limited and most people here seem to be yanks.
 
E

etpyh

I deleted myself
#12
I`m new here myself so I don´t know what´s been going on here in the past etc.
But from my experience with other forums a post limit would only result in spam. I would consider a time limit (or a combination of both). Make a list of some good introductions into train hopping and pin it on the top of the train hopping section. Then give newly registered guys only the right to read for let´s say 30 days. I think most of the guys who aren´t really interested would let it drop. And the ones who are would probably put more own effort in it sparing the others a lot of stupid questions. You could keep the option to "unlock" the user for the section earlier if he´s contributing well on the community etc.
Obviously, this system would have disadvantages.
 
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#13
i've seen other sites set up so certain sub-forums are invisible until new users have x-amount of posts. if concerned about newbies spamming the forum to gain access then maybe set it up so a mod would have to manually allow them access. meh, it doesn't really concern me. i'm too old to dare trainhopping.
that's my contribution. ;)
 
E

etpyh

I deleted myself
#14
i've seen other sites set up so certain sub-forums are invisible until new users have x-amount of posts.
Yeah but you can't tell new users to look for informations on their own before asking stupid questions while denying them acces to the same informations if you ask me.
 
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#15
How about causing an amazing explanation and guide to train surfing/hopping to be created here and then directing all who ask basic questions to it. The mods can then delete the question if it is answered in the guide?
To hell with post/time limits. And the idea that the whole section be removed is even worse.
Information, it's what the internets all about.
 
K

Kim Chee

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#16
I've had exactly zero problems ignoring the types of pists mentioned in this thread. Absolutely zero.
 
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#17
I've had exactly zero problems ignoring the types of pists mentioned in this thread. Absolutely zero.
That's the easy solution, just ignore them if they're truly stupid. Point them in the right direction if the questions not unreasonable but you couldn't be bothered.
Everything is sorted. Brilliant!
 
K

kokomojoe

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#18
I'm curious as to how many people who ask these questions end up saying fuck it cause it seems like too much work to figure it out. My guess would be about all of them.
 
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#20
There`s one that should answer most questions on travelersHQ:
http://travelershq.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=26
The information is out there on the interwebs, but, this is a site that deals with this sort of stuff. People who are curious about squatting, hitching, train riding, rainbow festivals, primative anarchism etc, will ask questions. I think they ought to receive answers.
Isn't that the point of this site? We're not compelled to answer, however, compelling people not to question...
 

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