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wiki-like 'support answer' feature for support topics


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#1 surferboy

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:06 PM

A thought suddenly struck me as I was reading the latest post in a 31-page support topic for an app/mod that there should be a means to create a wiki-like listing on the first page of the support topic for support answers, if you will, and maybe that is the best description. When I say wiki-like, I am really just saying a table of contents or listings of subtopics. This helps both the developer and the customers since the developer doesn't have to keep re-answering the same questions over and over and the customer doesn't have to read through endless pages of posts.

What I am specifically proposing is a means or a facility in a support-like topic for the topic originator, to parcel, remove, cut, or (hunting for the right word to describe this), an issue (post) and then repost the answer in a separate, almost sub-support topic. The separate topic could be closed or open, and I suggest either because it allows for people to clarify if the solution or answer seems a bit convoluted.

I understand that a forum is meant to list a topic and encourage lots of posts but that is more for debate and discussion. In a support topic, is discussion for a specific issue really appropriate? It depends, so let the mod/app originator decide if he/she wants to parcel a particular post to "support answer."

How would you do this? I'm not really sure but Matt and bfarber are the geniuses that could envision this but what I would suggest would be a button in a support topic that allows a mod/app originator to click on a post and transform it to a support answer topic. The click action would create a pop up subject line and perhaps a second, description field that could act as a popup tool tip when hovered. Then the questions would be highlighted/quoted as one field (and perhaps able to be edited for better clarity), and then a fourth field that posts the answer. Once you hit save, the support answer would be added to a list on the first page of the support topic.

If I am not being clear or my proposed structure is a bit complicated, I invite others to reply and sharpen this suggestion. Perhaps this needs to be a mod developed by a third party? I have come up with one idea for its use but perhaps there are other uses outside of "support answers."

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#2 Robert Simons

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:16 PM

I second this idea ... I can see something like this being very useful

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#3 Jinkler

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:46 PM

Would be very handy for my site with technical questions.

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#4 Ocean West

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:06 PM

I like this idea - also a way to compress or fold these 30 page support topics - in some way so that you don't have to trip over dozens of irrelevant posts - for example.

if the topic has spanned multiple iterations / releases - and the author makes a post saying from this point out we are now talking about v 1.5 and all prior reports or posts become
folded. users can expand the posts that are out of scope - but the majority of posts are in line and not starting on page 31..
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#5 mojeda

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:43 AM

On a forum I run we had an admin who either found, or made a wiki-like feature that went after every first post where users could edit it, this was back in IPB 2.X and he has since moved on.

In regards to your Table of Contents suggestion, I think IP.Board used to have two different ways of viewing threads, Linear and threaded, you were able to see threads like that are now or a box at the top with all the replies. The downside is changing the setting caused it to change for all threads not just the one you were viewing. This feature has long been dumped, I believe.

I myself would like to see the ability to add a "wiki post" between the first and second posts in a thread, but I think this is more of application vs. something IPS would be doing.

#6 Kyanar

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:10 PM

If you mean something like the one on WebHostingTalk (example here) then I'm all for it - would be pretty awesome.
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#7 Alfa1

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:26 AM

Vaultwiki offers this. They are considering to open up to IPB. You can vote on this poll to make that happen: https://www.vaultwik...g/threads/5116/

#8 surferboy

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:37 AM

If you mean something like the one on WebHostingTalk (example here) then I'm all for it - would be pretty awesome.


I went to the link you mentioned in your post but I don't see what you're talking about. Do I need to sign in to see it? Oh wait, I see it ... the Thread Summary. Well not quite what I had in mind but it is at least a piece of furniture in an otherwise bare living room, so to speak ...

Off topic, to be sure, but that WebHostingTalk is a PERFECT example of what I do not want a forum to look like. It is sooooooooooo confusing and sooooooooooo busy that I don't know what is advertising, and what is content.

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#9 surferboy

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:46 AM

It's been great to read the responses here, and as I peruse the suggestions, it becomes more and more clear to me that a FAQ type of listing, as a subtopic, would be the best idea. That's my perspective, stepping back and looking at this again.

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#10 Kyanar

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 06:40 PM

I went to the link you mentioned in your post but I don't see what you're talking about. Do I need to sign in to see it? Oh wait, I see it ... the Thread Summary. Well not quite what I had in mind but it is at least a piece of furniture in an otherwise bare living room, so to speak ...

Off topic, to be sure, but that WebHostingTalk is a PERFECT example of what I do not want a forum to look like. It is sooooooooooo confusing and sooooooooooo busy that I don't know what is advertising, and what is content.


Well yes - the very nature of WHT's target audience means they go to very little effort to tidy it up much (running an ancient version of vB likely has just as much to do with it). But yes I mean the Thread Summary bit. I've seen some where it grows to the size of an entire post on its own as editors fill it out to basically include the points and counter-points of every post on the thread which is why I assumed it's what you meant.

(Oh, and rule of thumb - everything outside the content square is an ad. They have lots of ads).
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#11 LaCollision

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:00 AM

Excellent idea! That would be a major help for my readers to find what they're looking for in a topic.
Of course, this would be active only for specific topics :smile:
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