Help Topic Off-Topic/Unhelpful Posts

I don’t have anything against anybody in particular, but it has been seen time and time again on this board that someone, typically a professional, will ask a legitimate question in our Fire Alarm Help topic, only to have it clogged up with off-topic posts or unhelpful/factually inaccurate posts. There needs to be a more stringent rule or some other system in place to stop this, especially due to the nature of some of the inquiries we receive, where lives could depend on it. A moderator queue for the Help topics or a professional only/whitelist area, maybe?

I know I have been bad about “snapping” at people for these kinds of things despite me not having any position of authority whatsoever, so I apologize. I’d just like to see the posts remain appropriate and relevant to the topic. Too many times a professional has just walked away from a topic without their questions being resolved due to nonsense in their posts.

This has been something that has bugged me since the days of DFA. If nobody else sees it as a problem I’m sorry for being a nit-pick, but just wanted to put it out there.


I have noticed the same issue, and it seems to be caused by users replying to help topics before the more experienced users have a chance to get there first. I don’t think a new rule is necessary, but I would like to remind everyone that quality of posts is always more important than quantity here. Our most respected users are those who give reliably good information, even though some of them only post every once in a while. Don’t worry, we won’t forget about you if you don’t appear on every single topic. :wink:

A long long time ago, we actually turned off post counts so that no one felt the need to make junk posts just to increase their status here. I’m not accusing anyone of doing that, but I do see a lot of posts that would’ve been unnecessary had a more experienced user replied first with ALL the answers rather than just some. So, if you see a help topic that’s a little out of your element, sometimes it’s best to wait for a technician with experience to reply first.

As far as users walking away after asking their question, it seems to happen on every discussion forum, usually because the OP found a solution IRL. However, we still have to be careful about clogging up help topics with misleading or conflicting information, since these posts show up on Google when people search for answers to the same question.

I don’t see an issue just welcoming them to the forums.

It’s all about content. If somebody welcomes a user to the forums respectfully and provides solutions to the questions they asked, then that’s great. But when people try to be “first” and end up with a post crawling with grammar issues and never actually answer the question, or worse try to provide an answer on a topic they do not have any knowledge of, then that becomes a different story.

A lot times in that case, there will be big goofy text saying “I’m not a technician” or “I will let a more experienced user answer” or something along those lines that makes the post look very unprofessional and childish. Why not just wait for a tech or an experienced user to answer first? :wink:

Hmm valid point.

I agree wholly with you, Nick, and I’ve been guilty of the same crimes before. I would say let a moderator do the welcoming and a professional answer their question, unless it’s a topic someone has extensive knowledge on that no one else has.

It’s one thing to be booksmart about stuff like this, but it’s another thing entirely to have from-the-field experience. That’s why NICET requires you to have both.

Sure, I’ll learn tons of stuff about fire protection in the near future, but until I get a part-time job with an installer or inspector, I don’t feel like I’m qualified to answer the “meatier” questions.

Of course, anyone who’s lurked on these forums awhile can answer basic hobbyist questions like how to wire a basic system together or how to clear a simple trouble, but I think it should be left up to the career professionals (who should be getting a special rank soon, I hope) to answer anything past that.

And to the eager posters with itchy trigger fingers, relax! All will be answered in good time. And who knows, you just might learn a thing or two in the process! :wink:

I am fairly certain we already have a rank like that. The members’ names are in blue.

Unless you mean people like Lambda and Retired STR-SG who are experts in their studies.

As The Big Green said, the Fire Alarm Technicians do have their own rank. It just isn’t as prominent as the Moderators and Administrators so I can see how it could be easily overlooked.

As Robert said, there certainly is a difference between hobbyist questions and professional questions. This should be taken into consideration before you post a reply, too.

Finally, I don’t want anybody to get the wrong idea about us wanting the place being on total lock-down with the questions or something like that. Regardless of your rank, if you have the proper knowledge or experience (and can handle making a mature post), by all means, post your response.