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For terminology: a 'pet peeve' is something that you find irritating, but it's below the threshold of reactive annoyance. Or to put the question in a more positive light: What's the one single thing you would change at TSE?

One 'pet peeve' per answer.

Please give multiple answers if you have more than one 'pet peeve'. We really need to see what centrality exists. If people learn that they share a common sentiment, then it can lead to brainstorming and similar positive results.

For example, my 'pet peeve' is about OP's that ask a useful question and then never return. I know there's nothing to be done about it, but that's my 'pet peeve'. As another example, I have a 'pet peeve' that OP's are horrible at tagging, sometimes you think that they just select a tag because the system requires it. These examples would be TWO answers.

So having explained it, what's your 'pet peeve' at TSE? It's local to us and not about SO in general. But TSE includes chat and META in addition to the Q/A site. And don't be bashful, you might find people agree with you!

  • Many of these seem to be variants of "Users new to SE's standards and expectations don't understand SE's standards and expectations". Maybe a good follow-up question would be "How can we more simply and efficiently communicate those quirks of this site people currently aren't quickly grasping"? This is a problem almost every SE site has (except maybe StackOverflow which is such an industry-dominating beast almost everyone in that profession is familiar with it already before asking their first question, or, is sitting next to someone who is) – user568458 Sep 29 '16 at 8:55

14 Answers 14

3

Is it me, or are we getting a lot more of these lately?

Dear TSE, aka VFS Customer Support,

Dear TSE, aka Airbnb Customer Support,

Dear TSE, aka American Airlines Customer Support,

Dear TSE, aka Barclays Bank Customer Support,

Dear TSE, aka International Air Transport Association,

Dear TSE, aka Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department,

4

I am so sick of the same repeated questions. :-(

This site should be renamed visa advice.

  • Says the fellow with a silver badge in 'visas', yuk yuk :) – Gayot Fow Oct 11 '16 at 11:36
5

My pet peeve is a pet peeve that I have on basically all the SE's. Questions posted that could be answered by a thirty second jaunt on insert search engine of choice here.

Personally, I think that new users, upon first clicking the post button on a question, should get a yes/no prompt. Simple question: "Have you looked on google yet?"

I include myself among the new users, as I am still new, and cannot for the life of me remember that when posting a comment, hitting enter = post, not make a new line......

  • Interesting point of view! And certainly one that lots of people would agree with. Would you say that the TSE community attracts people who enjoy looking things up on Google for random strangers? – Gayot Fow Oct 9 '16 at 3:25
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    laugh I know I like looking things up on google for people from time to time. But some questions, and not just on stack exchange, are well, so much easier to find an answer to on your own. It is the questions where someone spends more time/effort to make an account here, and post a question, usually never to come back as others have stated, when all they have to do is do a web search. This is due to the fact that while people here like helping others, it becomes effort that could be better used on another question. And leads to questions that sit and collect web-dust. – NZKshatriya Oct 9 '16 at 3:31
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    Sort of like a "pre-Google clearing house"? – Gayot Fow Oct 9 '16 at 3:36
  • What I find interesting about those types of threads, is that usually everyone worries about offending newcomers, and nothing ever actually gets worked out. I mean, you do not want to purposefully offend new users. What I really do not understand is this concept of "seeking quality questions." I can understand "on topic," or questions containing enough basic information, but who actually determines what quality is. Meh, its 1:09am, I need to sleep else I will go on and on and on. – NZKshatriya Oct 9 '16 at 6:10
10

Adding one more...

You answer a really HARD question and it attract 1 - 2 votes. You answer a really EASY question and it attracts 9 - 10 votes.

HARD questions are difficult and possibly require some exotic knowledge. EASY questions are... well, easy to answer. You can write an EASY answer in about 5 minutes. A HARD answer takes up to 1/2 hour.

It's all ass-about-face.

  • The same thing happens on Stack Overflow and other network sites. I think it's a problem with the way humans have been designed. – Michael Hampton May 25 at 19:35
0

Related to Reputation and Tagging (though near the bottom of my prioritised list of peeves – just easy to describe) is Upvotes on Closed Qs.

There are at present 3,847 Closed Qs on TSE. 2,735 of these have a net score of at least 1, 405 of which a net score of 5 or more (and many of those at net 0 will be after I have downvoted them). It peeves me that users with enough specific site involvement to be able to vote are 'rewarding' Qs that are unclear, off topic, duplicates or a combination thereof.

I suspect some voting may be by bot, and consider that that would be inappropriate.


Seems odd to me that it appears about as many people like upvotes on Closed Qs as dislike them. Perhaps one day someone might explain why TSE should preserve, for longer that it otherwise would, what the Community has deemed inappropriate content. (I do know the 'signpost' argument for dupes.)

  • Voting by bots? – JonathanReez Sep 28 '16 at 12:39
  • "I suspect some voting may be by bot,"? – JonathanReez Sep 28 '16 at 12:54
  • Also, upvoted A on closed Q – blackbird Sep 28 '16 at 19:12
  • Closed or On Hold? I still can't remember if there's currently a difference. – hippietrail Sep 29 '16 at 3:16
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    I upvote duplicate questions if they show effort. My reasoning is that duplicates are one of the methods of funneling Search Engine Users to the right answer. Especially for problems where there are many ways to word the question such that it's hard to second guess the wording when entering your Google Search Terms. If I feel it Makes the Internet Better then I upvote. – hippietrail Sep 29 '16 at 3:18
  • @pnuts: You should take your theories of improving the system by removing signposts and your new tagging implementation to meta.SE and get some technical responses from the devs. – hippietrail Sep 29 '16 at 3:30
  • @pnuts: Another pet peeve of mine is the common NIL outcome on SE.meta - oh did you really go to SO meta instead of SE meta? That might've had a negative effect. – hippietrail Sep 29 '16 at 7:31
  • Oh I see you're discussing a parallel situation on SO to one on TSE. It's annoying that the official channel is so ineffective but it's still best that we persist in trying to use it lest we're told "well nobody ever told us there was a problem". Often things that require a technical fix just cannot be fixed by social/policy measures but giving up on the technical fix is also not a solution. – hippietrail Sep 29 '16 at 7:34
  • Seems to me that one reason for duplicates is that the "suggestions" are based only on the question field. So I almost never see anything pertinent there. After I write the whole then and post it, then I see duplicates over in the related list. – WGroleau Oct 1 '16 at 4:48
  • Right. But sometimes once I see the dupe, I find myself puzzled because the title is similar. – WGroleau Oct 1 '16 at 5:14
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    I upvote questions when I think that they are good questions. I regularly don't agree with close votes. – RemcoGerlich Oct 7 '16 at 11:34
  • Actually I'm visiting Meta because I'm angry that travel.stackexchange.com/questions/80266/… was closed, as I think it fits fine on TSE. In general I get really tired of the constant discussions about whether questions should be closed on *SE sites, I think questions should only be closed if they're clear spam, incomprehensible, or fit much better on another site. Nobody is hurt by a few slightly different questions on the site. – RemcoGerlich Oct 7 '16 at 12:02
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    @pnuts: just some, I don't upvote on closed questions on principle or so. For me "off-topic" would hardly ever be a reason if there's no clear other SE site to migrate to, I also don't like closing opinion based questions, list questions, things that show lack of effort, etc. People asking such questions are just likely to get fewer good answers, that's not a reason to close. But so it goes, have a nice day :-) – RemcoGerlich Oct 7 '16 at 12:19
  • @pnuts: those are fine with me and I wouldn't vote on them. – RemcoGerlich Oct 7 '16 at 12:38
15

No one asks much about the places I know anything about. :(

  • 3
    You can always ask and answer your own questions if you think up something useful that others may want to know (they can always find it through google). – Zach Lipton Oct 10 '16 at 8:06
12

What's the best way?

Or is it worth it? Or, does it get bad? Or, how easy is it?

My pet peeve is vague questions with neither any context about the poster's standards, preferences, or other parameters, nor any evidence they have attempted even minimal background research, like a web search.

These are often the core of a good question, and sometimes they become good questions with a little editing. After all, it is the most natural thing in the world to ask a friend or co-worker something like how crowded is it on weekends? But your friend or co-worker knows something about you and why you might ask, and you know something about them and how they might answer, whereas as the saying goes, on the Internet, no one knows you're a dog.

I suppose they annoy me because they worry me— what other assumptions are these posters making about the people they encounter and the places they visit? Managing expectations is important in life, not just a festival and "how crowded" it will be, or an airline and "how strict" they will be. Thankfully, I think most of these questions get edited or closed pretty swiftly these days.

In response to how difficult is it? it's all I can do to resist commenting 749, or 13%. Rough Guides says it's 6.324 British Difficulty Units, but I don't know what the conversion to metric is.

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    Nice one. PLUS the cheapest place to stay in Paris are the crack dens along the old belt line, but just try giving that as an answer! – Gayot Fow Sep 28 '16 at 16:30
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    I always give answers equivalent to that one. Every question about "cheapest way to get to X" without details/constraints that is doable without an aircraft is doable at no cost by hitchhiking. Give or take some ferries and your specific skills at hitching flights. So yeah we should give them the annoying geek absolutely correct answer but also ask them for more details and often vote to put it on hold in lieu of those further details. I've seen this happening more lately. Good form! – hippietrail Sep 29 '16 at 3:11
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    @hippietrail nice link, I am addicted to hitching private aircraft but have no luck hitching a commercial carrier, wouldn't even know how to act. And yeah, the cheapest way is to walk, and there are also some crack houses near the Paris flea market if that's more convenient for you! :) – Gayot Fow Sep 29 '16 at 9:29
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Habitual non-Acceptance

As hopefully almost all users are aware, almost all those who answer on TSE main site are trying to (and usually succeeding in!) providing a service that is free, quick and for which many alternatives are not free, or are free but of lower quality. Those kind enough to offer answers are sacrificing at least their time to help others, for nothing of value in exchange. Even a Comment such as "Thank you, just what I wanted!" is rare (and likely to be deleted, at least on some SE sites).

So I consider it very bad manners to fail on a large scale to accept answers. (I excuse occasional users unfamiliar with the conventions here.) Acceptance of a bad answer is worse (IMO) but when a user knows about the green tick and makes a habit of withholding it without even explaining why a suggested answer does not suit, I am as peeved as I am by all bad manners.

  • 4
    In the old days they used to show a statistic of the OP's accept ratio so if the OP had a high ratio you would try really hard, and if they had a low ratio you could skip it. But they turned it off. Which was a bad thing IMHO. – Gayot Fow Sep 28 '16 at 14:12
  • I often don't accept because I want to wait either for more answers to come in or for votes to accrue to see which is better supported by everyone else when I'm not sure on my own. Then again I also pretty often accept right away. – hippietrail Sep 29 '16 at 3:03
  • Also it's not easy to get an overview of the questions you asked and got answers for but did not accept. Or if it is I don't know it or can't recall it. – hippietrail Sep 29 '16 at 7:39
3

Multiple questions

I see no specific guidance that each Q post should be a single question. There is ambiguity in both the Tour and Help Center whether "question" (singular) covers a single question (presumably with background as appropriate) or all that is included within and between Title and Tags for any one post – hence potentially numerous distinct questions (though presumably related).

Numerous question marks in the same post is very strong indication of a least an element of "opinion-based". Numerous question marks in the same OP can also lead to fragmentation, with numerous answers each addressing some subset. I consider this undesirable both for the OP and for viewers in general. For the OP because I may refrain from responding where I know some but not all of what is asked and for viewers in general because it makes finding the answers they seek more difficult, both because that may be in only one of several distinct A posts and because the Q Title is likely to be less specific than it could have been. It can also mean that with one or two of the set of questions answered the others in the set are left unanswered, as the OP loses exposure. It is irritating to spend time finding a post that asks what I want to know only to find that the accepted answer does not address that element of the question set.

There was a Q recently that started with two ?s. OP then edited one out. It was Closed as "primarily opinion-based" then edited (7 times by the same user) and amongst those edits was re-opened. It presently includes 8 ?s, one of which covers multiple possibilities (3 stated plus etc).

It has had 261 views and two answers, each net +2. IMO neither is a bad A, but neither anything TSE has cause to be proud of. The generalisation, opinion and platitudes almost inevitable, given the OP.

11

My pet peeve has to be high rep users who rarely vote. I won't name and shame, but we know who they are. It's not the distribution of rep that bothers me (rep is useless and it's a game anyway) it's the stinginess, upvoting doesn't cost anything and requires half a second to do, so what's the hold up ?

  • @pnuts I don't care if it's official or not, it bugs me – blackbird Sep 28 '16 at 13:22
  • @pnuts "Save me yet another 'official' peeve" commenting on that, unless I misunderstood what you meant by it – blackbird Sep 28 '16 at 13:31
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    @pnuts no worries, I did misunderstand your comment then – blackbird Sep 28 '16 at 13:46
  • I will up vote when I have the time to go through everything. I miss some days because of that, but invariably get around to maxing out the quota. – Gayot Fow Sep 28 '16 at 14:07
  • @pnuts I will raise it with him in chat, thanks for the heads' up – Gayot Fow Sep 28 '16 at 14:33
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    Check out this stingiest users datex query if you want to know details of these high-rep users. – JoErNanO Sep 29 '16 at 13:59
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    Failure to frequently and liberally up vote is a possible indicator of erectile dysfunction. – Gayot Fow Oct 1 '16 at 4:36
  • @JoErNanO Ratio is a bit like BMI, can be tough. I have had a lot of upvotes, and given a lot, so my ratio is fairly consistent. Others might upvote way more than some, but because they have high rep, their ratio look good. – Mark Mayo May 21 at 2:15
5

I start with an anti-peeve as I fear I may have rather a lot of peeves to add, if not beaten to them!

Moderation is much better/faster here than on, say, SO – and almost as good as my recollection of Web Applications. Eg synonymising on SO can take years and then still be outstanding (since mods there do not bother with synonyms) and tag renames (eg 'pluralising' here) simply seems never done on SO. On SO there is a regular stream of apologies from mods for having made mistakes.

There seems more tolerance of Comments here - as IMO necessary relative to say SO, SU, WA since TSE topics are less technical, on the whole. On SO there may be more of a tendency to break a thread by deleting selected Comments, rather than moving an entire thread to chat.

User moderation with respect to Close/Reopen seems more effective here. I believe the SO average is less than one question in 20 being re-opened after closure (and often after a long time) whereas on TSE the proportion seems higher and the process faster.

5

That we can go through all the work of discussing big changes then voting and agreeing upon an outcome that gets accepted.

But it needs moderator powers to implement the decided answer and just sits there with nobody implementing it for a year.

This is the main one that falls into that category, but I think there are a couple of little ones too.

  • 1
    This one is fixable under the principles of mandate. It's poor form to ignore a mandate that has been reached in the way you have described it. – Gayot Fow Sep 28 '16 at 8:28
  • I don't want to lay it all on the mods by the way. It could be that the existing mod tools still make this a big job perhaps even with pitfalls. – hippietrail Sep 29 '16 at 3:00
9

My 'pet peeve' has to do with the tags that specify a geographic entity. They appear to be in a state of infinite regression.

Example: ask a question about hailing a taxi on 5th Avenue with a destination of EWR. There's so many different ways to tag it, even 'usa' fits!

And the OP tags it and ! And we didn't even start with the applicable geographic tags.

We do not yet have a tag for 'midtown', but I wouldn't be surprised to see it pop up.

It's infinite regression compounded by a 5 tag limit for each question.

  • 4
    Thank goodness for the 5 tag limit, or we'd see questions tagged: crofut-farm, grovers-corners, sutton-county, new-hampshire, usa, north-america, western-hemisphere, earth, solar-system, universe, mind-of-god. – Zach Lipton Sep 28 '16 at 3:02
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    The tag collection is like a fractal. The bigger the site gets the more you zoom in to specific parts and the more specific the tags get. But we're also working on replacing all those messy tags and just having travel. In the meantime see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folksonomy – hippietrail Sep 28 '16 at 7:21
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    I think it should be solved by StackExchange by showing sub-tags as part of the parent tags. E.g. clicking on usa should also show all questions tagged as new-york. – JonathanReez Sep 28 '16 at 8:55
  • @JonathanReez: This just doesn't work in folksonomies. They have tried to do this in Wikipedia categories but inevitably it leads to loops because people have different ideas about subcategories, hierarchies, etc. If not for that it would be a great idea. Currently we have the next best thing though. With lots of posts tagged at two or more geographical levels this builds up "tag relatedness" which you can see in the right column when you are in a specific tag. And I hope it is used internally as a heuristic for finding similar questions. That may be worth asking about on MSE. – hippietrail Sep 29 '16 at 3:07
8

My pet peeve, and I am fully aware people disagree on this one, is:

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

I'm aware of why it is policy, and I've certainly seen comments sections get out of hand on occasion. On rare occasions, I've seen something get cleared up in chat more easily and efficiently. But it bugs me every time I see it, and it bugs me when comments I spent some time on (or received a lot of votes on) are swept away.

  • You can post them again after a sweep. Some valuable comments do get caught in sweep. No sweat. – chx Oct 5 '16 at 0:54

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