Waiting for context

DiBaca

Senior Member
Spanish- Mexico
Hi everyone,

I often see that moderators ask people to provide more context to their questions, which I think it's fair to keep the forums consistent with their purpose. However, what's not fair is that sometimes even after providing additional context, the question stays "locked" for hours. Some of these people are in urgent need of an answer to their questions. Moderators need to be more aware of this. If they're locking a question then make sure you are keeping an eye for further context so you can "open" it as soon as it is provided. Just an observation.
 
  • Moderators do their best. IF a thread stays locked a little longer than necessary it's simply because moderators (unpaid volunteers) are not online 24/7 or they are busy doing something else.
    IF people framed their questions following the forum rules, there would be no reason to lock context-free threads because there would be no context-free threads :)
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    Hello DiBaca
    The moderators are not on duty 24 hours a day and we all have other obligations. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that after adding a 'waiting for context' tag we do stay around for a while so that if the OP provides the necessary information, we can remove the tag straightaway. However we can't stay online indefinitely just in case the poster decides to return to the thread a few hours later. If the question was so urgent, the poster would immediately return, and this is often not the case.
    Moderators are from different parts of the world and different time zones so there is usually someone to deal with the tags. If you see a tag left for a longer time, it is possible that we are discussing whether the new information provided is enough or not.
    The solution is clear, as Paulfromitaly says: provide the necessary information from the start and no tag will be necessary.
     

    DiBaca

    Senior Member
    Spanish- Mexico
    There’s no reason to get upset about a simple observation I made. I never said moderators have to be online 24/7. I understand this is volunteer work and you have a life outside of the forums. I simply said that if they are taking the time to lock questions because of a lack of context, it would be fair to stick around or let other moderators know about it, so they’re also aware. I recently had an interaction with a member who waited over an hour after posting additional context for his question to be open again. I don’t think Paulfromitaly understands that not everyone is an expert, nor they have enough knowledge about the forums to know every single rule there is to follow. Let’s be considerate about those who are new to the forums.

    Thank you for your responses.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    If peop!e who answer questions waited for essential context, there would be no reason for moderators to lock a thread in the first place. Unfortunately, too many members waste everyone's time by going ahead with a guess when there is no context to go on.

    There are times when context is essential and other times where it really isn't. Perhaps some moderators could be more flexible on this point?
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    If your thread gets locked for lack of context, you can always report the thread immediately after you add the context, using the report button, asking for it to be reopened. That way, if the moderator who locked it isn't online to see the reply, someone else on the team (and perhaps awake in a different time zone) will see the report.

    We do our best to help. That includes helping members who want to reply but report threads for having no useful context.

    Members need to also do their best to provide the required information. It's a two-way street :)
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I understand where @DiBaca is coming from. This is certainly an inconvenience.

    Unfortunately, our capacities are not such that we can always ensure that we can
    "open" [the thread] as soon as [context] is provided
    What if the context is provided ten hours, two days, or even three weeks later? We just can't be monitoring a thread that closely to make sure we can swoop in as soon as the context is there. Even if the context is provided shortly after it was requested, we may be busy with other tasks, or not online, or any number of things that prevent us from being able to unlock the thread right away.

    Members who fail to provide sufficient context from the get-go may need to accept possible delays as a casualty, and maybe endeavor to make sure no context is missing next time so that this is no longer an issue.
     

    DiBaca

    Senior Member
    Spanish- Mexico
    I understand where @DiBaca is coming from. This is certainly an inconvenience.

    Unfortunately, our capacities are not such that we can always ensure that we can

    What if the context is provided ten hours, two days, or even three weeks later? We just can't be monitoring a thread that closely to make sure we can swoop in as soon as the context is there. Even if the context is provided shortly after it was requested, we may be busy with other tasks, or not online, or any number of things that prevent us from being able to unlock the thread right away.

    Members who fail to provide sufficient context from the get-go may need to accept possible delays as a casualty, and maybe endeavor to make sure no context is missing next time so that this is no longer an issue.

    I'm not talking about those who take hours or even days to provide additional context. I'm talking about those who provide additional context right away and yet the moderator takes hours to open up the question again. Like I previously said, if a moderator has the time to close a question due to lack of context, then they should also have time to stick around for a while or at least make others moderators aware of the situation so that valuable time for those who need help is not wasted.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I'm talking about those who provide additional context right away and yet the moderator takes hours to open up the question again.
    I already addressed that:
    Even if the context is provided shortly after it was requested, we may be busy with other tasks, or not online, or any number of things that prevent us from being able to unlock the thread right away.

    if a moderator has the time to close a question due to lack of context, then they should also have time to stick around for a while or at least make others moderators aware of the situation so that valuable time for those who need help is not wasted.
    I'm afraid your assumptions are not true. A moderator may have time to lock a thread due to lack of context but not have time to stick around and monitor the thread. While they usually (but not always) do have time to quickly inform other moderators of what they've done, that doesn't mean those moderators will be available to stick around and monitor the thread.

    Please rest assured that moderators already do whatever they can within their limited capacity to unlock a thread with the "waiting for context" tag once context has been provided. If it takes longer than you or someone else would like, it's not because moderators don't care or are not being responsible.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    The urgency card always gets me. Considering the purpose of the forums is to expand and enrich the dictionary entries, it is hard to find a compelling reason to expedite reopening a thread that was locked due to insufficient context. What could be so urgent that it wouldn't ultimately make it to the dictionary unless the question in answered immediately? That sense of urgency can only be caused by a misunderstanding of the forums' vision.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    Sometimes I have to wait for a thread to be unlocked. That is mildly frustrating, but unavoidable without a new software fature. For example, when a moderator locks a thread, that action prevents everyone (except OP) from posting. Maybe the software could send the moderator a special message when a post-to-a-locked-thread happens.

    I'm not sure wether that software feature would be useful, or whether it would only help 5% of the time.

    Sometimes it seems like moderators ask for unnecessary context.
    This is another problem. Sometimes I know a quick simple answer, but the thread is blocked waiting for more content, or even blocked waiting for something that OP cannot provide. For example, the moderator asks OP to use the phrase in a sentence, but I realize that OP doesn't know how to use the phrase in a sentence.

    This does not happen often (full disclosure: moderators are smarter than me). So far it has only happened 2 or 3 times. When it happens, is there a workaround I am missing?
     

    DiBaca

    Senior Member
    Spanish- Mexico
    Sometimes I have to wait for a thread to be unlocked. That is mildly frustrating, but unavoidable without a new software fature. For example, when a moderator locks a thread, that action prevents everyone (except OP) from posting. Maybe the software could send the moderator a special message when a post-to-a-locked-thread happens.

    I'm not sure wether that software feature would be useful, or whether it would only help 5% of the time.


    This is another problem. Sometimes I know a quick simple answer, but the thread is blocked waiting for more content, or even blocked waiting for something that OP cannot provide. For example, the moderator asks OP to use the phrase in a sentence, but I realize that OP doesn't know how to use the phrase in a sentence.

    This does not happen often (full disclosure: moderators are smarter than me). So far it has only happened 2 or 3 times. When it happens, is there a workaround I am missing?
    Completely agree, dojibear 👏
    👏👏👏👏
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    When it happens, is there a workaround I am missing?
    Like with anything where you want a moderator's help, you can always report it and explain your reasoning.

    Bear in mind though that, very often, moderator requests for context/sentence/source (and a subsequently locked thread) come about because someone else has already reported the thread for lack of information.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The matter of whether context is needed in a given case is totally separate from the topic of this thread.

    If you feel that a moderator has requested context unnecessarily, feel free to report the thread.
     

    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Considering the purpose of the forums is to expand and enrich the dictionary entries,
    This is true, and I know it because I have been around here for many years and I have seen it mentioned a zillion times in threads. The problem is that this is mentioned nowhere in the rules; at least, I can't find it. And if I can't find it, why/how would new users know?

    As far as I'm concerned, this should be the very first thing that is said in the Rules.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    This is true, and I know it because I have been around here for many years and I have seen it mentioned a zillion times in threads. The problem is that this is mentioned nowhere in the rules; at least, I can't find it. And if I can't find it, why/how would new users know?

    As far as I'm concerned, this should be the very first thing that is said in the Rules.

    Very true. If you go to the Word Reference.com site (not the forums site) there is an "about" link at the bottom of the page, where the siteowner, Mike Kellogg, sets out his three main goals. I doubt many members (or moderators) have ever read it. The first aim is to create free online bilingual dictionaries. The second aim is "to provide the world's best language forums". The third is "to produce the best website and reference tools for the world".

    Incidentally, I think it should also be explicitly stated that the moderators are not paid, and have a life of their own (job, children, family responsibilities) and need to eat and sleep just like anyone else. We should be grateful for their efforts to keep the forums running relatively smoothly and in the way envisioned by the site owner.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The first aim is to create free online bilingual dictionaries. The second aim is "to provide the world's best language forums". The third is "to produce the best website and reference tools for the world".
    This still doesn't say that the main purpose of the forums is to supplement the dictionaries. I agree that this should be explicitly stated somewhere.
     
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