Joe_Carrick

Why We Have So Many Questions On These Forums

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There are so many questions (in some cases - Why can't I......) posted here.  Many (and I really think most) of these questions result in an answer of "You Can".

 

There are several reasons for all these questions:

 

1.  It's easier to just ask than to go searching the help files or searching the Forums for previous answers.

2.  Most of the time someone will answer the query so the person asking the question is not encouraged to search.

3.  This software is very complex - with many different ways of doing something, but not necessarily the same way as other software such as AutoCAD.

4.  Few new users take the time to view the training videos, study the help docs, etc.

5.  There are several "Hidden Handshakes" that even experienced users may be unaware of - things that get you into an edit mode that you didn't know about.

 

There are probably a lot more reasons, but I believe the 5 above are the main culprits.  What do we do about it?  What can we?  Should we?

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I think because there are so many areas in chief where things get set, done etc. with many varied  approaches it can be frustrating trying to track them down when someone with knowledge can provide an answer in minutes thus saving someone hours possibly.  Plus many users use the program differently and only come across certain needs occasionally where others may use a function or feature daily.

I do think others should try to find the answer first but alas some will not. 

One thing for sure - this forum is an extremely valuable resource thanks to many like yourself that share.

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1. a few years back I would suggest that the poster do a search for prior threads

I would only do this when I knew there were prior threads

 

I was chided for doing this - so I stopped

 

Lew

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Every day the X6 Reference Manual remains open in my PDF viewer. I can't think of a day that goes by that I don't reference it in some capacity. However, there is no replacement for this forum and the active users who contribute their expertise. There will always be times when we ask a question here for expedience - but I think most regular users are pretty good about doing their research before posting.

 

I think part of the "problem" is that forums just aren't very search friendly. Threads aren't always named in a way that are search friendly, and many threads get hijacked and good info gets buried deep and is difficult to find. We could all get better at using topic tags when starting a new thread.

 

I guess I'm just rambling. I'm not sure what can be done.

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Robert:

 

I always did a search first to verify that there were prior threads

 

Lew

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I think part of the "problem" is that forums just aren't very search friendly. Threads aren't always named in a way that are search friendly, and many threads get hijacked and good info gets buried deep and is difficult to find. We could all get better at using topic tags when starting a new thread.

 

Hmmmm......

 

It would be great if some of those "off topic" posts could be deleted (by the OP or a moderator).  It would also be nice if the OP could go back and rename the thread and add Tags - but I'm not sure how the Tags are used.

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Not sure if possible but ,if Tech Support could scan the forum for questions they could answer, that might help.

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So what do you guys think on the superbowl win? Just kidding....so easy to go off topic....

 

Let me say thank you to all of you who spent hours helping others out.....very much appreciate it...this is probably one of the most helpful forums I have ever participated in

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I would place these 2 factors in as well:

1.

I have to say, there are a ton of videos available by Chief, but I believe they've been poorly categorized, and the overall composition of training isn't done well.  Chief should look at Lynda.com and try to modify their training videos and segments to resemble what I believe is a job well done by them.  I actually have found it easier to find videos at Chieftutor.com than what Chief itself offers.

 

Here is an example of Lynda.com (courses):

http://www.lynda.com/Vectorworks-tutorials/Up-Running-Vectorworks/166507-2.html

 

2.

Most drawing apps i've used have similarities between themselves in basic drawing and modeling tools.  Chief unabashedly has gone in near complete opposite directions to where, I believe, they've ended up with an unintuitive application in many regards...especially basic tool-sets.  Just the other day I went to create an otherwise easy blocked out version of a building shape (for a surrounding building to a project I was working on), and I simply couldn't do it.  Further, there is limited support found on basic modeling shapes and manipulation (or that I could find).

 

I believe this nature of this application tries to be "simple" but ends up being user-unfriendly.

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I think many new users are like me, coming over from another program while still trying to keep up with all the jobs. I am constantly trying to study up on this program and all its abilities and quirks. When doing a job though, searching through videos, reading/figuring out written directions, trying desperately to find the right post in the forum, all take a huge amount of time. I keep having to go back to the old program to finish jobs in order to meet my deadlines. I have read a lot of comments telling people to find something themselves and they will learn but I have clients and contractors that can not wait for my learning curve and if I am stuck on an issue I will ask. Hopefully one day I can help someone else in return.

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I think many new users are like me, coming over from another program while still trying to keep up with all the jobs. I am constantly trying to study up on this program and all its abilities and quirks. When doing a job though, searching through videos, reading/figuring out written directions, trying desperately to find the right post in the forum, all take a huge amount of time. I keep having to go back to the old program to finish jobs in order to meet my deadlines. I have read a lot of comments telling people to find something themselves and they will learn but I have clients and contractors that can not wait for my learning curve and if I am stuck on an issue I will ask. Hopefully one day I can help someone else in return.

Sherry,

 

Country is COOL and we welcome your presence. ;)  and the opportunity to help.

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I have not really been around long enough to know

how it was in the "good old days" but it does seem to

me that the tone of the forum has changed recently

from one of problem specific solutions to one of

complaining (for lack of a better word) about the

perceived shortcomings of the software. As I have

said before the software is what it is and perspective

users would be better served by learning to use it in

it's current configuration than wishing it was more

like some other software program.

 

But don't despair. I have had a sneak peak into a

brand new one click interface Chief is working on.

Just click on the icon on the startup screen and the

software will read your mind and create a complete

set of detailed construction documents.  ;)

post-126-0-75068900-1423207408_thumb.png

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People are not taught how to study in school, mostly it is to pass tests and get grades. My phiolosphy is to help and by helping others, one is then helped. Unintelligent persons will always be with us. The best way to become more intelligent is by way of study, a great way to learn is to teach and help others. I have learned much from you guys here, I look forward to what you guys dream up next so everyday, I look forward to my visits here.

if you do not love building, construction and those who design and build then why on Earth are you still here?

 

DJP

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No matter what it is or how well you know something, everyday you learn something new. There is allot of guys here with lots of experience and knowledge and I learn something new here everyday and even if I already knew something, before you know there is another trick to do it better.

 

With that said, I don't have much experience with lots of tricks, but I can hold my own on pretty much anything I need to do, and I appreciate everyone time and knowledge most of you dedicate to come in here to share and teach others.

 

Thank you everyone!

 

Take care and keep warm

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I have not really been around long enough to know

how it was in the "good old days" but it does seem to

me that the tone of the forum has changed recently

from one of problem specific solutions to one of

complaining (for lack of a better word) about the

perceived shortcomings of the software. As I have

said before the software is what it is and perspective

users would be better served by learning to use it in

it's current configuration than wishing it was more

like some other software program.

 

But don't despair. I have had a sneak peak into a

brand new one click interface Chief is working on.

Just click on the icon on the startup screen and the

software will read your mind and create a complete

set of detailed construction documents.  ;)

 

I believe this is coming from users like myself, who have other apps to complete work in and see just how efficient and user friendly those apps are and wonder why Chief has to be so "quirky" and difficult in some areas.  Dont get me wrong, Chief has a lot of features surrounding residential that makes it worthwhile....and I would say there are are key features in Chief which make this app the best of what it does at certain things.

 

To me, Chief tackles many complex issues with ease, but often makes easy issues complex for little reason.  Hopefully the complaints will bring some action - which is the only real reason I keep up my mantra.

 

I've seen many "live" web-streams (or adlib sessions) of training for different apps.  It always amazes me how quickly Chief pros get caught in some quirk they sometimes can't get themselves out of during their presentation.  I watched one such video last year where a "chief pro" (I think Dan) couldn't properly rotate and place a simple poly-solid and had to simply move on without being able to fix - all the while saying over and over it worked fine before.  That is exactly the kind of thing I run into time-and-time again, and it gets old quick.

 

Its actually one of the reasons I like Scotts videos, since he may be tied up on something, but he will pause the recording - figure it out - and then come back to explain the fix.

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I'm not sure what problem the solution is chasing? Can someone explain the problem?

:P

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I don't see any reason to do anything about it.  The question itself implies a problem, which I don't feel there is.  My problem is that the person asking the question often gets attacked, criticized and belittled.  Totally unnecessary and unprofessional.

 

Isn't the purpose of this Q&A forum to ask Questions and get Answers?  If someone doesn't like a question, or feel it is a repeat, or too simple then don't answer it, and don't comment either. I just skip past some posts because I'm either too busy, or don't feel like explaining it (lazy :) or know someone else deals with that aspect more then I do, or whatever.  I don't see any problem with people asking questions even if some would consider it simple or a repeat.  I don't mind linking them to where it was discussed before.  Sometimes new users don't know what terms to search for and therefore don't find it.  Other times they could find it by searching, but so what.  Long time users have the advantage of remembering a topic previously discussed.  New users and less frequent visitors don't have that advantage, so let's share with them and help them.  Perhaps this time around it will be answered or approached differently and benefit all.  Again, don't like it, don't answer or comment, move on.

 

I guess I don't see the big deal.  We all gotta start somewhere.  If we are going to take control of how and what is asked approach, then there goes the neighborhood.

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Ben,

 

I think you misunderstood the question I was posing.  I didn't mean we should prevent this type of questions.  What I'm asking is how can we make it easier to get the answers.  In most cases I assume the user has tried to get the answer from the help file or from Chief's videos.  Often that doesn't get them where they need to be.

 

What can be done to make it easier to get the answers from such other sources? 

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I guess that's why I don't mind the questions because I don't read them well enough. :)

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I think many new users are like me, coming over from another program while still trying to keep up with all the jobs. I am constantly trying to study up on this program and all its abilities and quirks. When doing a job though, searching through videos, reading/figuring out written directions, trying desperately to find the right post in the forum, all take a huge amount of time. I keep having to go back to the old program to finish jobs in order to meet my deadlines. I have read a lot of comments telling people to find something themselves and they will learn but I have clients and contractors that can not wait for my learning curve and if I am stuck on an issue I will ask. Hopefully one day I can help someone else in return.

Country,

 

If you jump, the net will appear.  You just have to commit to make the leap.

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I wonder it

 

Ben,

 

I think you misunderstood the question I was posing.  I didn't mean we should prevent this type of questions.  What I'm asking is how can we make it easier to get the answers.  In most cases I assume the user has tried to get the answer from the help file or from Chief's videos.  Often that doesn't get them where they need to be.

 

What can be done to make it easier to get the answers from such other sources? 

 

I could be totally off base here, but I wonder if it would help if posters knew how beneficial tags were to the search process and actually used them.  I get frustrated with searches too.

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The question is a good one to ask. Because it boils down to how can we make the software easier to use.

 

Typically the answers are:

1) Change the software to be more intuitive.

2) Make the training materials easier to understand and access.

 

Making things more intuitive is a bit hard because what is intuitive for one person is not for another. For example a round stop sign is unintuitive for a person in the US but they do exist in some locales. It gets harder when you start talking about how people think about things. What makes sense to me often won't make sense to everyone. And in fact it is often the case that there is no solution that makes sense to everyone. At some point we have to pick a way of doing things, preferably the way that the largest number of people find intuitive.

 

Documenting things well is always a good thing to do. But you can't force people to understand the documentation or for that matter to read it or watch it. But we can always try to improve it. However, eventually this becomes hard to comprehend because it tends to grow without bound and there isn't a good indexing scheme.

 

At one point we talked about coming up with an intelligent agent of sorts that would hook into all the various sources of information about a particular tool in Chief and present it as web page that you could then dig through. The idea is to mine our documentation, training videos, Chief Talk, knowledge base articles, you tube videos etc. With the addition of a vote this up or down helpfulness rating this could potentially provide context specific help that is both helpful and current. Of course that is kind of a pie in they sky thing. I'm not completely confident that it could work well.

 

Back to this forum, what we have here is a cooperative group of very helpful individuals that collectively comprise a sort of Chief Architect Oracle.

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What I'm asking is how can we make it easier to get the answers.  In most cases I assume the user has tried to get the answer from the help file or from Chief's videos.  Often that doesn't get them where they need to be.

 

What can be done to make it easier to get the answers from such other sources? 

I'm sort of a perennial newbie. While I always draw some or all of a building I don’t' typically have to deal with a lot of tools or issues that other folks do-that is until I have to deal with them. Not being as sharp as I once was, if I don't use a tool or option often enough I don't remember all the details. Couple that with the gotchas, ha-ha's, is it me?,work-arounds, and undocumented “features” if I have to do something outside my norm (cabinets) it can be like just learning the program anew.

 

I use help and the manual constantly. Chief's help tools DO NOT document ha-ha's, gotchas or work-arounds. They don't tell you what doesn't work (as expected).

 

If you run into one of those this is the place to find the answer.

I read this forum daily, even lots of things I don't need to know. That way I know if a problem exists and has been addressed then it is easier to find when it comes time to search because I suddenly do need to know. It occasionally helps avoid endless redoing, slamming head into wall,  "is it me?"

 

Chiefs videos are good if I have a lot of time or want to learn something new (or again). But finding how to solve a particular problem somewhere within one or what does NOT work not so much. Th videos being a useful marketing too aren't going to be a place they want to show problems.

Scott's videos OTOH are often about a gotcha and even if they aren't the way he attacks a problem they come up and always yield a nugget.

 

Might help:

-a categorized list of work-arounds in a sticky (if I knew more and had some spare time...). I started to put one together for kitchens last year when I was training someone.

-the ability to mark individual comments something like they do in the idiot books: watch out, gotcha, tip, work-around...like that. Could be done with tags but would be really handy if they were on a specific comment instead of an entire thread. I look for the "solved" icon all the time, "hot" not so much (may just mean a good off topic bit of fun)

 

Origin of “ha-ha”: a local mountain biking spot has this little hill with a twist in the trail. It looks easy and fun. Local lore has it that no one has ever successfully made it up. When a new guy comes along for a ride the group let's him take the lead at that stretch. The newbie attacks that stretch with gusto, but....crash, burn, ha-ha. Sometimes I wonder if some programmer is laughing his tail off somewhere.

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This section of the Forum is named General Q & A.  What else did you expect?  No Q's

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