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Any Answers changes - feedback required

Any Answers changes - feedback required

Didn't find your answer?

You may have seen our blog post asking for views on some changes we are considering to AccountingWEB. 

As such, we want to know what you think about Any Answers. And what, if anything, you would change, add or take away from how it is right now. Let us know what you like, hate, or love about the current forum and how it works, whether that's the organisation of content, the experience on mobile vs desktop, the notification system or the functions available - please let us know.

It would also be good to hear what your ideal Any Answers would look like.

While we can't promise to deliver everything you suggest, we will certainly take every comment into consideration and try to respond regularly.

Please feel free to comment here and on the AccountingWEB site feedback discussion group, where we will be holding this and future discussions on other elements of the site. 

Replies (117)

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By mrme89
24th Mar 2015 13:19

I'd like to be able to 'thank' a question where it's informative and useful.

I'd also like to see a notification whilst typing an answer if someone has posted in the interim period.

I actually like the layout of AA and find it easy to navigate and read. I wouldn't like to see any massive overhaul on this aspect.

Thanks (8)
Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
25th Apr 2015 11:52

(No subject)

Thanks (16)
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By airgeadagam
24th Mar 2015 14:10

What About

A special Portia Nina Levin link for witty retorts, acid put-downs and amusing entertainment value, (as well as experienced insight).

Thanks (3)
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By duncanedwards
24th Mar 2015 16:36

Agree with PNL
Can we add to that list Form 17, pre and post letting expenses and PPR?

Thanks (0)
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By nogammonsinanundoubledgame
24th Mar 2015 14:11

One constant gripe ...

... is whether "freeloaders" who are not accountants should be (ahem) "discouraged" from posting their questions here.  Personally I don't mind it at all (and it is practically impossible to prevent anyway).  No-one obliges me to respond, and I have in the past picked up clients through this forum.  Others do seem to feel more strongly.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood.

Thanks (1)
chips_at_mattersey
By Les Howard
24th Mar 2015 16:45

freeloaders

nogammonsinanundoubledgame wrote:

... is whether "freeloaders" who are not accountants should be (ahem) "discouraged" from posting their questions here.  Personally I don't mind it at all (and it is practically impossible to prevent anyway).  No-one obliges me to respond, and I have in the past picked up clients through this forum.  Others do seem to feel more strongly.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood.

I agree with Clint Westwood. The site is designed for Accountants, and their questions. A start-up business, for example, should go to his Accountant with his questions. If there were some way to 'discourage' such use, it will then leave AA more available for technical issues, in-depth discussions, etc.

 

Thanks (1)
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By Accountant101A
24th Mar 2015 14:16

Search feature

I would like to see an improvement in the Search facility within Accounting Web and Any Answers. It currently brings up what look like totally random results. Using Google usually brings up better results. I'm sure I have seen websites where you can do a Google search but just for that site, which would be best of all.

Thanks (12)
By mrme89
24th Mar 2015 14:22

Google is sufficient

Accountant101A wrote:

I would like to see an improvement in the Search facility within Accounting Web and Any Answers. It currently brings up what look like totally random results. Using Google usually brings up better results. I'm sure I have seen websites where you can do a Google search but just for that site, which would be best of all.

 

Just enter in Google, something like "Director Salary 2015/16 site:accountingweb.co.uk". It will then only bring up search results from this site.

Thanks (3)
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
24th Mar 2015 14:24

Re thanks

Whilst currently possible to thank a post it might be more useful to have two types of thanks, one type to be used just because you liked the post, witty, whatever but another "technical" thanks because it is really useful to the wider user base. For instance of late there have been a few re AE and directors that warrant  such an accolade. if there was then a search posts by technical thanks facility that would be useful as a first port of call when the same question is again asked by A N Other.

Now it may be that the site already has this functionality but I cannot work out how to use it, this is very possible, but if not a sort of standing list of best of articles on technical merit would, I believe ,be useful.

Thanks (1)
By mrme89
24th Mar 2015 14:30

.

DJKL wrote:

Whilst currently possible to thank a post it might be more useful to have two types of thanks, one type to be used just because you liked the post, witty, whatever but another "technical" thanks because it is really useful to the wider user base. For instance of late there have been a few re AE and directors that warrant  such an accolade. if there was then a search posts by technical thanks facility that would be useful as a first port of call when the same question is again asked by A N Other.

Now it may be that the site already has this functionality but I cannot work out how to use it, this is very possible, but if not a sort of standing list of best of articles on technical merit would, I believe ,be useful.

 

I like this idea.

 

To expand on your idea even more - if you could mark posts as useful or something, and the one's you have marked this way can thebe found on your profile would be handy.

 

Thanks (2)
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
24th Mar 2015 14:34

NM

mrme89 wrote:

DJKL wrote:

Whilst currently possible to thank a post it might be more useful to have two types of thanks, one type to be used just because you liked the post, witty, whatever but another "technical" thanks because it is really useful to the wider user base. For instance of late there have been a few re AE and directors that warrant  such an accolade. if there was then a search posts by technical thanks facility that would be useful as a first port of call when the same question is again asked by A N Other.

Now it may be that the site already has this functionality but I cannot work out how to use it, this is very possible, but if not a sort of standing list of best of articles on technical merit would, I believe ,be useful.

 

I like this idea.

 

To expand on your idea even more - if you could mark posts as useful or something, and the one's you have marked this way can thebe found on your profile would be handy.

 

One can of course just do a NM post to the thread, however if you post on many threads the useful ones just get a bit submerged on your profile with the other posts you have made and after a bit of time, if you post too much,  are not that easy to find.

Thanks (0)
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By Duhamel
24th Mar 2015 14:40

comment of the day
I would really like a comment of the day vote button or something similar.

Thanks (0)
Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
24th Mar 2015 14:43

Anglicised spellchecker

An Anglicised (which, incidentally, spellchecker says is spelt wrong) spellchecker for the comment box, rather than the current Americanized (which spellchecker says is correct) version.

 

Thanks (7)
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By Flash Gordon
24th Mar 2015 14:48

Thanking post

I agree with the idea of thanking the original post. Otherwise you end up thanking the first person who posts to thank the OP, and (if you're fair-minded like me) wondering whether you should 'thank' everyone else who does the same. 

A search facility that doesn't rely on google would be lovely (thank god for google)

And not putting big adverts that move the very millisecond you click on AA and proceed to dump you on Sage and co's sites instead. 

Other than that I don't like change so please don't go buggering about with fonts and colours. I'm still traumatised with the HMRC disaster zone.

Thanks (5)
Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
25th Apr 2015 11:52

(No subject)

Thanks (3)
Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
24th Mar 2015 15:01

@ Portia

Firefox at the moment.  Chrome other times. OK take your point, I presume there is a setting within each I need to change.

AW request withdrawn.

Thanks (0)
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By Martin B
24th Mar 2015 15:09

Option to save a thread/answer within the my username.

Would be helpful when the topic is of interest and I have not made a comment.

At the moment I have to make a comment 'flagging' 

 

Thanks (5)
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By craig__2k4
24th Mar 2015 15:30

Link

Martin B wrote:

Would be helpful when the topic is of interest and I have not made a comment.

At the moment I have to make a comment 'flagging' 

 

Doesn't the "Receive updates when someone comments" link near the top of the page do this?

I'm not sure, as I've never used it, but I presumed this is what it does.

Thanks (2)
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By Carl London
24th Mar 2015 16:40

Flagging / following

Martin B wrote:

Would be helpful when the topic is of interest and I have not made a comment.

At the moment I have to make a comment 'flagging' 

 

 

Yes this would be extremely useful - the ability to 'follow' a thread without needing to post something!

Thanks (0)
Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
25th Apr 2015 11:53

(No subject)

Thanks (0)
By Rachael White
24th Mar 2015 16:01

Hey all, 

Hey all, 

Thank you for feeding back. 

Please note that the more serious suggestions the better as this is a big project. I'm not suggesting that anyone's other than Portia's (although, he has a point) are not serious.

In terms of the search function, that's a separate part of the site in terms of development so we will be looking at that too - but at another stage. Don't worry, we will be taking your comments on board! 

If you have any more suggestions please fire them through. 

Thanks,

Rachael

 

Thanks (0)
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By Flash Gordon
24th Mar 2015 16:17

Amending original question

I don't think, at the moment, that it's possible to amend your original question if you omit a word, or worse still, make a grammatical error. This needs changing (although removing the ability to delete all the details, which some people seem able to do when they don't like the answers they've received, would be equally good).

And as well as a decent spell-check (how do you use the one on here that I can't actually see?), how about a grammar check? It would save all those posts correcting someone's appalling mistakes (and hence reduce the ability to offend - for both sides) and it would be instructional at the same time. Think how nice it would be if the inhabitants of the UK all used perfect grammar! 

Thanks (1)
By ShirleyM
25th Mar 2015 08:29

Posts in Discussion Groups

Flash Gordon wrote:

I don't think, at the moment, that it's possible to amend your original question if you omit a word, or worse still, make a grammatical error. This needs changing (although removing the ability to delete all the details, which some people seem able to do when they don't like the answers they've received, would be equally good).

You can't amend the opening post there.

Thanks (0)
AS
By AS
24th Mar 2015 16:36

Moderator

Make Portia Nina Levin a moderator who can delete a lot of pointless questions...

Thanks (2)
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By BKD
24th Mar 2015 16:42

To enlighten Flash

Yes, you can edit your question. Hint - there's a tab called 'Edit'.  :)

Thanks (1)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
24th Mar 2015 16:49

one big one

Don't try and reveal the real names of posters.  You were not here at the time, but last time a big change to the forum happened, thousands of posts got deleted over the course of a weekend when we were told our real names would be placed next to the postings and failed to understand why for a well indexed forum this might just be a problem if a client found their accountant asking their problem on the internet. I deleted hundreds of posts personally, took me ages.  And then Sift backed down. 

And some small stuff:

1. Don't try and be too clever and change the order in which we see the questions ie "doing a facebook".  Order of post is fine, you can bump on reply or list latest replies. I dont mind which, but nothing more fancy than that. 

2. Keep it simple, its content that counts. The forum works well right now, don't let your tech people tell you its just not cool, or old fashioned etc.  It works. 

3. Can you fix the buggy "cut'n'paste" thing which is quite frankly awful, I should be able to cut and paste in my comments without the extra box.

4. Presumably most people view this on a desktop machine, and given what we do have massive monitors, Or two, Or three (or more).  Small text is good.  If you want a handheld version great, but don't stuff up the desktop one with big text

 

 

 

 

Thanks (3)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
24th Mar 2015 16:54

.

O and (5)  Bob Baiting area.

A place to lock swords with dubious sales people so as to demonstrate the paucity of clothing on their backs as they parade their wares on the forum, named in honour of my bete noire

Thanks (1)
By Rachael White
24th Mar 2015 16:56

'Freeloaders'

We shall definitely be addressing this (and are starting to do a better job of it - I hope!). 

Thanks for  your suggestions again.

Any more tech specific suggestions (i.e. less focused on specific members)? Such as features you want to see, etc. Nice ideas around thanking and saving questions, grammar and spell checks. 

 

Thanks (0)
By mrme89
24th Mar 2015 17:09

Freeloaders

I noticed the PAYE thread had been removed this morning. I have seen Sift taking a more active role in this lately. Perhaps helped now they have an extra bod.

 

One more suggestion from me. I know it is all ok for the time being, but I don't want to see gang accusations on AWeb again. I think having the thanks transparent (i.e. you can see who has thanked a post) would help eliminate this. Or would it antagonise it? I'm not which, but it would be a feature I think I'd like to see.

Thanks (2)
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By andy.partridge
24th Mar 2015 17:17

Trouble

mrme89 wrote:

One more suggestion from me. I know it is all ok for the time being, but I don't want to see gang accusations on AWeb again. I think having the thanks transparent (i.e. you can see who has thanked a post) would help eliminate this. Or would it antagonise it? I'm not which, but it would be a feature I think I'd like to see.


If would be nice to have the opportunity to thank thankers, but unless the ID of thankers can be limited to the thankee I think it's best avoided.
Thanks (2)
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By MBK
24th Mar 2015 18:09

How about ..

.. a "My Accounting Web" area. In that area you could store for your own (private) reference links to threads you found particularly useful. For this to work well you would need to be able to create subject areas for yourself - such as IHT / CGT / Portia's Put Downs etc etc so you could find what you wanted later.

Somebody's now going to tell me this already exists.

Thanks (6)
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By DMGbus
24th Mar 2015 18:54

"Freeloaders"

Personally these postings from business people seeking advice are not a problem for me.

They can be an insight into how things are outside the world of accountants - business people who don't trust their existing accountants advice, want a second opinion, or find it too expensive, or have misunderstandings.  It should serve as an education to us on this forum who work in practice as to what is out there.

As some have said if an individual member objects to these "freeloaders" then please ignore their posts, or...

I suppose there is a charity known as Tax Aid that could help these people, but I rather suspect that Tax Aid, like many a charity, is not exactly flush with cash and resources to help people in need.    Now, if those Aweb members who object to business people posting questions on this forum were to donate to Tax Aid and redirect the querists to Tax Aid then that could be positive move for the comfort zone of those concerned.

Thanks (8)
By Marion Hayes
24th Mar 2015 20:31

Suggestions

I would like an automatic next post / last post button. I like to read them all and find going backwards and forwards to menu quite annoying.

I don't think freeloaders is an issue - I would like to be able to ask the occasional noddy question if only for the pleasure of Portia's reply.

I find the time it takes to load the adverts each time I go to a new page restricting 

Thanks (2)
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By Samantha20
24th Mar 2015 20:36

I think that the Unanswered section should be at the top

of the page and the Latest Answers underneath.

Also, could repliers to question have the option of not adding a subject as it isn't always necessary.

 

 

Thanks (1)
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By thomas34
24th Mar 2015 20:47

Value Pricing

Any questions or articles on the subject of Value Pricing or by Ron Baker's lovechild should be banned on the grounds that they annoy me. 

Thanks (3)
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
24th Mar 2015 21:28

No animated ads

The animated ads slow the load time of pages significantly. It would appear at least some of them are unstable as well. I get more lock-ups from animated ads trying to load here than I do on any other site (and I use a lot of other sites)

Jump to first new post is also a must. With the current setup, all new posts are marked as read once you've opened the thread. If a thread has gone on to a second page, then the new posts there have already been marked as read, so you have to remember where you got to. Being able to jump straight to that first new post from the e-mails would be great.

Thanks (9)
By Howard Marks
24th Mar 2015 21:35

My two pence

I can't decide whether I like having to write a 'subject' each time I post.

 

Mobile view is rubbish - it lists in order of newly created threads and not by new posts.

 

Unanswered should be given more prominence.

 

I like MBK's idea of a 'my aweb area'

 

Freeloaders - a more stringent signup process might be handy - verified by post perhaps?

 

Spelchek would be handy too.

Thanks (3)
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By BKD
24th Mar 2015 21:46

Signup process

Howard Marks wrote:

Freeloaders - a more stringent signup process might be handy - verified by post perhaps?

Something we've been requesting for several years now - for obvious reasons. Still waiting.

Thanks (1)
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By Stuart.thomson
24th Mar 2015 22:11

I like the general presentation. The wit and banter is sometimes harsh and sometimes fair so like life.

What I would like changing...
1) subject line always puzzles me. It is a good idea for the original post but not subsequent responses
2) i use an ipad to view and when I open new posts the screen flickers as it adjusts to the right resolution, very frustrating
3) I wonder whether a rating system of technical/witty responses would help readers understand whose perspective they should rely on more. I accept the counter argument that a high rating on say accounting does not automatically translate to tax knowledge. However as an idea I think it is useful and would help users search for historical answers more easily (especially if you categorise ranking by subject are (eg VAT, software, cgt, etc)

Thanks (0)
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
24th Mar 2015 22:45

Rated how?

Stuart.thomson wrote:
3) I wonder whether a rating system of technical/witty responses would help readers understand whose perspective they should rely on more. I accept the counter argument that a high rating on say accounting does not automatically translate to tax knowledge. However as an idea I think it is useful and would help users search for historical answers more easily (especially if you categorise ranking by subject are (eg VAT, software, cgt, etc)
An interesting idea, but how would it work in practice?

If you rate individuals then, as you acknowledge, they could give bad advice if they stray outside their expertise. If you rate individual posts, then a bunch of newbies getting the answer they want to hear could give a high rating to an answer that is incorrect. You could prevent users from giving ratings until they have proved themselves, but what criteria would you use? If an individual decides to down-rate all the comments of someone they have taken a disliking to, how would you stop them trashing someone's reputation.

I like it as a concept, but I can't see a reliable way to make it work.

Thanks (0)
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
25th Mar 2015 03:26

Freeloaders?

@Rachael - can you indicate how you intend to label a poster as a freeloader.  Here's some ideas I've heard others suggest.

Will they have to answer a questionnaire to prove that they are an accountant, or bookkeeper or someone in finance, or maybe if they are borderline and say they support their elderly parents in doing their tax returns or write up their wife's books.  Would the parents and wife have to confirm this?

Maybe we should define Accountant? Ask for votes on the top 10 defining characteristics as well as evidence that they have more than X clients, or intend to within X months, or do more than just add up petty cash in their job.

How about outsiders (potential freeloaders) who have answered questions on Any Answers in the past, if they try to ask a question and are deemed Freeloaders will their previous contributions be removed?

Perhaps a separate questionnaire for students or naff accountants who ask sub-standard questions, ie the sort of questions that get the response "if you have to ask that, you can't call yourself an accountant" meaning they are freeloading on here instead of paying for a training course or text books?

If someone is up front and actually signs up as a new "freeloader member" perhaps we should let them hang about for 2 weeks but only if they promise to contact an accountant at the end of it.

How about a secret "only fit & proper people" Any Answers area, with a secret password and funny hand-shake where there would be no risk of freeloaders?  This would probably require an exam and the exclusion of lower ranking qualifications.

Finally, if anyone is labelled a "freeloader" should they be prevented from reading or searching Any Answers (especially the most valuable ones), or visiting the home page, or articles on tax or company law, where they could pick up free advice.

Personally I doubt much of the above is workable so my suggestion would be that everyone has to register a debit or credit card then if they ask a stupid question or are clearly not one of us, we each have a vote to charge them say £5 a time, with a monthly lottery for all the people who voted.

 

 

 

Thanks (3)
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By andy.partridge
25th Mar 2015 09:52

Sleepless nights

Paul Scholes wrote:

@Rachael - can you indicate how you intend to label a poster as a freeloader.  Here's some ideas I've heard others suggest.

Will they have to answer a questionnaire to prove that they are an accountant, or bookkeeper or someone in finance, or maybe if they are borderline and say they support their elderly parents in doing their tax returns or write up their wife's books.  Would the parents and wife have to confirm this?

Maybe we should define Accountant? Ask for votes on the top 10 defining characteristics as well as evidence that they have more than X clients, or intend to within X months, or do more than just add up petty cash in their job.

How about outsiders (potential freeloaders) who have answered questions on Any Answers in the past, if they try to ask a question and are deemed Freeloaders will their previous contributions be removed?

Perhaps a separate questionnaire for students or naff accountants who ask sub-standard questions, ie the sort of questions that get the response "if you have to ask that, you can't call yourself an accountant" meaning they are freeloading on here instead of paying for a training course or text books?

If someone is up front and actually signs up as a new "freeloader member" perhaps we should let them hang about for 2 weeks but only if they promise to contact an accountant at the end of it.

How about a secret "only fit & proper people" Any Answers area, with a secret password and funny hand-shake where there would be no risk of freeloaders?  This would probably require an exam and the exclusion of lower ranking qualifications.

Finally, if anyone is labelled a "freeloader" should they be prevented from reading or searching Any Answers (especially the most valuable ones), or visiting the home page, or articles on tax or company law, where they could pick up free advice.

Personally I doubt much of the above is workable so my suggestion would be that everyone has to register a debit or credit card then if they ask a stupid question or are clearly not one of us, we each have a vote to charge them say £5 a time, with a monthly lottery for all the people who voted.

 

 

 

Paul, you have had a sleepless night over this unnecessarily. On a previous thread where you got hot I suggested a simple tick box to remind a new member of their eligibility. Often, such 'freeloaders' sign up without realising the site is not designed for them. The registration process could easily usher them away politely. 

Thanks (3)
By petersaxton
25th Mar 2015 06:26

Non-accountants/threads/delete

There was a question from a non-accountant that was easy to answer so nobody had a problem. The main problem seems to be when somebody asks a question that raises so many other questions or highlights many other problems that the only sensible answer is to tell them to see an accountant. I wouldn't like to see non-accountants banned although having a separate section for questions from non-accountants may be an answer.

It would be good if you could have threads and sub threads rather than one long list as an answer to a question. There can be interesting diversions but some people would like to ignore them. I realise that would be a massive change though.

You don't seem to be able to delete a post only edit it.

 

Thanks (1)
By mrme89
25th Mar 2015 07:37

Paul

There's no need for a place with funny handshakes.

Despite some members struggling with the concept of who this website is for, I think it can be said with confidence that this website if for accountancy and tax professionals. Whether that be someone working in practice, industry or local government and whether they are are a junior or a partner, as long as they are working in the profession, they are welcome. This does not extend to businesses and individuals looking for free advice.

See here for Sifts view http://m.accountingweb.co.uk/group-thread/accountingweb-site-discussion

 

As an idea to weed them out, how about that you have to make 10 contributions in Any Answers before you can post a question?

Thanks (4)
By ShirleyM
25th Mar 2015 07:45

Jump to first unread post

I would much prefer this option instead of the current 'Jump to last post'.

With regard to 'freeloaders', the odd few don't make much difference. If posts from freeloaders became more frequent and dominant, then the whole flavour of AWeb would change ... for the worse.

ps. I don't know why this has been raised again. Sift have made their stance clear. Those who prefers that style of forum can spend more time on ukbusinessforum helping out there instead of trying to force this forum (and it's members) to be the same as the aforementioned forum. If anyone helps out in the hope of gaining a client, then they would probably have greater success on there anyway.

Thanks (2)
By petersaxton
25th Mar 2015 08:29

ukbusinessforums

maybe people joining could be reminded of ukbusinessforums for non-accountants and that It has an accounts and finance section.

Thanks (3)
By petersaxton
25th Mar 2015 08:35

Get emails with new comments

It would be good if "Get emails with new comments" remembered your last choice.

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By Sandnickel
25th Mar 2015 08:51

My one & only post on Freeloaders

I've never gotten involved in this debate before as tbh I never took it seriously.

I do have to say that it really, really confuses me. We are on a free site. Technically every person asking a question is a "freeloader", and every person answering is giving their advice for free.

As has been stated many, many times before noone is obligated to answer so I really don't understand why it evokes so much negativity from people.

I personally hate exclusion and excessive moderation, the only posts IMO that should ever be removed are personal threats.

I have no idea how you are going to police this, Sift, if that is your intention. Best of luck.

Thanks (5)
By mrme89
25th Mar 2015 09:04

Difference

Sandnickel wrote:

I've never gotten involved in this debate before as tbh I never took it seriously.

I do have to say that it really, really confuses me. We are on a free site. Technically every person asking a question is a "freeloader", and every person answering is giving their advice for free.

As has been stated many, many times before noone is obligated to answer so I really don't understand why it evokes so much negativity from people.

I personally hate exclusion and excessive moderation, the only posts IMO that should ever be removed are personal threats.

I have no idea how you are going to police this, Sift, if that is your intention. Best of luck.

 

The difference is, the accountants who ask questions also have the ability to contribute (well some do). With businesses and individuals looking for free advice, it will only ever be a one way street.

 

There's really not much to be said about 'freeloaders' now that Sift have clarified the position.

 

Thanks (2)
By petersaxton
25th Mar 2015 09:04

Freeloader

"I do have to say that it really, really confuses me. We are on a free site. Technically every person asking a question is a "freeloader", and every person answering is giving their advice for free."

I think it's obvious what people mean. It's somebody who doesn't want to use an accountant and just ask on here. I've no problems with people trying to do that if their problems are simple but sometimes they indicate they are totally out of their depth.

I agree with you that it could be too onerous to try to police this though. I suppose it is self policing by people not answering the questions if they don't want to.

Thanks (1)

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