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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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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
25th Mar 2015 09:13

"Get an accountant" a legitimate answer

To say every person asking a question is a "freeloader" is missing the point. I ask questions and I answer questions. I "pay" for the answers to my questions by assisting others with theirs. Business people seeking advice are not able to do that.

I make no secret of the fact that I object to non-accountants using a professional forum to get advice they should really be paying for. That said, I think any system to weed them out would be unworkable. Whilst he is coming from the other side of the argument I agree with Paul Scholes view that there is no practical approach to this.

But what I would ask is for "get an accountant" to be acknowledged as an acceptable answer to a question. I had a post moderated recently which essentially said just that. I have re-read it, and passed it on to others to read and neither I nor they can think of a reason it was moderated beyond the OP objecting to being given that advice.

To my mind, that undermines the forum. For someone that clearly doesn't know what they are doing, it is good advice. Just because they solve one problem they realised they have, doesn't mean there aren't a dozen more they've missed that a paid for accountant could spot. So stifling that advice potentially does harm to the OP. Additionally, it really put me off answering other questions. With it feeling like someone just had to object to a post to get moderated, I've skipped over a few questions I could definitely answer because I didn't want the grief.

I accept the rights of others to answer such questions with technical responses if they will accept my right to tell someone they need to seek paid for help.

Thanks (7)
By ShirleyM
25th Mar 2015 09:38

'Free' site

Would a modest sign up fee be acceptable to the majority?

Personally, I have learned so much from the more experienced (and specialist) members, that I would pay an initial (not annual) sign up fee so I could benefit from the wealth of information on here. I try to help others, so like Stepurhan, I think I 'pay' for my continued membership in a different way.

It would have the added advantage of discouraging some 'less serious' freeloaders and also be a sort of 'verification' process to deter trolls and abusive posters as their identity would be known.

I know many members post anonymously, but AWeb have always known my real identity and it hasn't caused a problem for me.

It's just an idea. What do you think?

Thanks (2)
By petersaxton
25th Mar 2015 09:38

Moderation

AccountingWeb don't like you complaining on Any Answers about moderation.

You might get moderated!

Thanks (1)
By cheekychappy
25th Mar 2015 09:44

Some freeloaders would see an entrance fee as a cheap way to get advice. At least they would be cheapskates though and not freeloaders.

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By Rachael White
25th Mar 2015 10:44

Hey everyone, thanks for your comments. 

Right now we are looking at the technical aspects of any answers and many of you have given me brilliant answers so thank you. 

If you would like to discuss other elements of any answers such as community moderation, etc, let me know and I can start a new discussion post. 

Any other technical requirements? Thanks, likes, comments, view on mobile and tablet, replying to others, glitches that you may have noticed?

Cheers

Thanks (0)
By Red Leader
25th Mar 2015 10:51

Adverts

Firefox with Adblock seems to get rid of most of them.

Thanks (0)
By petersaxton
25th Mar 2015 10:55

Editing

The edit box doesn't work properly.

If I type some words and try to back space to delete the last character the cursor jumps to the line above and there is a risk of deleting more characters from a different line.

Thanks (2)
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By andy.partridge
25th Mar 2015 10:58

Slowly

I have to type  v  e   r  y    s  l  o  w  l  y or some letters get missed in the text. That can't be normal.

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By mwngiol
25th Mar 2015 11:19

Suggestions

Don't know how difficult this would be, or even whether it would work!

Have a tickbox for each user to identify whether they are accountants or non-accountants. Have another tickbox for each user to indicate whether or not they want to be able to see posts by non-accountants. This would allow non-accountants to use the site, and allow those accountants who don't like 'freeloaders' to carry on using the site in blissful ignorance of those wanting free help.

Another thought occurred to me whilst typing - maybe have a 'mute user' or 'block user' button? So if Bill has taken a particular dislike to Ben then he can tick the mute box and then won't see any threads started by Ben, and Ben won't see any threads started by Bill.

Again, not sure how possible or even useful these would be.

Thanks (2)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
25th Mar 2015 17:46

.

mwngiol wrote:

 maybe have a 'mute user' or 'block user' button? 

We already have one - simply go to the users profile and there is an option to hide posts by this user.

 

Thanks (0)
By ShirleyM
25th Mar 2015 18:20

That works for posts made by the user

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

mwngiol wrote:

 maybe have a 'mute user' or 'block user' button? 

We already have one - simply go to the users profile and there is an option to hide posts by this user.

 

It doesn't work on questions made by the user.

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By BKD
25th Mar 2015 11:12

Could we please have ...

... a clickable icon that automatically generates a response saying

"Your query cannot be answered unless you provide all relevant facts"

Thanks (1)
Euan's picture
By Euan MacLennan
25th Mar 2015 11:12

Short Description

The change which I would most like to see is the 'Short description', which you enter when you post a question and which appears under the Question heading on the Any Answers index, being shown on the page when you go into the thread to read the full question and perhaps, post a comment.

It wouldn't help with Blok who always seems to enter "." as his short description, but some people seem to type continuously from the short description into the body of their question, so the question becomes meaningless without the short description being displayed on the page showing the rest of the question.

Thanks (1)
By mwngiol
25th Mar 2015 11:41

Hide thread?

Maybe a 'hide thread' button? So if someone posts a thread about multinational companies involved in mining in Venezuela, which would be of no interest or relevance to me, I could hide it and it would no longer show up on my screen.

Also if there was a question asking whether it's necessary to register for self assessment as a sole trader with £500k net profit, I could predict the general direction such a thread would take and choose to hide it, rather than see the number of replies building up and be tempted to peek, and end up posting myself.

Thanks (1)
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By Sperethiel
25th Mar 2015 12:30

Multiple pages

Where a thread is "hot" it can run to multiple pages.  If you click through from latest answers it takes you to the first page, and then when you click on the subsequent pages it only labels as "new" posts made between arriving on the first page and clicking on the later page.

It would be helpful to have the "new" flag remain until you actually read the comment...

There is a direct link to the newest comment; first unread comment would be more useful.

S.

 

Thanks (0)
By Rachael White
25th Mar 2015 12:51

Amazing stuff, everyone.

Thank you, these are all brilliant.

Thanks (0)
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By NH
25th Mar 2015 13:56

my issue
Biggest issue for me is when posters go off topic and the answers end up being nothing to with the original question. Not sure how you stop that

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By petersaxton
25th Mar 2015 15:42

My suggestion would stop that

NH wrote:
Biggest issue for me is when posters go off topic and the answers end up being nothing to with the original question. Not sure how you stop that

Some software allows you to see a tree of replies and you can just ignore the branches you don't like. I don't know how easy it would be to incorporate it in this website.

Thanks (0)
By Moonbeam
25th Mar 2015 14:11

Moderation is key for me

There still doesn't seem to be any effective screening out of trolls, and in my opinion they make the site an aggressive and unpleasant place to hang out, particularly at the weekends.

 

Thanks (3)
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By nogammonsinanundoubledgame
25th Mar 2015 14:34

Technical point

I would like an opportunity to be able to attach a file to a post.

Obviously there would need to be limitations on file size and format, and of course I realise that this opportunity, particularly if abused, would come at a cost to Sift in server storage.

Abuse of the facility could be controlled, partly by automation, and partly by moderation (but moderation comes at an additional cost in man-hours).

I have a particular example in mind - a worked example of partial PPR relief to a non-resident disposer of UK property after 05 Apr 2015, that I wanted to run by you lot for accuracy.  I shall probably end up by uploading it to an external storage point on the web and post a link to it in my query, so I have a workaround but not ideal in my view.  Aside from the fact that the link may not work indefinitely, some readers may be reticent about clicking on links to external sites.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

Thanks (1)
By Rachael White
25th Mar 2015 15:45

moderation point taken

We are working on this very hard at the moment - bringing our newest member of the community team up to date so very soon we should be a lot hotter than we have been :) 

Again if you want to discuss moderation I will set up a new discussion thread.

Thanks (0)
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By sarah douglas
25th Mar 2015 16:26

Could we have a choice

Hi 

Could we have a choice to have the lastest posts first or vice versa at the top of the page.   Even if you go to the 2nd or 3rd page you have to scroll all the way through posts you have read already.

Thanks (0)
By Rachael White
25th Mar 2015 16:19

Attaching files

I'm by no means a tech developer and not at all ruling it out but I'm not sure how feasible this is - it may potentially leave the site open to people who abuse the system and upload dodgy files i.e. viruses.

We do upload files ourselves (downloads, whitepapers) But opening it up to members is an interesting one. I'll definitely pass it on. 

Thanks (0)
By petersaxton
25th Mar 2015 17:32

Notifications

Could they include the subject as some people give part of the answer in the subject line.

Thanks (1)
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By Sheepy306
26th Mar 2015 10:29

I won't see this bit on my email notification

petersaxton wrote:

Could they include the subject as some people give part of the answer in the subject line.

 

This is the main thing for me, it happens all the time and means that the email notifications often don't make sense, I then have to click through to the AW site from the link rather than quickly and simply reading the email.

I've raised this with AW a couple of times in the last year or so and been told that it's being worked on, hopefully it will be now.

Oh, and getting email notifications "straight away" as default would be my preference, as others have also requested.

Thanks (0)
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By nogammonsinanundoubledgame
26th Mar 2015 07:40

Thread summary presentation

I would prefer it to be easier to zero in on un-viewed amendments to threads in which I have registered an interest, that interest having been registered either by my contributing to the thread or by clicking on the prompt "receive updates when someone comments".

Currently, as I understand it, the only way that I can monitor threads to which I have not commented but have registered an interest is via the email notification system (and frankly I have long since given up paying much attention to those emails).

That shortcoming could be partially addressed by including a list of such threads in my Profile page.  That page already includes lists of thanked posts, questions, and comments, but not "interesting threads" (as defined by my registering an interest).

That would go part of the way to a perfect solution, but still would fall short of distinguishing viewed threads from un-viewed.

And I know that it is technically possible because that facility is provided by other sites' discussion board software, such as InVision PowerBoard. A small colour coded icon next to the thread listing would suffice and would not take up much screen real estate. If you added the facility to sort or filter by that field it would then be very powerful.

I also thought that it would be nice if each thread summary in the menu were split into 2 columns.  Left column shows thread title, author and date.  Right column shows the same fields for the latest response in the thread.  Would be nice feature but I suspect too expensive in consumption of screen space, as you have reserved the right hand half of the web page for other clutter (which is actually of no interest to me, but may be to others).

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

 

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By tractorboy
26th Mar 2015 10:19

Recurring Subjects

In an attempt to stem the number of posts asking the same or similar questions there could be some sort of prompt when posting a new question.

For example if the subject line of a new question is, say "flat management companies" perhaps a prompt could then appear to the new question poster to say something along the lines of "the following threads also raised a similar subject, you may wish to review these to see if they assist with your question".

Not sure how easy this would be to implement though.

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By dnicholson
26th Mar 2015 10:19

Time of last answer
I'd like the 'Latest answers' section to give the elapsed time since the last answer. It helps me to tell whether I've already read the latest answer to a topic of interest.

Thanks (0)
By Rachael White
26th Mar 2015 10:31

Awesome suggestions.

Thank you everyone! 

Thanks (0)
RLI
By lionofludesch
26th Mar 2015 10:41

Two things

I'd like a better search facility and - linked to that - an ability to bookmark threads of interest.

Sure - I know I can just bookmark them from my browser  but it'd be nice to be able to do it within the website.

Thanks (2)
Euan's picture
By Euan MacLennan
26th Mar 2015 11:03

Search & Rescue

I agree with the Lion.

I know that you can do a Google search by adding www.accounting.web to the search key, but that is very long winded.  A better search facility within the site is required - and might discourage the posting of duplicate questions.

We used to have a bookmark so that we could "rescue" threads which were important to us.  We need a replacement now.

Thanks (1)
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By BKD
26th Mar 2015 11:57

Notifications

Contrary to others above, I would like notifications to be set to 'never' by default. I don't want my inbox filling up with continual updates to threads of which I no longer have any interest, and would prefer to select those that I do want notifications of (the minority) rather than de-select the majority for which I do not. Given the difference of views on this, I suggest that the user profile have an option to set the default according to preference.

Thanks (2)
By Tim Vane
26th Mar 2015 12:28

And there should be a total ban on the use of the word "awesome" in any context...

Thanks (2)
By mrme89
26th Mar 2015 12:30

What

Tim Vane wrote:

And there should be a total ban on the use of the word "awesome" in any context...

an awesome idea.

Thanks (2)
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By nogammonsinanundoubledgame
26th Mar 2015 12:30

Awful, on the other hand ...

... should be used more frequently

Thanks (1)
By Rachael White
26th Mar 2015 13:14

I happen to like the word awesome. :)

Thanks (0)
By ShirleyM
30th Mar 2015 09:11

Weekend trolls

Verification.

Would it be possible to get a real identity by charging new members 1p on their credit card, similar to the method used by PayPal and others?

I suspect that people would be less abusive if their real ID was known by AWeb, even if the ID is not known to the general membership.

Thanks (1)
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By BKD
30th Mar 2015 09:28

Nice try, Shirley

But as you well know, we've been calling for improved "new" member vetting for quite some time now. I suspect that the concern is that more stringent measures would put off too many genuine new members (driving down advertising revenues) and that the pain - which, to be honest, has become less frequent - is worth bearing. Personally, I'm not convinced by that argument.

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By Rachael White
30th Mar 2015 10:07

Hey,

Thanks for your suggestions, ShirleyM and BKD. The site sign up process will be looked into. Would it be okay to contact you both directly for feedback and ideas?

Thanks,

Rachael

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By petersaxton
30th Mar 2015 10:12

Shirley

I initially liked your idea then I thought about it and there would have to be a whole load of extra functions that AccountingWeb would need to include. 

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Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
25th Apr 2015 11:55

(No subject)

Thanks (1)
The triggle is a distant cousin of the squonk (pictured)
By Triggle
30th Mar 2015 10:33

What about a system where a new member needs to provide a mobile phone number to which an entry code is automatically texted. The code is then used to activate their membership.

If they are banned then their mobile phone number cannot be used for re-registration.

If someone wanted to continually re-register after being banned they would at least have to shell out for a new sim card/use someone else's phone etc..

Thanks (1)
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By Flash Gordon
30th Mar 2015 10:43

Only problem is

Triggle wrote:

What about a system where a new member needs to provide a mobile phone number to which an entry code is automatically texted. The code is then used to activate their membership.

If they are banned then their mobile phone number cannot be used for re-registration.

If someone wanted to continually re-register after being banned they would at least have to shell out for a new sim card/use someone else's phone etc..

The only problem is that AWeb would probably sell the numbers and then we'd be stuck with even more nuisance calls. 

Thanks (0)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
30th Mar 2015 10:41

.

What i have seen on other sites, is that you can only make 1 post as a new poster inside of a fixed time limit, eg 24 or 48 hours. This might tie in with the "approve" membership above.    This would allow someone to post and ask a question, not to engage in a long debate without creating a new account.  Yes you could do that and create loads of email addresses but its getting harder to do. 

Thanks (0)
By ShirleyM
30th Mar 2015 10:43

Peter

Have you ever used the AWeb shop? I have, and AWeb already have the facility to take credit card payments.

Rachael: I would be happy to help if it meant new members would be discouraged from posting abuse, and it helped stop banned members from circumventing their bans.

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By andy.partridge
30th Mar 2015 10:46

Much as I like the perpetrator

The constant use of 'awesome' and 'hey' is making me consider that this site is aimed at teenagers. I would prefer professionalism to be bolstered, not undermined. Love from an old fogey.

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By BKD
30th Mar 2015 10:52

I'd be more than happy to assist

For obvious reasons.

Though I really don't have anything to offer other than what I have previously asked for - and echoed by Portia above. No "new" member should be allowed to post until their identity has been verified. But I understand the reasons why that is unlikely ever to happen.

Triggle - getting one's hands on free PAYG sim cards is no more difficult than creating multiple email addresses.

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The triggle is a distant cousin of the squonk (pictured)
By Triggle
31st Mar 2015 10:26

Hi BKD

BKD wrote:

Triggle - getting one's hands on free PAYG sim cards is no more difficult than creating multiple email addresses.

Hi BKD

Just seen your response to my posting of yesterday https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/anyanswers/question/any-answers-changes-....

I'm admittedly not that up to date with the modern technology but even if someone could get a load of free sim cards they would surely still have to register them with the network provider and top them up - presumably £5 minimum each time. This would deter most people l would think. Or do these sim cards come with 5 minutes prepaid on them or some other feature that I am unaware of?

Also, Flash's point about AWeb selling the mobile phone numbers could be countered by a statement by AWeb that the mobile number will never be disclosed to third parties.

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By petersaxton
30th Mar 2015 11:12

AccountingWeb shop

I didn't know there was one!

I tried to get to it just now but it said the page wasn't available.

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By Southwestbeancounter
30th Mar 2015 11:51

I've tried for ages to post without my real name as a client might see me asking a question about them but my name seems to be cast in stone! Maybe I need to close my account and re-register as someone else although I'd like to be able to use my real name sometimes. If I'm missing something with the current set up then please let me know as I've been able to find lots of other things people have suggested aren't there ie how to edit a post and how to follow a thread you haven't commented on but not how to have an alias once in a while!

Thanks (1)

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