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Post and comment time limits

Post and comment time limits

Good afternoon all,

Following feedback from AWeb members about so-called 'zombie threads' (people or spammers resurrecting old AA threads from years gone by), and feedback from our tech team about spam being posted on our old articles, we're planning to automatically close comments on our content after a specific time period.

The current timeframe planned for Any Answers posts is to close comments 14 days after the last post, and for articles/blogs 14 days after publication date.

What do people think? And is the timeframe too long/not long enough?

All the best,

Tom

Replies

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12th Feb 2019 15:10

Sounds good to me!

Thanks (1)
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12th Feb 2019 15:11

Hi Tom
I think that timeframe would probably be acceptable for most posts. Blog posts perhaps a bit longer.

But what are Aweb doing about the posts which are marked as 'anon' /original comments deleted AFTER members have responded, just because posters do not like the honest responses they get? There have been at least 4 I'm aware of from the last week and I'm not on here so much!

Thanks (3)
to Cheshire
12th Feb 2019 15:19

Thanks Cheshire. Acting on messages from yourself (apologies for the lack of a reply) and others I raised the deletion issue today.

A potential fix could be built in, which would stop members from editing their own posts after a certain period of time - in the case of our sister site UKBF, it's a draconian 15 minutes! If approved I'm unsure how long putting this into place would take, so won't make any promises - more when I know more.

As discussed previously, I don't think there's any scope for change on the anonymous function. Sorry, I realise that's not what people want to hear.

Thanks again and best wishes,

Tom

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By DJKL
12th Feb 2019 15:19

I would personally extend slightly from 14 days re articles/blogs, they tend to get less traffic so say moving to 30 days might be reasonable, I for one tend to not look at them for a while then do a catch up every so often.

In addition the writer needs his/her 15 minutes of fame for going to the trouble of writing the thing in the first place.

Any Answers 14 days from last comment seems reasonable.

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By tom123
12th Feb 2019 15:35

Sounds good to me Tom,

Thanks (1)
12th Feb 2019 15:52

I think 30 days for both Any answers and blogs. The zombie threads tend to be from years ago, so I don't see a 30 day window letting in these.

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12th Feb 2019 15:54

Very bad idea. Sometimes while Googling I come across an incorrect answer (more often than not by PNL) and try to correct it. That would not be possible under this new system.

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to Justin Bryant
12th Feb 2019 15:59

Thanks Justin - exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to draw out that we hadn't thought of.

How often does this happen? As far as I know, the editorial team would have the ability to open up comments again, so perhaps the solution here would be to send one of us a private message or email to do so?

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to TomHerbert
12th Feb 2019 16:38

Here is one random example of very many I'm sure:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/stamp-duty-transfering-morta...

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to TomHerbert
13th Feb 2019 11:22

In light of Justin's comment I would say closing threads is an excellent idea and would avoid his resurrecting two year old threads with spurious "corrections".

Thanks (4)
to Justin Bryant
12th Feb 2019 16:12

Justin Bryant wrote:

Very bad idea. Sometimes while Googling I come across an incorrect answer (more often than not by PNL) and try to correct it. That would not be possible under this new system.


You should put emphasis on the TRY...
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to Lone_Wolf
12th Feb 2019 16:44

Yes indeed; I mean, you can't expect me to correct them all can you?!

Thanks (0)
12th Feb 2019 16:27

is it possible to close a comments after 30 days, but still allow updates with a mod approval?

Spammers clearly wont bother, but it might be helpful if for example something changes in the legislation and a big post becomes out of date.

Thanks (1)
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
12th Feb 2019 17:05

Good question... :-) Will put that to our tech team and get back to you.

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to TomHerbert
12th Feb 2019 18:19

+ once in a while your technical/news type articles have an amendment in them. Not sure if those are independent of the forum posts or the same system.

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to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
10th Apr 2019 14:24

Quick update: Yes it would be possible with mod approval.

Thanks (0)
12th Feb 2019 17:07

Will Thanks giving still be allowed after 30 days or whatever?

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to Euan MacLennan
10th Apr 2019 14:25

Hi EM. Yes, you should be able to add 'thanks' even if the comments are closed.

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13th Feb 2019 08:17

I think 14 days is a bit tight for some - 30 days will cover 99.9%. As already said, it’s ones for years ago that are the issue.

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13th Feb 2019 11:19

I don’t see the point in bringing this in. Over the years i must have followed hundreds or thousands of threads and only very rarely get the spam comments and messages. It takes me all of about 5 seconds to identify it as rubbish and delete it. If I could be bothered I could presumably unfollow the threads i’m no longer interested in.

On the other hand, there have been very many comments i’ve Received on older threads that have proved extremely useful, I would no longer receive that benefit. Just because they are older doesn’t make them irrelevant, even tech threads.

The problem is surely because of spam accounts, why not tackle that problem directly rather than introduce a new makeshift rule that detracts from useful information being shared. The spammers will presumably simply start on new posts rather than old ones once their current method is scuppered anyway.
From memory there have been a number of suggestions by Awebbers as to how to restrict new members from spamming, and also asking ridiculous questions.

How many spam messages are people actually receiving ? Maybe i’m Just lucky. If your tech team are telling you that spammers are targeting old threads, can they also tell you exactly how old the threads are, you can then introduce the rule (if you have to) targeting the specific time frame rather than guessing.

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to Sheepy306
13th Feb 2019 19:50

I agree. No need for change here.

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13th Feb 2019 14:11

If this issue is significant to some, I envy their otherwise stress-free existence. Please leave as is. Google finds of older AW threads are of use.

If you're itching to take the axe to something - take a swing at the crazy "Trending" feature.

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By Matrix
13th Feb 2019 14:21

I think the priority should be withdrawing the ability to edit.

I am fed up with contributing to threads which the OP deletes or you delete on Monday morning even though there has been much constructive advice which may be useful in the future to unrepresented taxpayers.

I just don't post on those threads anymore.

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14th Feb 2019 00:29

Hi Tom

Personally, I would prefer if you did not change anything.

Sometimes I might not log on for ages and have an answer. I post ages after and I have been thanked.

I really don,t see it as a major problem just close the post and move on. It will ruin the site if you put the new rule in. As a moderator, you can pick up posts that are obviously causing a problem.

For example, I did a post about Scottish Water years ago
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/any-one-else-bullied-by-busi...

I originally posted this on the 25th March 2013 over 37,000 reads, comments were still been made in 2013. 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 giving helpful advice to other businesses that commented.

The last comment was made in Aug 2018 and the comments were not spam but ongoing saga of Scottish Business Stream bully business.

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14th Feb 2019 07:30

The strength of an online discussion group normally depends upon the people who post in it and how well informed some are. It also requires strong moderation on abusive behaviour. I have participated in a number of online fora for a long time. They fall apart on abusive behaviour or too many ill informed comments.

I think it would be sensible to have time limits on editing posts so that it is only really drafting errors that can be edited out. Otherwise the coherence of threads is lost.

When a thread pops up in the recent threads list I tend not to look at whether it is an old thread or not. It might be a good idea to highlight when a thread is old.

I think there are arguments both for closing threads after a time and for allowing amendments for some time. However, in the end moderation gives some detailed control on these issues and I would think that given the technical nature of some of the discussions it is worth leaving threads open.

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By Matrix
14th Feb 2019 23:26

So another post deleted because they thought it was a general discussion forum.

Maybe you should spend your time protecting your target market by explaining the purpose of the site in the sign up process rather than preventing useful discussions on topics which evolve over time? Time limits on posts should not be a priority.

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15th Feb 2019 10:08

Another reason this is a very bad idea is that some people like me like to update blogs in this "Any answers" section for the latest developments like in the links below:

https://www.accountancydaily.co/hmrc-fines-homeless-man-ps1600-filing-ta...

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/interesting-case-re-6-12-mon...

This would not be possible with the proposed changes.

Thanks (0)
15th Feb 2019 10:55

Are we still in time to reply to this?

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19th Feb 2019 09:44

Well here’s a first. I agree with Justin , Sheepy306, FirstTab (and others). I don’t see this as an issue.

I also agree with Cheshire, Sheepy306 (again), Matrix - and Accountant A on many a thread - that there are features that do create issues with this forum. The issues could be resolved by a different approach to moderation, but you’ve made it clear that won’t happen, so you need to find a different fix. A time limit on edits sounds like one worth considering.

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10th Apr 2019 14:39

Hi all,

Thanks to everyone for their feedback on this, and my apologies for the radio silence.

Taking all the comments into account, and given the marked increase in the posting of spam on older articles etc, we've decided to close comments on articles/blogs after 30 days, and comments on Any Answers 14 days after the last post. This should come into effect in the coming weeks.

If you'd like to add a comment or correction to a closed thread that's fine - please get in touch with one of us via the site's private message service or hit the 'report' button at the bottom of the article/AA post.

In light of the feedback about the ability to edit a question, and concerns about individuals deleting/editing their questions, our tech team is now actively looking into a solution that will prevent this. Hopefully more news on this soon.

Thanks as always and best wishes,

Tom

Thanks (1)
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to TomHerbert
10th Apr 2019 15:40

Thanks Tom

The irony is that this thread would have been closed when you got back to it. :-)

Good that you're also looking at the editing bit as well

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to TomHerbert
10th Apr 2019 15:50

TBH it sounds like that decision had been some time ago and (contrary to what you say) without taking account of the responses here, which by my reckoning number more against than for this proposal. There have been a number of updates to old threads recently (examples include threads initiated by Justin and by DJKL and in each case updated by the OP) which I have found very useful and which might not have happened had the proposed changes already taken effect.

For my money (OK, so this site is free, but you get the meaning), the main amendment that’s needed is that the ability to edit a post should last only until that post has been replied to.

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to TomHerbert
10th Apr 2019 17:01

This is a very, very bad change for the reasons given above. In my view this will make this otherwise excellent website much less interesting and much less relevant. I for one will not be updating what would otherwise be very interesting (in my view at least) tax debates like those recently updated by me in the links below this week:
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/tax/hmrc-policy/tax-penalties-can-ignora...
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/a-must-read-nrcgt-penalty-ca...
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/latest-hmrc-2019-loan-charge...
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/justin-s-useful-tax-case

Thanks (1)
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to Justin Bryant
10th Apr 2019 17:12

And if I may...

Tom, adding to Justin's and my comments here, could you at least allow OPs to add to their (old) threads?

That stops the spammers without losing the benefits that Justin mentions.

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to Tax Dragon
11th Apr 2019 10:33

But, if I read Tom's post correctly, that facility will be available via an initial contact with Aweb.

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to paulwakefield1
11th Apr 2019 10:47

Do you really think busy people like me will want to waste time with that proposed ridiculous time consuming bureaucratic new system!? The beauty with the current system is that it is very, very user friendly and that will now be lost under this totally unnecessary change for the worse.

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to Justin Bryant
12th Apr 2019 09:59

@Tom... this is where you should be stepping in to reassure Justin that the new system won't cost him any more time.

Or is he right?

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to Tax Dragon
12th Apr 2019 11:15

Obviously I'm right! How on earth can this new proposed inefficient and user unfriendly system be quicker, simpler and less time consuming than the current ultra quick, excellent, user friendly system?

As for the so-called problem with resurrected old posts, why on earth is that a problem in the 1st place? For example, they could just as easily add a new post with a link to the old post and then, hey presto, you have an indirect zombie post!!! What's the difference and who really cares?!!

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to Justin Bryant
12th Apr 2019 11:38

Justin Bryant wrote:

How on earth can this new proposed inefficient and user unfriendly system be quicker, simpler and less time consuming than the current ultra quick, excellent, user friendly system?

It can't. But "less than" does not equal "less than or equal to".

I was hoping that either Tom would confirm that either it's no worse (in terms of users' time) or that he'd see the sense of what you say and withdraw the proposal, or at least amend it as I suggested above.

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10th Apr 2019 16:28

The original post from Tom refers to spam on "old articles" and "AA threads from years gone by", that's a little different from the introduction of a 14 day and 30 day limit wouldn't you say?

Don't you just love a consultation that really never was a consultation.

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By Matrix
10th Apr 2019 19:29

There will now be daily threads on similar MTD topics if threads are closed after 14 days. The same issues come up time and time again and some threads are really useful and could be kept open. This is not the right time to make this change.

I welcome the change to lose the edit capability. I manage the anonymous posters and freeloaders myself, I now ignore.

Thanks (1)
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