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Solution - to how to answer anon/public questions?

Perhaps we can learn from the AI world!

Didn't find your answer?

As discussed ad nauseum in threads passim, many threads involving the public descend into name calling or other behaviours that fall into the general category of "arguing with strangers over the internet" which has existed since message boards were invented.

Perhaps the solution is for us to contribute to such threads as if we were chat bots or call centre agents:

Questioner: Can I claim home to McDonalds as a business expense because the cafe I usually lunch at next door is closed?
Arthur (virtual assistant): Good Morning Anon, my name is Arthur and I will be helping with your query. What a great question! Before I answer please let me have some more information
Q: whatyawannanothatfer?
A: I'm sorry, I didn't understand that
Q: Is my trip to McDonalds a business journey?
A: Please let me know, are you self employed, an employee, a director, or something else
Q: I'm self employed and proud of it, I have my own company which my wife and me and the boy are directors of
A: Are you self employed or are you running a limited company?
Q: YES how many times do I have to tell you?
A: What is the vehicle in which you travel?
Q: Transit van
A: And do you own the van or is it provided by the company?
Q: What does that matter?
A: I'm sorry Anon, your question is too complicated for me to try and answer here, I suggest you speak to a local accountant who won't mind you wasting their time.
Q: This site is rubbish, I expected proper thinly disguised sneering and patronising from a bunch of old saddos
A: Before you go, would you mind taking a short survey?
 

 

 

 

 

 

Replies (39)

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Universe
By SteveOH
06th Mar 2021 11:15

Brilliant!

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Replying to SteveOH:
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By RetiredTax
06th Mar 2021 11:34

+1

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Replying to RetiredTax:
Scooby
By gainsborough
06th Mar 2021 14:16

+1 Very funny.

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Replying to SteveOH:
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By Paul Crowley
06th Mar 2021 17:32

+1

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
06th Mar 2021 11:55

Another wheeze would be after the preamble for the Bot to allocate the question to a specialist, informing the OP they can normally expect a reply within 48 hours, but it may be longer as many specialists are working from home due to lockdown and we are currently experiencing extremely high question volumes.

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By memyself-eye
06th Mar 2021 13:08

What about some 'on hold' music?
Well not the actual music; but the words -
ie. La,de,da, de da,da.da .....(repeat as required for at least 40 minutes)

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Replying to memyself-eye:
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By Paul Crowley
06th Mar 2021 17:34

Spain won Eurovision with that song
No bribing involved, according to Spain

The Spanish version better of course as it was just La La La La
No De s or Da s

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
06th Mar 2021 15:19

Good idea! Let's try it out on yesterday's Troll:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/dormant-or-trading-for-a-lim...

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
06th Mar 2021 17:04

As long as we don't let Microsoft program it.

The innocent AI they released on Twitter became a terrible person in less than a day. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay_(bot)

Of course, if we want a realistic AI for freeloading posters, that might work.

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By frankfx
06th Mar 2021 18:38

"Is my trip to McDonalds a business journey?
A: Please let me know, are you self employed, an employee, a director, or something else
Q: I'm self employed and proud of it

*****

A. Ronald the Clown?

Q. Hangs up. silence.

A. Thinks.. I am doing well today
6 Big Macs in the bonus food bank!

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By alialdabawi
08th Mar 2021 09:32

I would have read your whole post, but I have a life
Don't bother replying as your reply will be irrelevant
If you reply, I will be tired of being the bigger person and will not let you say anything you want
It proves that you can't win with the internet
You salty sea dog, you...

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Replying to alialdabawi:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
08th Mar 2021 10:20

alialdabawi wrote:

You salty sea dog, you...


I'm sorry alialdabawi, I didn't understand that.
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Replying to alialdabawi:
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By Tax Dragon
08th Mar 2021 11:04

alialdabawi wrote:

I would have read your whole post, but I have a life
Don't bother replying as your reply will be irrelevant
If you reply, I will be tired of being the bigger person and will not let you say anything you want
It proves that you can't win with the internet
You salty sea dog, you...

Plagiarism at its best. (https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/dormant-or-trading-for-a-lim..., for those that missed the original.)

(PS, the 'bigger person' comment... do you think the joke there was intentional? Surely!)

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By alialdabawi
08th Mar 2021 11:49

Joke?! I have no doubt the fella/gal was being dead serious. Allowing good answers/signposting (sorry, insults) to slide can cause loss to finance, person and family!

@I'msorry, I'm sorry you're still salty. Try being umami for a while, it isn't unsavoury (groan...I'm truly sorry for that one)

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
08th Mar 2021 10:58

You haven't replied for a while, I am ending this chat. Have a nice day!

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
08th Mar 2021 11:02

Shocked to hear that Harry and Meghan cite as a reason for leaving the UK that some accountants were rude to them on the internet when they asked a question about tax relief on redecorating the cottage.

Equally shocked that Oprah looks like Ian Wright in a wig.

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
08th Mar 2021 11:24

Meghan will no doubt divorce him when he's stripped of his title, and becomes plain old Harry Hewitt.

He was a Royal pain around the pubs in Sherston when he was a teenager, under-age drinking and taking cannabis. Oprah and America are welcome.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Hugo Fair
09th Mar 2021 13:22

Whilst I share your apparent opinion about the usefulness of wasting time or space on these pointless people ... I'm amazed that your post is still showing.
Either the legal dept at Sift is a lot braver than I would've expected, or they're asleep.
Poking a stick into the hornet's nest of one of the most litigious couples out there could cost a lot of money!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Mar 2021 13:48

Well I give you the case of the Rattlebone Inn (and can you imagine what that did to the poor landlord's mental health!):
https://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/7360778.family-shattered-by-harr...

And as for the good-looks:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267049452878337971/

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Hugo Fair
09th Mar 2021 15:01

Fascinating ... and thanks for the first link (my parents lived in Salisbury at that time but I don't remember the story being discussed, let alone making it into the national press - perhaps not surprisingly)!

It was the change in surname that I feared would unleash the hounds of hell, even though I've met members of the 'Chelsea set' from back in the '80s who didn't so much regard it as a theory as a 'well-known quasi-secret'.

Maybe the legal beagles think he's got more on his plate than Sift forums ... "'I've never dressed as Hitler' Thomas Markle in attack on Harry" https://www.express.co.uk/news/royal/1407444/Thomas-markle-ITV-GMB-Princ...

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Mar 2021 15:49

Ahha, Salisbury's the other end of Wiltshire. Sherston is in the north of the county, on the Gloucestershire border and v. close to Highgrove.

Sherston's the sleepiest village imaginable, except once a year when it sections off its High Street and spreads out an inch of sand for a boules contest weekend involving real French competitors (who all get tres upset when their boules behave like Barnes Wallace's bouncing bomb!). Like Brigadoon, so you can imagine how the Rattlebone felt about Harry's off-peak patronage. (And they didn't have much choice in the matter, as Harry travelled in a convoy of Range Rovers with secret service agents a-plenty.)

Thomas Markle.. he was on the Piers Morgan breakfast show this morning playing the embarrassing relative. He doesn't much like Harry playing naked pool either.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Hugo Fair
09th Mar 2021 16:37

Ah well, time to get back on topic with the OP methinks. So how would you respond to the following Anon posting:

"I'm not sure if I've come to the right place because my usual job is feeding the corgis, but I was given a large amount of cash by the CEO to hand over to someone who promised to 'take care' of familial pests. Now the comptroller is demanding a receipt but I can't locate the person to whom I gave the brown envelope. Also I'm holding a 2nd envelope to be paid 'on successful completion', but realise I never asked how that would be defined. I feel there's no-one I can turn to so am hoping someone out there can advise me what to do?"

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Mar 2021 16:49

I should probably respond You salty sea dog, you...

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
09th Mar 2021 17:37

What's Viscount Linley up to these days?

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Mar 2021 17:54

Up to his elbows in wood shavings, I should think.

I believe he's the Earl of Snowdon these days, so no longer knocking out nests of tables.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Tax Dragon
09th Mar 2021 15:09

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

Well I give you the case of the Rattlebone Inn (and can you imagine what that did to the poor landlord's mental health!)

Slight irony (and this comment isn't intended to be 'pro' or 'anti' anyone or anything.... I'm just saying) that what did for the landlord's mental health was (and was only) the attention of the press - passing as it was.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Mar 2021 16:05

Well the local hairdressers had Camilla as a customer, and was able to raise its prices accordingly. Other local businesses enjoyed royal patronage from senior royals. But the Rattlebone Inn drew the short straw: drugs, livelihood, reputation, and a clamouring press.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Tax Dragon
09th Mar 2021 16:28

So because the national media made a thing of Harry behaving like many other teenagers at the time, that excuses the subsequent abuse by the same media of the landlord?

No-one emerges well from this, but don't blame Harry for the (mental-health-damaging) clamouring. (Btw, if my hairdresser put the prices up for so flimsy a reason, I'd find myself another.)

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By Cheshire
09th Mar 2021 16:44

If my hairdresser started to do Camilla's hair I wouldn't be going back!

Ive not watched the ridiculous over hyped show, but think they should do another about her family. Think Jeremy Kyle on speed.

The press are a disgrace.

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Replying to Cheshire:
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By Tax Dragon
09th Mar 2021 17:18

Cheshire wrote:

The press are a disgrace.

Internet news streams are even worse. (And I wonder whether/to whom they are accountable.)

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Mar 2021 16:56

No, not Harry's fault. I blame Piers Morgan!

(The salon was booked solid, btw, regardless of price; simply because of its royal patronage.)

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By Cheshire
09th Mar 2021 16:59

Oh and to answer Arthur's Q

Either 'This is advice someone should be paid for. I for one am not giving it for free.'

or ''I have some helpful advice to give you. But I'm not going to. I'll leave that to your accountant. (Why should I undermine his/her livelihood?)''

Both of which are Tax Dragon's posts from today.

Several responses, all the same but by different people might get the message across, although no doubt we will all be banned.

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Replying to Cheshire:
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By Tax Dragon
09th Mar 2021 17:29

Yeah I decided "no comment" wasn't enough.

And the livelihood question is genuine.

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Replying to Cheshire:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
09th Mar 2021 17:42

TD could make it like the Monty Python argument sketch, £10 for a quick answer or £75 for the full half hour.

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
09th Mar 2021 17:43

I think the Bot should be progrmmed to lock the question if too many folk go off topic :-)

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Mar 2021 17:57

Ooooh! You're the one who brought up Harry and Meghan.

And we haven't even started on Ian Wright in a wig!

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
09th Mar 2021 18:21

I was hoping someone would mention that. In fact I even tried to find a photo of IW in a wig to send to Private Eye as a lookalike.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
10th Mar 2021 09:09

Oprah was pipped to the post by Smiffy, who's replaced Gavin with his new mate Harry :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oxlCKMlpZw

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Psycho
By Wilson Philips
09th Mar 2021 19:42

My current tactic with anonymous questions is not to answer them directly, but to pose a question myself for ‘further information’. It is then up to the OP whether to reveal themselves in order to receive a meaningful response.

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