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Commercial Services

  1. #1
    Forum Guru TMS's Avatar
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    Commercial Services

    Just out of interest, what does:

    you can redeem the points for gifts.
    mean ...

    What "gifts" are on offer and how much do they cost? I take it that, although the RO pays real money to have the question answered, none of that money makes its way into the back pockets of the RAs?

    In other words, not 25% but 100% of the cash goes to EF and EF chooses the gifts and their value.

    Or have I misinterpreted the gist of the payment philosophy?

    Heh, heh, ... they're coming to take me away, hah, hah ... you must think we're insane. And if the mods have time to spend answering questions for buttons, sorry, points, they are insane.

    Hope it goes well.

    Regards, TMS ... an interested observer

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Trevor,

    Same as my conclusions - I'm sure we'll chat about it next week.

    Pete

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete_UK View Post
    Trevor,

    Same as my conclusions - I'm sure we'll chat about it next week.

    Pete
    +1 to this
    Regards

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Can I have blue buttons?
    1. Use code tags for VBA. [code] Your Code [/code] (or use the # button)
    2. If your question is resolved, mark it SOLVED using the thread tools
    3. Click on the star if you think someone helped you

    Regards
    Ford

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @FDibbins: as one of the "fortunate" few who will give a toss, I guess it will be up to you to influence the management. Given that you have now expressed a preference, they will probably be more expensive than the other colours.

    Regards, TMS

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I see no reason to worry about this new development... unless of course you are a moderator then you should screaming and kicking...

    "To answer questions in this subforum, you need to be a forum moderator / admin."

    In other words, the mods are no longer mods for the general forum but are probably expected to be creating turn-key solutions that can take a few days (according to the instructions). If they are happy with the new development, then whom am I to tell them to what to do with their time. I just think it will be a big loss since the majority of the moderators provide really unique solutions that will now be locked behind a paywall. It's not clear if the rest of us can see the solutions, and obviously we can't comment... interesting development and will be interesting to see how this affects the site/ community in the months to come.
    Please consider:

    Thanking those who helped you. Click the star icon in the lower left part of the contributor's post and add Reputation.
    Cleaning up when you're done. Mark your thread [SOLVED] if you received your answer.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I've just explained EF Commercial Services and the payment philosophy to my wife. Honest, I did, I tried. Her comment was, so the Forum gets all the money and the people who answer the questions get dross. Out of the mouths ...

    And then, thinking about it she said a) it sounds like a tax scam and b) if you've got to go to so much trouble to set something like this up, they must be mad or scamming.

    It also occurred to me earlier, how successful would this "business idea" be if presented at the Dragon's Den ... I suspect, not at all.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    TMS,

    Sorry, my bad. While typing out the FAQ, i missed out some text for the redemption part (i guess the important part). I have corrected the FAQ now.

    The Request Solver can redeem the points for $, gifts or donation to a charity of their choice.
    If I have helped, Don't forget to add to my reputation (click on the star below the post)
    Don't forget to mark threads as "Solved" (Thread Tools->Mark thread as Solved)
    Use code tags when posting your VBA code: [code] Your code here [/code]

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    Re: Commercial Services

    3. What do I gain for answering questions?
    If your answer(s) solves the Request Originator’s question, the Request Originator will transfer points to your id. Once you accumulate 100 points, you can redeem the points for $, gifts or donation to a charity of your choice. The points can be redeemed in multiples of 100 subject to a minimum of 100 points. For every 100 points redeemed, you will receive $75. 25% has been retained for hosting charges and running costs for the website

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @JieJenn: beautifully highlighted, but the sentence prior to that has changed. Originally, it only said that you could redeem points for gifts.

    Even so, I don't see how this will work. Let's say someone offers 8 points, $8 USD, for a solution. I would get $6 USD, maybe £4 GBP, give or take, at current exchange rates. My hourly rate is a lot higher than that so, to answer questions for money on the forum would simply not be worth while.

    And why would anyone choose to pay for a Moderator or Admin, with all due respect, when there are so may Gurus and Experts answering questions for free?

    As I said, I will be an interested observer.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Should I be able to see this sub forum in the cooler? I can't...

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Never like the idea of a free forum turning into commercial... I thought we are here to help others and not to make quick bucks. Just saying.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    It's not a sub forum, it's just a thread.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    1. How do I post a question in the Commercial Services Subforum?
    To post a question, do the following –
    a. Buy points using Paypal / Credit card to be able to post a question
    In order to be able to post a question, you need to buy points by making a payment through Paypal / Credit card. You will need to purchase a minimum of 10 points by paying $10. The various options are $10, $20, $30, $40 all valid for a period of 1 month from the date of purchase. To purchase points, go to your UserCP, on the left side under My Account, you will find “Paid Subscriptions”. Click on it. You will see your Active Subscriptions, your Subscription Point Summary and then the option to buy points under Available Subscriptions. Select the $ from the dropdown and click on Order. On the next screen, click on “Buy Now”. This will take you to the PayPal site through which you can purchase the points.
    If I don't use the service, what happens to my $10, $20, $30, $40 at the end of 1 month from the date of purchase...is the purchase voided and I get my money back? I'd hope this would be the case but I'd assume not.

    If I use the service and my issue is NOT resolved at the end of 1 month, what happens to my $10, $20, $30, $40 at the end of 1 month from the date of purchase...is the purchase voided and I get my money back?

    Where have you posted your "Terms of Service"?
    John

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @jaslake: you're actually considering paying to ask questions? ... Joke, really, joke.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    What about low ballers? For example, what if someone posts a tough question requiring a complex solution and no one wants to create a solution for let's say $10. What happens then? Do the Amin/ moderators have to answer all questions? What's the decision-making process here?

    In general, we like to help people out, but when it's a consultancy fee, then things are different. I couldn't afford to pay for the kind of help I received over the years and would like to think that I passed it forward just a little.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Hi Trevor

    I understand the joke...asking the questions an OP who IS willing to pay should be asking...I don't see the answers in what's been posted to date.

    What ARE the Terms of Service? I'd like to believe, anybody trying to "Sell" this service in the States based on what's been disclosed, would be shut done rather quickly...but...what do I know.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @ abousetta

    I received ONLY two notifications of your response. It'd be good if Admin would fix what's broken and NOT fix what's NOT broken...

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Personally, as a business model, I just don't think it will work. It's unrealistic to the point of naivety in my opinion.

    I think it is actually quite difficult, in many cases, to estimate how long a complex task will take. Some I win, some I lose, but in all, I learn. And, if I have to learn how to address a specific problem, I don't think it is fair to foist my learning curve on the client. So, I get paid, I learn, and I enjoy what I do ... most of the time.

    This, I think, will be a nightmare to manage and police.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    This is an additional forum that has been added. Apart from any time that might be given by members (at the moment, only mods and admin), it in no way impacts on the rest of the forum or its members.

    My understanding is that it is starting off on a small scale to test it's viability, and potentially expanded to include other members should it prove successful. It would be aimed at those members that require assistance on a larger scale that what is normally provided here, for projects that would take more than just a few minutes to solve.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    OK... fair enough. I have a project that is expected to take me probably a weekend to research, test and hopefully have a solution by Monday. If I offer $10 for a solution and no one responds, what do I do? I've already paid $10 to buy 10 credit points and I can't guarrentee anyone will accept my project if I double that to $20 or $30, etc.

    Also do this mean that moderators will be moderating and answering these questions or will moderators be providing this service on their own time. In other words, if a moderator regularly logged on for an hour a day to moderate/ answer questions, should they now be expected to log on for an extra x number of hours to answer paid questions...

    All I see is smoke and mirrors... nothing is clear, at least not to me.

  22. #22
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    Re: Commercial Services

    I for 1, will still be logging on the same as I always do, and I suspect that the rest will do the same. I wouldnt expect anyone to offer help with a project that will take, say a weekend, to offer their time unless they are prepared to give that time?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quite a few of the answers that I have given have taken more than "just a few minutes to solve", especially when you add in the time taken to compose a detailed explanation of the solution to help the OP learn about what is happening. I don't begrudge that, and certainly don't expect to be paid for it. If someone posts a question "I would like to do x, y and z", then are we to be faced with the situation where someone else (mods and/or admin at the moment) might reply and say "that's too big a job - post it in the paid subscriptions forum, and I'll be able to help you out" ? And what then happens if a contributor who is not part of that elite group responds that they can do it for nothing?

    I don't think this has been thought out thoroughly.

    I agree with jaslake - fix the things that (we know) don't work properly.

    Pete
    Last edited by Pete_UK; 05-31-2013 at 05:51 PM.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    It's one thing to knock up and test a formula and/or some VBA code; it is something else to understand the requirements, and then design, build, and destruction test an end to end solution. For that, I would expect considerably more than 10 or 20 points.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I agree with Pete.

    Let's be honest, we all try and do our best and, more often than not, we succeed. But, sometimes we run out of steam. And then someone else might step in, or we ask for help in the Water Cooler Call in the Cavalry thread.

    Bit different if you've committed to deliver a solution for a fixed price ...

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I don't think this has been thought out thoroughly.
    - An ongoing issue with this site for the last couple of years imo.
    I don't get the logic of this, other than EF trying to gouge money out people. Soon EF will be charging just to become a member here I wot! I don't understand how you all still bother with this site.
    If you're happy with someone's help, click that little star at the bottom left of their post to give them Reps.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I don't understand how you all still bother with this site.
    Lot's of people asking questions and lots of opportunity to offer help. Yeah, OK, not sure ... volume of traffic.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I'm just stirring the pot... but then why would anyone pay? If the simple solutions can come for free and the complex solutions may or may not be handled by the mods/admin then why should anyone purchase the points... Can someone for example post the problem and see how much people for a solution? I have seen this working really well at sites like Freelancer.com (which by the way gets a lot of people needing Excel solutions). My point is let's say I think this solution should cost me $1000. What I go and buy a $1000 worth of credits and still no one provides me with a solution... what then. Do I get my money back? Does the money stay with EF until I use it? How does it work from the point where the OP departs from their money to the point of getting a working solution they are satisfied with? How is conflict resolution going to be handled? Too many unanswered questions.

    Also as I suspected if the moderators are not going to be putting more hours then might as well scratch the whole set of forum rules since there will no one to watch over the forum. It's a shame... I really think this hairballed scheme to get rich quick could ruin the forum for good.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @ FDibbins

    If you look at my posting history you'll see that these are the issues I generally look for.
    I wouldn't expect anyone to offer help with a project that will take, say a weekend, to offer their time unless they are prepared to give that time
    My work History (retired) was pretty much centralized around helping those that worked with/for me in manipulating data...love that "Stuff"...VBA does that "Stuff".

    I don't need to be paid to do this...but, if you ARE and I'm NOT, that changes my perspective a bit...don't you think?

    I don't wish to miss out on that "Stuff".

    @ TMShucks

    Don't know
    I don't understand how you all still bother with this site.
    Perspective...I've gotta think about it...

    Gotta think about this...the Forum is taking a new direction...at the moment, I don't like it.

  30. #30
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    Re: Commercial Services

    All these questions being asked on this thread and very little response from Arlu and staff. Typical I guess.
    I don't need to be paid to do this...but, if you ARE and I'm NOT, that changes my perspective a bit...don't you think?
    I agree!

    I guess my points are moot given the fact that I don't answer too many people's problems on this site anymore but that's because of the changes that have been happening here over the last while. One thing that is consistent is the load time of pages here. 5 to 10 seconds is a long time imo.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Oh yeah, I find buying points before you can ask a question is down-right silly! The company I work for outsources sometimes but they don't typically pay until the deliverable is actually delivered. Hasn't there actually been some thinking with this regard? And why would anyone want to pay when there are so many sites on the interwebs that offer free help. This idea is very silly and I don't recall who mentioned it but it seems like a get-rich-quick scheme to me, or a try-hard get rich scheme.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @Mordred: perhaps I shouldn't have started the thread!?

    I think, now they've lit the little blue touch paper, we should maybe all patiently watch and wait ... and not judge until we have seen the evidence. That said, if there's a book open, I'll be betting on its survival rate being slightly worse than that of a seagull flying into a jet engine.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @Mordred: it is a little confusing - you buy them up front so that you have them to offer, but you might not offer them, and maybe then you lose them if you don't ask a "paid for" question. And I don't think you actually hand them over until you "appreciate" the response ... that is, it has been delivered.

    So, I'm guessing that you could agree a price and do the work and then the OP could say "I don't appreciate this, it's rubbish". Then what?

    I somehow can't see this getting extended to gurus and experts.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by The powers that be
    After the initial subscription period is complete, the subscription will automatically be renewed with a new charge
    This seems slightly odd

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    Re: Commercial Services

    My replies are turning out to be huge - so posting it in parts

    Even so, I don't see how this will work. Let's say someone offers 8 points, $8 USD, for a solution. I would get $6 USD, maybe £4 GBP, give or take, at current exchange rates. My hourly rate is a lot higher than that so, to answer questions for money on the forum would simply not be worth while.
    If you feel the question that is posed deserves higher points, you can PM the Request Originator and let him/her know about it. This has already been mentioned in the FAQ.

    And why would anyone choose to pay for a Moderator or Admin, with all due respect, when there are so may Gurus and Experts answering questions for free?[/quote] If someone wants an urgent query to be answered and doesnt mind paying the fee, they will post it in the CS forum. I have seen a few requests coming through in the last few weeks even when the CS forum was not started.

    If I don't use the service, what happens to my $10, $20, $30, $40 at the end of 1 month from the date of purchase...is the purchase voided and I get my money back?
    I dont think anyone would simply buy the subscription and not use it, fully knowing that there is a 1 month validity to each subscription that is being bought.

    If I use the service and my issue is NOT resolved at the end of 1 month, what happens to my $10, $20, $30, $40 at the end of 1 month from the date of purchase...is the purchase voided and I get my money back?
    This has already been mentioned in the FAQ. If your question is not answered, your money is refunded within 10 days.

    Where have you posted your "Terms of Service"?
    Will be posted soon.

    What about low ballers? For example, what if someone posts a tough question requiring a complex solution and no one wants to create a solution for let's say $10. What happens then? Do the Amin/ moderators have to answer all questions? What's the decision-making process here?
    This has already been mentioned in the FAQ. If you feel the question that is posed deserves higher points, you can PM the Request Originator and let him/her know about it.

    Also do this mean that moderators will be moderating and answering these questions or will moderators be providing this service on their own time. In other words, if a moderator regularly logged on for an hour a day to moderate/ answer questions, should they now be expected to log on for an extra x number of hours to answer paid questions...
    There is no compulsion on the moderators and admins that they need to be online for additional number of hours to answer the paid questions. If they want to pick them up for answering and if questions appear at the time they are online, they are free to do so.

    If someone posts a question "I would like to do x, y and z", then are we to be faced with the situation where someone else (mods and/or admin at the moment) might reply and say "that's too big a job - post it in the paid subscriptions forum, and I'll be able to help you out" ? And what then happens if a contributor who is not part of that elite group responds that they can do it for nothing?
    In the case that the above happens, the thread will be deleted from the free forum and the user will be asked to create his thread in the paid forum. Then, no issues or complications will arise. I feel we are just complicating this too much. Lets see how it goes for the first couple of weeks and then we can put in additional controls. As FD said earlier we are starting it on a small scale to test its viability, so i feel we should give it a chance to be tested.

  36. #36
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    Re: Commercial Services

    ... Lets see how it goes for the first couple of weeks and then we can put in additional controls. As FD said earlier we are starting it on a small scale to test its viability, so i feel we should give it a chance to be tested.
    This is true. We have to wait just to see what you have planned ... because ..

    ....There is no compulsion on the moderators and admins that they need to be online for additional number of hours to answer the paid questions. If they want to pick them up for answering and if questions appear at the time they are online, they are free to do so.
    ....As ALL of us* know(and i mentioned several times) only 1 Moderator(and the Admin) are every day on line and are real active.

    Αll others appear periodically (because they have limited time available, as was explained to me in another Thread) Minimum time every week ...

    Let's wait to see what else you are preparing, as it is clear that in these circumstances it can not work.
    Last edited by Fotis1991; 06-03-2013 at 03:25 AM. Reason: *Not all of use..Just all of us!

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Let's be honest, we all try and do our best and, more often than not, we succeed. But, sometimes we run out of steam. And then someone else might step in, or we ask for help in the Water Cooler Call in the Cavalry thread.
    As mentioned in the FAQ, you have the option of moving out of the thread if you are not able to provide any solution to it. So even if you have locked it for yourself (by clicking on the lock button), you can unlock yourself from it.

    I'm just stirring the pot... but then why would anyone pay? If the simple solutions can come for free and the complex solutions may or may not be handled by the mods/admin then why should anyone purchase the points... Can someone for example post the problem and see how much people for a solution? I have seen this working really well at sites like Freelancer.com (which by the way gets a lot of people needing Excel solutions). My point is let's say I think this solution should cost me $1000. What I go and buy a $1000 worth of credits and still no one provides me with a solution... what then. Do I get my money back? Does the money stay with EF until I use it? How does it work from the point where the OP departs from their money to the point of getting a working solution they are satisfied with? How is conflict resolution going to be handled? Too many unanswered questions.
    Have you even read the FAQ before posing all these questions? All the answers are right there for you to read.

    Oh yeah, I find buying points before you can ask a question is down-right silly! The company I work for outsources sometimes but they don't typically pay until the deliverable is actually delivered. Hasn't there actually been some thinking with this regard? And why would anyone want to pay when there are so many sites on the interwebs that offer free help. This idea is very silly and I don't recall who mentioned it but it seems like a get-rich-quick scheme to me, or a try-hard get rich scheme.
    Let there be other sites on the web offering free service, but if users prefer to get a job done by paying a few $, i dont see why it irritates you. Even before CS was introduced, there were quite a few posts where users were willing to pay a few bucks to get a particular job done.

    After the initial subscription period is complete, the subscription will automatically be renewed with a new charge - This seems slightly odd
    It is not odd, Kyle. Every subscription you take is valid for a month. Once your subscription expires, you need to renew it for a charge. Thats it.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    No, what's odd is that it is automatically renewed - like a direct debit. Why would I want to do this if I'm paying for a one off solution? Unless I cancel it, you'll keep taking the money

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    Re: Commercial Services

    You will not be billed unless you approve of it. So your account will not be directly debited.

    I guess we need to re-phrase it so all understand it well.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I'm now wondering why my work should be classified as "free" ... I think this is where free market economics kicks in and i withdraw my labour (which is obviously worthless).
    Elegant Simplicity............. Not Always

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    Re: Commercial Services

    One suggestion...

    The "resolution of disputes" obviously needs to be done by someone independent. As it is set up, it appears that the role of the admin will be both to act as request solvers and dispute resolvers. Whilst this will presumably not be the same person, in my opinion those who are responsible for the resolution of disputes should not be able to answer any questions at all in order to remain independent.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I am not saying this as i am admin - but if any of the admins want to answer the questions as well resolve disputes, i dont think we should stop them. Any particular reason you bring this up?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    because of potential conflicts of interest-how can you be seen to impartially resolve a dispute if you are one of the involved parties?
    Josie

    if at first you don't succeed try doing it the way your wife told you to

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    Re: Commercial Services

    An auditor would probably use the term "segregation of duties".

    You could argue that one Admin could answer a question and another could "resolve the dispute" ... but who would trust you to be impartial?

    Regards, TMS

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Arlette, the FAQs keep getting updated as soon as we ask for an explanation... then you tell us that the answer is available in the FAQs. That makes no sense.

    In all cases, I see this new 'subforum' as the end of EF as we know it. I'm seeing less and less questions being answered because frankly the people who know Excel are either fed up with the confrontational attitude of the people running the website or are now concentrating on answering questions for money. I don't know... and frankly don't really care. Most of us here are not promoting ourselves or our consulting services. Most of us do this because we like to help others just as others have helped us.

    Follow the stats and let it tell you the truth about where there things are going... it you see a new source of revenue more that what the site was getting from advertising, etc. then keep up the good work. If not, then we will probably be seeing new individuals at the helm of this forum very soon.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Arlu,

    I think you could run into trouble with a conflict of interest as mentioned by JosephP. Obviously the senior members/staff of the forum are generally going to be slightly more friendly to each other than a new user posting a question and I don't think there is much you can do about that.

    However, I'd be more concerned with things happening like, for example, where one admin has worked on a solution for a person and then is required to resolve a dispute between that person and another admin. It would be very difficult to remain impartial and not let the experience of the previous role as a solution giver influence the decision and possibly end up with one that is unfair. If a single user starts posting regularly then presumably it would not take long for all the admins to have answered a question to that person. I would also expect that if you were to regularly provide solutions and then adjudicate on a dispute you would be more inclined to view the dispute from the perspective of the solution giver.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    my 2c, leaving aside the issue of the forum collapsing whenever new features are implemented

    I really can't fathom what all the fuss is about

    if you want to make money from doing this you're in the wrong place but most of the people here will probably be in line for access to the commercial area in short order anyway so you can answer wherever you wish ;-)
    (on that note what was the point in reducing all the gurus to experts just to reinstate them again-or will there be some lucky citizens who do not get reinstated?)

    I had a look at ozgrid over the last few days out of curiosity and the free part of the forum still gets way more traffic than the paid part-probably for the simple reasons that people don't expect to pay on a forum where most questions are answered for free and that they seriously underestimate what their projects are worth (most questions seem to be $10-20). this is pretty normal behavior and I reckon it will be repeated here

    so I don't see there being any fewer questions to answer for us few, the happy few, the band of mere mortals, and the elite can earn themselves enough dough to feed their jolt cola habits. the cherry on the sundae will be that the owner can afford a new memory stick for the server with his cut so it's win-win-win :-P

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Since I joined the EF community a while ago, there were a ton of 'experts/ gurus/ MVPs'. There were so many that it was to the point that I could barely find a chance to answer a question. Today, there are only a handful left and even they are rarely posting... I see a trend and I am not happy with where it is going. The only response I ever seem to get is "the tech team is working on it..." or "those problems happened yesterday, but today everything is fine..." or "it's in the FAQ..." It's an attitude towards running the site and treating the people who actually engage on the forum with just a little bit of respect. I'm not asking anyone to share their financial wealth with me. They can make money in whatever way they want.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Abousetta, the only parts which were added to the FAQ were the parts informing new users not to post duplicate threads and about "what if the question is not answered". The rest of the portions were already there but questions were still springing up about them here. I can send you the original word doc that i drafted if you wanna check.

    JosephP, the reason why the forum gurus were changed to forum experts (they have not been downgraded because the forum expert level is a very high level too), because the system was faulty. People with high post count caused by several questions being posed were becoming forum gurus. Were they gurus in the true meaning of the word? No! Thats why it was high time that the levels were changed to reflect their true meaning. It just happened that the forum level changes and the introduction of CS happened around the same time.

    We mods and admin will discuss on the conflicts of interest side of this and get back to you all.
    Last edited by arlu1201; 06-03-2013 at 12:15 PM.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by arlu1201 View Post
    they have not been downgraded because the forum expert level is a very high level too
    if you moved them down a level that's a downgrade
    People with high post count caused by several questions being posed were becoming forum gurus. Were they gurus in the true meaning of the word? No!
    and are they experts then?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @Arlette: just checked the Members List and there are 494738 registered members. While I appreciate that some folk will have been "promoted" to Gurus by a faulty algorithm, I can't believe it is anywhere close to half a million. The implication being that it might just have been easier to start with the existing Gurus and check if they matched or exceeded an interim criteria set, perhaps double the Expert criteria set. If they did, leave them as Gurus. If they don't, check to see if they match or exceed the newly documented criteria for an Expert. If they do, flag them as Experts. If they don't, but they'd been marked as Gurus that indicates that they probably qualify to be Valued Forum Contributors.

    Now, I'm no database expert, but I'm pretty sure it's reasonably easy to pick out the users marked as Gurus and do something with them. And similarly, it would then be easy to do a similar exercise with the VCFs, checking if they qualify to move up to the Expert status ... assuming they wanted to.

    I don't have access to the MI to determine the distribution of Gurus, VCFs and so on, but I'm guessing if you start working from the top, there's a lot less to do than any other approach. As an aside, I'm guessing you did have to process all the Gurus, except Andrew-R, in order to change the status anyway. So why make a load of work for yourselves ... which, incidentally, seems to be taking way more than a couple of days.

    Apart from a Technical Team that don't seem to live up to the name, it doesn't appear as though you have anyone capable of planning and project management.

    Regards, TMS

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    Re: Commercial Services

    or perhaps create a title above guru and promote the relevant people. nobody gets demoted or ticked off :-)

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I am not saying they are experts. But the entire level structure has been changed, so they will surely not match any of top levels because the rep criteria too has been included.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    the logic has escaped me-they were removed from guru status because they're not gurus and assigned expert status even though they're not experts? or were some people changed from guru to lower than expert?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Nail squarely hit on head:
    nobody gets demoted or ticked off :-)
    Although I have to say I wasn't in the least bit ticked off.

    I have to agree, much easier to create a Super Mario role and then assess the existing Gurus. You could manually assess all the Gurus and move them up, leave them where they are, or move them down. The people promote might/would feel honoured, most of those who stayed as is would probably be happy, and those who were demoted could perhaps appeal.

    Why am I even still looking at this thread ... oh yes, just because I started it. Can you unsubscribe from your own thread?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    The implication being that it might just have been easier to start with the existing Gurus and check if they matched or exceeded an interim criteria set, perhaps double the Expert criteria set. If they did, leave them as Gurus. If they don't, check to see if they match or exceed the newly documented criteria for an Expert. If they do, flag them as Experts. If they don't, but they'd been marked as Gurus that indicates that they probably qualify to be Valued Forum Contributors.
    Overtime more and more users would be moving up the levels. So in this case, isnt it easier and better to change the algorithm in the system than doing it manually. The mods and admins would have to spend so much time each month just reviewing which candidates got promoted and which need to be. Let the system take care of it, why do you want to bring in the human factor?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by JosephP View Post
    the logic has escaped me-they were removed from guru status because they're not gurus and assigned expert status even though they're not experts? or were some people changed from guru to lower than expert?
    The entire level structure has changed, so it depends on where the users fall. Earlier there was no rep point criteria, but now there is. Surely, that is bound to change things.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    So when will the question criterion be introduced ? An expert is only an expert if his/her started threads are less then say 5 % of his posts ?
    Thus to prevent 'questionable' members to become 'experts' automatically ?



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    Re: Commercial Services

    Snb,

    The rep factor is enough i guess to prevent this.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @Arlette: I noted earlier that there are some 494738 registered members. If you sort the list by descending number of posts, you find that about half way down page 39, you get to the first "Registered User" ... not "Forum Contributor", not "Valued Forum Contributor", just "Registered User". So, for the sake of argument and ease of calculation, let's call it 40 pages with 30 names on each page; that's 1200 registered members with any status above the base line.

    Take a step further up the hierarchy, well, in terms of post count, and you get to page 18 before the mix changes from "Valued Forum Contributor" to "Forum Contributor", although there is a bit of a lack of consistency in the middle ground. Oh, yes, and the odd "Super Admin" thrown in there with 360 posts.

    18 pages times 30 people per page is, what, 540 people, give or take, with "status". So, if we said it might take one (1) minute to manually assess each of those users, that would be 540 minutes, which is 7 hours for one person. Divided up between the active mods, ... yeah, OK, maybe still 7 hours. That's Gurus, Experts, and Valued Forum Contributors ... plus a few Admin and Moderators. Even if it took a little longer, 2 or 3 minutes per person, that would be two or three man days to manually assess and review the status of 540 users. BUT, big but, you don't have to manually assess and review all those 540 people because you've got a (obscenity deleted here) database running on a big computer.

    Now I really do understand the rationale behind wanting to review the "role"/"title" assigned by aging algorithms. But as JB reminds us, even if you're a rocket scientist, this isn't rocket science. So, I just cannot understand why you have taken the approach. Even accepting the voting aspect for the higher ranks going forward, I'm sure you could have used an automated process to get it 90 to 95 percent right, if not even closer, and then sorted out the anomalies manually.

    Anyway, two days and ticking Indian subcontinent time ...

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by arlu1201 View Post
    The entire level structure has changed, so it depends on where the users fall. Earlier there was no rep point criteria, but now there is. Surely, that is bound to change things.
    are there users who were gurus who are now not experts? that's all I'm asking

    please note this is not criticism-when I see something I don't understand, I ask questions. it's my nature :-)

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    Re: Commercial Services

    C'mon guys, its not that big a deal. You make it sound like the end of the world is approaching? Im sure there are far better? things to get all worked up about than what you are "called" on a (pretty much) free help forum?

    And Trevor, I agree that it should only take "7 hours" to go through the list, the way you have narrowed it down, but I for 1, and not going to spend the next 7 hours going through a list

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @FDibbins: I would not expect you to, nor do I think you need to spend that time. As I said, we have computers to undertake such tasks such as these. Seems though, that a commitment has been made on your behalf.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    The title names should not impart any implied level of skill. The should simply reflect the members time here, their post count (both as thread starter and contributor). This can be done with an algorithm.

    The reps reflect how others perceive the members ability to provide information. The drawback with using this to grade ability is that not all solutions get a rep and you can not distinguish between a Thank you or an acknowledgement of a truely ingenious or novel solution.

    Titles such as Expert, Guru, Wizard, Master etc, should be given as a reward/thank you by the forums admin/moderates. Unfortunately this would be manual process but not one that would drain their time. It would be up to the existing admin/mods to privately nominate and allocate said titles. Much like the process for selecting new mods/admin. Of course those vain enough could nominate themselves for consideration by a simple PM.

    Check out Ozgrid's approach.
    Cheers
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    Re: Commercial Services

    @Andy: I don't disagree with your comments, in the main. But, with regard to rep, I guess people don't give positive rep, even as a thank you, unless the solution answered their question or was at least helpful. The system also prevents them being over-effusive. And, at the other end of the scale, not everyone says thank you, with or without rep, or even acknowledges the solution. I'm sure there are ways of improving the system, but it is the same system for everyone, albeit, the rep power algorithm has changed over time.

    However you look at it, you don't get a lot of rep points without successfully answering a lot of questions.


    Regards, TMS

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @TMShucks. I have provided solutions, which have been marked as solved, to members whose signatures either explain how to give reps or explicity asking to be given reps that do not bother to give reps themselves. To be clear this does not bother me in anyway.

    In terms of member titles the rep system is too flawed to be used as a measure of a members ability, an indication maybe.
    For ability related titles to have any true value they should be decided by committee not algorithm.
    Last edited by Andy Pope; 06-04-2013 at 05:19 AM. Reason: add clarification to last sentence

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @Andy: I don't think we actually disagree that much. But, for the sake of peace, I'm happy to draw a line under.

    Despite having done the math, the task of manually assessing the individuals who make a contribution to the forum would seem to be a massive and time consuming undertaking. I am just suggesting that a relatively easy way to move everyone from where they were to where they probably should be could be automated and then any anomalies addressed. And, ongoing, new and existing promotions and demotions could be undertaken by committee.

    How do you eat an elephant? One very small piece at a time.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Pope View Post
    In terms of member titles the rep system is too flawed to be used as a measure of a members ability, an indication maybe.
    For ability related titles to have any true value they should be decided by committee not algorithm.
    I couldn't agree with you more, Andy.
    Hope that helps,

    Colin

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    Re: Commercial Services

    So if AP's assertion is correct, which member(s) in the 30 highest in reputation ranking should be removed ?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    all of them! that's the point. those reps should not be used to assess skill because the awarding of reps is too arbitary.

    Ideally those reps should be renamed acknowlegements or thank yous.

    When it comes to designating a skill level quantity, whether reps and or post counts, should not be the criteria.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Pope View Post
    @TMShucks. I have provided solutions, which have been marked as solved, to members whose signatures either explain how to give reps or explicity asking to be given reps that do not bother to give reps themselves. To be clear this does not bother me in anyway.

    In terms of member titles the rep system is too flawed to be used as a measure of a members ability, an indication maybe.
    For ability related titles to have any true value they should be decided by committee not algorithm.
    I repped you the last time you helped me with a chart a few months back.
    Be fore warned, I regularly post drunk. So don't take offence (too much) to what I say.
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    The Grid. A digital frontier. I tried to picture clusters of information as they moved through the computer. What did they look like? Ships? motorcycles? Were the circuits like freeways? I kept dreaming of a world I thought I'd never see. And then, one day...

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @JapanDave, as have many others.

    I am not going to name and shame I'm just stating that it happens, which is why it's not a good measure.

    Same thing happens when it comes to relying on post counts. Those who post a "thanks for thanks" reply bump their counts. It makes them polite not experts.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Great, I was hoping your comment was not directed at me.

    But, I don't necessarily agree with your premise that the mods or admin should be the ones to decide. No offence to the mods here, but there certainly are more qualified Excel users who are not admin or mods that I think should be able choose. Maybe it should be a public vote(Names of voters withheld) where only experts, mods and admin could vote. You must agree to a certain extent that getting expert status in most cases shows that you know at the very least a little about Excel and that those peoples opinions should also weigh in on the selection process?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    The guy who knows a little about excel is an "expert" to the guy who knows nothing.

    I don't think a public vote would help. Why restricted it to admin/mods/experts. Members with other titles are just as capable of acknowledging an 'expert'.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    This whole issue has received a lot of attention, and web traffic, over the past few weeks. In general whenever there are changes, some people are happy and others are not. From what I have seen, simply put, is the current management of the site (owner, admin, moderators, tech team or whoever makes decisions here) do not give much weight to the public opinion of site members. The decisions are made behind closed doors (even though there could be a lot of infighting amongst the decision makers, but the public don't know what is going on). In the end, whatever decision is passed down is law and there are no systems in place to challenge these decisions. On the contrary, the role of the ruling parties is to convince the members that this is the ruling and by abiding by the new rules then everything will be fine... of course until they change the rules again. I have seen people banned, shamed, and everything in the middle for speaking against the decisions or pointing out failures in the current system. That's fine. It's their site and can choose to do whatever they want with it. They can bar people for not using code tags or add it for them... it's their decision. I'm just tired of us offering our sincere advice only to be treated like a whining child wanting a toy. The system (hardware, software, algorithms, tech support, etc) is in a worse state than most competing forums and that is all neglected... so why should it bother me that the desires of the people who actually support the forum by spending time contributing with questions and solutions be any less neglected

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I think there is a genuine need of bigger projects which free helpers are unwilling to take on, for which people are willing to pay.

    I also think the proposed mechanism is not going to work. Particularly ref: (1) ridiculously short lifetime of 'credits' (2) incongruity of bolting commercial services onto a free forum (3) arbitrary pricing mechanism. Although there are other weaknesses.

    Incidentally, I also dislike the proposal and the communication which hasn't accompanied it.


    PS
    Lastly, in my work I'm forever correcting business issues driven by confusing seniority with capability. Some people are brilliant jerks, whilst others are less sharp in both senses of the word. (I am not saying these are the only two types of person). Confusing this simple concept makes for useless senior engineers (or equivalent) and disastrous team managers. Conflating Mod with capability is a similar error.
    Last edited by Cheeky Charlie; 06-04-2013 at 08:57 AM.
    CC


    If you feel really indebted please consider a donation to charity. My preferred charity is ActionAid but there are plenty of worthy alternatives.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Charlie,

    Why do you say?
    ridiculously short lifetime of 'credits'
    The points will always be there. Its the subscription period that will expire after 1 month.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    You can give an example on how the money is there but the subscription is over?

    So in other words if I bought $1000 in the first month and only used $100 worth of credits, how I do redeem my $900 or how do I use them say in next year?

    Sorry they didn't go over this style of economics in school

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    Re: Commercial Services

    If you have a balance of $, you can redeem them. But knowing that you will get back only 75%, its better to buy less when buying. You can always buy additional if reqd.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    So I'm lost here, where's the subscription and what expires? You buy points and can use them for as long as you like?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    The FAQ states
    The various options are $10, $20, $30, $40 all valid for a period of 1 month from the date of purchase.
    (The $ have now been extended to $50, $100 and $200, as well which needs to be added to the FAQ).

    So once you buy a subscription, its valid for 1 month. If you have already posted the questions you needed to post and do not have any further questions, you can redeem the balance $. But you will get back only $75. Hence, its prudent if the user concerned buys the required number of $ at the outset. If he does fall short, he can buy more. I just stated this because abousetta stated about the $1000.

    However, if you are the person answering the questions and you accumulate points over time, there is no validity for you. You can redeem the points once you reach a minimum of 100 points.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    If someone posts a question "I would like to do x, y and z", then are we to be faced with the situation where someone else (mods and/or admin at the moment) might reply and say "that's too big a job - post it in the paid subscriptions forum, and I'll be able to help you out" ? And what then happens if a contributor who is not part of that elite group responds that they can do it for nothing?
    In the case that the above happens, the thread will be deleted from the free forum and the user will be asked to create his thread in the paid forum. Then, no issues or complications will arise.
    Stepping back a bit (post #42 to be precise) and a continuation (sort of) is there any possibility that an OP could start a thread and rather than a member stepping in and saying that they can do it for free that a member had already started posting / responding and spent their time creating a whole or partial solution, but then an admin, moderator or whoever steps in and states that it is too "big a job" for the free forum and the thread is then deleted and the OP "asked to create his thread in the paid forum", thus wasting the time the original responders time spent answering the question?

    Or possibly if the thread wasn't deleted but the admin, moderator or whoever just states that that should re-post in the "Commercial Services" area but then the responder decided to post again would they suffer an infringement?

    I will state in general I have no problem with a consultancy section being created as there are plenty of sites that have them but most of them treat them as totally separate entities to the free forums.

    Luckily enough I have neither the brains, knowledge or attention span that any of the above will ever be a situation for me, so its purely a hypothetical question just interested.
    If my solution worked (or not) please let me know. If your question is answered then please remember to mark it solved

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    Re: Commercial Services

    If someone 'buys' $100 and doesn't/can't (by lack of professionalism) use it, $75 remains after 1 month, after 2 months it's worth $ 56,25 etc.
    After a year the original $100 has been reduced to $4,22, without any 'service' being delivered.
    In the meantime the 'EF-bank' can make a profit of x% investing the $100 elsewhere.
    In our legal system we call that a 'con' scheme for which you can be prosecuted.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I dont understand why everyone cant look at the positive side of this. There are several people who can benefit from an end-to-end solution given to them for a nominal fee, which would be too much to handle in a paid forum. I have seen several requests coming in where users want a complete solution for a fee.

    Why not give this initiative a chance? Every venture may have some glitches but it can always be worked upon and rectified.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Why not make it visible for everyone to see, but only allow certain users to post in it?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Hey Kyle, why? Just like Bullseye ... and this is the prize you would have won ... queue music ... a fantastic forty foot speedboat you could have parked on your drive in the middle of Birmingham.

    The answer, the real answer, is probably that the idea is ill conceived, poorly thought through and badly implemented. Hence the reason for the constant on-the-fly updating of the FAQ every time someone asks a question.

    TMS

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    Re: Commercial Services

    The answer, the real answer, is probably that the idea is ill conceived, poorly thought through and badly implemented. Hence the reason for the constant on-the-fly updating of the FAQ every time someone asks a question.
    TMS, i have already stated this before. The FAQ was updated only on 2 counts. Otherwise the info was all there. Its just that people dont take the time to read it fully.

    Here is the original word doc from where the FAQ had been copied on the 1st day and you can check what all aspects were already included. (I have also attached the screenshot if you do not believe that the file was created a week back).
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @Arlette; don't take it personally. I'm not doubting your word and I have no plans to audit the original document.

    However, while that might be the reality, I think the perception is that there have been many changes, probably because you have had to make the same point several times. But, you know what they say about perception

    In all honesty, it doesn't bother me that much. I can't see the forum; I can't see the questions or answers; I am not in a position to proffer answers, were I so inclined. So, for me it's a bit of a moot point. But, if there is an adverse reaction to this initiative, no-one is going to be surprised. If it's a success, I probably won't see that either, given that it's all going on behind closed doors.

    Even if the option to answer questions is extended to Forum Gurus, that's not going to have an immediate impact on me. And, as it's way over the "couple of days" that you estimated and my new title is still Forum Expert, that implies that the work has still not been done, or that my contribution has been assessed, again behind closed doors, and found wanting.

    Whatever, I'm probably wasting too much time writing in this thread, not to mention my breath.

    Kind regards, TMS

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I had earlier mentioned that we need 2 days to do the promotions / changes. However, considering that i we are all on the forum at different times during the day and on different days in the week, i guess my estimate of 2 days was wrong.

    But you do not have to worry, this is being addressed and the changes will happen very soon.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    At the moment there are 2 Admins and 14 Mods, not all of whom seem to be active. So they are the only ones who will be able to view this new forum, unless you want to pay. If it is extended to Forum Gurus that will add one more person. There are currently 77 people who are classified as Forum Experts - again, some of who do not seem to be active. Presumably some of these will go back to being Forum Gurus, some will stay at that level, and some will be "demoted" when the new rules are finally applied (2 days must mean different things in England compared with India).

    So, for the elite group of maybe 60 or 70 people the Commercial Services forum will be available to them. For the rest of us it may as well not exist.

    I'm bored with all the talk of something that means nothing to me.

    Pete

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    Re: Commercial Services

    You did indeed mention two days. And that set my expectations and, I imagine, those of others. Do you not realise that when you, as the Administrator of this Forum, make any sort of statement, it is taken as a commitment. When you then do not deliver, as is the case in point, and you do not manage expectations, that reflects on you and the professionalism of the forum.

    On the one hand, you want to introduce "commercial services" and on the other, you operate as a group of amateurs indulging themselves in a hobby. The site patently does not have adequate management or control, nor does it have a Technical Team ... if it exists at all ... that deserves the name.

    If you spent more time actually delivering what you have promised and fixing what is broken, then you would spend less time having to respond to the various threads raising issues and concerns.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    The reason i say my estimate was wrong is - if it was only to change the status from Forum Expert to Forum Guru, it can be done in not more than a few mins in the system once the list is finalized by all the mods and admin. However, there are going to be some guidelines in place for all forum gurus and these are being discussed in detail so that this place continues to be a fun place to work, despite the rules in place.

    This is almost in the finalizing stages and should be out soon along the promotions to forum guru.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    one of my favorite signs hangs above a beach bar in the caymans
    "Relax. Soon come"

    :-)

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Basic piece of advice: when you can't see out of the hole, stop digging.

    However, there are going to be some guidelines in place for all forum gurus and these are being discussed in detail
    One has to wonder what those guidelines for all forum gurus might look like ...

    so that this place continues to be a fun place to work, despite the rules in place.

    I wait with bated breath

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    Re: Commercial Services

    This will hopefully be my last post on these topics as I should really restrain from talking to myself... since it's obvious the people who run the forum only listen to their own thoughts.

    Promotions/ demotions... why don't you just cancel the whole title thing and let the post count/ rep points speak for themselves... no... bad idea... OK, then stay on the same course... there's still probably one or two experts/ gurus/ etc. that you haven't alienated yet... keep trying... if at first you don't succeed... demote, demote, again

    As for the paid services, it's fine when it's not being shrouded in secrecy, fine print, and a guarantee only to pay the forum. I could give you a hundred scenarios where things can (and most likely) will go wrong and you have no contingency plans in place to resolve them. The only thing we know for sure is that the forum will get paid... no guarantee the poster will get the answer they want nor that the person who provides the answer will get the compensation they deserve. If that's the case, maybe I will create a dummy profile, put $500 in the account and keep asking questions. In the end, each time I get a response I will keep changing my criteria (inception creep) until the responder gives up trying to fulfill my needs. Then I will ask another tough question. At the end of the month, I only really have to pay 25% to the forum and I can redeem 75%. The forum will be happy... I will be happy... and as for the admin/ moderators who won't get their hard earned money... well, they can talk to Arlette and she can direct them to the FAQs.

    abousetta

    P.S. Just to be clear, I would never attempt to cheat anyone out as described above, but wanted to show an example of how the system is flawed. I feel saddened that the community is dying and wish everyone a great life.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @abousetta: interestingly, you mention compensation, although in a slightly different context.

    I have to pay for professional indemnity insurance in the, hopefully unlikely, event that the work I do costs my clients money. So, while we offer advice and answers to problems, we are not being paid to provide a bespoke solution upon which a business may depend. I would worry, just a little, who would be held responsible for any losses that an organisation might make on the basis of one of these $10 turnkey solutions.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Who decides a member's status? Looking at the members list then the highest reputations belong to guys that such idiotic changes as this one drove away. As for getting the money then I say good luck, we ex-admin/mods were promised a Xmas present several years ago, but apparently Santa never managed to leave the sub-continent.

    This post has just reinforced my decision to help on other Forums, not here!!!!
    Hope that helps.

    RoyUK
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Roy, its hardly been a few days since the Commercial Services has been rolled out. Shouldnt we give it a chance to breathe and take its first gulps of air before terming it as "idiotic"? Give it a chance to be tested and reviewed.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Give it a chance to be tested and reviewed.
    How is that going to happen, Arlette? No-one can see it except you and the Mods. Again, behind closed doors so you could tell us anything. I'm sure it will be a success. But then, we never see poor performance or database crashes, or when we do, "that was yesterday, it's all OK today" is the phrase we hear every time.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    TMS,

    Within no time, you and other esteemed forum members will become forum gurus. You can check the success / failure of the CS subforum then as the next level of access will be given to the forum gurus. Why spread negativity around now just because you cant see it? Does everyone spread negativity about God just because we cant see him?
    Last edited by arlu1201; 06-05-2013 at 02:20 PM. Reason: Corrected typo.

  101. #101
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Does everyone spread negativity about God just because we cant see him?
    That is the most inapt metaphor I have ever seen, Arlette.
    Entia non sunt multiplicanda sine necessitate

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I probably had to rephrase it as "Do people spread negativity about God just because we cant see him?".

    This is exactly whats happening here. All those who have not seen the CS subforum are only ranting about its cons. No one thinks of the pros or gives it a chance to breathe.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    That's the same metaphor, Arlette, putting the forum on par with God. Kali I would understand.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Goddess Kali is a God for one of the religions in a diverse and multi-cultural country like India. I wasnt meaning to keep the forum on par with God but i was trying drive the message forward that sometimes we need to have faith in things we cannot see.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    You can't see wind, but you can feel it's presence.... we can't see the subforum, but we can see... well something....

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    Re: Commercial Services

    To see what you are talking about we need to pay. I would have thought this new idea would be public for viewing, you can set individual forums to require questions to be moderated, but maybe the "Tech Team" don't know that. Anyway, I'll tell you why it's idiotic:

    You will get members offering small amounts and expecting hours of work in return.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Roy, you do not need to pay to enter the forum. Just have patience to be a forum guru and you will be given access.

    The tech team knows that we can give different access rights per forum, but we are not doing it. Its the same as the mods forum and admin cafe which are out of bounds for the rest of the users until they become eligible to view it, the same way the Commercial Services subforum will be out of bounds, until the user is eligible to view it.

    I'll tell you why it's idiotic: You will get members offering small amounts and expecting hours of work in return.
    We have people here with brains who can settle this with the user to ensure that the effort is suitably rewarded.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Its the same as the mods forum and admin cafe
    But it's not, it's your shop window. With my business hat on, customers are generally reluctant to pay for services unless they have done at least one of the following:
    • sampled the goods
    • had recommendations from other customers
    • seen the quality of work produced

    By making the forum private you prevent potential customers from doing any of the above and therefore narrowing your target market, reducing revenue & profit. By opening the forum to allow anyone to see, but only a selection to post, you allow potential customers to assess the quality of work on offer and weigh it against free options. Assuring the quality of work based only upon the bestowed title of a single forum is both shortsighted and hubristic - do you not have enough confidence in the quality of answers to put them on display to allow customers to make their own mind up about whether they wish to pay you for services?
    Last edited by Kyle123; 06-06-2013 at 03:38 AM.

  109. #109
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    Re: Commercial Services

    The whole issue is something that i probably do not care but I feel that i have to applaud the serious factual position of Kyle123.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    @Kyle: I guess the (naive) view is that the "client" has paid for the complex solution and a) has the intellectual property rights and b) doesn't want to share with the rest of the community. Which kind of goes against the ethos of the forum.

    To be fair, I answer complex questions on the forum knowing that I'm not getting paid ... but, on the other hand, I don't share all the solutions I have developed for my paying clients.

    I think we do have to try and separate the free and the paid ventures, at least in our own minds. Whether or not that works in the real world is another matter.

    It would make more sense to me if it were a free standing business offering. Then a potential client could surf the internet in general and/or the various fora and, after failing to find a free solution or something they could adapt, choose to bite the bullet and pay. As some of them have done and perhaps still do by contacting the people who have helped them in the past for free or by seeking a consultant in one of the fora.

    Mixing the two is still a bit of a problem in my head.

    Regards, TMS

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Kyle,

    Think of it from the "clients" point of view. Would he want the solution to be freely available to the whole world when he has paid for it?

    Also, there are tons of threads in the free forum, why do you even need to view the paid forum? Think of it as a separate entity. Once you attain the status of forum guru and higher, you will automatically get to view it. So why not wait till then?

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I don't particularly care whether I can see it, I'm not going to be spending my money there. I wasn't being argumentative, merely raising probing questions as to the logic of the decision - I wasn't really expecting a response, but it's what I do for a living, so hard to snap out of it

    From my experience, no-one is going to pay serious money for something on a forum - most paying requests are borne out of frustration of automating simple tasks or for people who are under tight time pressures to such an extent they are prepared to pay to resolve their issues. I doubt anyone (and would question the wisdom of anyone who would) would be prepared to pay a reasonable (reasonable is subjective, but for the sake of argument I'm judging it by the standards of the country I live in) amount of money for full projects without actually speaking to someone - forums are all well and good for quick specific fixes, but as replacements for proper projects - they are not.

    It is impossible to communicate effectively enough in a forum environment one's requirements and needs for any but relatively simple tasks. As such, most paid requests I would assume will come from time pressured/frustrated people with a specific itch to scratch; they are prepared to pay since they neither have the inclination or skills to complete the task themselves and are likely a different customer segment than a lot of the users who request help here currently. Due to the specificity of the requests, it's would be reasonable to assume that the answers will be of limited use to anyone else and as long as their problem is resolved, they won't care if their solution is "visible to the world".

    From a revenue perspective, what's more important? Drawing in more paying customers by allowing them to see the services on offer or not upsetting a very small subset of customers who wouldn't want their solution made public? I'd always rather have a larger customer base and opt to hide individual threads at the request of the customer over reducing my addressable market by not "displaying my wares".

    Anyway, post done; it's the prerogative of the owner, so any of our opinions are moot.
    Last edited by Kyle123; 06-06-2013 at 06:30 AM.

  113. #113
    Forum Guru TMS's Avatar
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Be still my beating heart. Looking at the Members List, by reputation, I am holding position 12. Everyone above me has been a member of the forum for between 1 and 7 years longer than I have, with RoyUK being the longest serving having joined in 2003; and the great majority of them are, or have been, Administrators or Moderators. And, by posts, I hold position 13, closely behind Teylyn, who is no longer posting in this forum. With the odd exception, it's mostly the same people and, again, the great majority of them are, or have been, Administrators or Moderators.

    I will not be nominating myself.

    Regards, TMS

  114. #114
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    Re: Commercial Services

    The Water Cooler forum is defined on the home page as:

    A place for relaxed off-topic discussions, getting to know your fellow members or idle chit chat
    It seems that no longer applies on this thread, with all the deleted messages.

    Now that we have some re-instated Forum Gurus, it will be interesting to find out from them what they think of the new Commercial Services Forum.

    Pete

  115. #115
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    Re: Commercial Services

    @JB: I replied to your message but your PM space is full.

    Regards, TMS.

    PS: if all those posts must be deleted, why not delete them completely? You may debate the value of the thread but it looks kinda messy now.

  116. #116
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Ok, I can see that. I tend to delete completely about 95% of the time, the messy look of this thread is a good reminder why.


    ============
    My two cents...

    I'm always saddened by the doom and gloom rhetoric. Occasionally someone is eloquent with theirs, but usually not.

    The Commercial Services Forum is merely another small feature we can offer and so are doing so. Why not let it actually operate for a while and see if it's awful, great, or just neutral? Since so many nods are voting awful, I'll toss my vote in that it will be completely neutral and of minimal effect on the forum as a whole. The worst "awful" I expect to come from it will be in the rhetoric itself.

  117. #117
    Forum Expert royUK's Avatar
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    Re: Commercial Services

    I have only had posts deleted which mentioned that I had declined Forum Guru. I just think it's pathetic how the running of this board has declined since the new influx of so called moderators and particularly the administrator.

    I don't care what title this forum gives me and as far as i am concerned I would not accept a title that tells me how often I must post, I must not disagree with the Forum gods, etc, etc.

  118. #118
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Thanks for that last response, Roy. That's really the crux of it right there and the reason the Expert status exists. It is an honorably title all across the web and one that is legitimately used as the top automatic status any one can attain through long contribution on this site.


    The guru status now being the first of the special activities titles does mean there is more to what it means. The main obligations that are new would be:
    - Remain active (3 months leeway was intended to be generous in that regard)
    - Discuss serious issues courteously and truly negative issues in Veterans Forum (in private amongst the leadership team)


    Since the only real benefit to the new title other than the title itself is access to a Commercial Services Forum that is in it infancy, the requirements above may be more than the title is worth. I wouldn't vote that way, but others have by declining the first group of Guru status offers, as is their/your right. I think that declination is probably well-considered and I thank those who have opted in both ways so far.

  119. #119
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    Re: Commercial Services

    To all concerned, I will be deleting all posts from this point forward that are aimed at individuals and off topic and not aimed at this topic. I do not WANT to do this, if you wish to stance and beat chests, please open a thread for that purpose, the Water Cooler is good for airing these sentiments, let's just not do it in every thread.

    So, nothing personal to anyone, post in this thread regarding this topic, or let it go, please. Any deletions from this point forward are merely me keeping my promise regarding this thread alone. Start a new thread and I'll specifically not subscribe so you can have it out as you wish, as politely as you can muster.

    Thanks.

  120. #120
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Alternate topic discussion can continue here.
    Last edited by JBeaucaire; 06-07-2013 at 03:09 PM. Reason: Fixed link

  121. #121
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    Re: Commercial Services

    After being awarded the title guru several members, it would be interesting to know first if they have access to this new service and if so, tell us their impressions of it.

  122. #122
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    Re: Commercial Services

    I've got access to nothing, no Veterans forum, no commercial services. So as it stands right now, I don't thing the title actually gives you anything

  123. #123
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Kyle, as noted privately, your account issue is being reviewed and will be fixed, Monday starts a new week.

    There's going to be nothing to see in the CS forum unless OPs post paid question. This feature is in its infancy, but in the first week 8 questions were put up, so I think that bodes very well for the future.

  124. #124
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Veterans forum?

    Dom
    "May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the crotch of the person who screws up your day and may their arms be too short to scratch..."

    Use code tags when posting your VBA code: [code] Your code here [/code]

    Remember, saying thanks only takes a second or two. Click the little star to give some Rep if you think an answer deserves it.

  125. #125
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by Domski View Post
    Veterans forum?

    Dom

    Those with the new Guru status will have access to their own forum, the Veteran's Forum, much like the Moderator's have the Moderator's Forum and the Admins have the Admin Cafe.

  126. #126
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    Re: Commercial Services

    How exciting.

    Dom

  127. #127
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    Re: Commercial Services

    As of now I'll add this Ps to all my postings if I can't solve the problem or if the OP changes the criteria for solving the problem (see Post #8).

    http://www.excelforum.com/excel-gene...imulation.html

    Alf

  128. #128
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    Re: Commercial Services

    @ Alf...there are "real forum experts" that have not yet met the requirements of being awarded Guru status, so that comment would be a little unnecessary

  129. #129
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    Re: Commercial Services

    For years I've wanted to tell some people that their questions were simply far too complex to expect quick free results. After a few months of coasting and when confidence is higher, I'll probably add a CANNED REPLY to point some OPs to the Commercial Services Forum. Something along the lines of:

    "Our forum is manned by mostly free contributors donating their time to help people complete their projects and get past hurdles. Your question seems much more complex than that. I would like to point you to the Commercial Services Forum were projects of your size and complexity will most likely get the fastest and experienced solutions.

    Or you can leave your question in the open forum and we'll see how it goes. Good luck."

  130. #130
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    Re: Commercial Services

    I have seen those as well, Jerry, some I have taken on, but others I have left because they seemed almost like a life's mission lol

    Perhaps your "can" could be modified and added to the home page somehow?

  131. #131
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Jerry, although it doesn't affect me directly, perhaps you could add a link to the CS Forum in your canned reply, and "fastest and experienced solutions" doesn't quite sound right. While you are at it, maybe you could also spell "where" correctly.

    Pete

  132. #132
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    Re: Commercial Services

    If I ever create that canned reply, I will utilize better typos.

  133. #133
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by FDibbins View Post
    @ Alf...there are "real forum experts" that have not yet met the requirements of being awarded Guru status, so that comment would be a little unnecessary
    Are there not also "Real Moderators" that have not yet met the requirements of being awarded Guru status? I don't see anyone sticking a 'Forum Expert' next to a Moderators name? And this is a legitimate question.

  134. #134
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    Re: Commercial Services

    ...and philosophers who have not yet philosophized... and so on and so forth.

    Did I miss the legitimate question you're referring to? I just saw someone suggest pointing hard questions to the CSF would be a good idea, and one sort-of opposing viewpoint. I'm on both sides, I'm glad there will be a legitimate place here on the forum we'll be able to point those overly optimistic requests for help toward, and I'm sure I'll still dive into a complex problem for free if it intrigues, same as always.

  135. #135
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by JBeaucaire View Post
    ...and philosophers who have not yet philosophized... and so on and so forth.

    Did I miss the legitimate question you're referring to? I just saw someone suggest pointing hard questions to the CSF would be a good idea, and one sort-of opposing viewpoint. I'm on both sides,
    Then you did miss my point. Maybe a little more explanation is due. If there are Moderators here that don't fit the 'Guru Status' , why should they be able to answer the paid questions if forum experts who have not met the 'Guru Status' are not? Can you not see the hypocrisy in this? Unless that is, you feel all the mods are forum guru's.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBeaucaire View Post
    I'm glad there will be a legitimate place here on the forum we'll be able to point those overly optimistic requests for help toward, and I'm sure I'll still dive into a complex problem for free if it intrigues, same as always.
    If you really feel that way, then why are the forum experts locked out. I can see a lot of forum experts that would be able to answer just as well as the current forum guru's or mods/admin for that matter.

  136. #136
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    Re: Commercial Services

    My real-life question which seems to be neglected is... someone comes asking for a 100 point step solution in the free forum >> directed to CSF >> buys $100 of credit because that's what they think the solution is worth (here comes the fun part)

    a) (S)he gets the solution + person who provided the solution gets $75 + Vai gets $25 = Everyone is happy

    b) (S)he doesn't get a solution or gets a solution that doesn't meet their expectations

    b.1 Decides not pay... oh, oh, the person who spent hours preparing the solution is not happy but Vai gets $25 = Vai is happy... everyone else is not

    b.2 Decides to pay even though not satisfied = mod + Vai are happy... OP is not

    b.3 Month is over, but solution is not finished... OP has already lost $25 (went to Vai) and has to buy more credits to pay for the solution that is in progress = ?? on happiness except for Vai who is getting paid every month regardless of whether or not a solution is provided

    **** Dare I enter the realm of possibilities where the admins/ mod decide to take money from an OP to resolve a dispute when they (not the OP) decide that the solution is complete and that the OP should pony up what they promised for the solution

    Are there any contingency plans for these scenarios. Has anyone actually spent time thinking about things that can and will go wrong from time to time. This isn't the same as the server is slow so we will let the tech team know. Alot of the moderators/ Gurus are well known in the community and for them to be brought into these issues without a safety net would be irresponsible.

    Maybe there is a plan... maybe people are burning the midnight oil putting together scenarios and action plans... I don't know because no one ever says anything.
    Last edited by abousetta; 06-10-2013 at 09:07 PM.

  137. #137
    Forum Expert Mordred's Avatar
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Well abousetta, it seems Vai will always be happy.

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    Re: Commercial Services

    I got nothing against Vai, but as the owner of EF, he is essence is the one getting the profit margin

  139. #139
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Since we're all smart people, we know that dispute resolution seldom results in everyone being happy. So we'll set that aside as a goal.

    The points are applied to the thread prior to it being posted. So the OP has "paid" already, the funds are simply not yet transferred.

    A) I expect most will resolve this way since making it up to Forum Guru means the answerer is already vetted by long service. Also, I'd never "Lock" a thread on charting since I know that's a weak spot of mine, I expect similar self-limiting will go on by all the answerers. So, I believe most threads will be locked by someone capable, solved and the points transferred in some modicum of speed, hopefully less than a week of back-and-forthing.

    B) Rarer, but this actually happened to me on another paid forum. I was offered $25 to solve a problem, I did, rather easily, and the OP cried foul because the solution was so simple. It worked, but I didn't get paid. The site in question sided with the OP, no clue why since my solution worked and was simple, but there you go. I haven't been back to the site since.

    This is the danger, I took my toys and went elsewhere, as is my right. I don't believe in rocking other people's boats, there are too many boats where I can get along just fine, so I do. This works for me.

    B1) Decides not to pay... they've already paid, so at worst they can hold the "Appreciate" button for ransom.

    Resolution - Solver points out to Mod/Admin team that the thread is complete, a workable solution is complete and they request intervention. Any Mod/Admins that are not part of the dispute will look at the work and levy a decision. Either the OP is correct and work needs to be done, or the issue is resolved and the OP is being unreasonable. The Mod/Admins will decide if the thread is solved, the APPRECIATE button will be activated on their behalf.

    If not, work will continue, or not. As happened to me, I pouted and left the other site. Always a danger, but there it is. If work stalls and is incomplete, the thread can/will be unlocked for another contributor to take a chance, good luck with that.

    B2) Always a danger. I don't believe where money is involved all person's will be happy all the time. So this will probably occur.

    There are also different flavors of "unhappy". Like what happened to me, OP was unhappy because my working solution was only 7 code lines long, so he felt ripped off. It's not my job to make them happy in this scenario, and it didn't happen.

    Whining is a state of mind, and a way of life for some people.

    B3) Please tug my sleeve on any CSF thread that is approaching a MONTH's worth of work. I will certainly assist in getting that puppy closed up, if I can. Go village.


    =================
    Yes, thought and testing has gone into the CSF system. Yes, it will include unexpected scenarios that will require discussing and adjusting of our processes. Perfectly normal and I hope all who are involved in finding and offering suggestions for these scenarios do so in a postive-minded position. We're building something here, so let's build with a happy tune, ok?

    "Oh no... look at this horrible situation I just thought of"... I don't know, this approach doesn't work for me.

    Thanks for helping think through the various things that might happen. We're all smart people, so let's offer some insights into solutions to go along with our perceived issues.


    =============
    BTW, more input from the Gurus will assist in this development, so you are correct, less and less of this will be discussed here in the Water Cooler as time moves on since it will, in effect, have little to do with anyone who doesn't have access to the CSF.
    Last edited by JBeaucaire; 06-11-2013 at 02:13 AM.

  140. #140
    Forum Guru JosephP's Avatar
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by JBeaucaire View Post
    Since we're all smart people, we know that dispute resolution seldom results in everyone being happy. So we'll set that aside as a goal.
    shouldn't that always be the goal even if you don't always achieve it?

  141. #141
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Just out of interest does this type of system actually work anywhere else?

    Dom

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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by JBeaucaire View Post
    The points are applied to the thread prior to it being posted.
    Quote Originally Posted by JBeaucaire View Post
    less and less of this will be discussed here in the Water Cooler as time moves on since it will, in effect, have little to do with anyone who doesn't have access to the CSF.
    That's fair enough... at the same time since I am not a part of the admin/ mod/ Guru faction and have no way to vouch for the resourcefulness or integrity of the CSF system, I will not be supporting the notion that OPs should submit their questions to the CSF before getting a written guarantee from one of the individuals who can answer a question that their question will be solved within a reasonable amount of time and on budget. In other words, if I start to answer a question in the free forum and someone jumps in and says... 'hi, this is too complex, you need to post it in the CSF' with no guarantee that this person is responsible for finding a solution then I will recommend otherwise. If this leads to me being reprimanded for preventing the flow of individuals to the CSF, then I will simply stop coming to this water hole.

    Trust is earned, not given, and so far I haven't seen any argument to make me believe that we should 'trust' the CSF system (except that it will make money for EF).

    Since from my understanding, I have been politely told that this is none of my business since I do not carry one of the badges of EF honor, I will refrain from further discussion on this topic unless provoked.

    Thank you for your kind attention and I wish you all the best.

    abousetta
    Last edited by abousetta; 06-11-2013 at 09:57 AM.

  143. #143
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by JBeaucaire View Post
    BTW, more input from the Gurus will assist in this development, so you are correct, less and less of this will be discussed here in the Water Cooler as time moves on since it will, in effect, have little to do with anyone who doesn't have access to the CSF.
    As you mention this yourself. What about the Moderators that have not passed Guru Status, but are still allowed to answer questions in the paid forum?

  144. #144
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    Re: Commercial Services

    That will be their reward for their unquestioning dedication to the board. Some will never be asked if they want to be anything of course and will just have to content themselves with keeping the board popular whilst others reap the rewards. Hardly fair if you ask me.

    Dom

  145. #145
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Well Domski, no one was asking you. Right admin and mods, am I right?

  146. #146
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by JosephP View Post
    shouldn't that always be the goal even if you don't always achieve it?
    We're referring to dispute resolution, so I do not think happiness for all is useful goal, so no. In dispute resolution the best outcome is fair arbitration. Happy or not, that's the goal. And since I personally expect there to be little of this, all the people offered Guru status are smart peeps, those that accept are probably up for the jobs they accept in the CSF.


    Quote Originally Posted by Domski View Post
    Just out of interest does this type of system actually work anywhere else?
    I don't know, other sites offer solutions for free and for pay and have for some time. Anecdotally it appears to work. We're not modelling any other web site. People have been occasionally offering to pay for help here on the EF, too.



    Quote Originally Posted by abousetta View Post
    That's fair enough... at the same time since I am not a part of the admin/ mod/ Guru faction and have no way to vouch for the resourcefulness or integrity of the CSF system, I will not be supporting the notion that OPs should submit their questions to the CSF before getting a written guarantee from one of the individuals who can answer a question that their question will be solved within a reasonable amount of time and on budget.
    @Domski, I wonder if other sites offer these written guarantees. Interesting idea.


    Quote Originally Posted by abousetta
    if I start to answer a question in the free forum and someone jumps in and says... 'hi, this is too complex, you need to post it in the CSF' with no guarantee that this person is responsible for finding a solution then I will recommend otherwise. If this leads to me being reprimanded for preventing the flow of individuals to the CSF, then I will simply stop coming to this water hole.
    Not sure how reasonable it is to offer this idea, that you would be reprimanded for answering a question you know how to answer. So, I'll vote on that. Answer it, like always. CSF merely a new VERY optional option, EF is and will always be a free forum foremost. Else and you and I both will be finding new watering holes.


    Quote Originally Posted by abousetta
    Trust is earned, not given, and so far I haven't seen any argument to make me believe that we should 'trust' the CSF system (except that it will make money for EF).
    By nature I trust people, systems, with caution, until such time as I see evidence I should not. Being distrustful works for some people, not for me. The CSF was surmised, devised, designed and implemented. 8 questions posted and 6 resolved, so far, trust aside, seems to works as designed. We are looking for things that actually don't work to fix, not fears and distrust of the system.


    Quote Originally Posted by abousetta
    Since from my understanding, I have been politely told that this is none of my business since I do not carry one of the badges of EF honor, I will refrain from further discussion on this topic unless provoked.

    Thank you for your kind attention and I wish you all the best.
    Calm discussion of a topic I hope is thought-provoking, if that's what you mean. Thanks for your thoughts so far.



    Quote Originally Posted by JapanDave
    As you mention this yourself. What about the Moderators that have not passed Guru Status, but are still allowed to answer questions in the paid forum?
    I did? I missed that. So let me say... they are Moderators, so they will be able to moderator and view/answer questions in the CSF.
    Last edited by JBeaucaire; 06-11-2013 at 10:33 AM.

  147. #147
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Can someone remove that banner letting me know about the CSF? There's no X to remove it and since it doesn't and never will apply to me I don't want to see it. Thank you.

  148. #148
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Modred, you're missing the point

    If there was an x then you could close it

  149. #149
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Thanks a bunch JB for the X.

  150. #150
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    Re: Commercial Services

    Quote Originally Posted by Mordred View Post
    Can someone remove that banner letting me know about the CSF? There's no X to remove it and since it doesn't and never will apply to me I don't want to see it. Thank you.
    Doesn't currently... true. Never will... really? You never know.


    The X has been added, I trust that resolves that for now.

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