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Author Topic: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions  (Read 2862 times)

veggiewolf

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Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« on: March 19, 2013, 01:37:36 pm »
Over the weekend, during Paganicon, we were discussing the fact that sometimes new forum members get frustrated asking questions because they seem to routinely be answered with more questions.  Examples of this are throughout the Beginner section of the forums and, so, we wondered if it would be worthwhile to create a stickied thread that included a "suggested template for beginner questions" that noted what type of information is best included to get a helpful response.

Is this something that would be (a) valuable and/or (b) possible?
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Sage

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 01:44:51 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;101921

Is this something that would be (a) valuable and/or (b) possible?

 
I definitely think so.

When offering advice, it helps me a lot to know some of the individual's background -- the religion(s) of their home growing up, what they've explored in the past, and what they're currently interested in now. A friendly reminder about defining words like "witch" and "pagan" that can mean a lot of different things in different contexts (so please explain what you mean when you're asking "How do I become a witch?" or something like that).

Depending on the question, an honest assessment of how much time/space/privacy one has might also be useful. Advice will differ toward a retiree with a house to themselves versus someone sharing a dorm room in a conservative Christian college.
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

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Laveth

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 01:53:49 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;101921
Over the weekend, during Paganicon, we were discussing the fact that sometimes new forum members get frustrated asking questions because they seem to routinely be answered with more questions.  Examples of this are throughout the Beginner section of the forums and, so, we wondered if it would be worthwhile to create a stickied thread that included a "suggested template for beginner questions" that noted what type of information is best included to get a helpful response.

Is this something that would be (a) valuable and/or (b) possible?

I think it would definitely be valuable, especially regarding background information and things the poster does already know about (so we're not just reiterating things they're already aware of).

I would also almost say it might be worthwhile to set up a page or something with the most commonly-asked questions on it and/or links to threads that answer the questions that we seem to get a lot of. I can't remember if it's this forum, or the other one, but it seems like every week we get some new member asking the (almost) exact same questions.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 01:54:18 pm by Laveth »

SPhoenix

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 02:03:23 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;101921
Is this something that would be (a) valuable and/or (b) possible?

 
I think it would be complex. You'd have to break it down for them, because there are many forms of newbie questions, I think.

Having a basic "suggestions for asking questions here" and then under that, an FAQ might be more helpful.


Example:


1. If asking questions about ritually practicing paganism, please include the following information:

-- Basic living situation. A single person living alone in a condo might practice differently than a person living in a dorm at a Christian college.
-- Your branch of paganism. A Wiccan practices differently than does a Roman Revivalist.
-- What level of practice you are comfortable with. Do you wish for the full shebang, or are you seeking assistance with a few beginning rituals?
-- Which God or Goddess you are seeking assistance in performing rituals to. If you ask how to get in contact with "The Great Spirit" but you meant The Great Spirit of the Aboriginal Australians, your request is incomplete and inaccurate (for example).
-- How long have you been observing your current spiritual path/religion?

2. If you are asking about what paganism is, and how you know if you're a pagan, please provide the following:

-- What is your basic belief set at this time?
-- Do you have residual left-over feelings from a religion from your childhood?




After you list out a group of similar questions and suggested information provided, you might then go into a section of FAQs. These are only examples, and should be fixed accordingly...

1. What is a pagan?

A: A pagan is a polytheist--a person who believes in and gives worship to more than a single (monotheistic) god or goddess.

Except that here at The Cauldron, we include Wiccans who worship only the Goddess, and other religions that may have a single god or goddess figure, but which are not mainstream religions. (if you do, if you don't, clearly you'd omit that part. I'm not sure, because I couldn't find this spelled out anywhere)

2. What if I'm not sure what I believe yet?

A: That's okay. This is a place for seekers, too. Please be respectful, and we will be, too.


Etc. and etc.


The thing that gives me pause here, as a newbie here, is that it seems like a large undertaking to make enough categories for the many variables of newbie questions. Breaking them down some into sections such as, "if you are asking about ritual" and things like that will help... but I don't think that you'll find ONE template that works for all the many questions.

Just my nooblet's 2 cp. :p

Jenett

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 04:34:19 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;101921
Over the weekend, during Paganicon, we were discussing the fact that sometimes new forum members get frustrated asking questions because they seem to routinely be answered with more questions.  Examples of this are throughout the Beginner section of the forums and, so, we wondered if it would be worthwhile to create a stickied thread that included a "suggested template for beginner questions" that noted what type of information is best included to get a helpful response.

Is this something that would be (a) valuable and/or (b) possible?

 
There's an article on my Seeking site that's about learning to ask smarter questions that might be worth including as a link (it's long. I think there needs to be a shorter version on forum.) It's at http://gleewood.org/seeking/reaching-out/smart-questions/

I agree that the following is very useful:
- any time/space/privacy limits
- what someone's already looked at/tried related to their answer. (i.e. if someone is looking for more books to read, it s good to know what they've already read.)
- if there's anything people should be aware of when they answer that isn't the time/space/privacy set.
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RandallS

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 06:50:07 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;101921
Is this something that would be (a) valuable and/or (b) possible?

I think this is a great idea. If y'all will work one up, I or one of our staff members with post and sticky the final product.
Randall
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Sage

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 06:57:08 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;101958
I think this is a great idea. If y'all will work one up, I or one of our staff members with post and sticky the final product.

 
I can see a document like this being split into a few versions - generic or basic questions, questions about "what path should I follow?", and questions about how to get started or research.
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

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RandallS

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 07:26:24 pm »
Quote from: Sage;101962
I can see a document like this being split into a few versions - generic or basic questions, questions about "what path should I follow?", and questions about how to get started or research.

TC could live with that too, however, we don't want to make asking a question look too complex or too likely to be seen as wrong, or many will just not ask rather take what they see as the risk of not doing it right.
Randall
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Laveth

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 07:55:52 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;101963
TC could live with that too, however, we don't want to make asking a question look too complex or too likely to be seen as wrong, or many will just not ask rather take what they see as the risk of not doing it right.

 
Just word it correctly. :)

"For best results, please include as much of the following information as you are comfortable sharing so the best insight can be given in a timely manner."

Yadda yadda yadda.

veggiewolf

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Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2013, 09:34:37 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;101958
I think this is a great idea. If y'all will work one up, I or one of our staff members with post and sticky the final product.

We'll start working on it.

(Fier and Juni -this means you!)  :D
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Rhyshadow

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2013, 09:40:30 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;101980
We'll start working on it.

(Fier and Juni -this means you!)  :D

 
Like you three didn't already have enough on your plates - have fun ;)

RandallS

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 07:58:17 am »
Quote from: Jenett;101941
I agree that the following is very useful:

One think I'd like to see really stressed is a meaningful subject line. Things like "Help", "A Question", "Need Answers", etc. are very poor subjects as they will not draw the attention of people with answers.
Randall
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Materialist

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 08:28:05 pm »
Quote from: Sage;101962
I can see a document like this being split into a few versions - generic or basic questions, questions about "what path should I follow?", and questions about how to get started or research.


I have been having a similar thought this week. I've been wondering if it would be possible to make a FAQ sticky for the Beginners forum. I just finished looking through all 28 pages of it, and have noticed some recurring questions:

"What path best suits my beliefs?" Perhaps ideas about how to make one's own path could be offered, since I've noticed that most members' religions are combinations of various paths, like "taoist heathen."

"Is it okay to worship deities from different pantheons?" Hard and soft polytheists could talk about their experiences with doing this.

"Am I being contacted by a god/spirit/etc?" A list of signs could be given to help determine if a supernatural being is making contact.

RandallS

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 08:56:34 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;115983
"What path best suits my beliefs?" Perhaps ideas about how to make one's own path could be offered, since I've noticed that most members' religions are combinations of various paths, like "taoist heathen."

"Is it okay to worship deities from different pantheons?" Hard and soft polytheists could talk about their experiences with doing this.

"Am I being contacted by a god/spirit/etc?" A list of signs could be given to help determine if a supernatural being is making contact.

I'm not sure that there are (useful) answers for some of those questions -- like the first one. However, if someone can provide good answers, we can include them in the FAQ.
Randall
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Microlite20: Lots of Rules Lite Tabletop RPGs -- Many Free

Materialist

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Re: Suggestion - template for asking beginner questions
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2013, 02:20:42 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;115988
I'm not sure that there are (useful) answers for some of those questions -- like the first one. However, if someone can provide good answers, we can include them in the FAQ.


People wondering about their path is like the #1 question. So many newbies have asked it I was wondering if anything could be done. But, yeah, terribly complicated subject. I hope there are good answers out there.

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