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May 2011The monthly newsletter by Felgall Pty Ltd

My Word

Bumping Threads

Some people who post questions on forums return a short while later (sometimes minutes later, sometimes a day or so later) and if there hasn't been any reply to their question they'll reply themselves with "bump" or some similiarly meaningless response just to get it back to the top of the list of threads in the forum. Doing so is usually against the terms of use for the forum and so is likely to get the person into trouble with the forum moderators. That isn't the only reason why bumping threads isn't a good idea though, it is not worth doing even in forums that do allow it.

While bumping a thread takes it back to the top of the specific forum, that particular list of threads isn't the only way in which the thread can be accessed from the forum. Even if it were, bumping the thread means that there are now two posts in the thread and most forums will report on how many posts there are in a thread. Having more than one post in the thread means that people seeing it will assume that there has already been an answer posted and so they will be less likely to go into the thread. Many threads have titles that indicate that the question being asked is fairly specific and so these people can assume that if it has been answered at all then there will be nothing for them to add.

Even where people are normally likely to check a thread that has received a reply so as to possibly add their own further comment, many will not do so if it looks like the original poster has found the answer to their question themselves. That the second post was made by the same person as the first makes it look like the person has posted a question and then followed it up with a "don't worry, I've found the answer myself". A thread consisting of just two posts by the same person should normally only occur when the person has resolved it themselves.

That's not the only way in which someone bumping their thread reduces the chance of it being answered though. In forums where bumping threads is not allowed (most of them) doing so will usually result in some penalty being applied which often will include the removal of the offending thread. You are not going to get your question answered if a moderator deletes it because you disobeyed the rules.

There's yet one more way though in which you dramatically reduce your chances of getting an answer if you bump your question thread. Most forums have an option to display unanswered questions. Many of the people who visit forums specifically to answer other people's questions will use that way of searching for questions to answer. Bumping your question immediately removes the question from the list of unanswered questions on the forum because the forum software itself assumes that your bump is an answer. The people most likely to know an answer to your question will therefore only be able to see your question before you bump it.

While bumping your question back to the top of the specific forum it is in will move it to the top of that list, it will remove it completely from other lists and lessen your chances of ever getting an answer.
 

On Site

A fair bit of progress on the back end of the site this month. While there are still no changes actually visible on the web pages I am getting much closer to being ready to start on those changes - just as soon as I finish all the preparatory work on the back end.
 

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