Author Topic: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?  (Read 53361 times)

Alice

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How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« on: November 18, 2007, 07:25:12 pm »
I'd like some opinions please - from everyone, but especially from newbies.

There's an awful lot to learn on this site and many things to remember, such as not to duplicate images. I got a message a while ago expressing worry that newbies are not always greeted nicely. As this person said (and I'm not revealing the name as I'm paraphrasing, not quoting - you know who you are, feel free to come forward!  ;D ;) ): Seeing a galaxy for the first time is an awesome experience, but it can really put down enthusiasm to have your first post greeted with "That's been posted before" or something very technical.

First of all, how many newbies feel that way? From what I generally see, someone almost always says "and welcome to the Zoo" and I want everybody to feel welcomed and greeted nicely. Our regulars certainly seem to enjoy things. I do get a lot of complaints about duplicates, I know they take up bandwidth and drive people mad; but people need room to make mistakes otherwise it's impossible to learn. So, newbies, are you happy here, or do you feel a bit overwhelmed and bombarded with difficult instructions?

An idea this person had was to create a special thread for "Newbies' First Posts". For instance, just to try out posting pictures and so on. The reason for my delay in putting up this thread was to find out the Team's reaction to this, and the general one was that it's a bit dubious: if you're new, you won't know it's there anyway. They felt that a reminder to greet everybody nicely was the best.

Which I generally think you guys are all doing. Thank you, my wonderful fellow zooites.

I'd love to hear some thoughts.

njtm

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2007, 10:07:29 am »
Could we at least try a Newbie's First Post. It seems we have got to a stage with this forum that people differ markedly in their "expertise". I'm sure it is disheartening to excitedly post your first one only to be told not "to do it here" (sounds like a naughty dog) & I for one have been guilty of this (or at least thinking it). Could such a thread fit into Object of the Day or Analysis Tips (or both).?
Norma

Hanny

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2007, 05:33:33 pm »
I agree with the team.. look at that object of the day topic for instance: people react on a post saying not to post pics in there with a pic! And yeah, I'm 'guilty' of replying to that too.

But the other case, and this is (as my sig says) just my opinion, I never thought someone would feel 'not welcome'. As Alice said, almost everyone keeps saying "welcome to the zoo" And the times I said a pic was posted before, was mostly to point out there is more info about it somewere else! (btw, most people say something like "but indeed still pretty" too with that posts!) I think if that person expressed his/her feelings in the topic I had said "this was posted before" I would've reacted by mentioning the search function and by explaining that it wasn't meant to put him/her down.

The more the merrier I say, so if that person is reading this and it was me who said that: welcome to the zoo ;) oh and Alice, glad you mentioned it this way!

michpet

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2007, 10:02:57 pm »
While I've been analyzing galaxies since before the Forum was started, I relatively recently started posting in the Forum.  I have found everyone to be very patient and helpful with my questions, and welcoming as well.  This is especially important, as I have completed exactly one college-level astronomy course--my field is psychology. 

That being said, I've noticed that sometimes more experienced GZers do come across as a little impatient with newbies, especially when faced with frequently posted objects or the same question for the umpteenth time.  My suggestion would be to do what we in the counseling field call "sandwiching"--note how pretty, unusual or whatever about the object, then a reminder about the standards or whatever the problem may be, and finish with a welcome to the Zoo and reminder to keep posting.  That way, the whole message is delivered--"We value your contribution and enthusiasm, but please follow these guidelines."

As a final note, I really appreciate the diligence with which the Zookeepers keep this site clean.  Kudos to all of you (and the moderators too)!

Michelle
« Last Edit: November 19, 2007, 10:05:28 pm by michpet »

Hanny

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2007, 05:58:56 am »
My suggestion would be to do what we in the counseling field call "sandwiching"--note how pretty, unusual or whatever about the object, then a reminder about the standards or whatever the problem may be, and finish with a welcome to the Zoo and reminder to keep posting.  That way, the whole message is delivered--"We value your contribution and enthusiasm, but please follow these guidelines."

I agree with you Michelle, though that was always what I personally (and I think the 'others' were too, but I can only speak for myself) meant and was trying to do. I think we all should keep in mind that communicating this way, is still only through text! Meaning you want to say a lot, but it takes more time, and what you say might look not so 'welcoming', but it was just fast typed. Another thing is, you can't hear someone's voice (I know this 'sounds' very obvious, but it actually isn't in a way). You do need to be even more clear about what you type, 'cause it is more likely to go 'wrong' (ie you'll have misunderstandings more frequently). Though I still agree with you we should all do (keep trying to do) that, I also think it would help if everyone just speaks his/her mind (so that the misunderstanding can be solved).

Just some more thoughts ;)
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 06:00:59 am by Hanny »

mgp

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2007, 08:18:58 pm »
Hi Alice,

I'd like to say (being newly promoted out of Newbie) that I've found everyone very helpful & friendly.  What I love about GZ is the interaction between novice & expert.  It usually runs smoothly, since we all share the same interest...all things space. 

A little suggestion:  from a newbie perspective, the "Please read first before posting" thread looks innocent enough, until you open it & find 5 threads, each quite involved.  Yikes!   :o   A novel with chapters!  I wonder how many people give up.  :-\  Perhaps something in the form of a FAQ outline & frequently asked questions, all in 1 thread, would encourage more newbies to read the instructions before beginning.  BTW, thanks for asking, you do a great job.  :) :-* :)

Hi Hanny,
I agree with you that sometimes the written word conveys the opposite of our meaning, & also agree with you that most people try to clarify if offense is taken.  And as most of us know, use of the smileys helps convey what we can't see or hear.  They're not just for the fun of it, they actually are a helpful form of communication.  :D

TTFN, mgp

Alice

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2007, 08:43:42 pm »


A little suggestion:  from a newbie perspective, the "Please read first before posting" thread looks innocent enough, until you open it & find 5 threads, each quite involved.  Yikes!   :o   A novel with chapters!  I wonder how many people give up.  :-\  Perhaps something in the form of a FAQ outline & frequently asked questions, all in 1 thread, would encourage more newbies to read the instructions before beginning.  BTW, thanks for asking, you do a great job.  :) :-* :)


That is a particularly good suggestion - I'm not sure why I didn't think of it myself; some vague instinct about it had been lapping around my mind for a while. I think we should probably rename "How this forum works", "Please read this before posting!" and rename "Please read this before posting" something like "Threads to help you around Galaxy Zoo".

How does that sound?

Team, sorry if this is jumping the gun and I should have asked you first, but I wanted to pounce on this.

mgp

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2007, 09:09:50 pm »


That is a particularly good suggestion - I'm not sure why I didn't think of it myself; some vague instinct about it had been lapping around my mind for a while. I think we should probably rename "How this forum works", "Please read this before posting!" and rename "Please read this before posting" something like "Threads to help you around Galaxy Zoo".

That sounds like an excellent idea Alice.  Also, perhaps the following topic in "How this forum works" could be given more weight by being put in the beginning instead of near the end and include instructions re: searching from "Home".  The original friendlier version sounds like it would be "fun" to search, but not necessary (no offense to the author, Kevin ;) ).

Original:  "Search...The forum also comes with a spiffy "Search" function (top right of screen), which you can use to see if your favourite topic has already been covered. If you want to post a specific object, it's a good idea to search for its ObjectID first to see if it's already been discussed."

Keep up the good work!  :)

Alice

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2007, 09:12:01 pm »
Poor Kevin! He wrote that spiffy search function bit and I wrote the instructions towards the top! We coauthored it and kept adding bits as necessary.

mgp

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2007, 09:40:19 pm »
I know ;) , that's why I tried to say it gently  ;D  Especially since you all do such a fabulous job!  mgp

Alice

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2007, 09:50:19 pm »
Trouble is, it IS necessary to use that Search box. It's not just there for fun.

Mark OConnell

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2007, 06:35:27 pm »
Then suggest they ease into it's use. Don't bother trying to be a forum expert from the start if it's to daunting.

You could divide the topic into Begginer poster thread, Intermediate poster thread, and finally expert poster thread. And let the person chose to walk through each on at their own pace. In each thread state those things that pertain upto that level. In the next higher level copy and past first level there with a line for when the next level starts and then info upto the extent of that level. In the last level copy and past level all prior levels and put into upto the end of that level. This way if a person thinks I'll go expert and clicks it he can read through what he wants to till his newbie limit is reached and stop till he gets the hang of that.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 06:44:05 pm by Mark OConnell »

wthomas195

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2007, 03:29:52 am »
I cant seem to find how to post a new question or item.
Web

mgp

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2007, 04:31:17 am »
I cant seem to find how to post a new question or item.
Web
Can you be more specific?  Are you asking how to post an image, or how to start a new topic in a thread, like in Analysis questions, etc.? 

mgp

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Re: How are newbies finding Galaxy Zoo?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2007, 05:05:06 am »
Hi wthomas195, welcome to the zoo.
I'm going to be "out of computer range" until tomorrow, so I'll just direct you to the "Please read before Posting" thread.  There's a lot of good info there & some answers for you.  mgp