I am also surprised that only Mack pointed out that some of the very old questions are answered by newbies, who, with their initial enthusiasm, get carried away answering all the questions that Trulia posts when you answer a question on a topic, asking you if you want to answer other questions from "XYZ town".
Another pet peeve of mine, and I think it probably bothers me more than anything because the woman is from my area, is the one who answers every question, regardless of who posted it and from where, with "consult a qualified loan officer", or "contact the police department to find out about crime", you get the picture, and probably know who I am talking about.
I also love the agents who, after I have given a very comprehensive answer concerning someone's questions about financing, find it necessary to tell the person to call some loan officer that they know. At least when one of the agents I work with in my area answers, she is usually posting after I have answered the question.
However, I truly don't like any discussion about controlling what others contribute. Great volumes of dialog of any nature is far more beneficial than the censorship a subjective relevancy test would impose.
There is no limit to what participants can object to such as:
1. Soliciting 'best Answer' awards with every response
2. Some complain or 'resume `' signature lines.
3. And, as in this tread, reminding folks you are in business to provide service, call me.
4. If you don't look good you should keep your picture off the web.
5. If you do look good you are creating safety risk and should keep your picture off the web.
6. Put your pet peeve here
Where is the line to be drawn?
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Like my answer? Give the the BEST ANSWER award
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This is tiring!
It does not matter what the final consensus is, there will always be those who dislike the behavior of others. And this is a good forum to collect like minded followers to enable the need for conformity. Innovation does not emerge from conformity but from the need to overcome....conformity. Through conformity you lose the agility to create what is not, to inspire the not yet achieved, or remove the bondage of mediocre expectations.
I agree with your assessment of the non-content posted. In fact, the agent who posted the latest non-answer today in the link you provided has systematically posted a number of very obnoxious, repetitive questions about school systems in every school system he can name. These are questions which can also easily lead to allegations of "steering" if answered by an unwary agent. Take a look at this --
Here are some questions he "answered" -- I quote the answers, starting with the one you mentioned. See a pattern?
a: Kerry, was it for sale? Did you buy it? Regards,
a: Kim, did you buy back in 2009? Regards,
a: Pj, did you buy a home in Little Silver? Regards,
a: JmNYC, did you buy? Regards,
There are MANY MANY more like this.
The date issue is one thing -- sometimes a question can be usefully answered beyond the original asking date if the question and answer are relevant for other searchers, since trulia is a searchable knowledgebase as much as it is a question/answer system. But some responses are clearly worthless garbage!
I'd like to suggest that perhaps, rather than getting in the way of our fun over on the 5500-post thread, that maybe there could be a bare minimum of threads of that type where posting doesn't count on the scoreboard.
I'm normally a glass-half-full kinda guy, but I think that as long as you allow posting, you're going to have agents give the wrong information, and sometimes a poster really does need to talk to an attorney, and agents shouldn't be giving out crime and demographic information. And you're going to have people game the system, for whatever reason.
I do like the idea of the OP getting email blasts for every answer; if they're not paying attention, then maybe we shouldn't be, either?
Thank you all for caring.
I also think that Trulia should have a time limit for answering questions. I have seen questions answered a year after the original post. We have ALL seen agents whose input serves no purpose and sometimes borders on beligerant or is so irrelevent that it hurts..
I also think that sometimes the ability to answer a question should be at least limited to your state, especially when the question is market specific. I would never presume to answer a question regarding OshKosh, when I know nothing about the area. Plus as far as I am concerned, when outside agents start flooding the post with their answers, it probably causes the quetioner to disregard the valid answers.
However, I also don't think that the public is that naive that they can't cull the honest agents who truly want to help, from the "point building" agents.
@Jerry, I also have Trulia set up to email me the most recent questions (not that I don't go back and look at old ones) so my answers (hopefully) are useful.
So when I go to visit trulias website, it brings me right to the question and answer section and its already sorted by the most recently asked questions.
Your statement that "Non-answers smack of "point building"...." says it all. I have actually sent a couple of agents e-mails re if they knew how long ago the questions were asked. The answers I received indicated they could care less, as long as they got points. Trulia should close out responses after a given period of time to stop this. Linked In does.
They asked a question, and received answers.
I agree strongly with Jeanne - just start a NEW thread if you feel the topic is so important......certainly the original poster is long gone............and....your own credibility is at stake, as I think anyone pulling up old threads looks foolish, appear as though they are trolling for points.
They look especially silly when they address the person by name (as if they are still sitting and waiting for an answer since 2007)!
Personally I would never walk into a cocktail party and say "I offer free CMA's" but maybe these people do. Agents just don't understand that forums are a conversation at a cocktail party and think it is just a place to advertise.
I often feel bad for consumers who have to deal with our chronic "pick me" syndrome.
I would like to think we are contributing and sharing good information for the sake of community building and not points-racking.
Scott - in response to your suggestion about counting best answers or thumbs ups - that is flawed, too, as sometimes other agents give you a TU because they agree (which doesn't necessarily make one's answer a good one) - or friends give TU's to friends, or because they were amused by a response.....so I am not sure it's a measurement of anything concrete.......... often the OP doesn't even bother to select a best answer....
I have suggested in the past, that the OP be allowed to give "OUTSTANDING ANSWER" to a number of responses, rather than singe one out as a BA. Since answers may come rolling in for a period of time, it is posible that today's "BEST ANSWER" might be joined by other great answers in the coming days. Why not let the OP acknowledge those answers, too.
Just my (continued) 2 cents!
I would tend to believe that there are many others like you - "lurking" out there, or perhaps beign turned off by some of the things mentioned below.
I agree with you that little, if anything, will be done to "tighten" guidelines. If anything.... the opposite has occurred.
If consumers were the source of revenue for the company (ie - they could pay for a pro-like membership), then perhaps there would be a different perspective. Right now, the emphasis is to encourage agents to pay to get exposure for either themselves or their listings... in the hope of getting leads.
I am not criticizing this, as trulia is a business whose goal is to make money. That's not a bad thing, but it can hinder restricting what agents and lenders can and cant say, since they are a source of revenue.
I still think that the person who asks the question should retain some control over it (if they care to, as I think many of them just leave after a few days ). I think they should be able to end or close it to new answers when they feel it has been dealt with sufficiently, rather than seeing it used as an ongoing thread.
Oh, and I cringe , as well, when I read that "Give me the Best Answer" line - fortunately, I only see it being used by 1 person....so far, anyway.
Have a great day!
oh, and, by the way, if you like my answers, please.....................................................nevermind! :)
-From a consumer's point of view, I find all the pet peeves you guys have mentioned really do "dumb" down the website. When I click on a thread of interest, I cannot tell you how annoying it is to see 9 out 10 posts saying the exact same thing. It really becomes unbearable at times which I would imagine drives lurkers, like myself, away from Truila and seek out other real estate websites/forums. Unfortunately, I have my doubts that Trulia will do much of anything in regards to the topic. I first read the "If my post was helpful, please select mine as the BEST ANSWER" mantra the other day. I literally laughed out loud, then cringed!
-Personally, I find real estate an interesting topic and love reading posts that add value to the question. I learn something, the OP hopefully learns something, and I'm sure other agents learn something from well thought out posts. It's good to hear agents on this website express their displeasure on this particular subject.
Please continue to share your ideas with us and make your voice heard â€“ weâ€™re always listening and taking note.
1. Answering old questions- especially in excess of 6 months or a year
2. Giving generic, rote answers - ie: "Call the board of education for school information", ""Drive around the neighborhood to get a feel of it", "Call an attorney for legal advice " (that one is brilliant, isn't it? :)
3. Repeating what 5 other people already said (in the 5 previous posts no less!) - sometimes almost word for word
4. No edit button! ha
5. Spam in any shape or form - long signatures or overtly saying "Call Me" !
6. Giving "non-answers" like: "I agree with what others have said"
- for the assumed purpose of collecting more points
7. The seemingly endless threads that keep going on and on.......long after the question has been answered.....with multiple repetitive answers
8. Rudeness or sniping between those with opposing viewpoints.
9. Answering questions out of one's area when a specific question was asked, and only someone from THAT area would know how to answer.
If I left any off the list, please feel free to add them in numerical order!
Great thread Jeanne - feels good to vent!
Jeanne - couldn't resist this one - "seque"?
Now THAT'S a typo, for sure - not a misspelling! My typos are plentiful, so I can relate! ha
Don't you wish trulia had an "edit" button like the other site has?
This really is a seque, but who can help me with spell check when I'm responding to questions - is the functionality here - I see it for blog posts?
Thanks guys, I appreciate it!
This is one way to thin the herds from numeorus repetitive responses.
I just noticed, yesterday, a woman asked her first questuon on trulia.
Her second question followed a few hours later - she asked how to TURN OFF the email alerts! The same answers are being given OVER and OVER on her simple question, so I can see why she is turned off by the continuing alerts. Nothing new is being added to help her.
Just a suggestion........
I have deemed it "the dumbing down of Trulia"--once Trulia started its point system, it seems to me that a great number of the responses were purely posted for points, containing no pertinent information what-so-ever.
I think that some of the suggestions stated here would help the problem; ie closing out threads after a certain amount of time; however, I also believe that those offenders would just find another way of beating the system. I also tend to believe that the offenders probably do not bother the people who post the question(s) as much as they bother the Trulia agents who post ethical and informatively on a regular basis. We are the ones who see the big picture and review and answer a significant number of questions on a regular basis.
Thanks for a great question.
I'm with everybody below that says time limits are good ideas, but I think Annette really zeroed in on the most true and tried problems in her answer. For me, personally, I think it's most offensive to other agents here and more-than-lame when someone writes, "If you like the answer, please consider making it a Best Answer."
OMG, is that really the state of our business? How can we ever ask to be perceived as professionals when someone has to 'beg' like my lab for answer? Beyond belief.
When someone wants to continue the thread directly with another agent, why not just email that person directly. I have questions ALL THE TIME on our blogs and Q/A, so I just write directly.
Thumbs Up, good work.
Most of the dredging is done by newbies, who have more enthusiasm than perspective.
Trulia could, for example, require that agents, after registering, need to read the guidelines before posting - not just click a box on a Terms and Conditions page, but maybe click through a few screens of "Welcome to Posting on Trulia."
However, the entire purpose of Trulia is to put advertising in front of eyeballs, and they may have figured out that they'd rather have people post haphazardly than to not have them post at all.
The Greatest Real Estate Agent In The World!
I think I may know what's happening. If you look up in the right-hand corner of the screen that shows the most recent questions, you'll see a box with the "Featured Question", one that we're encouraged by Trulia to answer. I just clicked on it, and got this:
It involves a situation that the questioner was dealing with on June 26, 2010. That's almost four months ago. While the topic is somewhat general, and the answers might help another person, any answers posted now will probably not be helpful to the original questioner.
I suspect that the "Featured Question" is generated by some sort of programming algorithm, and that Trulia may be unwittingly resurrecting some of these old threads. Perhaps Emily is out there and can comment on this.
Maggie Hawk, REALTOR
Watson Realty Corp.
It's one thing if agents are discussing the different ways business is conducted........that's informational...or if someone asks a generic question, say, in regard to home inspections or how to increase showings..............but when a consumer asks how long a commute it is from Livingston, NJ to NYC, and an agent from AZ or Cape May jumps in, with some irrelevant comments, I find that annoying....especially for the consumer who isn't helped one iota by that response.
Melina, I agree with you, and would hope that the particular website would enforce "spam" rules, and do what they can to limit it...otherwise, the threads can start resembling billboards. Zillow is very strict with spam, and signatures may not include contact information. If included, the spam is removed by their moderators....and that removal is clearly stated on the thread for others to see.
if a consumer asks for names of agents in their area, that's one thing..........if they ask about quality of life, or nursery schools in a particular town, getting a bunch of "call me's" is a turn off (imo).
I think I need to get my time management tool out again, seemed to have lost my day online today, oh well, the company is great.
Over and out for now,
My 2 top pet peeves are:
1. Resurrecting OLD questions, like the one you provided.....if a topic is so timeless and important, then the agent or person resurrecting it can simply CREATE a NEW thread!
2. SPAM - in any shape or form - seeing agents, not even answer the quesiton, but say "call me" is annoying to me, and takes away, imo, from the professional image so many of us are trying to cultivate.
3. Even though it is now allowed here, I still dislike, and cringe, when I see long signatures that are more like resumes than signatures!
Ok - I will limit my peeves to 3.................for now! haha!
Have a great weekend ladies!
If relevancy were measured directly by how the public rates our answers, then why not just have Trulia figure out the percentage based on 'Best Answers' and 'Thumbs Ups'? In other words, you'd be ranked or move to the top based on how many excellent answers you've given peopple in relation to your total answers given. You have 30 Bests out of 6000 answers, not too good. 30 Bests out of 1200, much better. That might make all of the bird-brains, ding-dongs and otherwise stunted agents stop posting such blatantly empty answers.
Here's the latest. Note all of the answers come from the same immediate area of the where the question is being asked. Then note the one answer that's soooooooooooo far and away, with really -0- relevance whatsoever. Just wanted to point this out because it's so slight to some that it wouldn't otherwise be noticed:
Not to change the subject, but here's another problem brewing about relevancy, and it needs to be addressed:
Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
" But isn't this now an example of the problem? "
NO, this isn't an example, in my opinion, of "the problem"....or any of the problems or issues listed by the contributors below.
This isn't an old thread which was resurrected - it is relatively new, and it is asking for opinions, NOT a specific answer to a question
A variety of ideas and issues have been suggested.
This has evovled into an open discussion....with some back and forth sharing of ideas...some agreement, some disagreement - all good and respectful sharing of ideas.
I would still suggest that Jeanne retain control, however, and if she thinks enough has been said on the subject, she could close this to new answers.... but, that's not how the system is currently set up, so it's not an option.
Most importantly, NO ONE has spammed or solicited business - there is just a bunch of (predominately) agents emphasizing their desire for quality over quantity on a website they participate in.
For the above reasons, I don't think this an "example of the problem".........if anything, a desire for some solutions was being sought.
What I can confirm is that the buyers and sellers that have found me here on Trulia, have gravitated to me primarily because they found me "knowledgeable and helpful". My concern is that if the site is "dumbed down" by repetitiveness and what I've come to refer to as non-answer fluff, consumers will shift to other sites, as you have cautioned. If that happens, we all lose.
So, thank you again for joining the discussion - don't give up on the agents here on Trulia - as you can see my thread has attracted so many really good agents who agree with me, and with you, that the relevency of our content is critical to the vitality of the site and the success of us all.
I will reach out to Emily at Trulia to invite her back to the thread to get current with responses. Yours is so valuable and I know my peers join me in thanking you for your contribution.
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Great Question, and I hope I am not too late jumping in here. I hate it when I see a question that has just been answered only to find out it is 6 months (or older) !. In addition to the list that Debbie posted, I wish that when a thread takes a turn between agents that there were a way to respond directly to the agent. I feel like I am "hijacking" the original questioner if I go back with a response to a post that was not the original question.
Boy that's as clear as mud. I hope you understand what I am trying to say. I agree that we really, really need an edit button. And I still really want to know what happened to Dunes.
When 4 agents in a row tell the person to call an attorney, or let them know how long the commute is from Westchester to Manhattan, it's off-putting (for me) to read those email alerts.
As you questioned - do most consumers have the pateince to wade through the non-answers?
Maybe some will come along and answer that.
Keep the ideas coming - Emily is listening!
For the record, and to the best of my knowledge, multiple answers on the same thread only count once in one's total.
In any event, so far, no word from Emily in regard to some of the responses and ideas.
My opinion, right or wrong is, they have their business plan, and this kind of feedback really won't make any difference - even if it is a sampling of what many are thinking.
The powers that be have the right to run this site any way they choose. We have the right to participate...or not....or, on occasion, make our feelings known (as this thread has done).
I would hope that the consumers, who aren't turned off or turned away by the spam, are smart enough to sift through good content, and separate it from nonsense.
I commend you for opening up a topic that apparently has bothered many people for a while. :) Now hopefully Trulia will follow up.
I applaud your perseverence, however !
Certainly there are times when advising a person to seek legal counsel or look for public records are the appropriate responses, as we are limited in what we can sometimes discuss.......but..........I think what is annoying to see, or what was mentioned below, had to do with agents who consistantly use that response. If I see 3 agents have already suggested that the OP call an attorney, I move on.....why be the 4th to give the same advice....at that point, It serves no useful purpose.
I guess one of the most difficult things for an agent to do is......... say nothing!