Advice on getting users to use the post template

Hi,

We have a community where people come for help and advice on our product. We have many new, transient users. In order to help them ask good questions, we have templates in several of the categories. Here’s one:

Unfortunately, I see this text far more often than I should. E.G.:

I.E. the user puts the entirety of the question in the title & hits ‘submit’ with no further context or background information.

It’s tempting to say such low quality posts should be ignored - problem solved! But these are very often brand new users and rather than penalizing them for not knowing the social rules (maybe they think they’re being efficient rather than cryptic?) I’d like to create a “pit of success” environment where they’re naturally led to giving enough information that people can help them.

Obviously this particular post template isn’t doing it. So…

  • Are we doing it wrong?
  • Is there a way to not count the template text in the min-chars-to-post test?
  • Should we be supplementing the template somehow?
  • …?

 
Thx,
Ann

6 Likes

That post template seems more formatted to provide guidance on what to share. That’s one way to approach it for sure.

Another way would be to create basically a form using the post template. Maybe something like this:

## Describe your issue in detail

## What version of the software are you using?

## What steps have you taken to resolve this issue already?

Something like this may be a little clearer for newer members to follow.

Also, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to the member (either privately or in the topic at hand) to politely ask for more information or to follow the template as to more easily answer their request.

Ultimately, if users continue to avoid using the template, they either don’t care or don’t know. Not knowing is easily fixed (and can lead to improvements to make on your side); not caring is a bit more difficult :slight_smile:

13 Likes

From a feature standpoint we should definitely disallow users from submitting a topic (or reply) when the template has not been modified at all. Editing the title only should not allow users to get a pass. Can you add to your list @techapj? This code path should only get hit when posting in a category that has topic templates.

20 Likes

Just found more examples of people doing this exact pattern on another forum:

8 Likes

As a temporary workaround, you could use the Automatic Actions based on Words found in posts and disallow a string used in your template :slight_smile:

5 Likes

Thanks @Bas, but some users actually use the template like a questionnaire (as intended).

@justindirose could you point me to a forum where that other template format is successful? I’d like to check it out myself & be able to point my teammates to it.
And BTW, I do ask for more information - it has to be done for anyone to be able to help them - but it hadn’t occurred to me to tell them to follow the template. I guess I assumed I would come off like a jerk if I did. I’ll have to think about wording…

5 Likes

The only example I personally know of is my own community. You can see it in action on our #introductions category. Some folks don’t quite get the formatting right but they get the questions answered.

6 Likes

We now do this for topics, via:

Do we want to do this for replies as well? AFAIK we don’t have support for reply templates yet.

10 Likes

Ah, I forgot about templates only being for topics. As long as it’s been tested on try or meta we’re good!

7 Likes

It works perfectly on try. If you submit a topic without editing the topic template, you see this :arrow_down:

It is possible to circumvent this check by adding a newline in between any lines but the initial goal to disallow users from submitting a topic when the template has not been modified has been met :ok_hand:

11 Likes

So… does that mean we’ll see the new behavior soon in hosted sites?

:smiley:

2 Likes

OK I’ve changed the copy to

Please add details and specifics to your topic by editing the topic template.

So it is a bit clearer in what it is asking people to do.

4 Likes

Hey Ann, I went ahead and deployed this fix on your site. :slight_smile:

5 Likes

9 posts were split to a new topic: Forcing users to use topic templates even if they attempt to bypass