The Midlife Geek

Ramblings of a middle aged engineer, runner and open source enthusiast

Invisible posts and the same complaints

I’m sure my posts on TT284-12B are invisible. Someone asks a question, I post an answer then three others post the same answer shortly before the asker thanks them. Sounds petty, I know, but I’m genuinely wondering if my posts are visible.

I’m tired of seeing the same complaints too. You might well argue that if people keep complaining there’s a genuine issue and there is – people don’t read the damn module descriptions. If the module description says the material is entirely presented on-line (which it does) then you’re on a hiding to nothing to complain you didn’t get a book.

University should be somewhere to meet people with similar interests, share ideas and see things from new perspectives. Perhaps its because I’ve been moderating a module that I’ve become jaded. I’m becoming less and less interested in interacting with other students.


  1. Hi, I hope to help me. I need the materials for this course !! is there any soft copies ??

    • Unfortunately, on my presentation the only way to get a soft copy was to select the “other formats” option from the sidebar in the course area and save the PDF individually. I don’t have copies I’m afraid.

  2. or tutorials hope to help as soon as possible

  3. if you have any presentation or PDFs hope to send it to my email

  4. Hi Dougie.

    The posts can actually be invisible for a short while. The two reasons I have speculated as most likely are:

    1) They already have an answer in mind: If people subscribe to feeds, they might not get sent a post till the editing window has closed. I don’t think this applies to general web browsing and posting replies, but if someone has seen a post and has thought up an answer, they might not take time to read other posts when they go to that thread with the sole intent of posting their answer. The same principle of thinking up a reply and not reading other posts also occurs in long threads. Reason 1 then is largely psychological in that they have a reply and want to get it posted while the idea is fresh in their head.

    2) If two (or more) people download a forum page at approximately the same time, as the forum pages don’t use asynchronous technologies (such as AJAX) to keep up to date, while we’re writing our replies, other people may post replies that our old version of the page does not show.

    I think a combination of these two factors is at play. Regards, D-.

    • That sounds pretty reasonable. M150 and T175 both had TMA questions which required users to make forum posts, so people were looking for something they could respond to. It was common to see the same answers repeatedly.

      Technically speaking, there’s probably scope to address this. I’ve used ticketing systems such as Launchpad where when you start typing a title, the system lists similar posts. Whether it would be worth the overhead or whether anyone would look at it I don’t know.

      I think there’s a wider issue there though. It used to be fairly straight forward to get answers from the Internet but I’m finding now that my Google searches need to be more complicated. You can search for say an error message in quotes and get hundreds of hits which go to link farms or jump sites – the signal to noise ratio is just getting worse. Perhaps as well as improving search algorithms we could improve the duplication checking on the sites that are being searched.

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