MATLAB Spoken Here

New Features In MATLAB Answers 15

Posted by Randy Souza,

We’ve just released a long list of new features in MATLAB Answers. Here’s a rundown of what’s new and what’s changed.

Reputation-based privileges

Since MATLAB Answers launched you have earned reputation points when someone else accepts your answer or votes for your answer or question. We rewarded contributors who earned 1500 points by making them editors. Our 11 community editors have helped curate questions and answers by editing content for clarity and deleting anything inappropriate.

Starting today we’re expanding the number of privileges you may earn and distributing them based on finer-grained levels of reputation (the existing editors are grandfathered in and retain all privileges).

You can see the available privileges and which ones you’ve earned by visiting your MATLAB Answers profile page. Here’s a shortcut (you’ll need to be logged in to your MathWorks Account): http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/contributors/me.

Flagging and closing

While we appreciate all of the questions asked on MATLAB Answers, some of them are challenging to answer. Some questions don’t include enough detail. Some questions are bald-faced requests for the community to do the asker’s work for them.

To supplement the community-maintained tutorial on asking good questions, we’ve added the ability to flag and close questions.

Any logged-in contributor may flag a question, answer, or comment for review (flagged content is visible here).

MATLAB Answers - Flag

Contributors with sufficient privileges may close questions. When a question is closed it is removed from search results and cannot receive new answers. The asker receives an email letting them know that their question was closed and requires improvement. Closed questions have two potential fates. If the question is edited it is reopened and behaves like any other question. If the question is not edited for ten days it is deleted.

Restrictions and guidance for new questions

We also hope to improve question quality by making it harder to ask bad questions. We’ve added tips for asking questions to the ask-a-question form (you only see them the first time you ask a question). Additionally, from now on questions have to be at least four words long.

Accepting an answer to another user’s question

Ned’s trend shows that while most questions receive an answer, very few of those answers are accepted. We think that accepted answers are important—they provide recognition to the answerer and help future visitors solve their problem. So we’re allowing contributors with enough reputation to accept an answer to any question, once the question is 7 days old.

Additional enhancements

  • We added MATLAB markup to comments, and added the ability to edit your comments.
  • We added an “all activity” view, useful if you like drinking from fire hoses.
  • We added the ability to disable the MATLAB Markup live preview.
  • We tweaked the meaning of “latest activity” for questions—it now updates when a question is closed or reopened, when a question is edited, when an answer is added, or when a comment is added to a question or answer.
  • We exposed direct URLs for answers and comments (click the  icon).

MATLAB Answers - Activity

We’re very excited to get these new features out, and look forward to working with the community to fine-tune how they work. Please add your feedback by commenting on this post!

 

15 CommentsOldest to Newest

I noticed your “Tips for asking questions” didn’t include “Upload an image, screenshot, picture, or diagram that illustrates your question and will let people better visualize your problem and develop an answer” — I guess it’s because you don’t have such a capability (yet). When is that coming?

I really like the comment markup and the ability to accept answers by others.

About flagging, will the user receive an email that his question was flagged or should the editors just close, making the flagging a functionality to the general user?

I really hope that tips for asking a question will be enough but I am a little bit skeptic.

PS. Am I the only one who noticed that My Answers is again sorted in ascending order by date and that answers within a question are sorted (ascend) by date ignoring, i.e. the votes do not play a role in the sorting anymore? (see http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/994-wish-list-for-matlab-answer-sections)

Mark,

Thanks for the comment. We don’t have a way for contributors to upload their own image or file to Answers yet. However, this is something that many people have asked for, and we’re considering it for a future release.

Best,
/randy

Oleg,

I’m glad that the comment markup and changes to accepted answers are helpful.

We do not currently email a contributor when their question/answer/comment is flagged, but we do send email when a question is closed. If you have the ability to close a question I suggest doing so–it’s easy for the original asker or another high-reputation contributor to reopen it.

I’m not sure what effect the tips for new questions will have, but it’s just one of a few changes we’re considering to help reduce the number of unclear and/or duplicate questions.

Lastly, I’m aware of the sort-order regression and am working on it right now.

Best,
/randy

I was pointed to this blog when I was seeking information about what the Flag means in MATLAB Answers. If this blog is the main place to look for this sort of information, perhaps a link to it should be provided in ‘About MATLAB Answers’.

Opinion: Recent activity (eyes in the sky) is creepy. Now everyone will know what I vote for!!

Okay. The eyes in the sky are really cool for watching what others are doing but not so cool that they can watch what I am doing!

Maybe it is not suitable to put the question to here.

I have a question about the comments, like this:

http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/41876-why-arrayfun-does-not-improve-my-struct-array-operation-performance

After I accepted the answer, I add some “Comments” to some of the answer.
Does these warmhearted person can receive prompt about my comment and have more discussion?

And there would be better “unaccepted the answer” to “Accepted answer” if the questioner find another more suitable answer.

When the feature of hosting pictures on a TMW server is coming in the future, a lot of images will be missing already. Then the corresponding threads are meaningless and my work in answering is lost.
I estimate that currently there are less than 1GB of pictures in the forum. It would be a very good idea to keep copies of them already, such that they are still available when the new feature is implemented. To be exact, I could do this by my own also using my editor powers and my own server. But beside the additional bandwidth, this would create another problem: I do not want to be tracked in the net by the picture hosters, who use the Google tracking APIs usually. I do not see a reason why Google has to know when I looked at which picture. But when I bent all picture related traffic on *my* server, *I* could track the visitors of the corresponding forum threads. This would cause too much legal troubles for me.

Another topic: Some of the new features like the additional buttons and boxes steal even more space from my monitor. There is a lot of white or gray space in the layout and in consequence I have to scroll a lot. While it is debatable if this looks more fancy, it is less usable, especially for the ones who answer frequently.
Please care for increasing the information density in the layout.

Thanks for implementing the “Disable” button for the preview. I cannot stress enough how much this improves the forum handling for me and some others!

You can find more points at http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/42413-matlab-answers-wish-list-2-and-bug-reports and http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/42247-me-not-like-new-lay-out-of-this-section-not-a-question .

Kind regards, Jan

Hi HaveF,

At the moment, answerers are not notified when you add a comment. This is a feature that we are considering for MATLAB Answers. That said, most answerers do check back on questions they’ve answered.

We have had other requests for un-accepting an answer; it’s something that we will consider in the future. Thanks for the feedback!

Best,
/randy

Hi Jan,

I like the idea of archiving all of the images until we’re able to support direct uploads to our servers. However, I’m not sure whether doing that would violate the terms of service for any of the image hosting sites.

We’ll take a look at streamlining the layout. With more functionality on the page it can be tough to balance information density with information overload. We also bumped up the default font size for questions, answers, and comments, which naturally pushes everything slightly down the page.

Best,
/randy

These postings are the author's and don't necessarily represent the opinions of MathWorks.