Feedback from Answers survey

Last week we sent out an AAC survey. Thanks to all of you who took the time survey, especially because the survey itself had a few funky bugs in it (oops - never a good idea to have the survey itself be buggy!). We got almost 300 responses.

I'll be doing a series of questions over the next couple weeks about the features we'll be building in response to the comments. For this one, I just wanted to summarize the general messages that came through:

  1. Performance. I wasn't surprised to see this, but actually we made significant improvements to performance just the week before the survey was sent out. For about 1-2 months before that, we had big problems, and I think that's what we heard about in the survey. I think we're past them and I'll keep a close eye on it so it doesn't happen again. We have some improved analytics (dogslow) so we'll have a quicker turnaround time if performance issues creep back.
  2. Searching. This was loud and clear - maybe even the #1 comment. I believe we have a way to improve this, certainly a start. Check out ANSWERS-448. Rather than replace Answers search with Google, I'd like to take the JIRA approach and give specific ways to filter content in a much more granular set of controls. Would love to get thoughts as that gets rolled out. We'll take an agile approach and keep iterating on it. ANSWERS-448 is probably about 3-4 weeks away.
  3. Tagging. Tagging has gone a bit crazy. We'll work on cleaning up Answers tags (if you care to weigh in I'll likely incorporate any tag change suggestions). As soon as we've done an initial cleanup and put things into buckets that make sense, we'll open up the ability to merge tags. That feature is already implemented, it's just set to 100,000 karma right now. We'll lower it once that tags are in a somewhat usable state. Hopefully this can happen through this week and next week.
  4. Atlassian Staffing. It was resounding that most people on Answers (a) expect their question to be answered always or almost always, and (b) really want a strong presence from Atlassian. That's good, because we're hiring for dedicated Answers staff! We're starting with development support, as that's the most complex, with the most need. See the job descriptions, either in San Francisco or Sydney. We'd love to hire people with experience building Atlassian plugins and who already like working with the community. Please apply!
  5. Subscriptions. The next most common set of comments was around the noise level in the bigger tags (like jira-development). We'll offer better, more granular subscription options. See ANSWERS-381 for a start.
  6. Accepting Answers. Answerers aren't getting the karma they deserve! This one's a bit tricky, as we also got a few comments that Atlassian should not be accepting answers on peoples' behalf. For now we'll start with:
    1. a reminder to questioners about accepting answers,
    2. allow accepting answers straight from an email, and
    3. post the accept rate in a more visible location.
    4. We're also in the midst of doing bounties, which will include an auto-accept with enough up-votes.
  7. Site Organization. We got a handful of comments about distinguishing development from usage questions. It'll be a couple months until we get to this, but we will get to it after the ones above. Down the road we'll tackle creating spaces to organize the info better.

There's a lot to do! Thanks again for the survey results. Hopefully as we iterate through this over the next couple months you'll see improvements. Please comment here or on any of the JIRA issues linked above. You can add the 'answers' tag to your favorite tags. I'll post questions about various implementation decisions as we go.

6 answers

1 accepted

Accepted Answer
1 vote

An update, for those watching the progress on this:

We did indeed solve the root cause of performance problems earlier this year, but you may have noticed in the last week, performance has degraded again. That's because we've been working with a replacement for the search API, in prep for a full replacement to the search functionality (which is the #2 requested thing on this list).

The search API is using a combination of technologies for a Lucene-like fast, functional API. We're using Haystack and Whoosh. We've isolated the performance issues this week to be related to Whoosh, and are replacing it with Xapian.

Once we're past this, we should have both a performant search combined with an API that allows for field-based searching. See the spec for the Advanced Search if you're interested in following it.

Sorry for the inconvenience! Hopefully this will turn out to be short-term pain for long-term gain.

An update:

We've changed the search engine! It's now using Haystack and Xapian. It should be both more performant and give better results.

A few of the questions aren't being indexed, which I'm tracking here.

We're still looking at an advanced search UI, that's on the way next.

Allow users to PM other user

-> sometimes you want to pull the conversation/discussion offline

Ignore a product tag

-> It doesnt make sense that I need to add 6 tags to ignore all crucible-related questions. Can we just ignore by product (JIRA, Crucible, ondemand...etc) instead of tags?

More firm on Karma point system

-> giving 5 points for accepting answers vs -1 for a bad vote, doesnt add up for me. Just my take, I mean shouldnt we just give a point for accepting answers (as that is more like cleanup than really 'working')

Follow/Subscribe user via RSS

We currently able to follow the user's questions not like follow expert's recently answered answers.

0 votes

Thanks Eva.

Allow users to PM other user

Good to hear your vote for this. We introduced a 'Share' button into JIRA and Confluence, we should do it on Answers too. Feature request is here.

Ignore a product tag

Ok. Raised here.

More firm on Karma point system

I actually want to do just the opposite! I agree it's not hard to accept an answer, but it's important. It's not just me - our survey data had a bunch of ideas around actually encouraging this more (see #6 above). We need to find ways to encourage this to happen.

Follow/Subscribe user via RSS

Did you know that you can follow a user by email? Just visit their profile - the link is in the upper right. To your point, I've also opened a feature request for RSS.

Thanks for the updates!

2 more request:

Main View should put who last updated, not the creator.

-> it doesnt make sense to have "recent modified" time next to the creator name and not the moderator. It's nice to know who created it, but as a person who ask a lot of questions, I want to knwo who answers/comment right on the main view than to find out good/bad comment after I view the issue itself.

Quicker way to comment/vote/favorite

-> I think I mentioned this before (somewhere...not remember when), but sometimes you go through a list of unanswer question and just want to comment it w/o going into the page. this allows the expert (not me!) to go through the list of questions and answers/comment them in a faster pace. This will also allow people like me to vote up for questions I want Atlassian/Expert to answer first :)

I agree with Jeremy, asking good questions and accepting an answer is a significant contribution that should be rewarded.

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