Duplicate Threads

Creating Duplicate Threads-

How much of a variance is needed/accepted in order to create a duplicate thread, or for it to be considered a duplicate thread, rather than posting in an existing similar one?

For example, we would mostly all agree that nine threads about "When does Sentry Marketing pay" titled "Sentry Marketing Payment" is not needed, but what about someone wanting to post about non-payment from Sentry Marketing? Would they find and post in a "Sentry Marketing Payment" thread, even though their topic/question is not identical to the original post, or create their own?

Plan the work. Work the plan.

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One thread, Sentry, would be sufficient. It would shorten search time, even though there could be umpteen Sentry posts to sift through. However, the forum allows for duplicated to the nth degree, by providing a link to other discussion about Sentry, et al.
I really don't mind duplicate threads so much. It does make it hard to remember which 'Sentry thread' something was in, and I do appreciate the Mods combining more recent threads. I don't think we need to be kick heel rigid like Volition.com in that anything relating to Sentry at all must be in the same thread.

We do end up with large numbers of new members who are not aware that links below their original post will take them to other discussions of their topic.

Perhaps a 'how to use the forum' should be more visibly a part of the new member experience.
I avoided joining Volition for years because of the rigidity, and trying to do research there for a specific situation was difficult because of having to wade through years of posts to find new answers.

Plan the work. Work the plan.
That I never found to be a problem because so few posts made it through moderation except by a couple of posters that 3 years of discussion was likely to be on a single page. But last time I was over there the search feature on the site was slow and laborious, which made it more appropriate with their software to have all related posts on the same thread. That is not an issue with this forum.
I personally like having many threads about one company. I think one long discussion becomes unwieldy. What I do think makes a difference, though, is when a title is as descriptive as possible, so it can show how the topic, even when similar to other discussions, is unique, and possibly useful to other shoppers.
I think that might be part of the problem, making sure the title of the thread accurately reflects the question/comment.

Have PV-500 & willing to travel.
"Answers are easy. It's asking the right questions which is hard." (The Fourth Doctor, The Face of Evil, 1977)

"Somedays you're the pigeon, somedays you're the statue.” J. Andrew Taylor

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him." Galileo Galilei
Using Sentry as an example, my personal preference is more threads but more specific titles. If I have a specific question about Sentry, I don't want to have to go through one long thread of numerous pages looking for my answer. I'd rather see threads titled "Sentry Payment Schedule", "Sentry Non-payment", "Sentry - do they ever offer bonuses", "Sentry editors", etc. I probably would just blow right past most of them and click on the one more specific to what I'm looking for and see only a handful of posts that I could quickly read.

That's my preference anyway.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
I wholeheartedly agree LJ. It is so much easier to find what you are looking for when there are multiple threads. I hate when you know something was posted a few weeks ago and want to go back and find it, only to realize that the thread on the subject is 150 posts long.
I have no issue with multiple threads. If I see a lot of posts about something I tend not to read them. I don't feel the need to read every word in every post in every thread. I simply scan for what interests me and read that.

I do agree that combining threads makes it very difficult to follow the OPs question / thought. I would prefer the remain separate.

Mike T
Looking for shops in Western Canada

"Life is good because the alternative is forever "
I am of two minds concerning duplicate threads. While some threads become unweildy and stretch over several years, making some content obsolete, other duplicate threads arise when one or more threads on the same topic are still just a few weeks, or even less than a week old. When the latter is the case, I often try to make only a very brief reply and suggest how the new poster can use the search function to find the most recent threads. I have also been glad to see that the mods have sometimes combined such recent duplicates, especially when there are duplicate rants or duplicate substantiated reports of payment issues and the like.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I do not mind duplicate threads either and would like to have that option, especially if I have a specific question/issue.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. -Henry David Thoreau
Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out. -Frank Clark
I don't like when threads are combined unless they are actually about the same problem. Example: Poster 1 posts "Is Maritz down?" and thirty minutes later Poster 2 posts "Maritz down for maintenance tonight." Maybe one posted in MS discussion and the other posted in MS Company discussion. It makes sense to combine those since they are actually about the same outage.

But I wouldn't want to see them combined with another thread by the same name from two years ago.

And if one poster posts about a problem with an Intellishop editor, I don't want to see that combined with someone else's rant about an IS editor. They are two different problems. Why discuss them both in the same thread?

I think I would rather see multiple threads where one has been locked instead of combining them (in my Maritz example) with a link to the post that is being allowed to survive. It gets very confusing to know who is replying to what when two threads of more than a few posts each have been combined.

I think maybe we should consider that threads can be about policy (when does Maritz pay), technical (how do I submit an invoice), procedural advice (should I do the drive thru or the eat in first), anecdotal (you won't believe what the clerk said to me!), warnings (anyone else not get paid by Confero?), new shop (about to do my first xxxx shop; any advice?), curiosity (how many hours do you spend hunting for jobs), informational (what records should I keep for my taxes?), shop procedures (understanding the requirements). Just because the word "Sentry" appears in several threads doesn't mean they are the same kind of thread. Policy, Technical, Informational, Procedural -- maybe multiples in those areas could be combined (I mean Policy with Policy, Technical with Technical). But Advice, Anecdotes, Warnings, New Shops, Curiosity (which may belong in the General Chat area anyway) probably are situation-specific and should never be combined.

I would suggest that when in doubt, don't combine. And don't combine if there are more than 5 responses in each thread because the conversation will get mangled in the process. Lock one instead.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
Pappa John's is such a moving target with so many MSC's and is likely the most re-posted thread after the arches due to new shopers. Only if we leave out 5 guys. tongue sticking out smiley

I did my first Pappa Johns when an MSC changed it to a SINGLE photo and allowed two toppings from a list of one meat and one non meat. Sharpie the Job # in the box and if it's a sharp 5 MP with no shadows at 90 degree's, they pay for the delivery and tip.

It was my first Pappa John's and I scored a 10/10 for the shop. After reading here from past posts, I should have had it on the 10 foot pole, but things are changing.

If it was forced to be a single thread with 300 posts, nobody would know the botox man has learned what he needs to do to actually get people to take it for non-bonus pay.

Multiple postings as a shop changes and different MSC's pick it up make more sence than a rigid one thread for company type structure.

Not to mention the extra moderation work. I run a form and know the effort involved in thread merging.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2014 06:01AM by scanman1.
I'm having a brainstorm .... I wonder if a "Quick Answer Needed!" forum would help. I've mentioned my background with eBay -- on eBay, the Answer Center and the Discussion Boards were two separate features. Answer Center was meant to answer a specific question -- How do I? Should I? What do I do now? Is it true that? -- and the Discussion boards were for lengthy discussions and had many topics (A Collectibles board, an Automotive board, an Electronics board). Answer Center questions were limited to 10 responses, then were locked down. They were searchable for a year.

If we had a Quick Answer section where threads were never merged, the Discussion area threads could be merged by topic because they would be for evolving situations.

We wouldn't necessarily have to lock down our Quick Answer area, but maybe once OP posted, "Thanks! That's what I needed to know!" it should be left alone to age off, or auto-locked after a month if that's possible.

Quick Answer posts should be for situations that need resolution within hours to days, not for things like late payments. More for "I'm about to do a shop and I'm not sure about ...." where time is of the essence.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
I can see it now:

I need a quick answer!

Who shops Papa John's?

Seriously, though, that is a good idea if it will be used properly.

People have a hard enough time posting between the mystery shop forum and the msc forum and the moderator is already moving threads back and forth daily. Throwing another sub forum in the mix will just make moderating more difficult.

There is already a new shopper forum that is intended for such questions now. I'm seeing this as duplication and more confusion for some.
Shoppers have posted questions requiring immediacy, probably in each forum we have on this board. How do I resize photos, My computer died, etc. After enough answers have been provided to solve the matter, the thread sinks.
I haven't been in the new shopper forum since I was a new shopper, so if anyone is sending up smoke signals for help over there, I wonder who is seeing them.

I'm not sure it serves much purpose to separate "mystery shopping" questions from "mystery shopping company" questions since few mystery shopping questions are so generic in nature they don't have some relevance to the company. Usually when someone posts a question or problem in the "shopping" area, the first thing they are asked is, "Who is the MSC?"

Maybe this is something to discuss and clarify -- just what belongs in which area? A lot of time the moderator moves something and I disagree with the move because I felt the question was about shopping procedure and the MSC was just parenthetical information, but because the MSC was mentioned, the mod moved it to the MSC area.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
Actually, the "New Mystery Shoppers" area has threads that should actually be moved to "Mystery Shopping Discussion". I just went on there and there are currently eight, which could/should be moved. I think new shoppers, perhaps, post here, rather than in the appropriate area, because they feel safer. smiling smiley


I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
Or maybe because they are new and the section is titled "New Mystery Shoppers." Hahahahaha

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
Or it could be because they have lurked for quite a while and have identified the "New Mystery Shoppers" area as the safest place to post? I don't know.

I believe the forum tone has changed for the better (safer) in the past month or two or three and I also think a lot of the posts in the "New Mystery Shoppers" area are of general interest. My question is how do we integrate the two, instead of having two separate areas for the same types of posts.


I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
Sometimes the simple answer is just that. No need to read more into it. From the intro page people get directed to that area for "training" making it a logical progression.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
If it's not broke . . .

New members land somewhere on the board, then decide to post. They may or may not have figured out the roadmap to different forums. There's absolutely nothing wrong when they dive in to New Mystery Shoppers Forum, and post whatever is on their mind. "New to mystery shopping? Get your questions answered here! There is no such thing as a 'bad' questions -- we are here to help!" If their posts get relocated, that could be confusing, and unwelcoming, deemed a negative. I like the New Mystery Shopper forum to be a free for all to new members. From there, helpful souls can welcome, assist and guide.
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