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Walter Roberson

[DISCONTINUED] MATLAB Answers Wish-list #4 (and bug reports)

Walter Roberson on 14 Aug 2015
Latest activity Reply by DGM on 23 May 2022

Edit: due to the increasing size of this thread, it is continued here.
What should you post where?
Wishlist threads (#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6): bugs and feature requests for Matlab Answers
Frustation threads (#1 #2): frustations about usage and capabilities of Matlab itself
Missing feature threads (#1 #2): features that you whish Matlab would have had
Next Gen threads (#1): features that would break compatibility with previous versions, but would be nice to have
@anyone posting a new thread when the last one gets too large (about 50 answers seems a reasonable limit per thread), please update this list in all last threads. (if you don't have editing privileges, just post a comment asking someone to do the edit)
This topic is for features you would like to see for the MATLAB Answers facility itself, and also for bug reports about the MATLAB Answers facility.
This topic is the follow on to the first Wish-list for MATLAB Answer sections and second MATLAB Answers Wish-list #2 (and bug reports). Those grew large enough to become unwieldy; and Mathworks has made enough changes to make a number of the past points no longer of relevance. More recently there was the limited purpose New design of the forum - grey on white which turned into a bug and wish list; I have renamed that for continuity.
I suggest one wish (or bug report) per answer, so that people can vote their wishes.
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 25 Feb 2020
For easy navigation and for the historians,
Anyone with edit privileges should feel free to update this whenever needed.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 3 Jul 2019
Thanks, Rik.
Rik
Rik on 3 Jul 2019
I took the liberty of opening a new thread and editing this question.
madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 19 May 2019
Sometimes deleting answer after moving is impossible for instance the below thread:
if I try to delete it, shows the following:
Note: I'm not even able to edit or delete my own comment/answer nor comment/answer again in the same thread. This is the second time this is happening.
Why does this happen?
madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 20 May 2019
:/ after that thread becomes defunct.
Rik
Rik on 20 May 2019
Just to make sure: to confirm it isn't just on the in.mathworks.com server I just attempted to delete that answer. On the www.mathworks.com server I got the same error as you describe.
madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 20 May 2019
Thank you for replying Guillaume.
Guillaume
Guillaume on 20 May 2019
I had an issue recently where I couldn't delete a comment (by somebody else). The red x didn't appear for me. Yet Walter had no problem deleting it. There might be a bug hiding somewhere.
madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 6 Apr 2019
When I press enter to enter a tag to a question MATLAB Release field gets erased.
Rik
Rik on 8 Apr 2019
Maybe it is time for wish list 5.
madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 8 Apr 2019
Even I notice the lag in mobile (it stays for almost 2 secs).
Guillaume
Guillaume on 8 Apr 2019
I guess the idea is that if you add a new product to the list, the release list adjust to only the releases that are common to all the products. However, as far as I know all releases have all the products listed, so there's really no point to it. And it's an additional barrier to people actually indicating their version, so it wold be better if the behaviour changed.
P.S: Is it just me or is there noticable lag when typing anything on this particular page (probably due to its size)?
madhan ravi
madhan ravi on 8 Apr 2019
But unfortunately my short term memory wasn’t good at the time :/
Adam
Adam on 8 Apr 2019
Since they went with the very strange setup of only allowing you to enter a release at all if you have first entered a product there are probably only ~5% (if that) of threads that have a release anyway! But I did also notice the bug with adding a product and release disappearing. Thankfully in the one case I did it I noticed and remembered the release and could add it back in.
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 6 Apr 2019
It doesn't (I just tried it to verify). You meant that when you enter Product, it gets rid of the release. And they know about this bug.
TADA
TADA on 29 Mar 2019
If i ask a question and happen to be the only one who answered it,
please don't nudge me to accept the answer
DGM
DGM on 23 May 2022
I think it's a twist on a universal frustration.
I've answered a lot of my own questions, both here and on other forums. To be disappointed and then answer the question myself leaves me wanting something other than a plea to thank someone else.
This goes double if the only reason you sought help was because you felt you had truly exhausted your own ability to solve the problem, and it's all the more maddening when the "answer" was to simply abandon/avoid the problem.
I guess if I had a split personality, I could find a way to thank myself though.
dpb
dpb on 30 Mar 2019
"But I started getting emails from mathworks..."_
Ah! That's rude, indeed! :)
Not what I had presumed the complaint was and kudos to you for showing your regards to respondents. Not everybody, unfortunately, is so considerate--and, not, I'm sure, that they're intending to be in many cases, just not thinking or aware of protocol particularly with the one-time or first-time poster.
Illustrates again the above conversation about why there needs to be ability to select what one gets from TMW on a element basis and why I (and many others) just have notifications "off" globally.
TADA
TADA on 30 Mar 2019
I always make sure to accept a good answer.
But I started getting emails from mathworks to accept my own answer a couple of times.
Well, I guess you're right at least about saving others the effort of reading through
dpb
dpb on 30 Mar 2019
Agree unless there is some issue with an Answer in which case Comment so either the one who answered can respond or others can chime in...
It's rude and can be disheartening to invest (sometimes a reasonable amount of) effort for someone gratis and then have that simply be ignored (as far as can tell with zero feedback).
I have done the nudging on occasion whether only responder or not when it seemed the thread should be closed simply for the purpose of having that indication to those who might otherwise take the time to go look when could be doing something more productive towards an unsolved question.
Jan
Jan on 30 Mar 2019
Why not? If the answer solves the problem, accepting it helps others. It is efficient to mark problems as solved.
Adam
Adam on 29 Mar 2019
One or two things with respect to notification preferences and Activity Feed that I would like:
  • Having a preference to not automoatically add Answers threads I comment or answer on to my Activity feed would be great. I click the unfollow (or whatever it is called) box literally every time I am adding a comment or answer. Just having a one time preference to have the default be off and then I can switch on as I wish would be nice.
  • Being able to choose what I get e-mail notifications about. At the moment it seems I can just either switch them on or off so I switched them off because I don't want to get spammed about stuff from Matlab Answers, but I would like to have e-mail notifications on for a couple of File Exchange submissions that I follow. I tend to never use my Activity Feed (mostly for the reason above as I don't always remember to untick the follow option) so don't see updates on these toolboxes I am using.
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 25 Feb 2020
Perfect, forgot about that page. Thanks, Walter.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 25 Feb 2020
https://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/help?s_tid=gn_mlc_ans_hlp
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 25 Feb 2020
Very interesting to read other people' workflows.
@Walter Roberson, I've been searching for search-options such as the ones you use in the comment above. I'm aware of contributor: tag: question: answer: comment: but I'm curious what other options are available. What is -asked_at:30?
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 1 Apr 2019
I use mostly Activity Feed. However, because it shows so much (every different Edit shows up for example) then afterwards I end up going to My Answers and My Comments to see if I have missed anything. I also sometimes search
contributor:roberson -asked_at:30
so that I can catch updates to old questions that I might have missed... especially for ones that are from before October 2017 when the subscription service went live.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 1 Apr 2019
dpb:
On the main Answers web page, the "Recently Added" view, to the right of "Sort by", there is now "View:" followed by two icons. Click the right hand one to get the view that uses less space.
Guillaume
Guillaume on 1 Apr 2019
That's interesting. I used to have the same workflow (check My Answers and My Comments) but when the activity feed was introduced I ditched that and now use the activity feed exclusively. Yes, I wish it was more compact (in particular, collapse multiple consecutive edits into just one change) but for me it works well enough.
The fact TMW still hasn't done anything about the waste of space so that one has to page and page and page to get to anything beyond the first 50 means I just don't.
Mathworks has to go through a fairly rigid process to make change to the website so it takes time. But they are listening to us.
With regards to searching on Answers, yes it's pretty much useless, it can never find what I'm looking for. Google is actually more often useful than mathwork's own search.
dpb
dpb on 1 Apr 2019
I use Adam's protocol--the browser link recall with my user name retrieves each; then the word "sort" retrieve link to the sort I once did on unanswered by most recent. I skim the first page of it and that's it...
I've used the activity feed on a couple of occasions when I was curious who might have voted for an answer... :)
What is difficult as Walter points out is that once have answered as many as even I, a search limited to your own Answers can't seem to find ones you remember you wrote on a given subject that would be useful to link to...so they still go into oblivion.
The fact TMW still hasn't done anything about the waste of space so that one has to page and page and page to get to anything beyond the first 50 means I just don't...
Rik
Rik on 1 Apr 2019
And that is precisely why a thread-view for the activity feed would be useful. That way you don't have to post a comment in order to get it in your My Comments list, but you avoid the level of detail that the activity feed provides. Personally I don't understand why the extremely detailed recent activity feed is exposed to users as well.
Adam
Adam on 1 Apr 2019
My usual modus operandi on visiting Answers is to head straight to My Matlab Answers -> My Answers to check up on any that had activity either since I last checked or if it was my activity in which case obviously I know there is nothing new. Then I do the same for My Comments. Occasionally I check My Questions too, although not often if I haven't asked one in a while. Finally I hit Browse and look at the first page (occasionally, but rarely, the second) to see what is new.
What I would like to use my activity feed for is question threads that I find interesting for some reason, whether or not I have contributed. It gets cluttered so fast though if I forget to unfollow even a handful of threads I comment in or answer so I've never developed a habit of using Activity Feed as I'd like to.
I contribute to far fewer threads than you in general though so checking My answers and My Comments doesn't usually take long since my last login.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Mar 2019
By the way, I use Activity Feed a lot. We are currently averaging over 175 new Questions every day, which does not count activity on older questions, so it is easy for updates to scroll off of the front page of 50... off of the first 4 pages even. I am following close to 15000 Questions since Following was introduced in October 2017, and I have apparently Answered more than 40000 historically, so it is not practical for me to keep mental track of which questions I have interacted in just by title...
Using contributor:roberson as my filter unfortunately also matches questions I have only editted...
Adam
Adam on 29 Mar 2019
I looked for one straight away when it was introduced, and did actually mention it in feedback to the Devs when they e-mailed us editors back at that time, but I've only just got around to complaining about it in this thread now, after clicking Unfollow a few thousand times!
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Mar 2019
When Activity Feed was put in place, there was a preference about whether you wanted to automatically subscribe or not . I cannot seem to find that preference now.
Rik
Rik on 29 Mar 2019
+1 I agree with the preference thing, and the point about granular email notification control.
It would also be nice to have a way of keeping track of unread threads. Sometimes a comment/thread gets drowned in the activity feed (for those of us who do use it).
Adam
Adam on 29 Mar 2019
@TADA - Yep, I click that (almost) every time I respond to a thread (and when I don't it's because I forgot), hence my request!
dpb
dpb on 29 Mar 2019
Yeah, but ya' gotsa' do it every stinkin' time...which is patently annoying and rude can't set the preference.
Hence, like Adam, I pay no attention at all to activity feed 'cuz it's mostly/almost entirely noise don't care about and have the email notification 'off' as well.
TADA
TADA on 29 Mar 2019
Before you follow a thread, there's a check box you can uncheck when you comment/answer in order not to follow that
dpb
dpb on 29 Mar 2019
Fully concur to both...
Guillaume
Guillaume on 29 Mar 2019
That all seem reasonable, For your second point, the simplest would be to have a tick box next to each item in the expandable list that you get when you click on See emailed activity details.
Adam
Adam on 25 Jan 2019
One thing I would find useful is some kind of question activity history. This may have been mentioned already in this thread, but that kind of highlights my point. For most questions, it is true, this is not too important as the number of comments and answers is small so if it is one that I have answered or commented on I will check it if the latest activity is something new and will usually notice if there is other new activity in addition to the one highlight as latest.
But for a thread like this one I would have no clue whatsoever if multiple comments or answers were added since I last checked it as there are so many answers, many with lots of comments. So anything other than the most recent activity I am hardly ever likely to see.
Even the ordering of answers gets changed by voting too so you can't use that to easily see a chronology of answers. I know voting serves a useful purpose and having answers that are considered most useful being at the top is handy, but it is also a pain in the backside in long threads where the latest answer gets a vote and suddenly jumps up the ordering.
The ability to sort answers by vote or by newest/oldest first, as you get in many question/answer forums would be nice.
Adam
Adam on 25 Jan 2019
I guess it can be useful for that. My activity feed is usually very empty because I purposely turn off the option to follow a thread every single time I answer or comment (an option to do this automatically would be great!) because I find it utterly useless for what I would really want if I leave it on and it fills with clutter. I guess I could add the handful of long threads like this to it though.
Rik
Rik on 25 Jan 2019
The activity feed does help out here, but because all edits end up in there, it does tend to get swamped if one question you follow has a lot of edits. I think it is an improvement relative to the old update list, but I think there is still a lot of room for improvement.
It is an annoyance, but since it doesn't have too much of an effect, I think fixing changing this shouldn't be at the top of the priority list. But it should be on the list.
dpb
dpb on 13 Jan 2019
I would put a hard character limit of (say) 50 characters on the Title -- mandate that the question is in the text, do NOT even let them try to cram everything into the title. It would be agoodthing™ if the text would go red or some other hint the title is too long after about half that number...
Guillaume
Guillaume on 25 Jan 2019
Yes, the scrolling bug is extremely annoying. However, I think we were told that it only happens with Firefox. My understanding is that fixing the bug requires a new release of the editor component, so not a trivial update.
dpb
dpb on 25 Jan 2019
Somebody on the team had to meet their performance objective measurements, no doubt! :)
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 25 Jan 2019
Yes, that annoying scrolling thing is most annoying, virtually preventing any answer more than a page long. I told them of this like a month ago or so and told them that it needs urgent attention, more than anything else. But they rolled out a new update very recently without this being fixed. SIGH.
dpb
dpb on 24 Jan 2019
Can you check the text in the Answer isn't blank first before allowing Submit? It seems I recall that was the one that pushed me over the top when I finally posted that had 20 lines or so in the titel but the Q itself was still empty...or maybe it had a token "please help" or somesuch.
Like the "huh?" I put on the Title of a Q? I posted the other day when it was mandated there be four words where a three-word title seemed fully sufficient, the rules don't seem to have a lot of relevance to what they're trying to accomplish in places.
Now if could fix the focus when the Answer or Question text rolls past the screen such that every keystroke makes the window jump to the top of the window so can't see what you're typing... :( I'm pretty sure I've seen somebody else already made it a topic/complaint but it's surely annoying.
Anusha Sridharan
Anusha Sridharan on 23 Jan 2019
[Answers Dev]
Thank you for sharing! We recently rolled-out a change which updated the label of the first field on the 'Ask a Question' page from 'Question' to 'Title.' We are hoping that this label change will help clear some of the confusion and would be a good first step towards having shorter & concise content for the Title.
We will keep an eye on this and consider your sguesstions as we contiue to work on updates to this page.
Rik
Rik on 1 Dec 2018
It sometimes happens that someone posts a question, recieves some comments, doesn't respond to them, and posts a duplicate. When I post a comment on either (or close the duplicate), both questions are deleted, without the contact option enabled in the user profile. Sometimes the user also changes their username.
I'm not sure what would be the best solution to deal with these annoying events (other than shrug my shoulders and move on). Maybe something like requiring 10 rep to delete your own question? I would like to flag the question aksing the devs to restore, but there is nothing to flag anymore.
Sometimes some contributors put a lot of effort into the comments already, which are a great help to get the question clear enough to answer, which sometimes results in the OP solving it on their own. If the question is deleted this effort is now almost wasted (OP has no permanent record to go back to, and others can't benefit).
(If someone thinks this is better suited to it's own thread, I'll be happy to repost as a question.)
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 7 Dec 2018
What Guillaume describes has been a problem. The process of working out what is really needed can be quite valuable, and it can be frustrating to have it disappear.
Generally speaking, I wish people who post relevant material or participate meaningfully in finding the correct solution, would not delete their Answer just because it was not the one that was Accepted. The process is part of the solution.
I find that most of the time an answer that has comments would be better left intact. However, it is true that sometimes there is an answer that is on the wrong track or gives incorrect responses, and in those cases when someone points out why the answer is not relevant, then it can sometimes be appropriate for the poster of the Answer to delete it.
Guillaume
Guillaume on 7 Dec 2018
Note that we cannot move comments or answers (I wish!). We can only copy and paste these into a new comment or answer under our own name and delete the original. Usually we spot the misplaced comment/answer before there's even been a response, so it's not usually an issue.
I'm more concerned with the more common case where somebody answers the question and it's not exactly what the OP want, so it's followed by a bunch of comments on the answer where we actually find out what's needed until somebody else gives the required answer. At this points, the first answerer delete his answer as it's not accepted and whoosh, the whole discussion that lead to the correct answer is gone.
Greg
Greg on 7 Dec 2018
"For that matter, even answers with comment shouldn't be deleted"
I disagree - those of us without sufficient reputation post comments below answers that are themselves comments. Then the MVP types can move it for us, safely deleting the answer-that-is-a-comment along with my comment that it is such.
Guillaume
Guillaume on 3 Dec 2018
Well, yes, if you post content for which you're not the copyright holder, you can't of course license it under any license.
Jan
Jan on 3 Dec 2018
@Guillaume: "when you post on Answer, you agree that your post is covered by Creative Commons so it is no longer yours exclusively." This cannot concern code, which was not your property before. When I post code owned by MathWorks, it will not be available under the CC afterwards, but removed from the forum. So if a user posts the PDF of his homework question, his teacher can force him or MathWorks to remove it.
Guillaume
Guillaume on 3 Dec 2018
I'm fairly certain that posters weren't able to close or delete their own questions in the past. That's a fairly recent policy change, not even reflected on the privilege documentation actually, and one I don't particularly agree with.I'd rather any question with a comment can't be deleted. For that matter, even answers with comment shouldn't be deleted.
My interpretation of the GDPR is that a post on Answers is not impacted by it since the GDPR/right to be forgotten covers personally identifiable information, which are not normally present in answers. On the other hand, when you post on Answer, you agree that your post is covered by Creative Commons so it is no longer yours exclusively.
Jan
Jan on 3 Dec 2018
@Rik: Maybe shrugging the shoulders is the best approach. It will work also for users, who ignore the answers, e.g. because it was a homework question and the deadline was yesterday. Lost work is not a highlight and I hope this happens rarely. It is like gifts on Christmas: you cannot control if the receiving person is happy.
If you see, that a person deletes many questions, contacting the forum admins is most likely the best idea.
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 1 Dec 2018
Erasing and restoring one's posted data is not so clear cut. There are some legal requirements and some gray areas. I'm sure you've heard of Europe's "right to be forgotten", codified in GDPR, which I remember as "G*d d*mn Privacy Rules". You can find them here in this link. Not all countries have privacy rules covering individuals (notably, China doesn't according to Wikipedia) but sometimes companies, since they send web pages all over the world, apply some policies uniformly. Though it appear that often the "erasure" operations are a fairly manual one, I'd guess that sometimes companies don't do it for requests from some countries (I'm just guessing).
One possible exception for restoring posts the poster deleted is "Other exceptions are if the processing of data which is subject to an erasure request is necessary to comply with legal obligations, for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes or for the defence of legal claims." So that might be a justification for restoring the post, if the Mathworks wants to take the risk that restoring the data for public viewing was one of those reasons.
Wikipedia has a long list of court cases related to gray area situations.
dpb