Grouped Questions

Per PhiLho’s comments here:

A useful feature may be to allow a method to convert a question into a “Grouped Question”.
That question’s answers are links to other questions.

What are the best Windows power tools?

  • What is the best Windows text editor? (Notepad++)
  • What is the best Windows compression tool? (7-Zip)
  • What is the best Windows package manager? (Ninite)
  • What is the best Windows scripting language/environment? (PowerShell)

Though this feature’s quite small, it has the advantage of aiding discovery of other questions / flow of users navigating through the site.


So there are a couple of ideas for this.

Idea one is basically what you’re describing.

Idea two is something we’re experimenting with at the moment. So, on Slan’t blog there’s a guide that does a similar thing. It gives context to a bunch of questions.

This way it allows all questions on Slant to be scoped tighter (and I think the format works better where there are only a few options) as well as gives more flexibility in providing better context.

There have been talks of adding a guides sections in the site (possibly in a way that’s also collaborative) we just have to see if that’s something there’s a demand for now or in the future. Another related thing would be exposing the embed function so other blogs and such could give context to the questions.


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The guide’s a great feature if opened for public use; especially if you make it easily embeddable. I can see that increasing flow to Slant from popular posts around the net.

However that’s a way for one author to link to certain Slant topics; in the “Grouped Questions” idea I was thinking more of the following scenario:

  • user goes to Slant and asks a question
  • it’s clear that this question has many potential answers; some of which may not compete with others. e.g. What's the best windows power tool?; 7zip and Notepad++ are both great tools, but for different jobs, so can’t really be seen to compete directly with one another. As such the question is tagged as a grouped question (better name required).
  • various users now post links to other Slant topics which cover the sub questions; best editor, best compression, etc.
  • users vote on the sub questions (best text editor and best compression get votes because they’re important tools for me; I don’t vote for best *nix emulator because that’s a less important tool in my opinion).
  • Slant displays each sub-question and its top answer as an option under the parent question.

As you’ve said, there are a lot of ways to do similar features to this; the above definition is aimed at solving the problem identified by PhiLho within the site & without requiring moderator intervention.

I think solving this is going to be critical to the success of Slant as this is not an isolated case. We’re talking about questions that have so little scoping that the options contained in them do not compete and thus should be broken down into multiple, more scoped questions.

Here are my unfiltered thoughts and concerns. The primary (and in some form existing) way to group questions together that are related is a tag. In my current thinking “power user tools for windows” is pretty much the feed of questions filtered by “power user tools” & “windows”. The new feed design we’re working on highlights a single option, so we would get what @johnlbevan wants here":

Here is the problem, the current tag functionality is not fleshed out in such a way to enable this. We have moved more towards tags more or less acting as a high level category over things that can be nicely combined together to create scoped lists of products. The interesting part is that a tagging system could pretty much meet every one of the requirements @johnlbevan suggested (voting on questions would be abstracted away to some other metric such as combined option votes or how many ppl are subscribed to the question)

I like the idea of having admin controlled tags such as “windows” and then allow the creation of user tags such as “windows power user tools” and giving users the ability to create groups of questions. We could then flag a question as “too broad”, lock people from contributing more to the question and link out to the appropriate tag. Thoughts?

I can see us doing something like Ebay’s “Collections”.

A collection of questions for us could be labeled something like “Best Android apps for staying in touch”. Basically, it could be a guide without all the narration.

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