Jump to content

Welcome to Geeks to Go - Register now for FREE

Geeks To Go is a helpful hub, where thousands of volunteer geeks quickly serve friendly answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts. Register now to gain access to all of our features, it's FREE and only takes one minute. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more.

Create Account How it Works

Subscribing to topics

  • Please log in to reply




  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 670 posts

Hello Geeks,


Am wondering whether anything at all can be done about the large number of people who ask a question without following the topic - and then just disappear, never to be heard of again!


Sadly I am not technically savvy enough to answer most of the questions posed on here, but on the rare occasions I have spotted a question I might perhaps know the answer to, I really enjoy trying to assist. It is always good to have an opportunity to help others and often it enables me to learn new stuff too. I am however getting very discouraged now, as many people just do not bother to reply (something that I am aware annoys even the real experts on here). I do recognise that sometimes something else crops up in people's lives and they simply forget (it even happened to me once, quite a few years ago now). What is really extremely annoying though is the fact that so many of them have not even subscribed to the topic, so that there is no indication that they have even read the attempt to help them - and any reminder posted would probably have zero chance of reaching them! :(


Is there any possibility that the 'follow this topic' issue could be dealt with differently on here? I don't know what is possible...... maybe everyone could automatically be subscribed to topics they themselves have started? If not, then maybe everybody who comments on a topic could automatically be subscribed to it, with the option to unsubscribe later if required (at the moment, I think there is an option in the settings in which you can choose whether to be automatically subscribed or not).


At the very least - if none of the above is possible - could a really prominent message be included on every forum telling people how to subscribe and why it is strongly recommended that they do so?


In the meantime, I have now decided that I am never again going to respond to anybody who has not subscribed to the topic. It is a shame for me, as it seems that the people posing the kind of not-too-complicated questions that I might be able to answer are just the ones who do not bother to subscribe to the topic!


Thanks for taking the time to read this.



  • 1




    WTT Tech Teacher

  • Tech Academy Moderator
  • 583 posts
Hi Chris,
I was waiting for some experts here on the forum to give their views, but as no one has replied so far, you'll just have to put up with my disconnected jottings!

I don't recall ever having used the "follow this topic" button, but I always seem to get an email notification when someone adds a post, so perhaps as you say its a question of setting things up properly(or as required) when joining the forum....

I think there may be a number of reasons why folks just drift away without either following up on their topics or taking the time to thank those who have responded, so here goes with my list ( I'll start with the most charitable thoughts! and then progress downwards!)

1 Some folks find joining a forum and posing a question(in the right subforum) a major task that is sometimes completed more by luck than judgement, and it then exhausts their computer knowledge and skills, and they cannot find their post again, so just drift away....

2 Others may find that as soon as they restart their computer, the problem just goes away, or there is some other spontaneous and beneficial action that has done the trick for them

3 Often computers may become so bogged down, unresponsive, or maybe just refuse to switch on and they either submit it to the "great recycling centre in the sky" and just get a new one or some kind soul reinstalls their operating system for them. With a new or recently formatted machine to play with, and problems solved the original post they made asking for help is soon forgotten!

4 I have noticed quite a few folks ask a question without really giving any useful information, and when they receive a response with a list of steps that they could take in order to help with the diagnosis and troubleshooting/repair procedures, they lose interest... I tend to call these folks the " quick fixers" they are looking for the "fixer pixie" to magically appear and solve their computer problems without any effort or involvement on their part at all!

5 There are quite a few folks around who have high expectations of "computer service technicians", and sometimes tend to forget that the forums generally provide technical advice free of charge, and by volunteers who donate their time and expertise for no reward other than that "warm feeling" of satisfaction that so many of us get when helping folks. They may be under the impression that forum responders are highly paid " salaried employees" paid by the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Asus Lenovo or the like!
When I have mentioned to some of my regular and valued customers (I own and run two computer repair/service shops) some of the work we do on the forums they are often incredulous, not believing that any business owner or other experienced computer user would help others for no financial reward!

6 There is a generation of people (both young and older) who have never had the benefit of being taught good manners, and the thought of actually thanking people, or understanding that sometimes several hours of research may be needed to deal with an intractable computer problem, is a completely foreign concept to them!

7 Lastly, I try never to get mad at folks who exhibit these forms of behaviours, and just accept that some folks (demanding ones as well) will plough their own furrow in life..... after all in life, stuff happens, people get sick, suffer bereavement, get fired, displaced by fire, flood, or other disasters, and then their computer problem that seemed so pressing yesterday, falls quickly towards the bottom of their priority list.

On a more general note, prominent statements and "how to's for example can be a great idea, but how do we get the folks to read them? and if they should perchance read them ,how do we get them to implement the guidance steps?.

Do keep up the good work Chris, (it is appreciated)and don't become disillusioned (sorry didn't mean to preach!) and do remember we all of have lives outside of the forums and sometimes life just gets in the way.

With best regards and thanks for the good work you do on the forums
  • 1




  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 670 posts

Hello Paws,

Thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to reply.

First of all, I am sorry if I gave the impression that the purpose of my post was to have a good moan about people who don't answer. Yes, it can be frustrating - but I fully accept that there are myriad reasons why people do not respond and many of them are perfectly acceptable ones. I am certainly not seeking profuse thanks - and also realise that some people are just not the 'thanking' kind. :) Like you, I do not believe in complaining to the individual if they do not behave exactly as I would like (nobody wants to join a forum where people are likely to have a good old moan at them!), nor does it upset me if people do not give all the information needed from the start - indeed, that's just part of the fun of it, isn't it? :D

Btw, your first point about some people joining a forum and then not being able to find their post is what actually happened to me when I first joined GTG back in 2011. I posted a question then, although I have no idea what it was even about now. Some kind of family crisis then followed (my family seem to specialise in them  :lol:) and by the time I tried to get back to my topic, I couldn't even find it! At least I have progressed a bit from there these days! :)

I do however want to be able to feel that there is a good chance that the person posing the problem has at least read my attempt to help them. I would also like to be able to give them a gentle reminder if they fail to reply and to be able to have reasonable expectations that such a reminder is likely to get to them: if they then choose to ignore it, that that is just one of those things. I have however noticed from reading the forums that when people have subscribed to the topic and are gently reminded that they haven't replied, most of them will then come back with an apology and a good reason for not responding.

I am trying hard to learn more - but cannot know if I am learning successfully without any feedback!

Like you, these days I automatically receive immediate notifications for any topics I am involved in. You will see from the screenshot I am attaching that there are many options for receiving notifications, including one to only get a weekly digest. I have belonged to many different kinds of forums throughout the years and receiving notifications is often obligatory and can sometimes be a right pain if you are getting multiple notifications for stuff you are not even interested in - but a weekly digest is not too likely to upset anybody, is it? :)

What made me think about this originally was because I was involved in a topic a while ago where somebody else was helping the lady, although I also tried to assist a tiny bit as she was obviously finding some of the technical stuff a bit challenging (something I really sympathise with). She missed picking up a reply for two or three days and the person helping her pointed out that she was not subscribed to the topic. I provided her with a screenshot of how to subscribe, as she did not seem to know anything about it. Actually, I am not too sure that she ever did subscribe to it, but it got me thinking about the large number of people who do not subscribe - perhaps because they are not aware of it even being a possibility.

I am afraid I am a bit discouraged. I am always doubtful anyway whether or not I should really be responding, as I do not feel I have any right to answer as if I am an expert, because in reality I know so little. When people don't get back to me, I have a tendency to think that it is my fault: I must have either given them the wrong information, or else just not explained clearly. Thinking sensibly, I should know that I am not the only person this happens to. My mind is not always good at thinking sensibly though! :no:

Like you, I also was hoping that an 'admin' would read this post and respond to it and am a bit disappointed that they haven't (not that it wasn't good to hear from you Paws: you can always be relied upon to be friendly and very helpful :) ) If you are an admin reading this, please could you comment on whether there is any possibility of changing the default settings regarding subscribing to posts. It's okay if there is a reason why it isn't possible, but I would just like to know your thoughts.

Thanks again, Paws.





  • 1



    Tech Staff

  • Technician
  • 20,876 posts

Just my two penneth worth  :)


Never feel discouraged to try helping if you feel comfortable doing so Chris and be safe in the knowledge that your help is both recognised and appreciated by members and staff alike :thumbsup: 


A great reply by paws that pretty much covers all bases :yes:   

  • 0

Similar Topics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

As Featured On:

Microsoft Yahoo BBC MSN PC Magazine Washington Post HP