Moderator Clarification (posted October 16, 2007)
Delete Requests – We’ve heard from you that our recent moderator update about the Delete Requests process was confusing, and upon a re-read, we agree! So here’s a complete description, which is primarily aimed at those community members new to using the Delete Requests process. For those who have already used it, there is no change in the existing process.

The purpose of the Delete Requests category is to allow Idea Authors to put their post up for removal if they no longer want it to be on IdeaStorm. Reasons to propose your post be removed might be: it has a high negative point total, it was posted as a joke, or it was a message to the moderator that has been answered. To propose your post be removed, the Idea Author can click on Edit Idea, and then select the Delete Requests category within the list of categories. The moderators check the Delete Requests several times a day and will review the post proposed for removal. It is ultimately the decision of the moderators to determine if a post in Delete Requests will be removed or not. For example, an idea that is well voted on may not be removed, because there are others in the community that see value in it. Or perhaps it is not well voted on, but contains valuable customer feedback for Dell. However, examples of posts that might be removed after being placed in Delete Requests are posts that are jokes, do not contain any ideas, or are question for the moderator that have been answered. If a moderator decides that a post in Delete Requests is appropriate for removal, the moderator will confirm with the Idea Author via a comment in the idea thread, before removing it.

When an idea is posted that violates the Terms of Use, it may be removed by a moderator without prior notice if it is severe enough that it warrants immediate removal. Most of the time, however, the moderators will provide a warning before removing a post.

To reduce the complexity of this process, there is no need for an Idea Author to click on Report Abuse if they have already categorized their post into the Delete Requests category. Additionally, the community can and should continue to use the Report Abuse process to notify moderators of abuse of the Terms of Use on anyone’s posts, but should not use the Report Abuse process to request removal of someone else’s ideas. If it contains abuse, please report the abuse, but only Idea Authors can request their post be removed. Hope that helps explain the process, and our apologies for the confusion. Please continue to provide your feedback on this process.

Moderator Update (posted October 12, 2007)
Profanity Filter and Increased Moderation – The community is growing and with that there is a greater need for moderation. Similar to the moderation of other Dell communities, there will be no tolerance for profanity. The site now employs a filter for profanity, and users who attempt to post ideas or comments that include profanity will be prevented from doing so until they remove the profanity. Repeated violations will result in warnings to the user and possible banning from the site.

User Dashboard – We have updated the user dashboard page to include a list of recent comments and votes to ideas you have posted. We have also added an Account Details link, where you can change your password or the email you registered with. This was a request from members of the community, and we hope you’ll use it to ensure we have the right email address for you. To date, the only reason we have needed to use email addresses was to contact users for recognition opportunities. We will of course exercise discretion in contacting users by their email address.

Report Abuse – Adding comments when abuse is reported was the first step, but now there are a few more things that you can do to get more from this tool. When you flag an idea for being a duplicate or a merge candidate, be sure to add a link to the original idea in the comment section of the report abuse function, so the moderators can merge the idea in a timely manner. Moderators will now always post a comment prior to merging, to give the community a heads up and a chance to weigh in on the merge candidate.

Registration – As a part of registration for IdeaStorm, new users will now receive a confirmation email to authenticate the email address they provide. This will slow down the process a little, but help control spam, duplicate users and ensure the moderators can contact the user if necessary.

New Site Enhancements and More on the Way! (posted August 31, 2007)
It’s been a while since my last moderator update, but we’ve been hard at work in the past few months addressing the IdeaStorm enhancements, and bug fixes, the community has requested. And we have some more enhancements coming soon that we think you’ll like. Like any new application, we’re continuing to improve the functionality on IdeaStorm as we learn from the community about what is most needed. And, we’re working toward getting more employees to join the conversation on IdeaStorm and provide feedback. Here are some important updates:

Status Tags – you’ve noticed that some ideas have been assigned a “status tag”, and you have given us feedback about what the tags should be and what they mean. You’ve asked for us to define the tags for you, so here they are:
  • IMPLEMENTED -- Dell has listened and we have put this idea into action. The idea is implemented.
  • PARTIALLY IMPLEMENTED -- Part of this idea was implemented, but not all of it. We might tell you on these that certain products or certain regions implemented it, but not all.
  • COMING SOON -- It's not ready for sale yet, or otherwise "visible", but we've committed to delivering some time in the future.
  • UNDER REVIEW -- Our team is reviewing this idea and evaluating it against criteria that include, but are not limited to: market impact, regional demand, feasibility, appropriate timing, vendor/supplier availability, etc.
  • NOT LIKELY -- This is not likely to be implemented. (we will typically include the reason in the comment box)
  • NOT NOW -- Right now we do not plan to offer this, but we have not ruled it out for the future. It may be a good idea down the line. (we will try to include the reason in the comment box)
  • ALREADY OFFERED -- We already offer this.
  • IN PROGRESS -- Working on this right now. (similar to coming soon)

Report Abuse – Based on your requests, we’ve added the ability to report abuse on individual comments, in addition to the report abuse function on ideas that we already had. We have also given community members an opportunity to state a reason for the reported abuse (accidental submission, Terms of Service violation, duplicate, etc.) Thank you to the community members who make use of the report abuse function. Having a self-policing community is an important part of creating the open culture we want on IdeaStorm.

Duplicate Ideas Suggestion – In the next few weeks, we plan to roll out a duplicate ideas suggestion feature. Yes, that’s right! We’re going to take a big step forward in reducing the number of duplicates on the site, of which there are many right now. We hope you’ll give us your feedback on this feature after we put it in place some time in September. We’ll be enhancing the search function too, so that we can be sure the duplicate ideas suggestion feature brings up the right ideas. Stay tuned for more later this month.

Long Links in Idea and Comments – We’ve implemented a fix for situations when a community member posts a long URL to a Web site or picture that would push the comments table over and move the right navigation off the page. Now, when you post a long link, we keep the link in tact (it still goes to the correct page) but we shorten it up in the comment by truncating what is shown on the screen. The truncated link will still go to the site you posted, however.

Forum Threads – Many people asked what we do about people who accidentally post an idea in a forum thread. Well, we recently turned on the prior moderation function for forum threads, so that we can monitor everything that comes in that way, and notify the community member if they accidentally posted their ideas in the wrong place.

User Registration – We’ve also turned on the prior moderation feature for users who are registering on the site. This allows us to keep new members from having inappropriate usernames (such as including Dell in their name, if they are not a Dell employee) and helps us identify duplicate registrants.

Dell Employees – We’ve given a Dell logo to the Dell employees on the site who are joining the conversation, giving feedback, and providing updates. And we’re encouraging more employees to join the conversation. Check out the comments from people like richard_b, hope_l, sean_m, john_p, bruce_a, tommy_l, bryant_h, sean_d, colleen_r, tim_t, laura_t, richard_m, and several others. And be on the look out for more folks soon!

Search – The search function on IdeaStorm is critical to helping community members find ideas they want to vote on... and critical to helping Dell find the ideas we’re evaluating. We’ve done some enhancements on the search function to make it faster and more accurate. But we have more work to do on this and we will continue to incrementally fix the search function over the coming weeks and months.

Responses to your Ideas - There's no question we need to respond to more ideas here on IdeaStorm, and do it more quickly than we have been. This site is revolutionary in part because it offers such a transparent, fast way to close the loop with you and let you know what we've done with your idea. Our response rates, and the time it takes to respond, are not good enough. But I assure you, we're listening, and we're evaluating ideas. We opened this new line of communication with our customers for that reason - and we know that listening is critical to our success as a company. It takes time to assess what all this new feedback means, and take action on that feedback, but we're working on getting better at it.

Bug Fixes – Like any new application, we’ve had some bugs on IdeaStorm since we launched. We’ve done our best to address them as quickly as possible. Here’s a list of a few of the bugs we’ve fixed: number of characters in a username now restricted, ideas are no longer double posting, timestamp fixed to not show negative time period, ‘Top Contributors’ page loads faster, idea text no longer pre-populates with previous comments, RSS feeds work, and cross-site scripting and other malicious HTML tags are restricted.

And we have more work to do. Thanks for your ongoing support of IdeaStorm, and for all your creative ideas! The enhancements to the site that I’ve listed all came from requests from the community. We’re learning as we go… thanks for teaching us. Keep the ideas coming!

Important Improvement to IdeaStorm (posted on May 3, 2007)

Many of you have posted suggestions about how we should ‘clean up’ IdeaStorm - we’ve been listening! We’re working to build the new features you’ve requested. The next release of this site is still several months away, but one significant improvement will take effect at 5 p.m. Central Time on Thursday, May 3.

At that time there will be a reduction in the Vote half-life (see definition below) to four days. Since the launch on Feb. 16, the Vote half-life had been 30 days. But because of the increasing traffic and volume of new ideas coming in, we hadn’t seen much refreshing of ideas on the front page. By reducing the Vote half-life to four days, the main page will refresh more frequently with more recently popular ideas.

You may be thinking, “What is Vote half-life?” Here’s how it works:
  • When you submit an idea, it immediately appears in the Recent Ideas section, where other users can find it and promote or demote it. Every time a user promotes an idea, the Point Count increases by 10. A demotion causes the Point Count to decrease by 10. So the Point Count indicates how well-liked the idea is, and the more well-liked the idea, the higher on the Popular Ideas section it climbs.
  • But as the votes get older, they carry less weight than recent votes, and so ideas with older votes move lower on the page. The combination of these forces determines how the ideas are ranked in the Popular Ideas section.
  • Although ideas never fall out of the system entirely, they will move up or down based on their recent popularity. The reduced Vote half-life means that ideas with a higher Point Count could possibly drop below those with a lower Point Count, if the latter were promoted more recently. (So for example, you may see an old idea with 400 points ranked below a newer idea with 300 points.)
  • The Point Counts, which is the number to the left of the idea headline, remain consistent and do not change regardless of the Vote half-life changes. Point Counts only change based on promotions and demotions.
  • Going forward, ideas that bubble up to the top of the Popular Ideas section will be the ideas that are more recently voted upon. So the order of the ideas under the Popular Ideas section is the best way to gauge recent popularity, while the Point Count is the best way to gauge overall popularity.
  • The Vote half-life changes that we will be making will take a few minutes to kick-in and during that time, you will see a “Site Under Maintenance” page. After that, the ideas will be reordered based on recent votes.
  • We hope you will find these changes useful and we’re looking forward to giving front-page exposure to more of your great ideas!

Many ways to join the conversation. We have launched a new Web page called www.dell.com/conversations, to provide you with a quick snapshot of the different customer feedback tools we offer and make it easier to share and learn with others and with Dell. Read the post on Direct2Dell for more information.

Site improvements you’ve asked for – we delivered. Based on your input, we added a “demote” button and “log-out” capability. Look for more site changes down the road.

Don’t see your idea anymore? There has been some confusion about "disappearing ideas" To clarify, Dell isn’t censoring dissent on IdeaStorm. If ideas are submitted and they turn out to be the same, we are merging them — as well as any votes cast and comments logged — for simplicity. This was a clear request from the IdeaStorm community to "clear up the clutter." When we do this, all votes and comments tied to an idea are added to the merged idea — they do not go away. We will, however, per the site’s terms of service, delete input that is not an idea, or merely a digital reprint or link to a news article.

You can help us clear the clutter. In order to limit clutter and repetition, which is a problem on the site, we ask that all users review previous posts before posting their own ideas. It’s also important that users assign their ideas to the correct categories so future users can more easily check for ideas under specific topics. Though we retroactively go in and merge the obvious duplications, it is a time-consuming and imperfect process. Ultimately, the duplication makes it difficult for all of us to accurately gauge the popularity of ideas. So we really need your cooperation on this one. We’ll continue to review your ideas on how we can collectively improve this process.

Here’s how you can keep your idea from being removed. Not unexpectedly, we’ve seen some postings that do not qualify as credible ideas. Despite our best efforts some spam and inappropriate posts have slipped through. To address this we are strengthening our filters and will increase our monitoring efforts. Please continue to use the "report abuse" link to give us a heads up about spam and inappropriate posts. Additionally, please do not post comments or questions that are not genuine suggestions regarding Dell’s business or products. We provide other Web sites – namely our blog, Direct2Dell, the Dell Community Forum and Dell Support – which are more appropriate to share your opinions, get information or seek resolution to your service issues. We’re not afraid of criticisms and welcome your input, but please use the proper channels.

The community is working together to make an effective IdeaStorm. We really appreciate the efforts of users who’ve identified content that does not fit the guidelines of the site. Some of you have suggested that we allow users to actually remove posts, but our intent is to foster a candid and open exchange of ideas and so we feel that might be overkill at this point. Instead, we ask you to please ensure your posts remain relevant and appropriate.

If you haven’t already, please also check out the Ideas in Action page, where we’ll be providing regular updates on ideas that Dell is considering or implementing.

Keep the ideas coming!