Are too many people asking questions than there are answering?

26 Replies

@Devin Mann Which questions? As someone who answers I think most questions get a decent amount of attention. But there does seem to be a flood of the same questions over and over and over. Themes around: 1.) What about _____ turnkey company? 2.) How do I buy 12 units with zero dollars? 3.) Do you have a yellow letter template? 4.) Should I spent $10K on ____ coaching program? Just to name a few. I would imagine there’s some amount of question answering apathy that sets in when question posters don’t use the “Search” function first (or at all). Not that I blame them for asking but you can’t expect an active community to respond to the same question 50 times a week.

And, for whatever it’s worth, I think BP skews towards the newer and less experienced investor. So there are likely a lot of people that either lack the knowledge or confidence to answer. Not that they shouldn’t to lend perspective but it’s a fairly common issue on any forum.

Your raise an interesting point @Devin Mann  I've been a BP member since 2013 and don't often jump in the fray. It's partly due to my nature (I don't post much personally on Facebook either) and part due to the ole "just not enough time in the day" excuse. This week I've decided to participate more on topics in my areas of specialty (note investing and seller financing) and have been enjoying the dialogue. 

Originally posted by @Devin Mann :

BP should get a way to make people participate more in answering questions

This is similar to most other "enthusiast" forums I have seen on the Internet.  The common features I have seen are:

  • There are always an constant set of "newbie" questions from folks that are posting for the first time or second time. Often these questions have been answered several times before or the first post is in the wrong sub-forum, like "Recommendations for a title company in Orlando, Florida?" question in the this ("Questions about BP") forum.  For many of these folks, they'll never post again and the questions tend to be of the "how do I do get started? [and I haven't done any of my own research]" type.
  • Specific "newbie" questions People we'll often see again, but asking their first question. It'll be more specific than the first group, or pointing out why their question wasn't answered by searching for themselves. Many of these are the next generation of dedicated BP users.
  • Each sub-forum has a set of folks that do most of the answering.  These folks welcome newcomers, do their best to help and set the tone for each subform as far as culture and tone of most sub-forums.
  • There are the "discussions among experts". Multiple folks with experience giving opinions or talking about an unusual situation.
  • Quasi-commercial posts in places where those things generally aren't wanted.
  • Discussions about how the same questions are asked over and over
  • Discussions about how to get more people involved in discussions.

I'm not trying to be rude to the original poster. My point is that the set of things I've seen here are pretty familiar to the various popular hobby/team/career forums. It's always a smaller set of people that answer questions, I expect it's a personality type that many don't have combined with a smaller set of forum members feeling like they're experts on a particular topic. I don't think that's required to answer a question, just that many people don't think they know enough to answer

If I could fix one thing on BP, it would be to somehow do direct more people to pick the correct forum for their first question. I subscribe to this sub-forum (the Questions about BP and Site Announcements forum) so I can see discussions EXACTLY LIKE THIS ONE, but I get notifications every day about new posts with questions like: "". The moderators to a great job of moving those out of here quickly, but we'd all be better off if somehow it was more clear to new posters that there are sub-forums and they'll get their question answered faster if they choose them. It's a tough User Experience problem. I don't have a good solution.. As I said above, this "new folks posting to the wrong forum" seems to be a universal problem on online forums. 

I love participating and answering whatever questions I am able to answer. The problem is that there is a lot that I don't know and I have a lot to learn so I can't answer a lot of questions.

Every question has already been asked and answered multiple times in the past. 

I have responded to the same questions with my same answers so many times that I am certain most are tired of hearing from me. Eventually I will lose interest in PB and move on to other web sites of interest.

I agree with @Andrew Johnson .  Most questions do get answered even if they've been asked 50 times already.  I for one and happy guys like Andrew have stepped up.  I used to answer 20x more than I do now and that's ok because others like him chime in with quality responses.

One of the reasons I don't post as much is when I mention and ask the OP something for clarity, 9/10 time I am ignored.  Or I will answer and really add value, but still be ignored by the OP.   I can be ignored by my tenants or kids.  Tons of the people I use to post with regularly hardly participate anymore for the same reason.

Here's an example of being ignored (maybe):

@Devin Mann - what specifically do you mean?  What would you suggest,  maybe getting kicked off for too low posts after a certain time of being a member?

3:1 says-   only crickets will chirp.  Any takers?

Hey all,

Just to jump in and provide some perspective as a newer member.

One thing that is really nice about the BP forums is that when asking a question you will either get little response (indicating your question was too specific or poorly phrased or some other issue) or genuine responses. But rarely do you get snotty, elitist - please use the search function first - responses from long time users.

This makes the forums a much more welcoming and less intimidating place for new users.

As pointed out, new posts skew to be from newer users and there is a high likelihood that the question has been asked and answered multiple times. From my own experience the search function is OK but could be better and allow for more refined/advanced searching. Of course many posters will take the path of least resistance and just post a question - bring me an answer on a silver platter, please! - but at least the forums don’t punish this behavior even if there could be more of a gentle push to help others research more before they post.

The thing I would like to see more of on the forums, particularly in responses is less outright opinion and more opinion sourced/referenced/linked with outside material. Lots of folks answer with “do it this way” or “do this and not this” but there is very little citation and documented discussion on why that’s the correct answer.

To sum up, it’s a good and welcoming experience to join these forums as a new poster so thanks to the BP community for that. There is a great and helpful culture here which makes it a pleasurable and informative place to hang out.

Thanks!

I’m sure questions I ask do get asked/answered before as well but when I use the search function sometimes it doesn’t narrow down to well. For example “How to buy with zero down”, you get posts with around 500 replies and the main topic has nothing to do with your search  results.  I’m sure someone said something about zero down but yuh have to read 500 conversations for around 50 posts to maybe get something relevant.

I’m not bashing bp but asking how can the search results be improved. Maybe get the google search engine on the website..

Another thought, as a new user, it would be good if there were a “hall of fame” forum where threads of particularly high value could be pinned and archived for posterity. It would need to be moderated, maintained and perhaps even locked for future posting by the BP management team.

Maybe there is something like this but as a newer user I have not found it or at least it hasn’t been obvious that it exists and that i should start there.

@Fareed R. I know I look to Google first and just add in “BiggerPockets” if I’m looking for some specific topics. I know I did that when I was curious on some vacation rental questions. Another part of the challenge is that people (question askers) often don’t ask a “searchable” question. How many times do you see “Creative Financing” in the question when what they really want to ask is: a.) buying with zero money down, b.) buying with zero money out of pocket, c.) addressing a bankruptcy, d.) terms for seller financing, etc. I can’t really blame the poster because 1/2 of the time they don’t know what they are trying to ask. But BP staff and the Mods world probably get castigated if they went around rephrasing questions for the posters. Anyway, the net result is that all forums have search issues, classification/taxonomy issues, moderation issues, etc.

The only prudent question is if you would pay $99/month (or some variation) for better search or heavier moderation. Then the BPs of the world can make an economic decision on a largely free-to-access resource. Or maybe I’m all wrong, I don’t know any BP business plan details 🤷🏻‍♂️

It seems you can actually get good search results and similar to google if you use the website and not the app. Once search and get your results on the website, just hit member blogs. Member blogs are more targeted I feel compared to the forums.

Anyway to search member blogs on the app?

So yes I think this might actually be a way to limit the same questions from being asked over/over again. Plus when the members are more knowledgeable with good focused results. they can actually help others.

Its not the lack of answers. Its that they dont like the answers. No wholesaling is not an easy way to make money and yes it is often illegal and mostly unethical. No you cannot by a million dollar building with no money down. No you cannot get "private" money at 5% for 30 years. No you cannot syndicate your "fabulous" deal to investors with no track record or skin in the game. Etc Etc Etc.

In any online forum or discussion group, there are two kinds of members, the active members and the lurkers.  Those who just like to follow.  Often time, while looking for answers, I'll find them already posted.  Since, I also moderate a special interest group,  I can relate to having to read or post the same thing over and over again.  As a new member of BP,  I realize that sometimes the posts don't relate to my needs... each case is different.  

Originally posted by @Karen Rittenhouse :

There are tons of great answers, just not always great questions....

The best questions seem to have a ton of answers. Ask away!

I agree. The challange is that many questions are too vague to answer. Only very spesific questions can get you very spesific answers. 

The problem with real estate is that there is a high barrier to entry that an endless supply of newbies trying it out.

Hands down the best online forums I've ever come across, real estate or otherwise. 

I try to contribute as much as possible, but often there are much more experienced more qualified people who answer questions before I get there. I think there are just more new people on BP than there are experienced people. Haha which makes sense, they're busy doing deals!

Almost every question I've ever had has been answered kindly and quickly on this site. Love it! Thanks to all of the experienced people here who take the time to share your wisdom/experience. It's very impressive and us newbies are all very grateful. 

I think even basic questions people try to answer although some do die without response. You can pick unanswered question to repond when you come on. Many people don't search before asking. Some don't ask well because they don't know the right keywords or jargon. Not sure how you make a dictionary if people wont search. . I do like the hall of fame idea. Not sure how you manage that. Some threads should be there because they are informative and some i would just nominate as a good read. I somtimes wish there was a way to vote for threads!

The best way to get answers is to interact on the forums, make connections with experienced investors, and then connect with them privately.  It's also a numbers game and you have to sift through everyone's biases, lots of posts, and a lot of crazy one-size-fits-all nonsense to find the golden nuggets of information, just like any learning experience.

It's also easy to find answers to basic investing questions.  It's obvious when new members have not taken some basic steps to find out some stuff on their own.  It's harder to get answers to the real questions that are worth asking but some show up if you are consistently engaging in the forums.  There are lots of stories of members who found BP and who are now financially free.

Lastly, some experienced members put a lot of thought and time into their answers and that effort is often ignored or not acknowledged.  Many just get tied of it and move on.

I see a lot of folks answering questions.

My main challenge is when there are multiple GOOD answers to a question that contradict each other. They all seem right. How do you know which direction to choose?

I guess that’s where having a personal mentor comes in. Someone who knows your personal situation and can give specific advice.

Originally posted by @Steve Vaughan :

I agree with @Andrew Johnson .  Most questions do get answered even if they've been asked 50 times already.  I for one and happy guys like Andrew have stepped up.  I used to answer 20x more than I do now and that's ok because others like him chime in with quality responses.

One of the reasons I don't post as much is when I mention and ask the OP something for clarity, 9/10 time I am ignored.  Or I will answer and really add value, but still be ignored by the OP.   I can be ignored by my tenants or kids.  Tons of the people I use to post with regularly hardly participate anymore for the same reason.

Here's an example of being ignored (maybe):

@Devin Mann - what specifically do you mean?  What would you suggest,  maybe getting kicked off for too low posts after a certain time of being a member?

3:1 says-   only crickets will chirp.  Any takers?

I'm glad I didn't take that bet, Steve. And to quote your quote elsewhere: "Bueller?... Bueller?"...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4zyjLyBp64

Perhaps Devin should have asked: "BP should get a way to make people participate more in THEIR OWN THREADS"!

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