I like coming to these forums because I like helping others. But, I also like coming here because I love a challenge, or to test what I know. So, here's a sketchy idea out of left field...
The creation of a "Test Your Knowledge" forum, in which a sample situation or problem is posted weekly, with a varying difficulty and with a healthy rotation between different Autodesk products. Until the answer is posted at the end of the week, users can submit what they think is the best solution, but no other users can see it. The questions could be a collaborative effort between both Autodesk and Super Users. A simple concept, I think, and I foresee a couple of possible benefits that could come of it:
1. If a Super User identifies a broader problem that many users are having, this could be the subject of one of these tests to draw attention to it, and ultimately to the correct method of doing it.
2. A special kind of "Kudo" or other reward could be awarded for a correct answer, granting users encouragement to keep participating.
3. With so many users tackling the same situation, many unknown and better solutions may crop up, some of which even the best users are unaware of.
I don't know if this is a good idea overall, but I know that I would be one to check out the test question every week. Plus, the Super Users that participate get to help a lot of people all at once. But there would be some work involved...
I like this idea. Perhaps not as a full time weekly thing, but in the lead up to AU someone could post a problem for users to work on. The problems and solutions could even form the basis for an AU class.
I can think of some especially nasty corridor modelling problems that would keep the Civil3D board busy for days.
I'm sure we could all find questions to propose: I have to say that, for example, PICKFIRST problems seem to come in so many variations I am still amazed to this day how narrow focused a user in a hurry can be and miss it as the fix for example.
For a variety of reasons, I'm not very active here. My post count isn't going to grow quickly and I'm not going to pick up many kudos and marked solution points to add to my collection. However, putting aside false (or any) modesty, I've been an AutoCAD specialist for 27 years to developer level, have been helping people on Autodesk online discussion forums of various types for about 20 years, have written technical articles for Cadalyst starting about 17 years ago, and write one of the most popular independent AutoCAD-related blogs.
If I happen to give somebody one of my rare technical answers here, there's an extremely good chance it is going to be correct. A somewhat higher chance, in fact, than an answer from some people who currently sport an impressive title and lots of stars. There are others like me, only more so (e.g. Owen Wengerd, whose level of AutoCAD developer knowledge makes me look pretty clueless).
There's a conflict here between a system that best 'rewards' people who are active and frequently helpful, and one that identifies the most knowledgeable users to a n00b who doesn't know who is likely to give them the best answer. Personally, I would send frequently helpful people like Dean a heap of valuable swag and call him something like Ultra Helper, and reserve titles such as Guru for people like Owen. As you apparently don't have swag, and manually evaluating titles for everybody is likely to be unmanageable, I don't have a ready solution for this. I'm just pointing out the issue.
Oh, and Jillian, I like your attitude.
Once again - thanks for piles and piles of feedback. I was away from reliable internet all weekend and just kept seeing notification e-mails piling up! I think that's a good problem to have in this scenario, huh?
I love this challenge idea. At AU, some of the Revit Dev team does this 'Where's my chair?' game. They find something like 39 ways to make 39 chairs invisible in a view and challenge attendees to uncover all of them (1 is easy, 39 is insane). It's oddly fun and well-received. I think the whole game started out with 20 chairs hidden, but over the years attendees found twice as many MORE ways to hide the chairs too.
If we (Autodesk, a selected top user, or dev) were to put up a question every week that we at least had a good idea of a solid solution to, I think it would make for a lot of discussion and probably even refine the solution and workarounds. I could see this turning into some really great user created technical solutions, blog posts, etc. As for the hypothetical answer to the hypothetical question - it could be decided by vote, dev, or whatever we decide. And posting a scoreboard wouldn't be hard at all I think. Hmmm... you all have me thinking now!
And Steve_Johnson, I assure you I'm working insanely hard to figure out ways to keep folks like Dean, JD Mather, Travis (ok, just about everyone who has posted here it seems) at the top of the ranking list. In my other life, when I'm not posting on this forum, I'm crunching numbers and being a math geek. So, I think I've come up with some pretty effective ways at putting everyone at approriate ranks, but far from perfect.
I have to admit though, the tough part is what happens when a guru-to-be registers in the forum. They're amazingly helpful from the start, but I have to put them through a trial period to make sure they'll continue to be awesome, even if I know they wrote books, spoke at AU, and are willing to spend 23 hours a day on here. It's tough. I kind of wish I could manually assign ranks, but I think it would quickly turn into a mess!
Again, thank you for all the feedback. We need to drag a few more users in here and get them spilling ideas, so if you happen to think of anyone who might be willing - send them a PM?
Steve you are precisely the type of contributor that makes this Forum priceless. As has been pointed out; a couple of ways posters here fall through the cracks for various reasons. It does not take long to figure out who makes my day easier and who is just phoning it in. Most who come here will see that regardless of the color or name associated with the responder.
I wish I had the time to read online and understand CAD beyond my basic needs but my basic needs serve me well. Having this resource allows me to stay "dumb" in regards to many things about CAD because there is a helpful voice on the other end of the line.
Never forget that as this ranking system evolves.
There are several who have helped me over the years that I no longer see postings. I do not know if they stopped, moved on, don't have access, just don't care, moved platforms, or what. From time to time it would be nice is some of them came back.
And if you have never seen this:
How many other similar AutoCAD themes could be phrased in this way?