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Author: Doug Couvillion

We recently removed Lists from Mamapedia

We recently removed Lists from Mamapedia

Regular visitors to Mamapedia may have noticed we recently removed Lists from the site.  There were a few reasons for this decision.  First and foremost, we want to keep the community focused on questions and answers and Voices posts.  Reviewing site usage and page visits revealed Lists only made up 0.02% of the site’s pageviews.  Put another way, for every 10,000 pages viewed on Mamapedia only 2 of them would be Lists.

Secondly, the Lists were a prime target for spammers.  By removing the Lists we reduced the ability of spammers to affect the items appearing on your homepage.  The “Moms Are Talking About Right Now” section of the homepage previously displayed any recent List activity, which was almost always spam.  We removed those items and replaced them with more questions and one additional Voices post.

The New And Improved Daily Digest

The New And Improved Daily Digest

We’ve been working hard to improve the Daily Digest newsletter and our first cut is finally done.  The new email layout is mobile friendly and packed full of content.  Most content is linked directly back to the Mamapedia website, so you can simply click it to read the full content, reply to questions and ask your own questions.

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll find in the new Daily Digest.

Daily Digest Sections

1. Header


The Header is where you’ll find your personalized greeting and the issue date of the Daily Digest issue you’re reading.

2. Voices Article


Each Daily Digest includes an excerpt of the latest Voices article.

3. Local Questions


In this section of the newsletter you’ll find questions that are specific to your local area.  If there are no local questions this section will be omitted.

4. Recent Questions


Three recently posted questions are highlighted each day.

5. Trending Questions


This sections has the three questions that have gotten the most answers in the last week.

6. Questions That Need Your Help


Here you’ll find questions that haven’t gotten many answers yet.  Maybe you can help the author by answering her question?

7. Time Machine


The Time Machine section highlights the question with the most responses from five years ago .

8. Ask your question buttons


In several places you find links that take you directly to the Ask A Question page on Mamapedia.

9. Link to the publication guidelines


Ever wondered what it takes to get published on Mamapedia?  This section provides you with a link to instructions on how to submit an article for publication.

10. Footer


The footer section includes links to our privacy policy and a link to change your email preferences.  You can use that link to subscribe and unsubscribe to various Mamapedia emails.

How to subscribe

If you haven’t subscribed yet and would like to, visit your user profile Email Preferences and set Deliver My Digest to Daily.

Thoughts on what would make the Daily Digest better?

We encourage your feedback and welcome you to post comments about the new format here.  We’re particularly interested to know what you would like to see in the Daily Digest and what you think we should change.

Guidelines For Answering A Question On Mamapedia

Guidelines For Answering A Question On Mamapedia

Occasionally we remove questions and answers from Mamapedia.  When this happens the user who posted the content is sometimes upset their content was removed.  While we have easily accessible Question Guidelines available on the Ask A Question page we haven’t included such a reference when people respond to questions.  So, here are a few guidelines for answering questions.

  1. The guiding principle for answering a question on Mamapedia is the answer should be helpful to the person who asked the question and others reading it.  Remember, the question was posted because the user doesn’t know the answer and many times others are reading it for the same reason.
  2. Answers to questions must remain on topic.  Off topic answers may be removed as they are not helpful in answering the question.
  3. Answers that contains profanity, insults, or hostile comments will be removed.  If you feel a post is inappropriate, please report it using the “Report as inappropriate” feature in the “What can I do next?” area just below the question (see the screenshot below).  All reported content is reviewed and will be removed if it violates Mamapedia’s policies or is otherwise deemed inappropriate.  Do not respond to the question by insulting the person who asked it.

screenshot showing how to report content as inappropriate


An Improved “Ask A Question” Page

An Improved “Ask A Question” Page

One of the ways we want to improve the content on Mamapedia is getting you, our users, to post questions as questions and make sure they are unique. Until recently there was no easy way to do that.  In fact you weren’t even encouraged to do that. As a result the same questions have been asked again and again under very generic titles.  For example, a search for “potty training” returns nearly 13,000 questions.  The top 10 matching search results are all questions that used “Potty Training” as their title.  Unfortunately “potty training” is a broad topic and not a question.  If you read the top 10 potty training questions, they can be boiled down to three distinct questions:  “At what age should you start potty training?”, “Can anybody recommend good potty training resources?” and “Does anyone have suggestions on how to handle potty training?”  We could probably review the 13,000 potty training questions on the site and come up with a list of ten posts that cover 80% of the actual questions.

Starting today when you ask a question you will notice a few changes.  First, you are encouraged to actually ask a question rather than post a generic subject. The text field previously labeled “Subject” is now labeled “Question” and the hint below that field now explains you should ask a question.  The updated system also requires each question to contain at least three words.

After you enter your question a list of the top five similar search results will appear.  Please take a look at those results to make sure your question hasn’t already been answered.  Doing so should help you get your answers more quickly and will reduce duplicate questions on the site, helping everybody.

screenshot of the "Ask A Question" page on with similar questions highlighted
Ask A Question Page: Similar Questions Highlighted

Finally, the text area formerly titled “My question” is now labeled “Additional details”.  Use that text area to enter additional details specific to your question.

Sticking with the potty training example, here’s how this could work.  In the question field you might enter “Does anyone have advice for potty training a 3 year old child when daycare won’t help?”.  After reviewing the list of top five related search results, if you still want to ask your question you could continue by entering the following into additional details. “My three year old son goes to day care five days a week. We’ve been working on potty training for two weeks. He does great on the weekends but when he comes home from day care we seem to have lots of accidents. It seems like day care is making him regress. Has anybody experienced this before? What did you do to solve it?

Nothing on the updated web page, other than the three word minimum on questions, will prevent you from posting your question. Even if there’s a duplicate question, you can still post yours.  We don’t want to limit your ability to ask whatever questions you may have. We’re just trying to make search results more relevant so you can find what you’re looking for more easily.

Hopefully you will find the new “Ask A Question” process helpful and easy to use. Over time we think it will assist you in getting higher quality answer more quickly and easily.