Getting more responses

buehlJune 26, 2013

Recently, I have been asked by a couple of members how to go about getting more responses to threads - especially layout threads.

There are a few factors involved in getting responses:

  • Weekends, especially summer and holiday weekends, are usually not very active here - especially if it takes any time to respond. I recommend posting during the week and late afternoon/early evening Eastern time so your thread is on page 1 and will be seen by more people - especially those just stopping by for a few minutes after work and b/f making dinner or heading out for the evening. After dinner can also be a good time...

Layouts with dimensions that are difficult to read. This has become even more problematical since iVillage/GW made their so-called improvements to the site. It's now difficult to post a large enough layout that is easy to read. If I have to open a layout image in another window and fiddle with resizing and then still not be able to read the dimensions, I often bag it and move on.

Try uploading pictures (especially layouts) to Photobucket (or similar photohosting site) and posting the picture in the message from there instead of of using GW's image upload facility. Upload it to Photobucket in a bigger size and copy the "HTML Code" directly into the message.

There's more information in the FAQs about posting pictures. I've linked to the FAQs for the Kitchens Forum below. Some people don't read the "Layout Help" topic (again, see the FAQs) and post asking for help without giving us very much information about the poster's goals, family composition, plans for using the space,etc. Trying to design a kitchen in a vacuum of knowledge can be frustrating and can lead to "generic" kitchens. Often, layouts don't have enough information for us to work with. A full set of dimensions is very helpful! (See the "Layout Help" FAQs topic). Another deterrent is a poster who does not at least acknowledge those who have responded. Even if you don't like the response, at least acknowledge it. There have been many times in the past when I spent a couple of hours (or more) working on a layout for someone and they never responded or responded to others and completely ignored what I did - no comments at all. While I don't expect (or want) gushing and over the top thank-yous, it would be nice to know (1) that the person read and reviewed what I did and (2) whether I produced something useful or if there were some things that I could change/tweak for them. "Silence is Golden" is definitely not a rule here! Pictures! Pictures are definitely worth a thousand words around here! When asking for advice on layouts, color combinations, problems, or just about anything else that has a "visual", post one or more pictures. We often need to see what you're talking about. Post pictures - not links to pictures. It's much more convenient and easier for us to see the picture in the...

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Good post Buehl. I found it difficult to get the layout big enough to read even when uploading it to Photobucket. Especially when trying to fit the whole kitchen on one page!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:08AM
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I'll add this, as well:

If you're trying to decide whether to post a computer-generated drawing that shows the elevation ( things shown as they will be against a wall) vs a hand-drawn plan (as seen from overhead) or diagram based on graph paper, use the graph paper.

It takes no drawing skill to do, so don't let that initimidate you.

All you need is:

1) good measurements of the room

2) graph paper which you can d/l and print from the net if you don't have any on hand

3) pencil & eraser (for sketching in the first lines)

4) straight edge (ruler, piece of plastic, triangle, etc. because even with graph paper it's easier to draw against a straightedge, and most kitchen lines are straight)

5) dark, fine or extra fine Sharpie, or similar marker, to go over the pencil lines before taking a picture of it for posting. Without the dark pen, most drawings are too faint.

Using graph paper forces you to pay attention to scale.

Don't worry about trying to identify the individual cab box codes (e.g. BD3 30) at the lay out stage.

Also making all the necessary design-development-in-progress changes is far easier on a plan than with a fully-drawn elevation. Sometimes i think people who have spent a lot of time (and perhaps money) on computer elevations are reluctant to make changes that would really improve the layout merely because of all the investment they have in the drawings. That's nuts. Paper and ink are cheap!

I've gotten so that I rarely invest any time in commenting on layouts that are presented from the outset as fully conceived and drawn plans (whether by the homeowner or their achitect or KD). At best, it often appears that these are projects where the poster just wants to be told they are fine and who will be incredibly - though somewhat understandably - resistant to suggested alterations. These are the fully developed "final" plans that first appear here with a request for review and tweaks.

If you really want help with the layout, then it's best to get it an early stage, or be willing to have the review made as if it it still was at the early stages.

No one here is trying to interrupt your progress, or set it back. All the ideas advanced by commenters are (without exception that I can recall in my years of reading virtually every thread) someone's best efforts to be useful, helpful and on point.

And, as Buehl pointed out, acknowledging the comment makes a big difference. You don't have to sit on the posts and reply in real time to every one immediately. But don't post a request for help and go away for the weekend and forget about it! Post when you can check back and respond. If I see a lot of comments and no reply to any of them, why should I waste my time adding more? If you have to be away (say you post before work), then note that in the text (i.e. "I'll be checking back on my lunch hour and after work..")

Using graph paper at the start is simpler, faster,...

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Thanks for posting this. As a newbie, I always try to do my searches in advance, and apologize for any forum faux pas (internet can be a tough crowd).

Unfortunately, as a newbie, I also don't have much to offer by way of advice to other posters. Hopefully as my reno progresses, so will my knowledge base and ability to contribute. As it stands, most of my posts are questions and compliments. :)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:03AM
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Holly- Kay

Thanks Buehl. Great post!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:17AM
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If it's a layout for remodeling a kitchen ... please include what works and doesn't work about the current setup.

What does the space need to do for you?

Include what you have already considered and rejected and why.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:26AM
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Just wanted to add my thanks to Buehl, liriodendron, GreenDesigns, and live_wire_oak, and many many others who regularly lend their time and expertise to helping with layouts (for anyone I am leaving out by name-forgive me because it is semi-early here). Our plan was a done deal with cabinets ordered when I found GW, and while I don't know if a better outcome could have been found with extra help here, it would have been interesting to have such experienced kitchen eyes look at the plan.

Since I feel I lack layout skills, I don't contribute to those threads, although I often read them. But even though it's been 3 years since our kitchen was remodeled, I try to visit the forum and add something helpful when possible.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:57AM
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Ack-add hollysprings to the list of super helpful people. That was the name I was trying to remember.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Thank you so much for all the advice.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:37AM
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Thanks Buehl! Your responses are always so helpful!! I have bookmarked and/or literally saved word for word many of you posts on my Mac.

I am trying to get up steam to again post for layout help since we haven't landed on "the one"yet. Time, money, and fear delayed our remodel and now retirement is closing in on us. I don't know how much longer the remaining 2 burners on the 35 yr old stove will continue to work.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 12:24PM
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It would also be helpful and more productive not to post one long paragraph. Rather, break it up, organizing the content with lots of white space so people can read and comprehend things quickly and easily. I take one look at those posts and exit.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Great post/thread buehl!!!

I'm an "old-timer" but never respond to the layout threads--I absolutely "suck" at spatial relations!!! LOL I tip my hat to those of you who excel at this, and give so generously of your time and skills by tweaking or providing complete layouts for others.

(I do try to help where and when I can though!)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 2:12PM
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I wasn't one of the ones that emailed Buehl, but I found this post extremely timely.
(Buehl, I did send you an email on something else though)

I just posted my layout thread on Friday (my bad!), which has not gotten many responses. I had one reply on Saturday that took it back to page one, then another reply on Sunday that took it back to page one, then I replied on Monday afternoon again taking it back to page one.

I was wondering what the reason might be for no more responses ?
-- my title isn't catchy enough so people don't open it
-- they don't know what to do with my situation so they don't respond at all
-- my pictures aren't big enough
-- my pictures are too big
-- as liriodendron said, they think it's too late to make changes, that these are the final plans (I have them laid out in home architectural program)
-- I went into too much detail (too long)
-- I didn't give enough detail
-- I'm the last old-timer here, everyone left is too new to have an opinion
-- nobody likes me
-- I have designed the perfect Gardenweb kitchen and there is nothing to improve (I doubt it!! : )

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 2:33PM
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buehl as a lurker your tips are extremely helpful. This is a great forum.

Thank you to all posters.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 3:17PM
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lol, Angela!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 8:31PM
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Thanks to all of you for adding additional tips and generally commenting. Even if you don't have a tip, it keeps this thread on page1 plus it lets us know it's useful! :-)

In a couple of weeks, I may update the original post with a synopsis of everyone's tips - so please, keep them coming!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 8:59PM
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Wonderful thread! Thanks to everyone here who generously gives of their time and talents to help the rest of us.

I'm not in any way an expert, but I have never felt like I shouldn't post my opinions or ideas. Sometimes crazy thoughts from a rookie can promote better suggestions from others.

My family is sick of hearing about the kitchen - I don't know what I would have done without GW to support my obsession.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 9:11PM
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I want to add that you don't have to be an expert to contribute to the forum. You can start by commenting on in-progress or finished kitchens. You can learn a lot by studying the kitchens and asking questions about them.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Thank you for this helpful thread, Buehl. It's a good one to keep bumping.

One way to get more help with materials selection is to post the photos or the hyperlinks to photos of the counter, flooring, backsplash, cabinet style and finish, etc. Often people will just give the names of their selections and expect you to go off and search the internet for them. I don't want to work that hard!

You can hyperlink right there under the message box--Optional Link URL.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Does begging help if cleverly disguised as a helpful bump of an important thread?
I'm more likely to respond to questions that include details of what has already been considered - for example, "I can't put the cooktop in the island because we can't move the gas line" or "we can't must put a wine dispensing faucet in the prep sink because my mil visits often"

Here is a link that might be useful: pretty pretty please help my range wall?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 2:57PM
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Great post Buehl! I also think people need to consider their subject titles more. If someone just has the title "Counter", people aren't going to be that interested to click on it. Also I don't like when the subject title doesn't match the actual subject of the post. LIke a title saying "need help with sink", when it's really about counters or something like that. Just out of peevishness, I won't respond to those.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 12:39AM
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Should we keeping bumping this up? What happened to the new to kitchens thread?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 8:07PM
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My fault...I've been meaning to create a new thread announcing the completion of the FAQs, but I have a couple more FAQ articles to finish and I'm trying to figure out how to have them appear in the right order. Right now there's no rhyme or reason to their order.

Maybe I should just start another Read Me thread....

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 9:11PM
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Thanks for the good tips and reminder that we can all contribute - even if it's only words of encouragement. I have zero design DNA and am always amazed by the creativity, along with time and effort, that goes into the responses - all to help others realize their dream of a better kitchen. Many, many thanks!!!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 10:11PM
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Replying as I've read this while getting ready to post a request for layout help (which I'll wait now until Monday thanks to this post). I want to bring it to the top so I can find it again on Monday and make sure that I have all the info needed.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 11:34PM
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Soaking in all the great information as I get ready to post my own plea for layout/ design help on a new construction kitchen! The experience and insightfulness so freely exchanged here is amazing! So thanking you all in advance.....

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 11:44AM
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If you post and tell us the plumbing is fixed and/or appliances cannot be changed, etc., then don't expect miracles. When you have fixed such basic things as the plumbing, electrical, and/or appliances, there isn't much we can do to fix the functionality of the workflow and the kitchen space in general.

In these instances, are you serious about wanting advice if it involves changes? Keep in mind that even if you're on a slab, it's cheaper to make the changes now than later when you discover the layout doesn't work well.

Note: Do not assume it will cost too much to change something - ask - you may be pleasantly surprised.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:29AM
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Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b

One thing I've taken note of for a couple of years; the responses don't stick with the original question. It soon morphs into remodeling the whole kitchen. Maybe it's a location thing, but I'd say 99% of the kitchens on this forum cost as much as I paid for my whole acreage. Budget means different things to different people. When I say I have to stay within my budget, that means I have a set amount of money I can spend for that update and no more. If I can't commit several times that amount to do more than I had planned, that is exactly what I mean. Yes, I could lust after a many thousand dollar kitchen. But I could never have it. Why would I spend that much money on a house that's appraised at 1/2 the $$ of the kitchen remodel? I won't borrow money. Period. Won't do it. And especially won't do it for a beautification project. Lipstick on a pig, anyone?

Dated. EVERY kitchen will become dated. Get over it.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Well, if people would share their budget, perhaps the suggestions could stay within that budget! :)

It does no good to say that you hate everything about the kitchen and don't share that you only have 5K to change something with. I've done entire kitchen projects from 10K to 100K, and can and do work with all budgets. IF the person is being realistic about what that budget will get them. Those 10K kitchens won't be Houzz duplicates with inset cabinets to the ceiling and marble counters. They'll be modest oak or birch cabinets with laminate counters and basic consumer grade appliances. And, though they are the minority on here, there is nothing wrong with that either! Even on a limited budget, it could be possible to make a few small structural changes and improve the space if the OP is willing to DIY some things.

People often assume that changes cost more than they actually do. Moving plumbing or electrical often isn't as expensive as people think it is. Especially as a % of an overall project. If it takes 1K to move a sink on a slab, and the overall budget for the project is 20K, that's only 5% of the budget overall, yet can result in a 1000% improvement to the space.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 11:07AM
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lov_mkitchen, It does seem like many kitchens posted here are pricy but there are a lot of lower budget kitchens here (mines one of them) and not everyone the cost of their kitchens. I really need to clean up my kitchen and take some photos. I encourage all lower budget non-fancy kitchen owners to post their kitchens!

If understand what you are saying about the question morphing but disagree a little. I am one who digs deeper when someone asks a question. Not just here and not just about kitchens. Sometimes people ask what "bandaid" to use but they really need "stitches".

Just a random example and not even a good one ....
Someone asks a question about fitting a 32" sink in a 24" base. The layout shows that the sink is not in the best location. The real issue is the sink location but the OP just wants to know about fitting a large sink in a small base. OP assumes it will be very costly to move the sink but never actually priced it. Of course we are going to encourage the OP to get estimates and if possible move the sink! Yes, some will suggest building an addition and doing a full scale remodel and others will offer lower cost options. They are just suggestions and the OP would be wise to at least think about them.

DATED, I hate the word. I want to be unique, not trendy.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 11:10AM
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There is a section on budget in the Read Me thread--if people will read it! It's in the section 'Beginning a Kitchen Plan', which should be mandatory before posting a lay-out, along with the Sweeby test.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beginning a Kitchen Plan

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 11:32AM
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Just bumping this thread up, as it has been a great help to me (thanks.)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 1:39AM
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Note to all: I've added this topic in the FAQs and added many of the suggestions made by others along the way.

(I am also working on a brief "budget" thread to address some of the concerns/issues brought up in this thread. It may be awhile b/f it's finished, but I am working on it!)

[Oh, and this acts as a 'bump" b/c it's the weekend (and last weekend was a holiday weekend) and some may be wondering why they're not getting responses!]

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 12:38PM
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Thank you Buehl for starting this topic and others for adding to it as it is so helpful.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 2:59PM
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