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I love it! I get a downvote for merely asking a question.

So, this question was edited a bit and reopened as a result. How long should it take to rebuild a wheel?

I would like to know if it's alright for me to go through my copy of Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance and then post, "How long should it take to X?" for various repairs? What's to stop an individual from doing this in order to gain rep points?

In some ways the question on wheel rebuilding is valid. However, this opens up a golden opportunity for gaming the system. That is, it opens the opportunity for asking questions purely for gaining reputation points as opposed to genuinely trying to solve a bicycle related problem.

This coming weekend I plan to disassemble and repair the brake/shifter lever on my commuter bike. Do I ask the question, "How long should it take?" in order to pick up more rep points?

A nice feature for the site might be to develop a chart for typical bicycle repair times. Similar to the terminology index. Some site users are definitely DIY types; but others will be taking their bikes into shops for repairs. So, a chart with reasonable time estimates for typical repairs would be very useful.

  • A few points: (1) You get more rep for upvotes on answers than questions, (2) answers generally get more votes than questions anyways, (3) it looks to me like that question only got the questioner 16 net reputation points so far. – freiheit Jul 12 '11 at 21:16
  • I'm not sure I understand why this is a problem. Good information is good information. As long as one isn't doing a wholesale copypasta from Wikipedia (or the equivalent from a printed book), how one learned something shouldn't matter. Or am I missing the point? – Neil Fein Jul 13 '11 at 0:06
  • @ Neil - "How long should it take to...etc..." can lead into every single part on a bicycle. Dunno? I guess this site duplicates everything out there but in a different way? – user313 Jul 13 '11 at 0:14
  • Asked in good faith, I assume? – lantius Jul 13 '11 at 1:59
  • FTR, I just found this, so it wasn't me that downvoted. Downvoting spam questions on B.se is one thing. Meta's a different animal all together. – zenbike Jul 13 '11 at 14:00
  • And I like the idea of building a chart of repair jobs and costs. Perhaps with a bit of help, we could set it up to localize. (Select nearest large country, and prices change to reflect that.) – zenbike Jul 13 '11 at 14:02
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We are hopefully building a top-class reference site for anyone with a bike, leveraging the SE Q+A engine and quality search results that come with that. Some of us are here because the technology is better than 'forums' and want to help build what should be quite a resource.

If anyone really wants to get quality rep points with something formulaic, here is my suggestion:

On the new fangled blog put some pages together. These can have a diagram of a bike with lots of hot-points. Click on the BB and it will take you through to the top question on how to repair it. Click on the headset and you get the same. Click on the ... you get the idea.

The entry page will get traffic in to those pages and maybe mod-points.

Okay, it takes a little while on SE to work out how to do an image map. Then to SEO it, but it should all be possible and for the right reasons.

Also, can we please delete any comments, answers and question edits that have made this a bit silly? With a bit of focus we could build something truly useful from a germ of an idea that has gone slightly wrong today.

  • Excellent answer, and right to the point. I'd love to help build that diagram, by the way. – zenbike Jul 13 '11 at 14:15
  • That diagram sounds a lot like the excellent Park Tool repair guide, but with extra stuff. (That one focuses on procedures and which tools you'll need.) – Neil Fein Jul 14 '11 at 5:39
  • @Neil Fein It does a bit! They also seem to have lots of fancy stuff going on. What do you think to just having it take you straight to questions appropriately tagged? We can start with an image map to proof-of-concept it. – ʍǝɥʇɐɯ Jul 14 '11 at 10:18
  • Are you offering to set this up? Where would this be hosted, on the blog? (I'm not sure this makes sense, but we could try it as a blog post if it doesn't need any heavy HTML or Javascript.) – Neil Fein Jul 15 '11 at 3:16
  • I think it would require adding a linked page, or maybe an image to the tags page. What do you think about mapping sections of the image to the existing tag cloud? Should minimize required code, and should allow it to be done with only HTML. (I think) Not sure what the limitations are for SE sites and adding features like this. I think you told me at one point that mods have no leverage that way? – zenbike Jul 15 '11 at 4:30
  • Possibly would need to add 3 or more images, for road/mountain/hybrid. Maybe recumbent/tandem, too? We'd have to encourage/edit mechanical questions to include "location on bike" tags, similar to the subsections on the Park Tool guide you showed us... – zenbike Jul 15 '11 at 4:33
  • See meta.stackexchange.com/q/98615/160854 to comment on this possibility. – zenbike Jul 15 '11 at 5:34
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So, this question was edited a bit and reopened as a result.

I edited that question after zenbike's suggestion as a courtesy to the OP, and upvoted it to show the 'vote-to-reopen' user interface.

What's to stop an individual from doing this in order to gain rep points?

A mod could CW the questions (after which the individual would gain no rep-points), or CW status happens automatically if the question is edited more than ?how many? times by other users.

Mods and high-rep users can also optionally close or vote-to-close, tag, edit, and reopen any question.

Edits are often proposed (in a comment) and then seconded (made).

New (low-rep) users can suggest edits which are reviewed, and get rep points for accepted suggestions.

That is, it opens the opportunity for asking questions purely for gaining reputation points as opposed to genuinely trying to solve a bicycle related problem.

The FAQ says,

"You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page."

I think that suggests that a whole-class-of-questions might be better as a CW or wiki or tag wiki.

You could reuse (edit) How long should it take to rebuild a wheel? to become more general-purpose. Don't make it CW: let good answers there be up-voted and get rep for that. Keep it as one question. Give it a title like "How long should it take to ...?". Or edit your own How long does it take to replace bottom bracket bearings? when you think that experiment is successful.

See also https://meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=wiki

Another way to organize a topic would be to give several related questions the same tag. The forum software lets you filter on a tag, for example https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/maintenance

See also https://meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=tag+wiki

A nice feature for the site might be to develop a chart for typical bicycle repair times.

And you can blog about it.

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There are really two questions here, one about using reference sources to get rep, the other about bike repair times. Here are my thoughts on the second point. TLDR: It could go either way, I think a wiki would be slightly less useful than individual questions.


A community wiki about repair procedures could work. In order to be continually useful, though, it would have to be something that is useful as a reference as well as something that wouldn't work as individual questions.

For examples, let's go with the terminology index. It's useful because (1) there's good information there, and (2) most of these entries wouldn't be good questions on their own, or at least would have to be expanded quite a bit. In the wiki, we can put down a brief entry, enough to at least get someone started on understanding the term in question.

Would a similar index of repair procedures structured like the terminology index work? Well, it might. They'd have to be brief, and would often tend to get larger and more detailed over time. If you're just talking about a list of procedures and the estimated times to perform them, that would be useful and fit well into a wiki. However, people would naturally add more information over time.

More detailed overviews of complex jobs like "How do I repack my bearings" or "How do I size a replacement stem" would probably work better as questions on their own, perhaps questions tagged with something like [repar-job-overview]. We'd get several different takes on each one, the best ones would be voted to the top, and--most importantly in my view--people would get rewarded with reputation when they're upvoted, so there's more incentive to provide good answers. We have a lot of wrenchers on this site. I'm sure that these questions would get good answers! Maybe we could even find a way to use the blog for this.


Bottom line, if you decide the site would be best off with a repair procedure community wiki, go for it. (I'll be happy to mark it CW for you, since you need a mod to do it.) But I think these procedures would be better served by the in-depth treatment you can only get with a full question/answer page for each one.

  • Apologies for the long question; I didn't have time to shorten it. People with enough rep, please feel free to edit. :) – Neil Fein Jul 13 '11 at 0:29

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