AskTom–some thoughts on the future

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The structure of an AskTom question contains four elements:

  • The original question
  • Our answer
  • A review, which can be posted by anyone
  • And then we can opt to add a single Followup to any of those reviews


We’re thinking of changing AskTom to allow greater flexibility, namely:

  • The original question (unchanged)
  • Our answer (unchanged)
  • A review, which can be posted by anyone (unchanged)
  • We will then allow anyone to add a Followup to a review, and also, there could be any number of Followups attached to a single review.

Let us know your thoughts via Comment on this blog.  If you prefer a private response, you can also send your thoughts to:

What do you think ?


  1. I’ve always considered some conversations at askTom as being fragmented, and this made it difficult to follow some threads. The suggested alternative more closely represents the stackoverflow model, which I think the community agrees works very well. It may even lead to better threads bubbling to the top in larger posts.

  2. I think it depends on whether you want AskTom to be a definitive resource of Questions and Answers, or if you want it to be a place for discussion. It has been of immense value to the oracle community as a source of answers to FAQs, with a stamp of authority. The long protracted discussions (sometimes tangential to the original question) can sometimes be a problem, I think. I’m not sure whether allowing multi-threaded discussions on reviews will help much.

  3. By way of comparison, stackoverflow is staunchly against threaded discussions, and is more like a wiki than a discussion forum. It allows a single level of comments, but when there are too many comments on a Q or A it hides most of them and encourages people to move further discussion off-site (to meta). Answers to a Q are ordered by votes, not by time; and everyone is encouraged (when they have enough rep) to edit both the questions AND the answers.

  4. Hi,

    Asktom will then turn as a public forum which folks might find difficult to come to a conclusive answer. We will lose the essence of Asktom.
    You ask you get the answer is what I believe Asktom is and I don’t want it to change 🙂

    Thanks !

  5. Not sure about the thought. I like it as is because it’s mostly simple to follow and there is within a couple of screen-fulls a definitive answer to the problem at hand, and only that.
    Open to essentially infinite posts incurs the risk of another Usenet and we all know how that ended up in terms of thought logic or good, consistent info…
    If anything I’d like to see less text on each answer and review. Things like three pages of creating a small schema and populating it to prove a point about SQL syntax should be relegated to a script that can be downloaded for those who want that level of detail.
    For example: if I’m after folks having a problem shrinking or moving a LOB, all I want to see is an example of how to do that – syntax only if possible. God only knows how dense and complex the SQL manual is nowadays to try and extract things like this.
    I don’t need three pages of sample schema and sample data to prove the point. It’s proven! All I need is a quick how-to. No need for a court case with demonstrable everything, I believe in what is said already!
    Or in simpler terms: apply the KIS rule.

  6. Hi,

    Sounds fair as long as there is a __very clear colored signal__ which qualified followups have been posted by AskTom authorities. I want to see “yours” easily.


  7. I think it would becom just another Oracle forum over time. It would lose the “ask the expert” flavor that sett it apart.

  8. Jeff, I had a weird hybrid in my head of the honoured response and meta feedback. Perhaps further followups remain conspicuous. And no reason you couldn’t offer two views. 1) As proposed 2) Same data, listed by date, with multiple children an anchor away from initial question / or hidden. Some interesting feedback!

  9. I wonder anyway why you keep the name.
    AskTom is dead, so great news that you want to change something, you both are not Tom, so it’s up to you to set up some new stuff. But I wouldn’t keep the name, do you really want to stand in Tom’s shadow forever ?

    For the style question, I liked the dizwell forum, good fun and plenty of good discussions there.
    Something like that would be

    1. Threaded discussions are a nightmare. When the latest contribution is somewhere in the middle of a thread instead of the top or bottom. It’s easy enough to @mention the original post if it very specifically addressed to a particular person’s prior comment.

  10. It seems to me that it is quite possible to not lose the “definitive answer” aspect of Ask Tom while still also encouraging more discussion. By which I mean: the very “top” of the thread – the “official answer” can and should always be updated to reflect the “guru perspective”, perhaps even with pointers to contributions in the thread for backup/detail/credit to the contributor.

  11. In my view we shouldn’t change followup section as well. As it would be more as a discussion than to a proper / genuine response to the question.
    Though in Review section we are allowed to put/ask further doubts.

  12. HI am facing a issue when trying to upload the data into the DB as :
    ORA-29913: error in executing ODCIEXTTABLEFETCH callout ORA-29400: data cartridge error KUP-04108: unable to reread file /dwp/data/.

    can any

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