I got pointed to post this here by anon-e-mouse so here goes:
Everyday we see countless posts missing vital information we need to help people. We see reviews with no punctuation, no paragraphs, and the general murder of grammar. Silly hosts make offers or dropping hints on how to contact them with the dread sig spam or sympathy posts. To me it seems we have to ask multiple times for information that should have been there to begin with.
Posts for hosting should include from the get-go a domain, or a domain immediately submitted to mods after the post goes out. We need to know the same specs from everyone: disk space used/needed, bandwidth in use and how much they would like. We need the number of add-on/parked domains, how many SQL databases (and which flavor of SQL) they need, the number (and perhaps quotas)of email accounts they want. Also we need to know about special needs as soon as possible. This includes Ruby on Rails, jsp, asp, videos (streaming or offline), and the theme (e.g. adult) of the site. Should we make a more established template/guide for this?
For reviews we could help by establishing a mock review form. Highlighting the things we need to know:
Duration of Hosting.
Domain(s) hosted with the company.
Load and/or queries speed.
The types of support offered, average answering time, tech's knowledge, speed of resolution.
Uptime, is there a lot of maintenance, prior warning to downtime? Speed of resolution for uptime problems
Did you migrate to this host from another?
What made you pick your host over others with similar specs?
It's not a complete or perfect list. But I'm sure all of us together could put together a very nice template or guide for submitting a good review (be it a negative or positive). This would help with the clutter and repeated questions.
I thought this should be posted here, if it's in the wrong spot move it!
WHT is now used as the Universal Hosting Helpdesk.
Your post starts off with reviews as the subject threads, then hints towards "help me find a host" type threads as the subject; which one are we talking about?
If the latter, the user is often unable to provide any of the information you require to make an informed decision to direct them to an appropriate web host, domain registrar or software vendor; so the best people can do is try to educate them. There are articles and web sites out there to help educate new users on what certain terminology means, such as "bandwidth", "database" etc. which should be used to educate users when the need arises. As such, it would be unkind to restrict these requests if they are unable to provide certain information.
The same goes for the reviews of a company's product or service. The user might be able to provide the information you want to help make it a helpful review of the company, but sometimes they aren't able to. For instance, some people don't know what load is, or how to measure query speed (which is relative anyway.)
The only thing I agree on, without further discussion, is the request for user's to validate either domains or other entities hosting on the web host's (or domain registrar's, software vendor's etc.) platform through the helpdesk or other means. Though this could present an issue with moderators not having enough time to validate them all.
So when little timmy goes and buys web hosting from TheBestHostingCompanyEver2009ThatWeHaveNotHeardOfBefore, we can be sure he is actually using TheBestHostingCompanyEver2009ThatWeHaveNotHeardOfBefore as a customer and reduce the chance that he might "work" for TheBestHostingCompanyEver2009ThatWeHaveNotHeardOfBefore and so isn't just a spam post.
While I hope I got my point across, I probably didn't, so have fun discussing this one.