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IrvineHosting
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 9:42 pm    Post subject: Observation of Gentoo Forums Reply with quote

Well I used to read the gentoo forums on a regular basis (desktop, multimedia, networking, installing, noob, etc) but I find that the content has gotten dryer and less interesting recently.

For me the best part of these forums was reading people's opinions and observations, but now it seems those forums are strictly for support issues. I'm sure that is great for people seeking help, but it is kinda boring too, don't you think? I mean maybe somebody should start start collecting hourly wages for customer support and call the messages "tickets" instead of messages. Then people could assign themselves a "ticket" from the outstanding pool and get paid for it.

I guess what I'm saying is that it was interesting when people's opinions and discussions on a topic were intermixed with the support issues. Nobody wants to just read a support forum - my god support is the worst job in the biz.

Anyway is it just me or does it seem like the forums might be better if ther moderators loosened up and stopped moving all non-support issues out of these forums?

What do you think?

--Shanon
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 10:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Observation of Gentoo Forums Reply with quote

From my experience before I was a moderator, I hated having to wade through 'chat' while trying to find a solution to a problem.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 11:00 pm    Post subject: I like the tips from users Reply with quote

Well, I also like to know how someone is feeling about a feature. And then more than just "I like this or I like that", also what is attracting you, why do you like this or that.

My joy is the tips from users, the little inventions.

So what do you suggest to meet your needs here?
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 11:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Observation of Gentoo Forums Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
From my experience before I was a moderator, I hated having to wade through 'chat' while trying to find a solution to a problem.


That seems to me to be what "searching" should be for: finding answers to support issues, etc. If they define their "search" criteria carefully, most of the 'chat' will be removed. But if I'm just browsing around, that 'chat' is the best part of the forums and is the part that really builds the "community". Also I don't think "chatty" questions should be subjected to the same standard as "support" questions. For instance, someone should be able to ask the question 'what is the best linux desktop?' even if there are a dozen previous topics on that subject, simply because 1) different users frequent the board at different times and often the answers will be wildly different depending on what users are on that board at the time the question is asked and 2) desktops are evolving so fast the answers may have changed substantially since the last time asked and 3) no matter how times this is asked I'm always fascinated with the answers. Whereas if a user needs specific help on a kde problem and there is a message solving his problem then he should be directed to the appropriate thread.

I think the "chatty" stuff should be allowed to be there for the "browsers" out there of which I'm certainly one. It's really what attracted me to gentoo and this forum in the first place. There is nothing better than good technical discussions with a community of opinionated, intelligent folks.
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rac
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 11:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Observation of Gentoo Forums Reply with quote

IrvineHosting wrote:
Anyway is it just me or does it seem like the forums might be better if ther moderators loosened up and stopped moving all non-support issues out of these forums?

Could you be a little more explicit about what "these" means in this sentence? All the moderators are trying to do is move discussion topics to the discussion forums, so that the assistance forums stay clear for people who need assistance. If you want to read chatty opinion threads, check out the Gentoo Chat forum. That's where most of the Gentoo-related chat threads are. Or, if you're more in the mood for something non-Gentoo related all together, read Off the Wall.

We're just trying to make it easier for you to read the chat and opinions you want, without having to wade through all the assistance questions that you seem to find annoying. Same thing goes for the people whose priorities are the other way around. One person's trash is another person's treasure.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, first of all I think that "gentoo chat" is too broad a label - calling it chat makes it seem insignificant - as if it were water cooler type stuff. Also, one forum hardly seems sufficient for all the various gentoo discussions.

Maybe what you need is a "Discussion Forum" for each "Support Forum" listed under the assistance category. For instance, perhaps people would like to discuss a topic on "installing gentoo" without asking a specific support question. Putting this in the broad "Gentoo Chat" forum hardly seems appropriate because there will end up just a big mis-mash of stuff there.

(Sigh) But then again maybe it will just never be the way it used to be...
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IrvineHosting wrote:
Well, first of all I think that "gentoo chat" is too broad a label - calling it chat makes it seem insignificant - as if it were water cooler type stuff.

Do you have a suggestion for a better title?

Quote:
Maybe what you need is a "Discussion Forum" for each "Support Forum" listed under the assistance category.

One of the complaints echoed by lots of forum participants before we had the recent reorganization was that there were too many forums. Some of the posts in this thread address this issue.

Quote:
Putting this in the broad "Gentoo Chat" forum hardly seems appropriate because there will end up just a big mis-mash of stuff there.

When I am in the mood to read chat and opinions, I am not as concerned about what the topic is. I am willing to read the mishmash, and I even find it enjoyable, because I never know what I will find in there.

When I need help, I am much less patient. I want to find posts directly related to my area of concern, and I am not in the mood for "vi vs. emacs", no matter how amusing the comments may be.

The support and assistance goal of the forums is primary; the chat and opinion goal is secondary.

Quote:
(Sigh) But then again maybe it will just never be the way it used to be...

I'm sorry that you feel the quality of the forums has deteriorated.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 5:43 am    Post subject: Re: Observation of Gentoo Forums Reply with quote

IrvineHosting wrote:
That seems to me to be what "searching" should be for: finding answers to support issues, etc. If they define their "search" criteria carefully, most of the 'chat' will be removed.
I'm probably misunderstanding something then. If I'm searching for an alsa issue, I could very easily turn up a thread that was a 'chat' or discussion of alsa without any real solutions in it. If this thread was in Multimedia, I would have to assume it could be helpful. I might have to read through several posts before realizing it was a discussion. If the thread is in a discussion forum, I'd not bother looking at it. A similar argument could be made that if you want to chat about alsa, you could more easily find this through searching and only reading the threads turned up in a discussion forum.

I'm not seeing how seperating support from discussion is 'harmful', not a good idea, unfriendly or whatever.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having re-read this, it's a pretty opinionated post. Please don't take it as a personal attack. I'm just tired and trying to state my feelings bluntly.

I have to say that I think the moderators do an extremely good job of making sure that the support parts of the forum stay very helpful and full of solid technical information. (except for that kanusususulsuueuelueleupusupsuspsus guy, he's a loser.. ;)) I don't think that Gentoo Chat is a bad name. I don't think that it makes that forum any less important. Some of the most important decisions made in a company are made by the water cooler. I just don't think they utility of the support forums should be diluted by speculative gesturing about what text editor is the best. I also don't think that you'll be able to search this problem away because if you are staring at a 50 post thread and there's 30 posts of talk about what colors you should use with ls --color to allow you to see a particular config file better, you just aren't going to read that far to find the information. I would actually like to see the search page allow you to select two or three particular forums to search as opposed to only one forum or only one category. This might allow for better technical help and less chit-chat hits in a search.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 6:45 am    Post subject: Re: Observation of Gentoo Forums Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
IrvineHosting wrote:
That seems to me to be what "searching" should be for: finding answers to support issues, etc. If they define their "search" criteria carefully, most of the 'chat' will be removed.
I'm probably misunderstanding something then. If I'm searching for an alsa issue, I could very easily turn up a thread that was a 'chat' or discussion of alsa without any real solutions in it. If this thread was in Multimedia, I would have to assume it could be helpful. I might have to read through several posts before realizing it was a discussion. If the thread is in a discussion forum, I'd not bother looking at it. A similar argument could be made that if you want to chat about alsa, you could more easily find this through searching and only reading the threads turned up in a discussion forum.

I'm not seeing how seperating support from discussion is 'harmful', not a good idea, unfriendly or whatever.


Regarding searching for discussions
I think mainly because that's not the way human beings' brains work in regards to chatting/discussion. We want to see the latest topics/posts and browse or even response to them. Then move onto the next discussion. People generally aren't going to search for a four month old discussion on kde and then response to it. usually only recent topics get the focus. This may be from a newspaper/slashdot mindset perhaps, but I think that's why searching for old threads is not the same as discovering a recent thread of interest with 20 fresh posts on it (and everyone still actively checking and responding to the thread).

On seperating discussion from support
Well, I just think that constantly moving messages around and seperating the two disturbs the nature flow of information on the site and in some sense injuries the "bloodflow" of the gentoo community.

Maybe it comes down to one simple question:

At the end of the day are you trying to build 1) a knowledge base or 2) a community. A community is not necessarily rational or orderly, often can't be compartmentalized and ebbs and flows unpredictably. A knowledge base is a set of data to be ordered by librarian types and tucked on a cd somewhere. Which would you rather this be?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 7:04 am    Post subject: Re: Observation of Gentoo Forums Reply with quote

IrvineHosting wrote:
At the end of the day are you trying to build 1) a knowledge base or 2) a community. Which would you rather this be?

0) A place where Gentooers can make each others lives easier. Where people can borrow the experience of others when they need it, and lend some of their own when they can.

There is an effort under way to build a knowledge base, and you or anyone else reading this that is interested is encouraged to join this thread.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 7:42 am    Post subject: Re: Observation of Gentoo Forums Reply with quote

rac wrote:
IrvineHosting wrote:
At the end of the day are you trying to build 1) a knowledge base or 2) a community. Which would you rather this be?

0) A place where Gentooers can make each others lives easier. Where people can borrow the experience of others when they need it, and lend some of their own when they can.

There is an effort under way to build a knowledge base, and you or anyone else reading this that is interested is encouraged to join this thread.


Actually that is definitely choice #2 you are indicating. You have basically defined the mission statement of your "community".

If we remember to value every contribution to the "community", then we will thrive as the Well and others have done in the past. But also if we fail to recognize ALL of the needs of the community than we may wither a slow, painful death. Remember to build the forum around the needs of the growing populous and not try to dictate the rules/organization based on your own desires or belief on how a forum need be managed.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are over 5000 registered users and ~75,000 posts on these forums, and we're growing at the rate of about 1000 users and 15,000 posts per month. No matter what we do or do not do as moderators, there is going to be a large constituency of users who are not happy with that decision.

So, we try to make decisions based on the primary tenets of this forum. First and foremost, this forum is designed as a support resource for Gentoo users. The decisions we make revolve around that idea. When we move posts, it is to try and make it easier for people to find in the future, as well as decrease clutter for other people looking for support in the present.

We do also want to foster a sense of community, which is why we've created the Gentoo Chat forum. Before we reorganized the forums, a common complaint heard was that there was no place that users could go and just B.S. about Gentoo. So, Gentoo Chat was born.

We are always open to discussing new ideas for improving the forums based on user feedback from the community. We recently underwent a fairly large reorganization that was driven in a large part by user feedback. I'll continue to monitor this thread, as well as the Gentoo Forums feedback forum in general for ideas, comments and suggestions on how to improve these forums.

--kurt
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