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Is the Newbie forum useful?
Remove the Newbie forum & merge threads to other forums
37%
 37%  [ 45 ]
As above, but change the Newbie forum into a FAQ forum
43%
 43%  [ 52 ]
Newbie forum, and its problems, should be left alone because... (post reason)
12%
 12%  [ 15 ]
I have a better idea (post idea)
5%
 5%  [ 7 ]
Total Votes : 119

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pjp
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2002 11:12 pm    Post subject: Newbie forum feedback Reply with quote

I perceive the Newbie forum as unhelpful. Most, if not all, of the questions would be better served in a more specific forum (i.e. networking questions in Networking & Security, etc.).

Reasons:
  • Many questions aren't Newbie type questions
  • Duplication of effort = inefficient. Essentially anything can be asked, so you can't look in one spot for related topics.
  • As a result, searching is hindered. For example, you are looking for a solution to a KDE problem, so you search Desktop Environments. Your search would skip over anything in the New
  • <add your reasons here>

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2002 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only reason I can think of that the Newbie forum is useful is that it can serve as a guide to people posting answers that they should phrase their answers in terms that would be understood by people with little Unix experience.

Sometimes I try to do that, but if I must be honest, a lot of times I don't take the time.

I would support dissolving the Newbie forum and dispersing all the threads currently in there to other forums, like what happened to the GCC3 forum.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2002 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rac wrote:
The only reason I can think of that the Newbie forum is useful is that it can serve as a guide to people posting answers that they should phrase their answers in terms that would be understood by people with little Unix experience.
Which is a good point. I take a few things into account, no matter the forum.
  • Users post count
  • Question being asked
  • How the question was asked

Those three things can usually reveal quite a bit about the poster.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
[*]How the question was asked

I support taking all the important Newbie questions and making them into a faq, and put other user faqs in there and leave it as a moderator only forum.
That way, people will see how to phrase newbie questoins, cause there will be actual questions, but also, the important info won't be lost. All the other threads can be moved into a temp place, that is still searchable, and the ones that don't get visits can be removed after a specified period of time.

Good idea? Keeps all the good, gets rid of the bad. I like it.
Your thoughts?

-Andrew
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

squanto wrote:
I support taking all the important Newbie questions and making them into a faq

If we had a FAQ forum like this, do you think it would be easier to read if there was one main sticky "READ THIS FIRST" that contained the top X FAQs, and then the rest got their own threads, or would it be better to have one thread per question for all questions?

Quote:
All the other threads can be moved into a temp place, that is still searchable, and the ones that don't get visits can be removed after a specified period of time.

I don't see any reason to delete people's posts just because they haven't been visited in a while. If someone takes the time to post something, we should try to preserve it. I would prefer just moving threads in Newbies to other forums.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rac wrote:
If we had a FAQ forum like this, do you think it would be easier to read if there was one main sticky "READ THIS FIRST" that contained the top X FAQs, and then the rest got their own threads, or would it be better to have one thread per question for all questions?

Yes, that is a good idea.

rac wrote:
I don't see any reason to delete people's posts just because they haven't been visited in a while. If someone takes the time to post something, we should try to preserve it. I would prefer just moving threads in Newbies to other forums.

I agree, but I just thought it would be kind of tedious to move all the questions to other forums, but I guess thats what moderators are for ;)
The tedious part was the only reason I suggested just moving them all to a temp place (or /dev/null) rather than reorganizing them all into different forums.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

squanto wrote:
Yes, that is a good idea.

It was a "which is better" question. Time for more writing lessons for me.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rac wrote:
do you think it would be easier to read if there was one main sticky "READ THIS FIRST" that contained the top X FAQs, and then the rest got their own threads, or would it be better to have one thread per question for all questions?
Yes, that would be perfect :D

I can see uses for both. Perhaps initially, we could combine the two. Each FAQ gets its own thread, and the sticky thread with top X FAQs has links to the other threads. If that doesn't work out well, the sticky thread can be changed easily enough.

Rather than just move questions into the FAQ forum, I'd like to see a standardized format. Overall, I think it will improve usability. My next post will be a sample.


I don't consider it finished, so feel free to make suggestions.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 3:39 am    Post subject: A concise, descriptive & relevant title Reply with quote

Symptoms:
Here is a brief description of what happens when encountering this problem. There may or may not be more than one symptom for the same problem.

Other symptoms could be seperated in 'paragraph' form. Also included with the symptoms could be sample error messages:
Code:
libttf.so.2: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
No UI plugin in '.:~/.zinf:/usr/lib/zinf' matched 'plugins/' or 'plugins/.ui.'
Zinf will quit.


Solution:
Here is the solution to this problem. If there is more than one solution, consider if it would be better to make a seperate FAQ for the symptoms. Also, literal instructions should be included.
Code:
# emerge -V

Instructions may continue if necessary, with additional code blocks.
Code:
# emerge portage

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

how bout doing the faq thing and then locking the Newbie forum so no new topics can be posted, only replies can be posted?
This way we don't get new questions, but people can reply.
I like the idea for the layout as well.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, looks like it's been a while and there's still a newbie forum. Did this idea die? Anyways, I like the format proposed... we could also check out Microsofts (sorry to say it) Knowledge base support format... as a recovering MS user I always found their knowledge base useful and timely in dealing with all the problems you encounter day to day running such a beast. ;-)

I would be interested actually in a knowledge base Gentoo project if anyone is interested... or do we feel the forum already is such a project, per se? I'm sure there is PHP code out there already for a start...

For things like "kdebase won't install after emerging xfree 4.2.1"... the thread is long and getting longer... the answer (as far as I can tell) "replace the xft.h file with the older one"... It would save time reading or even skimming the forums to find answers, but of course it would require maintenance of it's own.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dreamer3 wrote:
Hmmm, looks like it's been a while and there's still a newbie forum. Did this idea die?
I'm not sure how quickly we can move, but I only started this thread about 6 hours ago ;)

Quote:
we could also check out Microsofts (sorry to say it) Knowledge base support format
I'm not really intending this idea to be the definitive solution, just a better, more manageable FAQ. For purposes of a knowledge base, I don't think a phpbb forums is the solution.

Quote:
I would be interested actually in a knowledge base Gentoo project if anyone is interested... or do we feel the forum already is such a project, per se? I'm sure there is PHP code out there already for a start...
I would say the the forum is definately not such a project. Which leads me to a comment made by klieber over here:
klieber wrote:
Folks --

There is currently some discussion about creating a project very similar to the one described in this thread. What we are in desperate need of at this point is folks with programming skills.

If you're a decent programmer and would like to help out, please send me a PM.

--kurt
Unfortunately, due to time, that project has kind of gone into a slumber. In the meantime, I'd like to get something better than we have, but not quite as detailed as a knowledge base. Anyone should feel free to contact klieber about the knowledge base.

Quote:
For things like "kdebase won't install after emerging xfree 4.2.1"... the thread is long and getting longer... the answer (as far as I can tell) "replace the xft.h file with the older one"... It would save time reading or even skimming the forums to find answers, but of course it would require maintenance of it's own.
This is kind of what I'm getting at with the FAQ. If we identify really common issues like this, a detailed FAQ could be written. In my opinion, allowing posts to these FAQs would just turn the FAQs into similar unwieldy threads as the KDE one you mention.

EDIT: Fixed link
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
dreamer3 wrote:
Hmmm, looks like it's been a while and there's still a newbie forum. Did this idea die?
I'm not sure how quickly we can move, but I only started this thread about 6 hours ago ;)
Sorry, I saw your membership date, not the posting date, am I blond tonight or what?

Quote:
we could also check out Microsofts (sorry to say it) Knowledge base support format
I'm not really intending this idea to be the definitive solution, just a better, more manageable FAQ. For purposes of a knowledge base, I don't think a phpbb forums is the solution.
Yeah the forum has the tendencie to trail on... and on... and on... and to be unrelated... and on... and on... and sometimes answe the question multiple times... and on... etc...

Quote:
I would be interested actually in a knowledge base Gentoo project if anyone is interested... or do we feel the forum already is such a project, per se? I'm sure there is PHP code out there already for a start...
I would say the the forum is definately not such a project. Which leads me to a comment made by klieber over here:
Are you sure that's the right URL, looks unrelated to me?

klieber wrote:
Folks --

There is currently some discussion about creating a project very similar to the one described in this thread. What we are in desperate need of at this point is folks with programming skills.

If you're a decent programmer and would like to help out, please send me a PM.

--kurt
Unfortunately, due to time, that project has kind of gone into a slumber. In the meantime, I'd like to get something better than we have, but not quite as detailed as a knowledge base. Anyone should feel free to contact klieber about the knowledge base.
I may do that (if i can find the post), thanks.

Quote:
For things like "kdebase won't install after emerging xfree 4.2.1"... the thread is long and getting longer... the answer (as far as I can tell) "replace the xft.h file with the older one"... It would save time reading or even skimming the forums to find answers, but of course it would require maintenance of it's own.
This is kind of what I'm getting at with the FAQ. If we identify really common issues like this, a detailed FAQ could be written. In my opinion, allowing posts to these FAQs would just turn the FAQs into similar unwieldy threads as the KDE one you mention.

Agreed. Sticking the items helps, but you still have to read (or want to, maybe it's my problem) the whole thread sometimes to get the "big" picture... It would be NICE if we could link FROM the forum at the TOP of threads to FAQs... that way if a certain problem is determed to my a common issue we can link right to the FAQ. I know you can do that in the middle of a thread, but then it's less likely to be seen.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The recruiting thread for the documentation project is knowledge base: how-to documents via commandline?. kanuslupus somehow managed to get "p=13028" instead of "t=13028".
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rac wrote:
The recruiting thread for the documentation project is knowledge base: how-to documents via commandline?. kanuslupus somehow managed to get "p=13028" instead of "t=13028".

Thanks, found it. Everyone is interested, but no plan... ah well, good thing we have all the time in the world.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with kanuslupus's reasons posted to start out this thread. There are two other reasons I would like to add.
  • If a n00b has a problem, there is no way for them to judge the complexity of the problem because they have no experience. However, a newbie forum implies that the questions will be somewhat easier to solve. This is misleading.
  • A good percentage of the honestly noobish questions involve installing Gentoo. This is in part because that's the first thing you have to do with Gentoo and because Gentoo isn't a click 'n' play installation. Thus, there's a lot of cross posting in Installing Gentoo.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks --

I'm personally a big proponent of the Newbie forum as I think it's a "safe haven" for those folks who are new to linux. The original idea behind the newbie forum was to offer a place where:
  • Newbies could ask newbie questions without getting flamed and
  • Folks who were otherwise upset with Newbie-type questions could stay out of and thus not be "bothered" by these types of questions.

While the forum may fall somewhat short of these stated goals, I'm not convinced that it's not a valuable tool.

That said, I have been wrong before and it's entirely possible I'm wrong here -- that's for our user community to decide.

At this point, we've only had a couple of users voice their opinions in this thread. Given that we have 8000 registered users, I'd like to get at least a few more opinions before pulling the plug on the newbie forum.

If you're lurking or otherwise run across this thread, please take a moment to post your feedback and opinions. (or at least vote in the poll) We really do read them and they really do influence our decision making process.

--kurt
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If you're lurking or otherwise run across this thread, please take a moment to post your feedback and opinions.

You got me lurking.
Well, I don't know yet, I have to think about. The good thing of a newbie forum is, you know you have to be a more detailed with your answer. I think I tend to be a bit too short with my solutions, or a tad sarcastic sometimes. I know that I try to avoid that in the newbie forum. On the other hand, that might be a reason that I rarely post in the newbie forum at all, even if I know how to fix the posters problem.
I will think a little more about it I guess, didn't vote yet. ;-)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find the newbie forum not useful. Most of the time I notice that it is things that people are not searching on. I say move them to the approiate forums and then do away with it. I also think that it is locking people into a place that they shouldn't be. I hate the term newbie because I don't want to feel like a newbie but rather someone that doesn't understand the new and exciting world of gentoo and/or linux. Just remember that there is no such thing as a stupid question but use search first and see what you find before asking the question. No need to make a seperate forum for newbies.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here we go:

Allow the posts in the n00b forum to expire. I'm quite sure this is a built-in feature to phpBB. Now for the reasoning:

Take all of the topics covered in the Newbie forum and create a FAQ from them. If a newbie cannot find a related FAQ because either a) there is none associated with the topic or b) the newbie hasn't quite perfected the art of searching. Either way, the Newbie is confused and, hence, posts to the Newbie forum.

Here's what happens next: If the situation is that of "a," the moderators can make the thread sticky until a new solution is added to the FAQ. If the situation is that of "b," someone can quickly point to the related FAQ article and lock the thread. After a week or so, the thread will disappear.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep it.

I, for one, have asked questions that are totally newb in that forum, which I would have felt uncomfortable asking in a regular forum.

Secondly, I can see the newbie questions spilling over to other forums. I used to be a member of the gentoo-newbies list, but simply couldn't stand the moronic questions some people ask over and over, so I unsubscribed. If you take away the newbie forum, we will be forced (well..) to read newbie questions in the not-so-newbie forums. I guess I just like the fact that I can skip that entire forum altogether.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

splooge wrote:
Keep it.

I, for one, have asked questions that are totally newb in that forum, which I would have felt uncomfortable asking in a regular forum.

Secondly, I can see the newbie questions spilling over to other forums. I used to be a member of the gentoo-newbies list, but simply couldn't stand the moronic questions some people ask over and over, so I unsubscribed. If you take away the newbie forum, we will be forced (well..) to read newbie questions in the not-so-newbie forums. I guess I just like the fact that I can skip that entire forum altogether.

You make a good point. I posted a good number of questions in the noob forum when I first started as well. And maybe making a faq with all the important stuff in it but leave the newbie forum unlocked so new people can still post things, but have big giant letters telling people to search first at the top of it.
I still support the faq idea, but now I'm undecided as to whether the newbie forum should be disbanded / locked....
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that this Newbies forum has a large amount of redundant posts that are covered elsewhere. But we have also the problem of new users that just don't know how to write down their problems. Maybe a bootcamp forum, just to help people developing the necessary skills to post "readable" messages (but I am not convinced).
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to add my supporting comments: I'm for dissolving the Newbies forum, and moving the posts to their relevant forums.

I'm anti-many-forums in general. I just posted something in the Newbies forum, and then to the Portage forum, and now I'm thinking I need to take it to the developers mailing list. If you ask me there should be three main forums: news & announcements, users, and developers. The same forums should be read/write-able via web, email, and Usenet.

Aside from those the multi-lingual forums are nice, as are the Off the Wall and Gentoo Chat forums, the latter two of which divert not so important or irrelevant stuff from the main forums, while still providing a fun place to bolster the community.

Documentation, Tips & Tricks, and Duplicate Posts forums are also good, though I could see them being combined into a single Wiki like FAQ.

As it stands I feel the support options are too disparaged and complicated.

Regards,

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part of the problem is that here are two kinds on newbies there are the new-to-linux newbies and there are the new to gentoo newbies. I think a knowledge base would be helpful for every one, even the people that have been using gentoo for a while. I hate redundant posting, yet I have done it several times because the search on this form is not the best. The idea of an official knowledge base sounds good, and I think it should be looked into. As far as keeping the current newbie forum or not I am unsure. if people would actually search the knowledge base first there may not be that big of a need for it.
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