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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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masseya
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, now you are getting into territory where I have a past history. There was a General Linux forum when these forums first started. I was one of a very small number of people who supported it. I wouldn't want to create it now simply because of confusion that it would create with several of the other existing forums. What happened to the General Linux forum? It kinda got swallowed by the formerly All Things Gentoo forum now called Other things Gentoo, which is where I would say your question would go if it wasn't in the Newbies forum. It makes sense to say that it's gentoo related if you have the problem on a gentoo box. How would you know that it wasn't gentoo related unless you knew the solution?

Anyhow, I think you made an excellent point that there are a very large number of people who are migrating here from Windows. I think the Newbies forum would cater extremely well to them simply because they wouldn't really know what other forum to post questions to a lot of the time.
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aja
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm for abolishing the newbie forum in favour of a well-managed locked FAQ forum. I just scanned a few recent posts to "newbies" - one person posted the conted of their sshd config, another started talking about kernel optimizations. NOT the sort of thing you would expect in a newbie forum at, say, Red Hat. I think we should bear in mind that most gentoo "newbies" are, in fact, newbies to gentoo, not to linux -- and are probably qualified to judge where their post should go absent a newbie forum. When my students (who see me playing with my shiny new distro) ask about trying linux "for the first time", gentoo is not the distro I recommend - and I think our user base reflects a similar attitude amongst the community.

I'm not saying that we should in any way be hostile to complete newbies - but in that case we should be offering a more structured environment that would allow them to explore their issue in some faqs, and (once they had a better idea what was going on with their system) allow them to exercise their judgement in posting to a more topic-specific forum.

All of that probably not worth the $0.02 I'm charging...
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rac
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

henke wrote:
I conclude that we have a lot of Linux newbies and that we have to deal with them. Removing the newbie forum won't make them go away ;)

I don't think anyone wants them to go away: we just want their questions to end up in places where they get better answers.

Quote:
If the newbie forum was removed where should I have asked this question?
1) Other Things Gentoo? (It isn't Gentoo related.)

Yes, OTG is where it should go. Before the Great Renaming in mid-August, we used to have All Things Gentoo in the top slot, which got way too many posts about things that belonged elsewhere. In an effort to decrease traffic in ATG, it was dropped to the bottom. In the Great Renaming, it was renamed to Other Things Gentoo. There were several other possibilities discussed at the time for the name of OTG. Perhaps we need a better name, and I would encourage people to start a thread in this forums feedback forum to discuss this.

However, OTG is the de facto catchall support forum. If you need help, and your question doesn't fit anywhere else in the support forums, then OTG is the place to ask it. It doesn't matter if it's Gentoo-specific or not. If Newbies goes away, and OTG gets some more traffic, that's the way that it is.

We try to balance the traffic in the support forums so that people that are only interested in specific forums can ignore the other ones, while at the same time making it as clear as possible where questions should go. Obviously, we can't please everybody, but we're certainly open to feedback from everybody.

I'm personally a bit disappointed that traffic in the forums feedback forum seems to be 80% moderators. The moderators already know what the moderators think, and many of our ideas are pretty stale already. For example, the Multimedia forum would not exist today if it weren't for a grassroots campaign. This thread has gotten a lot of publicity and input from everybody, probably because klieber posted an N&A announcement about it and Tristam29 put a sticky up in Newbies, but I hope in the future that more of you participate here. The forums belong to everybody, not just the mods.
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henke
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm. Changed my opinion agan. I have no opinion on the newbie forum ;) (As long as there is somewhere where I can ask general Linux questions I'm happy.) I do however have an opinion on something else.

We need a FAQ. It would be nice if I could say "See section "1.3.4 Partitioning your harddrive with fdisk" in the FAQ".

I'm not sure a forum is the best format for a FAQ. I love mihochan's idea about a Wiki FAQ.
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nowhcreek
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a linux newbie although I have limited unix experience as a user. I have decided to try Gentoo as my first linux install (I like a challenge), and one of the reasons was the general friendliness and feel of the forums.

I liked seeing the newbie forum on my first visit and found its presence encouraging. However I do agree that the posts could be dealt with in other (appropriate) forums and would not mind seeing it removed.

Could I suggest that along with a FAQ covering the newbie questions that a posting be made specifically for newbies, perhaps in the News and Announcements forum. Here a simple welcoming note could direct them to the FAQ's and suggest that if unable to find the answer to their question they post in the appropriate forum. Attention by moderators and patience from more experienced users would hopefully make this approach succesful.
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EzInKy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Newbie forum should be more or less a F.A.Q that looks like a forum where the main topic is "Things you will need to know before you install Gentoo". Subcategories to include an introduction to the "man" and "info" commands, basic directory structure of a Linux box and the reasoning behind it, etc.

For those of us who came to Linux before MS started hiding Dos, simple things like mentally visualising directories isn't a problem, but it is for those who didn't. To them, mounting a disk before moving a file makes as much sense as mounting a horse to boot their computer.

Finally, I really think these "nOOb" and "lEEt' titles under peoples names is kinda childish, especially with a system as professional as Gentoo's. Further I think that these "promotion's" based on number of posts only encourages people to post more and read less. You know, a lot of folks complain about the format of the bug tracking system, but the format is what makes it all that much better, because a person has to think about the problem in a rational manner before he asks his question.
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William Abke
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are many down-sides to having a noob/beginner forum; duplicate posts, better posted in a different forum... I still think they serve a purpose and should stay.

I have very little Linux and almost no c/c++ experience and have only been running Gentoo since sometime around May. The 'newbies' forum is the first I read every day.

It gives someone who is not sure of the source of the problem, obviously struggling for a solution to the problem and quite possibly no idea of the complexity of the problem a place to post.

This keeps those who are trying to resolve more complex networking/firewall/security issues from having to read over dozens of 'i loose my internet connection every time i reboot' or those in the Portage/Programming forum from being inundated with 'emerge -C gcc/python/perl - now nothing compiles/runs'. Not that I have removed my compiler, but just starting out it was a good thing that I did not have to reboot too often.

Also, there are many mistakes I have NOT made by reading of others troubles, which if in another forum, I may have missed or dis-missed because it did not seem relevant.

If a mod feels the post is of complex enough nature or specific enough - move it to the appropriate forum.

This also gives a 'slightly accomplished' Gentoo user a good place to start helping others with the real-noob questions.

Just my 2c.

Bill
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masseya
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

William Abke wrote:
Also, there are many mistakes I have NOT made by reading of others troubles, which if in another forum, I may have missed or dis-missed because it did not seem relevant.

This is an excellent point. I have done this several times in multiple forums. It might be nice to keep the newbie type questions in one place because of this.
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iplayfast
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SeaPig wrote:
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.


Mod +1 for insightful!
:)
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The Shadow Surfer
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 4:55 pm    Post subject: knowledge base Reply with quote

knowledge base, is the most usefull thing MS made, I work in the internal sysadmin/support department in a big company, and one of the most used tools here, is MS knowledge base....... even then your hardcore, your can't know it all.....

I know that this is something that takes alot of time too bild (and mantain)... I will properly be a long time before a project like that is done, but then it's done, it will be a usefull tool for newbies as well a gurus!


I say build a MS knowledge base for Gentoo, thats something we all can use (newbies as well as gurus) and then close the newbie forum
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pjp
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know a knowledge base (I'm dubbing it the GLKB) would be a good idea. Currently, that is beyond the scope of this thread. Any changes that occur, will occur without the GLKB. The best we can do in the near-term, would be a forum based FAQ. Ideas are plentiful, but we really need people with coding abilities. If you are seriously interested in providing work on the knowledge base:
kanuslupus wrote:
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.

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dunbar
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Newbies do not always know enough about their problem to know whether it is considered a network issue or a kde issue or an X issue.

Hence, Newbie forum might better be renamed "unsure what my problem is".

Any forum which endeavors to be a FAQ delivery mechanism will ultimately become posted to, so any FAQ forum should be locked, so as to ensure KISS; otherwise the FAQ forum might get all the posts about specific problems.

Relevant FAQ points of concern:
General, not specific. Man, how I hate getting into an FAQ only to see the topic ramble into the nuances of subtle irrelevant issues (like how this one needs to explain how to generate PDF versions of the document.... why?). KISS: not everyone that adds a soundcard will actually configure an 'Surreal 56.72' sound system, so a soundcard FAQ needs to be less specific.
Along the lines of how adding a nic can be as simple as this:
Code:
# insmod NIC_module_name_here, and look for errors
# lsmod and look for errors,
then edit /etc/modules.conf to alias the module to the eth0 port like this:
Code:

alias eth0 NIC_module_name_here.
I'm not sure if that code sample is right or wrong, but I'm not seeking help; I'll fix it, if it is wrong, for the sake of research ethics.

Then, after that is posted as an FAQ, let any resulting FAQs arise in the other forums (because the FAQ forum is locked), and as the questions arise, summarize the answers into a new, separate FAQ for the most common problems.
Lets assume that the user can't communicate outside the very local network, and the most frequently offered answer becomes incorrect subnet mask. Thus, the new FAQ might be titled 'getting connected beyond your routers blockade'. I really think that the new topic should not be titled subnet mask, because a newbie might not know what the term used is (properly) called - the are searching according to their problem not knowing the cause, they need to learn about the cause from their succesful search. Then inside the second FAQ, briefly introduce the proper term: when the router won't let you past, then the subnet mask needs to be checked in /etc/rc.local (or wherever it actually resides). This creates a lot of piecemeal answers, yes, but I'd never know that subnetting was the proper name for my problem and I'd never know if the subnetting in the FAQ titled 'Cable Modem' would actually apply to me. thus I'd be posting and you'd all be scratching your heads.... more than you are now. :oops:
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pjp
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheCoop has started a discussion about how the FAQ would work over here.
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antik
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 7:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Newbie forum feedback Reply with quote

There must be better search engine (especially for newbies), something like google.
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klieber
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 7:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Newbie forum feedback Reply with quote

antik wrote:
There must be better search engine (especially for newbies), something like google.

There's a reason Google is the most popular search engine on the internet. It kicks ass. They also have a team of several hundred people that work to make it that way.

--kurt
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klieber
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks --

Thank you for all the feedback. There have been some great ideas suggested in this thread and we'll be discussing them, as well as some other options, extensively before deciding the fate of the newbie forum.

Again, thanks for the input.

--kurt
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