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Restrict guest posts in Installing Gentoo and Newbies
Yes
63%
 63%  [ 23 ]
No
27%
 27%  [ 10 ]
I don't care
8%
 8%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 36

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masseya
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2002 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems to me that creating a guest forum would eliminate a few problems, while still allowing a guest to post.

1) Guests would no longer drown out other poster's questions with things like "How do I type on a keyboard?"

2) Guests would still be able to post and thus eliminate a bunch of people from registering for a one time question and posting it where ever they wanted.

3) We'd still allow for all the people who would like to get support without handing over a bunch of information.

4) There would still be more incentive to register because you can only post in one specialized forum if you didn't.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2002 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a Guest forum is not ideal. Part of the reason to eliminate guest posts is to minimize posts that are entered into the wrong forum. A guest forum ensures that they will be in the wrong forum. Sound problems go to Multimedia, trouble with the initial Gentoo Installation go into Installing Gentoo, etc. These same questions would end up in 'Guests'. IMO, that would only create more work and make searches a bit more cumbersome.
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rac
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2002 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tristam29 wrote:
It seems to me that creating a guest forum would eliminate a few problems, while still allowing a guest to post.

So are you basically suggesting turning off guest posting in Installing Gentoo, and leaving Newbies as the "guest" forum?
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masseya
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I wasn't, but I wasn't thinking about kanuslupus's idea. (Maybe you were asking if he was?) It really would suck to be a mod for a guest forum. At least if you let Guests post in the Newbies forum they will still have some place to post their questions. You shouldn't be 'losing' a whole lot of posters posts because of a ton of questions about how to su to root in that forum anyhow.

Mostly, I think it's awfully rigid and unfriendly to eliminate Guest posting entirely, but if the moderators think that it's horrible to deal with and a lot of other posters are saying that it's really annoying I'm not going to require that we have Guest posting for the sake of inclusiveness.
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wickidpisa
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to get back to something wilbertnl tried to bring up at the begining of the thread, will requiring registrations really cut down on the noise? Even if guests are responsible for most of the noise (which I am not sure if that is even true) are they going to magicly get better when they register? Granted some of them will not take the time to register, but if you think that registration is enough of a deterrant to noise posters aren't you admitting that registration will deter people from posting? If registration is as easy as you say it it, won't the noise posters just register and then continue posting noise?
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wickidpisa wrote:
I want to get back to something wilbertnl tried to bring up at the begining of the thread, will requiring registrations really cut down on the noise?

Obviously, any answer to this question is somewhat subjective. However, I can say that, when we restricted guest posts the first time around so they could only post in Newbies and Installing Gentoo, the noise in the other forums decreased markedly. (and no, the noise in Newbies and I.G. did not increase proportionately.) Strictly anecdotal evidence, but worth noting, nonetheless.

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phong
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I'd better chime in. My initial reflex is to say "yes, stopping guest posts will probably improve the forums." But my secondary response is to say "well, probably that would discourage lots of people and just send them away, ala nytimes.com." But the more I think about it, the more I tend to agree with my initial response.

If there were a big link at the top of the main forums page that said something like "Do I really need to register to be able to post my question?", it'll divert all the guests through another filter to encourage them to use the search feature, etc.

The linked page could say something along the lines of "Although you do need to register to post a question, it's likely your question has already been answered. Check out the FAQ, the DOCS, the SEARCH feature, GOOGLE, etc. and you'll probably find what you're looking for. If you still need help, please consider registering. We don't share any of your information with anyone, etc. etc. and it only takes a few seconds of your time."

The way I see it, if lots of people are posting the same questions over and over, it's because they aren't seeing the subtle links at the top of the page for FAQ and SEARCH. Obviously, we can't fix the people, but there is a good workaround. Just make them jump through another hoop before letting them post - while they're jumping (or balking at the idea of jumping), we can flash a few helpful links directly in front of their face where they can't miss them.

edit: Also, posts in the wrong forums post a big problem with guests only being able to post in Newbies and Installing Gentoo. If a guest wants to ask a question about their window manager, they can only do it in one of those two - probably Newbies. The post is in the wrong forum, so it gets moved. Some responses come in, and the guest wants to post a followup, but can't. Guest leaves or barks in frustration. Having one policy over the whole forum solves this problem, and to me the most sensible one is to not allow guest posts anywhere (vs. the alternative of letting them post everywhere.)
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

phong wrote:
But my secondary response is to say "well, probably that would discourage lots of people and just send them away, ala nytimes.com."
I really don't think forums registration will deter that many users. I would bet most users decide to try Gentoo before they visit the forums. For the few that check the forums to ask some questions prior to install, well, if they can't be bothered to register to ask for help...

Quote:
The linked page could say something along the lines of "Although you do need to register to post a question, it's likely your question has already been answered. Check out the FAQ, the DOCS, the SEARCH feature, GOOGLE, etc. and you'll probably find what you're looking for.
My only issue with this is, they already aren't searching or looking for FAQs. gentoo.org has Installation documents where the information, in many cases, already exists. In the case of the initial install, the document that they are reading often contains the answer to their question.

Quote:
edit: Also, posts in the wrong forums post a big problem with guests only being able to post in Newbies and Installing Gentoo.
I think this is a more important reason to require registration as opposed to the 'noise' argument. In addition, a name rather than guest is more 'friendly' to the other registered users of the forums. PMing is also helpful. The expected/hopeful reduction in noise is a side benefit.
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phong
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
My only issue with this is, they already aren't searching or looking for FAQs.

Well, the reason I say this is because, usually after being directed at the FAQ or something the n00b often says "Oh, I didn't even see that!" If it's put right in front of their face a couple extra times, they might notice better. Then again, maybe not.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
phong wrote:
But my secondary response is to say "well, probably that would discourage lots of people and just send them away, ala nytimes.com."
I really don't think forums registration will deter that many users. I would bet most users decide to try Gentoo before they visit the forums. For the few that check the forums to ask some questions prior to install, well, if they can't be bothered to register to ask for help...

Besides isn't the problem with nytimes that you can't get to any content without logging in? Over here you would still be able to skim through the forums without registering.
As I look through more of the forum my opinion is shifting more towards stopping guest posting. The way I see it the only ideal solution would be to have a queue where the guest posts remain until they are approved by a mod and only then would they show up in a forum. This of course would be a LOT of work for our mods and I think they are doing enough for the forums already.
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scottro
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While reading through this, wishy washy sort that I am, I found myself agreeing with one, then another--however Phong's post, a few posts up, made me think. I'm not sure how to say this without sounding elitest, but I'm in NYC, so people expect us to be that way. :)


There's a certain attitude--most of you are probably familiar with Eric Raymond's
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way. Part of it has to do with it's alright to be ignorant, but not stupid. Perhaps it's subjective, but it does seem that many who won't take the time to register (and as stated somewhere in this thread, you don't need to accept cookies, nor is it a terribly difficult process) also won't take the time to look at the faq, do a search, etc.

I can understand a new user being a bit intimidated--but as Gentoo still requires that you compile a kernel the total beginner might as well get used to it. They can browse the forums and search for answers. Perhaps it's an attitude or way of thinking--and while I too have no statistics, just a subjective impression, it does seem that those who take the trouble to try to find the answer themselves, at least at their own level, will also take the trouble to register. Those who just post as guest also seem to (not always of course, but frequently) have the same attitude in their linux research--let's do it the quick and lazy way, ask and maybe someone will help.

So, much as I respect some of the people here who feel that we shouldn't discourage guest posting, I'm going to to have to side with those who are against it.

Thanks for reading this far, (assuming of course, that you have.) :)

Scott
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread is a good example of why registering would be a Good Requirement. The guest posted in Installing Gentoo. The first key part is:
Quote:
I'm not quite a gentoo newbie having used it for about 3 months now however I do have one anoying problem. Whenever I try to upgrade my system using
emerge -up world
First, he says he's been using the system for 3 months. That is indicator 1 that the thread does not belong in Installing Gentoo. Second, upgrading the system (emerge world) is a post Installation Guide step.

So now we know the thread 'doesn't belong' in the Installing Gentoo forum. Also, and this could be debated, I don't think it would have been any better of in the Newbies forum. Being a guest, the user is unable to post in any other forum. As rac indicated, he was unable to inform the guest of the thread move.

I'm not criticizing anything the guest did, just using this post as an example of where registration would be beneficial. There is a chance a registered user might have posted in a more appropriate forum. The thread wouldn't have needed moving. If not, they could be notified of it.
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rac
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2002 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wickidpisa wrote:
If registration is as easy as you say it it, won't the noise posters just register and then continue posting noise?

Maybe, but I think there are two big differences.

First, if you are associating your name (or even handle) with a question, it goes down on your permanent posting record, and I think that will motivate some posters some more to do some more of their own homework. Yes, that's a lot of "some"s, and it's not perfect. But it's a step in the right direction.

Second, if the same registered user keeps posting noise, we can figure out who they are and try to work with them to improve things. We can PM them with suggestions outside the public forums. And, finally, if things don't improve and the problem gets really disruptive, the admins can ban them. Search for posts by "jamitupya" for the only example I'm aware of where this happened.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2002 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rac wrote:
Search for posts by "jamitupya" for the only example I'm aware of where this happened.

Minor point of clarification -- that user is no longer banned from these forums. Banning is an absolute last resort, and is only used when all other resources have failed. It's not something I enjoy doing, so I do it as infrequently as possible.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2002 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK folks -- thanks for the excellent discussion on this topic. I've decided to require registration for all forums, at least on a trial basis. The decision came down to three basic factors:

  • Registration is already required of the Gentoo mailing lists, as well as most other "busy" forums, so precedence leaned towards requiring registration
  • Anyone, registered or otherwise, can still browse and search these forums. It's only when they want to join in a discussion that they have to register. I equate this with introducing yourself before entering a conversation, which I consider to be the polite thing to do.
  • We have 5000+ users and growing. We have a duty to think of them, as well as the (relatively) few posters who might object to the registration requirements.

As with any decision related to these forums, it's not set in stone. If it turns out that this was a major blunder and causes all sorts of problems, we'll reverse it.

For any guests browsing this thread who object strenously to this new requirement, I've temporarily allowed guest posting in this forum only. This is to allow you to voice your opinion without having to register. Please note: the first time this gets abused by someone posting a support request in this forum, I will reinstate the registration requirement on this forum as well.

--kurt
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2002 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I just registered, so I guess I wll jump in way over my head here, and give my thoughts on registering, since it seems this thread is lacking similar comments of my (low) caliber.

I have seen many of you talk of the good side of limiting guest posts: less noise, accountability, and so on. These are all admirable goals, so first let me say I agree with these goals.

However, by requiring registration, you automatically lock out an unknown number of people (perhaps even gentoo users) who will not bother registering. Registering is rather simple when your email is working, but I will always view it as 'just another hoop to jump through'. I personally already have too much experience with certain OS's that like to make users jump through hoops repeatedly (think of 'are you sure Y/N'). This is one of the main reasons why I have been fighting to learn linux and now Gentoo. I would rather spend my time reading man pages and Gentoo forums than clicking on 'OK' another thousand times.

I like Tristam29's idea of a forum specifically for guests. Perhaps put a sticky at the top that explains the benefits of registering, such as more thorough subject specific help, or notification of moved threads. Granted there would be eventually be every topic imaginable in such a forum, but this could be explained in the sticky at the top: If you're not getting the help you need here, try registering and going to the proper forum.

At least then there would still be a choice for someone who wanders here and has a casual question or two. From what I have seen so far, there are probably a few nice folks here that are just killing time and would answer even those simple questions, even if it is just a link to the proper topic.

And some personal experience: It took me a week to get my email working the way I like it. I have gone through mutt, fetchmail, procmail, evolution, balsa, and now using sylpheed. (I gotta have spam filtering!) Of course, my registration email from Gentoo got lost in the spamblocked box, but I finally wised up and managed to use mutt to dig it out. Then I had to edit the url I pasted from mutt because it put a plus(+) sign in it. I think that most people that aren't tenacious or desperate (myself included) would have given up by now.

Of course, now I can pat myself on the back for either being tenacious or desperate! :)
And all you mods can feel free to pat yourselves on the back too, because Gentoo is the only forum on the internet that I considered valuable enough to register at. :D
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Therion
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2002 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I registered prior to even installing Gentoo (in fact, prior to reading _how_ to install Gentoo), because I assumed I would have to register in order to make meaningful use of the forums.

As the decision is on a "trial" basis, my feelings:

1) The forums are a service "you" provide. In my opinion, should one wish to make use of a service, one must abide by the requirements of the provider of said service. Terms of Use and Fair Use policies are notable precedents for such.

2) I do not recall having to provide anything resembling sensitive information during the registration process. I also do not recall having to provide an email address that I do not want "you" to possess. This is hardly an invasion of privacy, and complaints about the process appear baseless.

3) Making use of the content (ie: reading questions/answers) is unrestricted. Requiring a quick, simple and utterly painless registration in order to contribute to the content is not, I think, asking too much. Given #2 above, I tend to think most people who would complain about this are prone to the abuse which it is intended to restrain and are only seeking to avoid accountability and responsibility for their conduct.

4) There are alternatives (which are, perhaps, superior in cases) to the forums, anyway. So long as the general #gentoo IRC channel remains open and largely unmoderated, I once again find little room for complaining about a simple registration requirement in order to participate.

5) As Gentoo increases in popularity and/or visibility, so too does the necessity for organization of anything passing as a "support channel", which, generally, is what the forums are. If one wishes for the forums to remain a useful and informative resource one must have some constraints.

6) I agree completely that registration, to some degree, helps foster a sense of community. "Where everybody knows your name..." The very phrasing of "joining a community" states quite plainly that one must, in fact, "join" that community. So long as we do not get into any asinine popularity contests masquerading as "karma ratings" or the like, I can only see registration as beneficial to Gentoo.

7) People will make many decisions regarding a product based upon what they find in message forums. Gentoo is the book; the website and the forums are the cover. People will judge, and rightfully so.

Ultimately, it comes down to the face Gentoo wishes to present to the outside world, I think.

The Internet could use fewer useless, anarchistic jumbles of nonsense. I'm rather fond of the slick/professional "feel", personally. But that could just be me.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2002 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least I won't post as guest because I forgot to log on anymore :roll:
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2002 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yak wrote:
Registering is rather simple when your email is working...

Hm, I hadn't thought of this. If registering for the forums requires a valid email address (wherein you reply to actually activate the account), then it would be extremely frustrating to not be able to post if your system is hosed up to the point that you can't get to your email. (I don't remember if the registration process is like that.) Ordinarily, I'd be all for requiring registration, but I know I've had systems in severely borked states, with no possibility of getting to email, and I know I'd feel rather left out if I was unable to post a question and get it answered. Something to think about, anyway.
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rac
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2002 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

n0n wrote:
Yak wrote:
Registering is rather simple when your email is working...

Hm, I hadn't thought of this. If registering for the forums requires a valid email address (wherein you reply to actually activate the account), then it would be extremely frustrating to not be able to post if your system is hosed up to the point that you can't get to your email.

You have to be able to visit a particular URL sent in the confirmation mail to activate your account, yes. But webmail accounts should work, so if you could post your question, you should be able to register.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2002 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rac wrote:
You have to be able to visit a particular URL sent in the confirmation mail to activate your account, yes. But webmail accounts should work, so if you could post your question, you should be able to register.


Aaaaah, webmail accounts, right. Originally I was thinking, "well, yes, but what if they don't HAVE a webmail account?" but now I realize that webmail accounts are things one can sign up for and then use and other such craziness. :) Awesome. Objection withdrawn.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2002 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rac wrote:
But webmail accounts should work, so if you could post your question, you should be able to register.
Webmail accounts do work... that is what I use.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2002 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, here we are - in a new era of registration. I just want you all to know that I support the decision. I don't agree with it, but I certainly agree with the methods used to come to this decision. I doubt I would have been able to be so objective. It's hard for me to think of placing this kind of restriction on support for free software. I don't agree with registrations for mailing lists either, but that's a story for another day.
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