Now that the commblog post is out, I see a few more community members have joined the NEW AskFedora. Please, do let us know what you think—all suggestions are welcome. If we can clarify things or tweak them to make them even easier for users, that’ll be awesome!
Please feel free to comment on this one, or open new topics in this category as needed.
Hi, recently I didn’t have enough time to keep up with Ask Fedora, was there some discussion about this change? I’m asking because it’s the first time I’m reading about it, so my post is rather general and might be already answered somewhere.
From a quick glance, Discourse looks more like a forum replacement, modern and nice, but focusing on discussion rather than question and the correct answer (or working towards it) - which is vital for users coming with same issue or choosing from multiple answers. Askbot is a better fit for such Q&A usage.
Editing features here are definitely better, so is advanced search.
What about loads of knowledge from current solution? I assume most people land there from some web search results, rather than banner during system installation or some generic links.
In addition to what @alciregi said, here is a short summary of why the move was thought about. In general, the user experience on askbot has not been very good. There are lots of tiny bugs that we’ve not been able to get fixed. The UI isn’t very clean either, and it doesn’t do too well on mobile platforms too.
So, Discourse tries to do it its own way (and does it better IMO). So, on Askbot, you had anwers and comments and we were forever running around converting one to the other. On Discourse, everything is a reply. Replies can be “upvoted” similar to on Q&A sites and can be privately flagged (we need to double check the settings of this plugin). Replies can be marked as the correct answer too—by the person that asked the question (I need to check this again, I remember there’s a setting somewhere). Discourse also has a gamification system: you earn trust as you go and that gives you more privileges (along with badges).
So, I think it fits better—the replies enable us to have a conversation with the OP to ask for more information—which is usually required when troubleshooting issues. Then, once the issue is solved, it can be marked as the right aswer (this plugin is enabled now).
Yeh, we’re looking at that now. The most common issues from current askbot have been (or are in the process of being moved to quick-docs: lots of help needed here). We’ll probably make all language categories open to everyone like other discourse instances so that all topics/categories are publically visible and accessible (so we’ll remove the language group system—still being discussed).
Currently, I’ve enabled “allow users to mark correct on all topics”. I’m not sure if this means only the original poster can mark as correct or if anyone can. @ozeszty: can you mark any replies as correct? If that is so, we should disable this global setting and use the more appropriate Category specific setting: allow staff/poster to mark as correct.
I can only up-vote the entire thread, but not answers.
Down-voting is also important, I used it a few times, but it did clearly say ‘don’t go that way’, I don’t think flagging (which I can no longer perform) is going to cut it.
Askbot, the software previously used for Ask Fedora, was a clone of Stack Exchange (and, particularly, Stack Exchange as it existed almost 10 years ago). It didn’t really have any individual design or UX work. Stack Exchange is really focused on single, small questions and immediate, direct answers. Ideally, common questions are highly voted and become long-term useful, with accepted canonical answers. Askbot inherited some of that, but also some confusion, like my least favorite thing “Closed: correct answer accepted!”.
Many of the questions on Ask Fedora, however, are really problem investigation. And, because Fedora moves quickly, old things kind of expire out. So, we definitely want something for help and questions, and we definitely do want to be able to find and reference FAQs, but we also need something a little more free-flowing where there can be a back-and-forth to narrow down the issue and really help people.
Additionally, while Askbot is open source, it is basically a single person part-time project. Discourse is also fully open source, but has a company behind it and rapid feature development and good prospects for ongoing growth and improvement.
Still, voting down (I’m deliberately not saying ‘disliking’) is a good warning and, in a way, a “janitor”. I’ve seen some people take down-votes too personally or being unable to take criticism at all, but it should not define the platform.
The other issue is the button and term ‘like’. Back in the kindergarden or preschool we used to be awarded with red heart-shaped stickers and warned/disciplined with black ones - it was OK there. On a tech forum I’d stay with thumb-up and thumb-down icons and vote-up/vote-down labels, since heart rather says love, where the opposite is hate, and neither of those come to my mind when I read how to fix that driver issue
Changing icons should be easy, but from a quick glance it seems that down-voting will need to be implemented. BTW storing and showing up- and down-votes separately seems better since it will warn about potential issues even if somebody else up-voted the answer.
I couldn’t register or login with FAS, email/login and password are the only available options.
Full-screen composer has no ‘Reply’ button.
I could upload image before advancing to Basic, but it seems desirable if Akismet will work well.
And I hope Akismet will suffice, because now getting few additional details from somebody, whose posts have to be approved, can take days (with multiple rounds of questions) and might cause the person to give up.
Yeah, and after using it a bit, I see that it will be easier for average users coming for help.
Quoting works well, so asking for details should go smoother.
As for migration, many questions are outdated and abandoned, but there are also useful ones. Maybe, in the long run, Askbot could be left in read-only mode with clear directions where to seek help now?
I don’t see a setting to do so, so it isn’t that straightforward from the looks of it. Is it necessary, though? Our target audience are not techies. They are end-users who are more used to “likes” and “dislikes” than “thumbs up” and “thumbs down”. We could get in touch with upstream, but I do expect they thought about these UI elements before implementing them. Again, if each post was an answer, voting made sense, but each post is not an answer on discourse. It’s meant to be discussion oriented, not answer oriented like stack-exchange.
Weird. Works just fine for me. Can you post a new “login issues” topic with a screenshot please?
Thanks for all the feedback. It’s why we announced it to the community before going public. I think a majority of tweaks come from us being too used to Q&A style stackexchange forums and try to apply those concepts to Discourse. The staff will have to be a little pro-active at the start to slowly nudge posters to “the discourse way”. We’ll make sure we add these bits to the fedoramagazine announcement post, and I think we’ll update the “start here” posts with more instructions on how Discourse is to be used also.
I guess this is more of a philosophical dilemma. It’s not a secret that companies hire psychologists to help them make their products addictive, and it works. Then we’ve got people fighting for virtual likes, neglecting relations in real life. And then we we cannot down-vote bad answers, because (among other reasons) people no longer can handle constructive criticism, because emotionally we’re heading towards preschool level and self destruction
Yeap, definitely out of the scope of this discussion.
I meant swapping icons/labels in code. I suppose it shouldn’t be to difficult.
That’s actually enough for 99% of cases.
Looking through Askbot’s server stats should show how many people land there from various search results, which questions bring traffic (hence are relevant) and how big of an impact will shutting it down have.
In case, redirecting Askbot questions to a new domain should be easy, as there addresses are prefixed with language codes.
Thanks for all the answers, many issues I’ve seen first hand on Askbot will be fixed here, and I’m sure we’ll deal with any other.
We don’t have access to the code since we’re not hosting this instance on Fedora infrastructure (askbot is not hosted on Fedora infrastructure either)—discourse is hosting this instance for us.
OK. We’ll leave that as it is for the time being then.
Unfortunately, the askbot instance is a bit of a mess. The votes suggest that the “sticky” questions are most frequently viewed, and these have been migrated to quick-docs (or are in the process of being migrated). Please suggest more bits to be added to this topic: This is a list of commonly asked questions
I’d also look at visits, not many people vote or mark answers as correct (it would be cool if Discourse helped with that). About half of my answers are left without comments and votes, while in most cases I either wrote them from my experience, confirmed to work locally or researched the topic. Most wild guesses and possible ideas I posted as comments, unless character limit prevented that.
An question with an answer, but no votes or other feedback, other than a couple of hundreds of views, seems to me worth saving.
Some less common or even exotic issues and answers are not worth rewriting in QuickDocs, but might be worth archiving in bulk.
I could be wrong, but all I see are cumulative page views of individual questions and links to Ask Fedora in google when researching issues, but not site wide, recent, monthly or annual statistics.