We should clarify what our expectations are for question asking

It seems like the people who post things on ask, the people who frequent the forum and even the TL4 users are not clear on if this a Q&A site like stack exchange or if it is a discussion forum.

What I mean by that is should people be asking single questions and getting answers like stack exchange or should the be explaining their challenges and getting solutions.

There are two things I see fairly regularly.

The first is that someone has a problem and they spam a bunch of questions in separate posts trying to solve the problem. Often they are asking the wrong questions and we waste a bunch of time answering questions that don’t actually help them solve their problem. They don’t think it is allowed to discuss the problem on a Q&A site.

The other is someone has a problem or wants to make a change and asks more than one question directly related to what they are trying to do in a single post. They are asked to post multiple topics instead by someone responding. This is bad if we are a discussion forum and good if we are a Q&A site.

I think some clarity on this would be helpful.

I should also be clear that there is another scenario which is different where someone just puts a bunch of unrelated questions in a single topic. In those cases, it probably makes sense to split them no matter what.

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I guess it depends also on us who try to help. If we start to give some advice’s without obliege the user to explain correctly with enough basic information what his problem is, it is our fault if it gets into more a discussion instead of an Q&A.

Also important would be that we start as soon as possible to adjust the title and give useful tags. This way it is also easier to select where we/others believe can help, and in a future search makes such questions much easier to find.

In the other hand, I recognized in the last almost 24 month, that while we go into a new release the stream of new curious users is increasing while it gets more tranquil after the release when mayor problems ares solved.

Against this we could create a FAQ to avoid an avalanche of equal questions. We do have a #faq to redirect them there. Hećtor made it and he also released it as a wiki. Everyone with sufficient rights can participate an make useful changes.

That we do not have a huge topic with all kinds of questions we could brake them down into smaller faq’s like #faq-audio #faq-nvidia etc. and mention them as an example in #faq. This way a simple hashtag creates a link, and we can us organize like we had different invisible categories pointing to several different documents with solutions.

I find it good, @dalto that you came up with this. I’m just not so sure if it is the right moment because of the merge we have ahead. When we merged we will have new colleagues and we should also let them to have a word. Because the merge will bring new challenges where we probably not are aware of.

Just my personal meaning :wink:

I agree with this but it needs to be made more clear. Recently, I asked a user for more context and they didn’t share it because they felt it wasn’t appropriate for a Q&A site. On the other hand, I don’t really view this as a pure Q&A site. But it is pretty clear that some people do.

That is part of why I think it needs to be made more clear.

I actually think this is something we need to decide before we do the merge so we can set the expectations correctly from the beginning.

I have never felt this is a purely Q&A site.

While the main focus has certainly been Q&A, there is a large percentage that is blended with discussion and the more context we get the better able we are to identify if the OP is actually asking an X-Y question as well as helping to get a more focused and appropriate answer to the majority of questions.

The upcoming merge of ask.fp and discussion.fp makes it even more apparent that this is a blended site that involves both discussion and Q&A. After the merge it will be even more prominent that discussion is appropriate.

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I saw something interesting on the Manjaro page lately and would like to share this here:

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I really like that post from Manjaro.
Something similar is what I asked for to be put into in the New Users category, and the detail in that post with appropriate links would be of benefit to all.

Good idea, to promote this site with #howto-get-help or similar … I just tested if this would work on this topic … I guess this needs admin rights, or more as TL3 ?

Result:
It brings me to the page with this tag as overview. Probably just possible if the tag is unique or the topic a wiki like #faq . But anyway … good idea I guess.

Yeah, I agree with both of these points. When we were using Askbot, which attempted to mimic Stack Exchange,[1] people never really stuck to that strict format, and we didn’t really force them to (like a Stack Exchange site might have[2]). So we’ve always had kind of a more conversational approach.

And, I also think that’s likely to be more the case with the merged site, and that it’s probably okay.

I do think at some point we might want to start archiving older topics — that is, move topics which haven’t been touched in a couple of years to a read-only “Q&A Archive” category. Because of how Discourse works, their URLs wouldn’t change, so links wouldn’t break, and Google would probably treat them the same, but we could add some kind of flair that would make it clear that they might no longer be relevant. And, we could make that category still searchable on the site, but de-prioritize the search results. That way, when using the site’s on search at least, old stuff would be less likely to dominate.


  1. poorly, but that’s another story ↩︎

  2. Stack Exchange ain’t perfect! ↩︎

That seems a good idea to me. Topics from 2 years ago are usually at least 3 releases back and definitely about an EOL release version. So many things change that although some things might still apply a lot no longer would be valid and opening one of those threads for continued discussion would mostly be invalid anyway.

That also may provide a means of preventing users from necro-posting on those ancient threads. (ancient at the pace fedora progresses; not so ancient for other slower moving distros)

It needs extra knowledge to ask questions correctly.

For very simple questions, with enough engagement with similar questions, some experts can point the OP to the right direction quickly.

For more complex question, there will be a discovery exchange to help the OP to better define the issue (may be multiple questions) .

Once it is clear there are multiple questions, and if the T3+ find it beneficial, it is time to encourage the OP to ask each question separately.

I am a cacual visitor here. I normally want to help the OP in one go. So my replies normally is not aligning to the expectation of the forum well. (Or simply I do not pay enough attention to the expectations) .

On one hand, it is to provide fast and good response to OPs. On the other hand, contents should be structured for the long term growth of the site.

That’s why we need the helping TL3+ to moderate the site and give us directions.