Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviour

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Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviour

Postby doktor5000 » Mar 11th, '12, 19:35

I'm willing to write a short howto on proper behaviour when or before posting problems.
At mandrivauser.de, we have a Charta which every user needs to accept when he registers,
which also contains a really helpful section what to do to improve the chances and to speed
up the process of properly getting support, like searching the forums and google before posting here,
to see if that problems was already discussed, and what informations to provide.

Where should this be placed, and how to make it mandatory for everybody to accept if someone joins the forums?

For reference, i'm talking about http://www.mandrivauser.de/doku/doku.ph ... s_projekts
section 3.3.3.3, "Tipps zum richtigen Verhalten bei Problemen" which would translate to "Hints on proper behaviour in case of problems"
FWIW, here's a google translate link for non-germans to get a rough overview http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=de&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mandrivauser.de%2Fdoku%2Fdoku.php%3Fid%3Dallgemein%3Acharta%23aufbau_des_projekts
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby doktor5000 » Mar 11th, '12, 19:47

Seems this would also partly resolve the problem that viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2
is still empty (which is quite sad) regarding the issues i mentioned. Also that would maybe be the right place,
but it should be mandatory/enforced for all forums users to read this before posting for the first time, IMHO.

This would solve some issues we have currently when giving support in the forums, as most users just
don't seem to use the search function before posting, or at least provide enough issues to get proper support.

F.ex. it's rather common to see something like "Help! Program foobar is not working, how to fix?"
or "My printer does not work" there are also mostly not the most meaningful threads, which is quite
a nitemare for supporters like me, as it takes more of my time to first query the necessary facts to at
least start on troubleshooting the problem given. Which in turn leads to the conclusion that i can't give as much
support as i could under optimal conditions, and would free up more of my time which i need for documentation and
packaging tasks.

Also in my opinion the moderators don't do enough to educate forum users about such problems,
and such mandatory-to-read guidelines would be a first step to improve in that direction.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby wobo » Mar 11th, '12, 19:55

The link you posted is about rules which should be obeyed when using the forum. The Guidelines you have in mind are not rules but guidelines, so we have to find a different place.

That said, it is a very good idea and I'd place it in the same section as the rules. The German text should be shortened and edited before translation though. Some parts may not apply here. If you want to do it, no problem. But I could do it to let you not get distracted from bug fixing :)
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby doktor5000 » Mar 11th, '12, 20:17

Well, isn't that just similar to picking on words, and wouldn't those rules be also guidelines?
And as those guidelines should be mandatory as proposed, that would actually be the same as rules?

Maybe you mean the fact that such guidelines to mainly ease support and improve the self-education
of users is only a subset of the needed forum rules, which would include something like the code of conduct,
nettiquette and stuff like that?

And surely i'd only take the above mentioned part of the mandrivauser.de charta as a rough template and adapt
it to Mageia, adding f.ex. the need to look if there's a MAQeia and recommend reading it before asking for a problem covered by those.
Sorry to not mention that explicitly, but my common sense says that would just be normal :)

But i don't think those should be different documents, as that would only add clutter, which should be avoided.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby wobo » Mar 12th, '12, 09:46

doktor5000 wrote:Well, isn't that just similar to picking on words, and wouldn't those rules be also guidelines?
And as those guidelines should be mandatory as proposed, that would actually be the same as rules?

Well, from my definition for RULES and GUIDELINES in this context here there is a difference. The definition is different to that in other areas (f. ex. in packagers team the guidelines are rules to be obeyed):

In the forums,

RULES have to be followed. Period. They demand and/or forbid certain kinds of behavior and/or deeds to be followed by users of the forum. Violating one of the RULES will cause measurements of the forum authorities, ranging from friendly reminders, erasing forbidden text up to banning a user. Examples of RULES are
- no spam allowed
- no personal attacks
- no use of "4 letter words"
RULES are there to guarantee a certain quality of the forum and the interaction between users. They give the forum authorities a framework to act upon. They are the "laws" of the forum.

GUIDELINES are recommendations. Their task is to ease support for the helpers, improve chances for help for the asking and to improve the self-education of users. They are recommended to be followed but not following them does not result in measurements by the "rules enforcement authorities". This is the main difference between RULES and GUIDELINES.

IMHO this is not "picking on words". That's why they have to be different documents. I don't see any clutter with 2 different documents.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby dubigrasu » Mar 12th, '12, 22:19

wobo wrote: - no use of "4 letter words"

Not even this one? :mrgreen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxWrk7djlhE
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby wobo » Mar 13th, '12, 12:26

Ok, I know "Love is just a 4 letter word" (words by Bob Dylan, composed and performed by Joan Baez): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEE67H9ozbA

But you know how it is meant in this context :)
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby Max » Mar 13th, '12, 19:09

wobo wrote:Ok, I know "Love is just a 4 letter word" (words by Bob Dylan, composed and performed by Joan Baez): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEE67H9ozbA

But you know how it is meant in this context :)

Wobo is also a four letter word.
Which context does that fall in, should we use it or not?
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby wobo » Mar 13th, '12, 20:06

No! Image
Besides it's not a word, it's a degraded state ;)

Ok, sorry for the OT, we should ask a moderator to erase the joke/banter postings or send it to the sandbox. The subject is too important to let it drown.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby isadora » Mar 17th, '12, 19:20

It was during one of those trips through the Black Forest.
Enjoying the marvellous views and breathing the fresh air.
When i realized, that it is all about organization and hence about mutual appointments, that makes the world as we experience it.

Now, it is the question; is all this regulating, making the world a better place?
Probably human kind is not that much related to regulation.
We can have deals with each others, this can work and being controlled as long as it is within the view of our borders.
The bigger the organization, the bigger the chances people and rules will fade.
More rules and restrictions also attract more recalcitrance.

The "Code of Conduct" as we know it, is the right umbrella to give people an idea about how we think about co-existence in the Mageia-communities.
Beside this set of no-nonsense guidelines it would be desirable, having procedures, making live some bit easier.

As doktor5000 already said, people should know their ways to find relative informations.
And preferably before they are placing another question (whether in forum or bugzilla) about issues being discussed many times before.
But not only procedures will be the golden way. If you want to have those implemented properly, it is also a need to have the sources being setup in a proper, actual, and user-friendly way.
How this should be converted in a technical way is beyond my scope. But i think we need to make it as easy as possible for people to find their answers, and to drop their questions.

Maybe we also have to reconsider earlier decisions like for example the MAQeia. This is another place where people find informations to their need. But as said, another place........beside other places like forum and wiki. My choice: centralize this information-sources.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby wobo » Mar 18th, '12, 07:23

isadora wrote:My choice: centralize this information-sources.

I haven't been to the Black Forest for a while but I understand what you mean (may be my past visits there still stick) :)

Well, we already have a central place: the first section "Welcome On Board"
There we have the introduction thread, the "Rules to follow". Now add a thread "Forum help" with the post containing important and helpful hints how to get most out of the forum for the user and how to make it easy to help for the helpers.

I think the MAQeia and possible similar sections are dealing with special issues of the distribution while the afore mentioned "Forum help" deals with the forum. It's ok to be in different places in the forum.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby maat » Mar 22nd, '12, 10:17

doktor5000 wrote:I'm willing to write a short howto on proper behaviour when or before posting problems.

Just do it ;)

Once done moderators will be able to improve it and to find a place where to place it...
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby doktor5000 » Mar 22nd, '12, 23:03

maat wrote:
doktor5000 wrote:I'm willing to write a short howto on proper behaviour when or before posting problems.

Just do it ;)

Talk is cheap ...
:x

May i remind you about viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2 which is still missing and would be a proper place?

FWIW, an early draft proposal is available at http://titanpad.com/Ms9GtfU7eq for anyone to improve,
due to new dayjob i may not be able to spend much time on this during the next few weeks as i'm otherwise
busy with packaging stuff for Mageia 2.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby alf » Mar 22nd, '12, 23:24

doktor5000 wrote:FWIW, an early draft proposal is available at http://titanpad.com/Ms9GtfU7eq for anyone to improve,


Well done, dear Doktor, I think this text should be offered to and agreed by every new member while registering.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby doktor5000 » Mar 23rd, '12, 00:21

I've got some comments already which basically said some of the rules sound too strict-worded and too much in-your-face, any opinion about this?
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby alf » Mar 23rd, '12, 00:38

doktor5000 wrote:I've got some comments already which basically said some of the rules sound too strict-worded and too much in-your-face, any opinion about this?


Well, some people think you are somewhat harsh. But I think rules and guidelines must be clear and categorical. On the other hand my english is very bad and i can't really decide the "political correctness" of your decide, for me it's OK.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby dubigrasu » Mar 23rd, '12, 00:50

Since you asked, I think that the use of ¨never do that¨ is excessive...maybe replaced with ¨try to avoid¨ or similar in some cases?
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby jkerr82508 » Mar 23rd, '12, 01:33

doktor5000 wrote:I've got some comments already which basically said some of the rules sound too strict-worded and too much in-your-face, any opinion about this?

I don't think they are harsh. Rules need to be clear and unambiguous. I think your draft rules are entirely appropriate.

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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby wobo » Mar 23rd, '12, 13:13

dubigrasu wrote:Since you asked, I think that the use of ¨never do that¨ is excessive...maybe replaced with ¨try to avoid¨ or similar in some cases?

And here exactly is the difference between "rules" and "guidelines" wrt the forum. Other than in a technical environment (i.e. packager team) there is a difference.

"Rules" (in other word: requirements, bans) are such where we actually have to say "never, or else..." (like rules about spam, using of bad language, illegal contents, etc.). Not obeying rules will be followed by adequate measurements (PM, erasing of not allowed contents, up to banning a user). Rules should be enforced (one of the tasks of moderators and admins).

"Guidelines" (in other words: advice, recommendations) are usually accompanied by "you should not" or "try to avoid" or "for better understanding you may want to .....". Not following guidelines will not be followed by punishment of any kind. Guidelines can not be enforced.

So my point still is to put rules and guidelines into different documents with matching titles.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby doktor5000 » Mar 23rd, '12, 20:23

wobo wrote:So my point still is to put rules and guidelines into different documents with matching titles.


Well, that's what i'm asking for, about improvements on my early draft. You've already said this before, so if more people chime in,
and you think that's a sane way to go, then why not go on with splitting this up in Rules and Guidelines.

I'm all ears.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby doktor5000 » Jul 17th, '12, 21:24

*bump*

Seems not many people are interested in this topic :(
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby Garthhh » Jul 18th, '12, 16:21

differentiation between rules & guidelines is good

what about a template or checklist of the information needed for a typical solution [a bug report has similar]

a suggestion to include specs in a members signature possibly?

a link to a thread that has all the information in the OP [original post]

the only section of the guideline text that could use some work is acronyms can be used as long as they are defined the 1st time used in a thread as above or similar
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby doktor5000 » Jul 18th, '12, 20:35

Actually in my opinion that are more details which should be in a seperate document, this is more about general rules and behaviour, not technical details which should be inside the post. We have threads like viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2731 for that.
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby Lebarhon » Jul 18th, '12, 23:10

Hello,

From this thread viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2731, other posts and the MLO wiki, I wrote this wiki page about asking help.
May this be useful ?
https://wiki.mageia.org/en/How_to_ask_help
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Re: Guidelines for/before posting problems / proper behaviou

Postby isadora » Jul 19th, '12, 07:23

My compliments, very nice and informative/useful.
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