[Solved] Sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

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Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Yes
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No
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Total votes : 28

[Solved] Sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:11 pm

Well, more and more tutorials are popping up in the forums (see especially the Writer section).

The problem is that making stickies of them takes more and more place and the regular threads will be pushed downwards and may reach the 2nd page one day.

So what about creating a Tutorial subforum for each application ? only tutorials would be posted. The only problem is that they'll become less visible. But the main forum will gain in readability.

NB: just for fun, I've allowed user to change their vote for this poll.
Last edited by Hagar Delest on Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: tagged [Solved].
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby acknak » Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:03 pm

Less visible, but easier to browse and search for. I think that will be more important in the long run.

I suspect that stickies become less effective (less noticed) once there are more than just a few.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:13 pm

I think that five stickies is about the maximum sensible limit. Any more than that and they just get ignored. There are already seven tutorial threads in the Writer forum. I suspect that we could use quite a few more yet.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Villeroy » Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:20 pm

If this is not too much efford for the admins, I would prefer one thread per (sub-)forum for all tutorials related to the topic. The initial posting of such a thread keeps a table of contents as a list of links to the subsequent postings in the same thread. A new tutorial appended to the thread gets a new entry appended to the table of contents in the first posting of the thread.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby JohnV » Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:19 pm

Couldn't a single sticky in each main forum contain a link(s) to the tutorials for that forum and its sub forums.

Or a sub forum of each main forum could hold its tutorials.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:50 pm

I'm not convinced by a single post containing all the tutorials but JohnV's idea is quite good :
- have a subforum (one for each application) with all the tutorials
and
- have a single thread in the application main forum that lists all the tutorials in the subforum.

Tutorials would have a (kind of) TOC more visible in the main section of each application and it's less work to maintain : if the TOC thread is unlock, anybody posting a tutorial could post the link with a small description.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby JohnV » Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:02 pm

I didn't state my first thought very well. Let me try again.

A single sticky (locked?)in each main application forum could provide a single link to the Tutorial forum for that application.

Another thought. I think it is probably possible to even otherwise hide the tutorial forums so the main index does not become cluttered. Probably a bad idea because we know a lot a lot of folks don't read stickies before asking a question. Making application tutorial sub-forums as obvious as possible may be the way to go.

Another thought 2. I think proposed tutorials should first be posted in the main application forum for review by others. I commented on one the other day by PM to the author - got a "thanks, fixed" type reply.

Another thought 3. If all tutorials start with "[Tutorial" then a search for that would provide a listing of all and could be limited to a particular tutorial forum. I use "[Tutorial" to take care of the recent posts of [Tutorial Video]. Possible thought for the content of the above sticky or an announcement in the tutorial forums.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:43 pm

JohnV wrote:A single sticky (locked?)in each main application forum could provide a single link to the Tutorial forum for that application.

Well, first I couldn't see the point. But that's true that users could miss the sub-forums section top of page (eye being caught by the thread index). So I'll give that a try.

JohnV wrote:Another thought. I think it is probably possible to even otherwise hide the tutorial forums so the main index does not become cluttered. Probably a bad idea because we know a lot a lot of folks don't read stickies before asking a question. Making application tutorial sub-forums as obvious as possible may be the way to go.
+1.
Tutorials should be grouped by application (hence sub-forums) and location should be easy to find.

JohnV wrote:Another thought 2. I think proposed tutorials should first be posted in the main application forum for review by others. I commented on one the other day by PM to the author - got a "thanks, fixed" type reply.
+1.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby foxcole » Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:19 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I think that five stickies is about the maximum sensible limit. Any more than that and they just get ignored.

Not only that, but the stickies are always at the top of the forum, and too many stickies forces users to scroll down every time they enter the forum. My guess is that most people who come in to the forum aren't looking for sticky-thread tutorials, they're looking for topics. I'd support the idea of a single sticky that points to a separate sub-forum of tutorials---and documentation or links to documentation---for each application.

We were at one point discussing, weren't we, also doing something similar for FAQs? Not every FA'd question needs a tutorial... many of them just need to provide an answer. I know at least one or two admins have been looking at ways to mine data for FAQ purposes. I was just wondering if the idea is to implement them this way.

So---two stickies at the top of each thread? (Man... I first typed that as "stinkies"... I really didn't mean it! :D )

Of course, we do want these to be as visible as possible, as a means to encourage people to search there first. Is it possible to change the appearance of sticky-thread links to make them bigger and bold? (I'd have suggested using a different color for the link text and background, but colors signal different things to different cultures, so color might be difficult to use effectively.) Maybe use a different icon, something that's not a circle so it stands out from the rest of the topics... some kind of international symbol, instead of the current circle icon with the italic "i"...?

---
P.S. By the way, where would you want to look for a tutorial on master documents? In the Writer forum, or in the Advanced forum, or both?
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:42 pm

Well, I've made some changes in the Writer section.

Any comments ?

NB: moderators, feel free to modify the posts I've made if necessary !
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby foxcole » Fri Dec 28, 2007 3:39 am

Hagar de l'Est wrote:Well, I've made some changes in the Writer section.

Any comments ?

Yes---I like it very much! It works for me.

But then again, I know about tutorials and know where to expect them in the forum. Trying to look at it from a newcomer's eyes, I think perhaps the "Where are they??" subject should change to "Where can I find Writer tutorials?" if that makes sense.

Also, could one of the threads in the tutorial sub forum be used to collect links to existing tutorials? James has some useful information on 8daysaweek, I think, and I know that Bhikkhu and others have a quantity of helpful information already developed, and there are the tutorials on OpenOffice.org support pages. I'm sure people have come across other good resources as well.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby kingfisher » Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:06 am

I think a sub-forum for tutorials is the best solution, where justified by the number of tutorials, as has been done with Writer. There is no need to maintain a Table of Contents because that happens automatically. You could have one sticky on the main board drawing attention to resources such as the Tutorials sub-forum.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:33 am

foxcole wrote:I think perhaps the "Where are they??" subject should change to "Where can I find Writer tutorials?" if that makes sense.

The sticky thread is not a tutorial, so it shouldn't have the [Tutorial] tag.

I would suggest something more like this:

Getting Started with Writer: Tutorials
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby foxcole » Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:49 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I would suggest something more like this:

Getting Started with Writer: Tutorials

Yes, that's a much better suggestion.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:04 pm

I've modified the thread title in the main Writer forum.

I've added a sticky in the Tutorial sub-forum. Don't know if the best solution is to keep all the links in a single thread or to have a post for each link. The drawback I see with the latter is that OUCV tutorials could get less attention if many links are posted.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Georgia Boy » Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:44 pm

I checked out what you did with the Writer forum Tutorials and was greatly impressed. I like the idea of having them located like that. Makes it easier to find. This way I know that they are located in one spot and don't have to search the entire forum looking for any. Any plans to do the same with the other forums? Would be nice if each forum was setup with tutorials being in one section.
Thank you for having done that with Writer. This was a great job. :D
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:47 pm

Georgia Boy wrote:Any plans to do the same with the other forums? Would be nice if each forum was setup with tutorials being in one section.

Yes of course. I'm just waiting a while so we can converge on an agreed structure. As soon as there is no further comments, the same will be applied for the other applications.

Thanks for your feedback !
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby hol.sten » Sat Dec 29, 2007 1:59 am

I read through several of the OOo Writer "Tutorials". Is "Tutorial" really an appropriate name? I would call most of them "Howto".

Hagar de l'Est wrote:the same will be applied for the other applications.

Wouldn't it be nice to have "Tutorials" for the "Customizing and Extending" section, too? Although that will make the Code Snippet forum unnecessary.

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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby DrewJensen » Sat Dec 29, 2007 3:33 am

Hi,

Been reading along and looking at other ways we might attack this whole subject. Tutorials, How To or Tips - call them what you will they all need some simple way to

1) Generate them
2) Find them

There is also this - the forum does not exist in a vacuum. There is the wiki pages ( already referenced on the area Hagar created ) , there are tutorials at 'toutorialsforopenoffice.org' and others. This means some way to integrate a search mechanism across both our domain and others.

Then another idea - it would be nice to have a way for the readers to rate both topics and tutorials ( advanced articles lets call them ).

Anyway - what I am getting at is that there is more that should be done, IMO, then simply creating sub-forums. Even if doing so is part of the actions taken. What I would like to see happen is for us to expand this discussion to look at an overall set of requirements and then to plan out a set of features to meet them.

To that end Terry has started a file with some ideas of modifications for the board ( partly the list that I mentioned in another topic last week ) and I will be adding to this - as soon as this is done ( a day or two I suspect ) we will put it up as a wiki page and then we can use the forum to discuss the ideas ( add, remove, address things like tutorials ) and the update wiki page as a simple project plan.

In the meantime maybe think about the things I mentioned about tutorials, ratings and how we help users find the information after the tutorials are created.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby TerryE » Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:24 am

The wonderful thing about joint ownership of our own forum, and this is different to OOoForum, is that we have a tractable medium here: we can easily change it to do what we want. At the moment the only constraint on this dynamic is the amount of time that the Admins and Moderators have available. We are also intrinsically open in our approach. Drew and I both have working test copies of forum locally installed. Mine is on an Ubuntu VM on my home PC (which happens to run XP). Giving volunteer developers their own VM sandpit copy of the forum is straight forward (though we would need to work out ground rules for removing personal data such as mail id's and password hashes).

I see that we largely have two communities who use the forums
  • End users who want to be able to find information to solve their problems. Here we need to make it easy for them to find existing knowledge which meets their needs. so that asking Qs become the exception rather than the rule.
  • Volunteers who answer Qs. Here we need to make their life as easy as possible do this.
I think that we would mostly agree that the volunteers will be far more productive in helping the end users if we can provide easy to use structured knowledge and the tutorial is one such vehicle here. In general actually doing what we need to do will be quite straight forward, the first step is to decide what we want to do.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:46 am

TerryE wrote:the first step is to decide what we want to do.

Yes, that's the point in the end.

I saw the tutorials here as simple and quick pieces of information for the visitors of this forum. But if we take the whole tutorial/howto topic, I guess that the most productive way for everybody would be to make them directly on the OOo wiki documentation (and link them here perhaps so that users have a direct access to them).

But right now, after some tries with the wiki pages, I don't feel ready to do that yet (I find the capabilities of this forum better than the the wiki).
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby TerryE » Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:34 pm

If we ended up replicating information once, wiki and Forum, then that would still be a major step forward over having to dump it from our heads on a one per Q basis. The issue is often how to access it. Personally one of the major advances in search technology over the last few years is just how good it is. If you put a sensible search phrase into google then what I still find staggering is that you will often find a reference to a source which answers your question in the first few links, so that you can do research now in few clicks that would have involved a day trip to the nearest major city library a decade ago. Take an example "transport container history" and bang! You're there with a list of relevant articles. The point is that google learns from previous search paths so that by default you take advantage of the search trails laid before you.

However when you try this with something like "OpenOffice XP installation problems" then the quality of advice collapses. Maybe its because a lot more people in this world are interested in the history of containerisation than installing OOo (or more optimistically have problems doing so and need to ask Qs about doing so) :-P The nub of our challenge is the broad world of OOo how we create efficient pathways from those that have the knowledge and are willing to share it to those users who need it. Since those users aren't going to pay $0 rather than $100-500 per shot to buy this product, there isn't the funding vehicle to employ rooms full of researchers and tech authors to produce this. We must use the sort of collaborative semi-anarchic models such as this forum and the wiki. We just need to optimise them and their access paths. So my wish list here would include things like:
  • An integrate search engine which would allow integrated search across the forum and wiki and other relevent OOo sources such as OOoForum. Both the forum and the wiki have their own engines but there is an argument for supporting a google search capability through the google API since this will generate the search volumes to allow google to optimise its search paths.
  • An integrated presentation engine to allow users to dip into such hits without loosing their forum context.
  • A default search option presented to [non-expert] posters.
  • Tools to make life easier for knowledge publishers:
    • Smart tags to simplify cross referencing forum and wiki content: [topic=N], [post=n], [wiki=subject] which automatically generate the [url=xxx]title[/url] stuff.
    • A smart past link (see google javascript paste ("rich text" OR richtext) clipboard) to allow you to copy a URL link and paste it directly into your bbcode.
    • A simple OTT for tutorials so that if you make your tutorials in Writer using this we have a simple mechanism for making the tutorial available in downloadable formats (ODT, PDF) and online in this forum or the OOo wiki
    • Second Preview and Submit buttons above the Post text window.
    • A Firefox extension to support posting — key board short cuts such as Ctl-i,Ctl-v, Ctl-Enter, etc.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Georgia Boy » Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:57 am

I like the idea of finding them here in the forum. I have used tutorials for different things in the OpenOffice.org. But finding what I want can be a pain when doing a search. But if you dedicate a Wiki for them with a link to the tutorials as Hagar suggested then that would be better than doing a search through Google or Ask or any other search engine. When you have so many come back it can be a pain to get to the one you want when there are so many that are close. I agree that there can be an overload on the people dedicated to answering questions. I see that when going into the forums and researching on my own. I am overwhelmed myself by the vast number of questions that are shot out at you. I can only imagine what you are going through when opening up the forums and seeing the questions to answer. I see that there will be a lot of thought put into the project from just reading the conversations going back and forth here not counting the private messages that are going back and forth. I myself look forward to the outcome be it with the tutorials in the forum or in a Wiki with links listed here or however it is decided to be done. But whatever you do decide will have to be better than doing a search engine browse.
Thanks in advance for the effort that will be going on during this project. Know it will be a real headache to be accomplished.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby TerryE » Sun Dec 30, 2007 4:52 am

Tom,
If we did use google, for example, then we would use the google API so you would asked the Q through the forum and be presented the results through the forum. And one other thing that we were thinking about is a 1-5 star rating that users can score any any topics that they use, and as the scores build up users could use these to rank the value of posts.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Georgia Boy » Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:35 am

My mistake :oops: My eyes were tired yesterday when reading. Sorry. That would be great with the google API then. I also like the idea of the rating. As I mentioned before, there will be a lot of work going on to get this out. Especially behind the scenes. Good luck to all involved. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
I thank you in advance,
Again I wish everyone out there a very Happy New Year!
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:35 pm

Well, just another idea about tutorials because there are some that couldn't be put in any existing area for the moment. So why not create Tutorial subforum in the Beginners area, then one subforum for each application plus a Miscellaneous one (whatever the name is) for the tutorials that apply to the whole suite (docking palettes, default template, ...).

It would have a similar structure as in the French forum, where there is a dedicated area of the site only for tutorials. Once the users have seen that Tutorial section, I think it will be easier for them to remember the place where they can find them easily (only one place to search).

Note that for an even better visibility, we can add a link (like for the user guides) in each application forum pointing to the related tutorial subforum.

 Edit: Moved the thread in the Site Feedback forum BTW (was in General Discussion). 
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Georgia Boy » Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:17 am

I like that idea. A lot of people will head to the Beginners area to see what's there that will benefit them. Seems like a natural place to put the tutorials. I really like the idea of one area only for the tutorials. No searching around everything will be in one spot. Can be a congested area as things are always cropping up but still will be the best thing for it. I personally hate jumping around all the time looking for answers. If I know that I can go to one spot and check out the tutorials before asking questions it would be a great relief. Must be others that feel the same way.
That would be a big help.
Thanks
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby kingfisher » Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:00 am

Not all tutorials are for beginners. These seem to be the options:

# Tutorials go into the Beginners' Section
# There's a Tutorials sub-forum in each application forum (where warranted by the number of tutorials)
# They go into the Community section
# They have their own section

I favour the second option because that way they come to the notice of everyone looking for help with a particular application. Many do not expect to find tutorials on a forum. Traditionally, they tend to be placed on the relevant board as a sticky. Putting them in a separate sub-forum is a logical progression.

If there are subjects which are not confined to a particular application, they could go into Setup and Troubleshooting. There seems to be no board devoted to questions involving more than one application.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby DrewJensen » Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:05 am

There is another option - look at forum-openoffice.org and the way they handled tutorials. I would not make a clone of their approach but it is perhaps something to build off of.

We have a non-existent home page area that could be used for a tutorial section - maybe we use forums maybe custom pages. But it doesn't all have to come off of the single index page for the forum.
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Re: Do you want sub-forums dedicated to [only] tutorials ?

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Feb 16, 2008 3:59 pm

I had some time to play with the tutorials again. I've created a new forum in the Getting started one, with sub-forums (for the moment Writer and Calc, why not a Configuration one?).

I think that the place where tutorials are should be visible as soon as you arrive on the forum. If the user has to go in a subsection, it's too late, he'll post his question in the application forum, he won't notice the tutorial sub-forum of each module.

Any comments?
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