I know only one single benefit for using ordinary forums:
Users are familiar with such software.
Benefits for QA:
Selecting correct/most useful answer
Vote system (feature requests, voting for questions themselves, voting for different answers that you find useful, so when someone comes searching for information later, he will find it faster)
You can order posts by time or by score.
Misc stuff: If we go with OSQA, we could add option when creating new “questions” for author to define ordering scheme, or we could make it dependant on tag, like if there is tag “discussion” default ordering will be by time.
You can post work, example code, and get feedback on it too, just use order by date/time.
Also, i will just pop some tags out of the hat.
Collada, Bullet, Shader, Collision, SceneGraph, Camera, FeatureIdea( or FeatureRequest,to get feedback on how feature should work, and how many users are interested on it), HardwareInstancing, DirectGui, CEGui,…
This is actually bump, text above is copy pasted from previous post in this place
voted no. the forum is fine the way it is. questions get answered pretty fast, and i cant imagine that a QA side would do a better job. besides we already have the forum, the manual, the irc channel,… adding even more is… pretty much. and shutting down the forum or migrating it seems pretty useless to me. i might be a bit oldschool but i like forum and irc stuff.
Voted yes. Up/down-voting would get rid of certain users (we all know who I’m talking about) useless rants. A QA system is also easier to search than a forum (especially this forum, since you can’t see that text that matches your search, and Google Search keeps thinking I’m some bot), and you instantly get to see the correct answer, instead of having to search through a potentially large forum thread.
A forum is better for general discussion of Panda, like the Showcase and General Discussion sections. But for everything else, I’d prefer a QA system.
dont want to sound rude, but is there any reason beside being used to forums to be against moving to QA?
Repeat once again, answers on QA can be displayed by time posted, so that is equal to forums imho.
And in first post i added note that we can add option when creating new topc/question to define default post order on that topic.
I think a forum for Panda3d is better because its not only a place to ask and answer questions, we have sections for code snippets, showcase and features in development. I think a QA site would be only good for that - questions and answers.
And I don’t think a QA site can be used to build a community, which is very important for an open source project like this.
Forum is the next best place to get info after the manual and api docs, as far as I know there won’t be a way to transfer all the existing topics from the forum to the QA site. Of course this is not a disadvantage of a QA site, its a disadvantage of moving to one now, but it doesn’t make it less of an issue for us.
In my experience the two really good things about QA sites are tags and voting systems.
I think tags are a faster way to search if a similar question has been answered before posting your own than what the forum search provides. I remember that some forums Ive used did allow tags for topics, though.
And voting system helps you find the best answer to your question easily. I think for most questions this isn’t a problem as you don’t get so many answers and you are likely to read them all for any additional info.
So I think migrating to a QA site is just not worth it and it can’t replace the forum completely.
Just my opinion, Ive used both and both work for me.
Hm, personally I have never had any problems finding stuff on the forums. And if I did, it was usually my fault for not knowing the terminology or whatnot. A google search almost always does the trick.
Also, note that a QA isn’t a magic bullet either. So if the forum works – and for the majority it does, as you can see – I can’t think of a reason to move away from it. It would only introduce chaos.
Besides, referring directly to the examples you’ve mentioned, Chicken is quite well documented in itself, not to mention slowly becoming deprecated (we have yabee for 2.5, which might not be perfect, but it’s shaping up nicely, and Collada under way). Bullet, on the other hand, is a new thing that’s not yet in the API reference or in the Manual. Once it lands there, the need to search for information about it on the forum will become far less common.
It was I who suggested OSQA in the first place so I maybe I should add some thoughts.
I stumbled over OSQA when I was looking for forums on forums.atlassian.com/index.jspa read-only as a kind of archive and simply stated “new discussions take place on OSQA”. Their FAQ states
So basically they were in a similar situation as we are now, maybe that’s worth a consideration.
My personal thought is that forums are a proven tool for exchanging thoughts, but over the years my dislike for forums has grown more and more due to a simple fact: as forums have become ubiquitous people consider it now as general purpose communication means, and not as the tool it once was conceived as. Forums are not suited for announcements (that’s what a homepage is for), not as replacement for emails (IM anyone?), nor as a tool for pasting code (isn’t that what pastebin is for?) or a tool to work collaboratively on text (wiki/etherpad). I’m also generally having troubles with forum search and categories and ever so often a moderator isn’t around when needed.
That said, there’s one big difference: OSQA is not a forum. It’s not there to post happy birthday wishes, discuss politics or religion, for posting announcements, to work collaboratively on code and text or to display a gallery of pics and do complex polls - that’s what people use forums generally for.
I certainly understand the advantages of a QA system such as StackOverflow, or OSQA (I believe the idea of migrating to such a system has been proposed before). I also understand the concerns, though. If one thing is certain, then it’s that a QA system won’t be a 1:1 replacement for the forums, and as such we should not attempt to convert the forum posts into questions in the system.
One important difference between a QA system and a forums system is that the former is more oriented toward efficient and straightforward answering of questions, while the latter seems to me more of a community discussion area where different community people can have long threads of discussion together. I don’t really want to lose the friendly and semi-informal nature of the forums.
It could certainly be much more useful to people seeking help, and it would eliminate some of the issues we currently have (such as an increased amount of troll posts and spambots).
If we start using a QA system, then maybe the best way is to have it alongside the forums, and encourage people to migrate away from the forums toward the new system. I’m just worried that it might be confusing to have two separate systems for asking questions, or that either system might get neglected by the community.
I’m not sure what’s the best way to go at this point.
I would definitely not attempt to convert threads to questions/answers but leave the forum open. Maybe have a period with both open so people can get used to it, after 3-6 months lock the forums to read-only as kind of archive.
According to my experience people rarely drop one media they got used to completely, so they will find a new use for the forums if there’s no additional alternative that covers these other purposes.
I don’t agree with this. It’s easier to discuss a feature in development in a topic then tiny posts in a homepage. Same for code snippets.
Like rdb said, a QA site can’t replace the forum completely. You’re basically suggesting to remove something and add multiple other things to be able to replace it. I like it like this, when these are all in one place.
In my opinion the advantages of QA sites in the first post are not so big. I think you can have tagging and voting in a forum.
Answers have some advantages, like “find the right answers fast”, but I think that an objective of Panda should be to build a community, and forums (which enforce discussions) are better than answers from this point of view (imho).
Maybe the “core” members don’t want to lose this “community” status, while “casual” members might prefer a fast system (anyway, “casual” users should not be neglected, since they might become “core” in the future).
To be honest I think that the “community” weight is more relevant at the moment: the answers service on Launchpad was almost empty, so I think many people were more happy to ask in the forums than there.