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Thread: Beginner's Forum?

  1. #1
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    Default Beginner's Forum?

    Do you think there would be value in adding a general Beginner's Forum at the top of the Help forums?

    The forum would be for any newb questions, regardless of the type of problem.

    I think it would help to grow the user base, allowing beginners somewhere to hang out and view common issues before moving on to more specialised forums when they are a bit more experienced.

    Additionally, it would be a valuable resource for the development community as it will highlight the most common "problems" for beginners which could lead to improvements in either documentation, or changes in design.

    Just a thought.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Beginner's Forum?

    Hey Her Ghost:

    > Do you think there would be value in adding a general Beginner's Forum
    > at the top of the Help forums?


    We discussed the possiblity when setting up these forums and decided
    against it. Why? Becuse every forum is a beginner's forum and every
    forum is an experts forum and the idea is to be able to get the two
    together so people can help people, not to keep them separate.

    Also, in a beginner's forum all subjects mix together making it
    difficult to focus on a single issue like hardware or wireless, etc.

    Thanks for the idea though.

    --
    Kim (12/2/2008 9:05:05 AM Mountain)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Beginner's Forum?

    Ok - that's actually a nice way of looking at it

    Thanks for replying.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Beginner's Forum?

    Hi,

    first of all I want to congrat you for your forums. One of the best I've ever seen and being nearly 20 years in IT business (mainly administration and training) I've seen a lot. Very well done. I got a very good support here myself and for a friend searching the forum. Thanks a lot.

    Why I jump in? I just had the same idea and I'd like to explain it why I don't agree with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgroneman View Post
    Why? Becuse every forum is a beginner's forum and every
    forum is an experts forum and the idea is to be able to get the two together so people can help people, not to keep them separate.
    That's a nice thing and in this point I agree totally with you. Your conclusion is wrong. Every forum is a beginner's forum on its own level. For example ppl who enter the scripting forum may be beginners in shell scripting but they won't enter such a forum without knowing anything about the console. Without having any idea how the console works one can't even imagine what a script would be able to do. Let it say me like this: You also won't build a group of pupils from first grade children and teens who prepare for college.

    In the last time I convinced a lot of ppl to use linux instead of windows. I did so in my job as IT trainer and also in my private circles. Ppl are tired to use a system that is so vulnerable like Bill's is. They listen to me and see that I have no problem with viruses, trojan horses, blue screens etc. And they see that the system is not complicated to use.

    Such ppl are different to the users who passed to linux some years ago. The former typical user of linux is a person who is interested in computer techniques. She or he wanted to know how things are working and understand what's going on. The new users are not interested in that at all. Their interest is to use a word processor, a grafic manipulation programm, browsing the www or writing emails.

    Those ppl have questions which are not covered by the topics of the exisiting forums. Where to should I send them to ask questions like "How do I find a file?" or "Where is my disk C?" Even though they may ask such questions in the existing forums they won't ask them there. They enter the forum, read something and think they are wrong cause they don't understand even one word. They are scared, leave the forum and call me.

    The effect is that you reach the contrary what you wanted to reach. You want to bring ppl together but you keep them seperated from the community. With a beginner forum you will tear the wall down which keep such newbies who are not using linux cause it is cool and eccentric but cause it is the better system to work with away from the communities.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgroneman View Post
    Also, in a beginner's forum all subjects mix together making it
    difficult to focus on a single issue like hardware or wireless, etc.
    That's also true. So don't call it "Beginners". I would like to have two new forums:

    1. Basic techniques
    This should be a forum for questions about how to use the console, start programs, why programs start twice when you double click the icon etc.

    2. Application handling (perhaps as sub forum of applications)
    A forum for questions like "In word I did this and that. How do I do it in OO?"

    Doing so you will have another positive effect you'd like to have. Not only the community of ppl who ask will grow. Also the community of ppl who answer. You give ppl a chance to learn how to support others which do not have the technique background like us who are using linux now for many years. A beginner forum is not only for users who begin but also for helpers who want to start to share their knowledge.

    I hope that was not to long.

    Greetings

    Erik

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    Default Re: Beginner's Forum?

    It's impossible to separate questions into beginner questions and expert questions. I have seen simple questions which touch on quite profound aspects of the Linux architecture and "hard" questions which only required a one-line answer, but from someone who had the exact answer.

    So keep things they way they are. It's good to have a mix, makes things more interesting.

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    Default Re: Beginner's Forum?

    On 12/27/2008 erikro wrote:
    > You also won't build a group of pupils from first grade children and
    > teens who prepare for college.


    But that's what schools do here for the afternoon hours. Older pupils help the young ones with their homework. Works fine.

    Uwe

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Beginner's Forum?

    Erikro has a very well thought out argument and I have read the discussions about providing a separate beginners section. I think no one help Forum can do everything perfectly or suit everyones tastes. It is all a bit about compromising and going with the flow.

    I think the Official openSUSE Forum is getting to much in the habit of saying No. I note the Captcha thread in this regard and the ever ending login situation. And I must admit, on the part of a Forum, there should be a willingness to experiment with things that members think might be good.

    On my SUSE Forum I have a Category that is Titled "I am Lost" to try to reach those that are intimidated by a more formal help section. It has not got much traffic, though if it does, I know that there are many folks that would happily provide the more mundane answers.

    I will not post the Link to my site (I hate too much self promotion , though rather hard to avoid always) but if you want to have it, leave a PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Beginner's Forum?

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_yap View Post
    It's impossible to separate questions into beginner questions and expert questions. I have seen simple questions which touch on quite profound aspects of the Linux architecture and "hard" questions which only required a one-line answer, but from someone who had the exact answer.
    That's right as long as we are talking about technical questions. In that point I'm totally on your side. My point is that those are not the typical beginner questions. Let me explain what ppl I'm thinking about:

    A friend of mine bought a new notebook with Vista. He asked me why that system is so slow and if i could make it faster (for economical reasons I also support windows machines). Whenever one asks me that I ask them what they want to do with the machine. Typical user: Word, Outlook, Internet Explorer. Argh! Ok, you want to have a fast and stable system that keeps fast and stable forever? So why not using Linux?

    I convinced him and his wife and installed Open Suse 11.1 with KDE 3.5, Open Office, Seamonkey (I don't like Firefox), kmail and some other stuff. After two days (when will notebook vendors ever learn?) they became very happy when I showed them how fast the machine now is. I explained them a bit what is where and how to use it and told them not to be scared but to use the new system if it was windows.[1] Then I left them alone and now they are working with it. For sure they can ask me but for ppl like that I would like to have an anchor in this forum.

    An example of a real beginner question: My friends don't even know how to install additional software from their Suse-DVD. I burnt one for them and let it in their house and they will keep it but they don't know how to use it. So the real beginner question is: "How do I install a program?"

    For sure the beginner now could go to Install/Boot/Login but do you really think they would do so? Read the headlines of the actual threads and strike all computer specific language which has to do with hardware, boot process or network technology and than count the headlines you would understand. I counted two. One about that Windows XP doesn't boot and one about having trouble to log into the forum. The rest scares such ppl away. Believe it or not: Those ppl read the FAQs and the policies before entering a forum. All policies I know contain that one should not write off topic. Also many FAQs and even some policies contain that one should read a bit in the forum before posting to be sure not to be ot.

    Now imagine this. You don't understand anything about computer technology. You are a simple user. You have the simple question how to install and now you read this: "Installing Suse 11.1 (32bit or 64 bit).Have MBR installed on sda1 when I install Suse 11.1 on sda 7 and have it write Bootloader to Root sda7.It will write to sda 7 , but will nuts up my MBR on sda 1.I have to redo my MBR.Did I do something wrong or is this a Bug ?" You now have the impression you are on topic? For sure not.

    Now imagine there was a forum "basic techniques" with the subline "Here you can ask questions about basics like using the console, finding and installing additional software, launching programs, file managment ..." You would enter and ask you question, or not?

    I agree with you the world would have been much nicer if he went to the install forum and we mix the newbie up with the experts from the first moment on. As a teacher that explains for nearly 20 years such users how to use their network or how to use application software I tell you that this is not the reality of them. They are just scared. I guess 90% of todays computer users are like this.

    I'm sure we all agree that we want those 90% too. So we have to open Linux up to them. There is now difference in usability for normal users inbetween Linux and other systems any longer. I would even say also for the normal office user the usability today is higher than under Windows. So those ppl can pass to Linux and many want to cause they are tired from windows. But also many don't cause they feel lost. Don't let them feel lost and they will pass. Give them a platform where they are sure that they can even ask "I'm new with this. What is a computer?" or "How do I enter text in my word processor?" and noone laughs.

    [1] BTW: Is there a windows theme for KDE 3.5? I loved the win95 window maker even though it never worked well. I could show ppl that Linux is not that different to windows but even under Linux win95 was a bad choice.

    Greetings

    Erik

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Beginner's Forum?

    Maybe that would be a different website. Why not send them to LinuxQuestions.org Why try to duplicate that? I don't know if you could get enough interest here to support the sort of generalist forum you have in mind, but then I'm only speaking for myself.

  10. #10
    Doug Driver NNTP User

    Default Re: Beginner's Forum?

    > I think the Official openSUSE Forum is getting to much in the habit of
    > saying No.


    It has been that way from day one. If 'they' didn't approve something
    in the mash-three-forums-into-one design phase, 'they' don't want to
    consider changing it now.

    Want to STAY signed in? Too bad.
    Want to not have to squint at Captcha? Too bad.
    Want to have a one click to "my posts"? Too bad.
    Want to edit posts after five minutes? Too bad.
    Want KDE and GNOME specific questions in different forums? Too bad.
    Want to have any other-than-English forum? Too bad.
    Want to have one more specific forum (like beginner)? Too bad.
    On and on and on . . .

    Get used to it, it is not likely to change.

    [And, if you ever write anything like that you are unwelcome to be
    here, which is why I am not.]

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