[SOLVED] why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum
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  1. #1
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    why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    There should be a forum where new, novice,and non-tech users can post without intimidation.

    Has anyone ever worked in IT support, whether in-house, or telephone support? The same basic issues recur over and over again (even the brilliant CEO can't access his/her email or read a user manual), and it is non-stop diaper change.

    Nobody wants to do a diaper-change, especially when it is a blatantly obvious issue that has been discussed ad nauseam, but the Fedora community is growing, and there is going to be a non-stop stream of new users, and an easy-going relaxed forum would be a nice starting point to jump in.

    Searching the threads for previous posts and topics is not really that easy or straightforward for the non-technical types. They might not even understand what it is they are looking for or trying to solve.

    Likely there are many technical / admin / management or other barriers from having such a forum. For instance, I imagine it would really mess up the fedoraforum.org thread search engine if you had non-stop threads of basic issues that in many ways were incoherent and all over the map. Then there'd also be the issue of whether or not such a forum could or should even be moderated. Maybe there would be a way to bifurcate it out and keep it isolated from the rest of the threads, so it wouldn't be included in thread searches?

    Nonetheless, there is a a lot to be said for learning in a participatory fashion. The few threads I've managed to participate in have been invaluable learning experiences.

    If a could give the diaper-change award to a member, it would be stoat. Good for those s/he patiently helps, but maybe not so good for stoat.

    jj

  2. #2
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    Quote Originally Posted by jj97403
    There should be a forum where new, novice,and non-tech users can post without intimidation.
    under Community -> Social Groups there is are in fact two Newbie groups.

    the intimidation thing I don't understand or at least I haven't met it in this forum. in fact I am fascinated by the way people in the Linux community and in this forum are willing to help each other, basic or complex, known and unexplored.

    crucial in getting help is to describe what your problem is, when necessary answer more specific subquestions to get the question more clear. that's just the basic way problem solving works anywhere. here, buying groceries, at the doctors. some in fact only ask for your wallet, but that's not really an issue here...

    indeed some level of tech understanding is practical but if you'd come this far you also will have done some googlin' research before. just search the net for your phrase and you'll find plenty of explanation at a very un-tech level.

    Meine
    novice Linux and Fedora user since march 2009, 40 posts and no violence whatsoever encountered.
    Fedora 26 -- i3, LXDE

  3. #3
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    Welcome and yup, just post. Most of the folks on here (98%) are polite and extremely helpful. And, although most on here use Fedora regularly, we don't have a problem with pushing some towards the direction of a different distribution if it will fit better. After all, it's all Linux. You might get razzed if you mention MS one too many times, though.

    If in doubt, read the http://fedoraforum.org/?view=guide first.

  4. #4
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    meine...

    the intimidation thing I don't understand
    woops, poor choice of words. the intimidation is self-imposed. i've experienced no intimidation whatsoever and great support here. i should have wrote some users may be too shy, lack confidence to post, too worried, or something to that effect.

    thanks for pointing out newbie forums. good to know.

  5. #5
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    IMHO, we're all pretty good--when someone posts a real newcomer question, usually, they're pointed in the right direction. You have some people here, (stoat always springs to mind) who seem to have unimlimted patience. You have a few irascible types, but even they will often surprise you with how they'll stick with a newcomer, gradually leading them to figuring out their problem.

    I see your point, but I'd say, in general, these forums are actually pretty newcomer friendly, from the staff on down.

  6. #6
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    Quote Originally Posted by jj97403
    ...but the Fedora community is growing, and there is going to be a non-stop stream of new users, and an easy-going relaxed forum would be a nice starting point to jump in.
    See, this is where it gets tricky, because it's not exactly clear whether or not the Fedora Project itself aims to make a distribution that is made for newbies in the first place (and to be fair there's been mention that the Project is working on better honing and selling their real goal). But, setting that aside, assuming that newbies will come in regardless, and speaking specifically about user communities...
    Quote Originally Posted by jj97403
    Searching the threads for previous posts and topics is not really that easy or straightforward for the non-technical types. They might not even understand what it is they are looking for or trying to solve.
    From my chair that's not a problem specific to this forum (fedoraforum.org). It's not a problem that's specific to any Fedora-related forum. It's not a problem that's even specific to Linux forums in general.

    If it weren't for support contracts people get when they buy their computers, or the family geek, even Windows users would be in the same boat if they had to resort to a forum or mailing list type support venue.

    Quote Originally Posted by jj97403
    If a could give the diaper-change award to a member, it would be stoat. Good for those s/he patiently helps, but maybe not so good for stoat.
    I think that's the problem. Well, stoat's not the problem. The problem is that it's hard to be patient like stoat. And I don't mean to just single out stoat. Same goes for lots of folks around here who patiently walk people through stuff that by now is second nature to anybody who's used to this Linux thing.

    It's a hard task to step absolute neophytes through doing things that, frankly, they do not understand at all -- and to do it in a fashion that won't set the newbie up to screw up his/her machine. I used to be able to kind of have the patience to do it, but I lost it. The problem with giving support on a forum like this is that a lot of troubleshooting issues require the guy with his butt in the seat to know what he's doing, or the result could be destroying the OS or, worse, severe data loss.
    - Tom
    "What is freedom? To have the will to be responsible for one's self." - Stirner

  7. #7
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    Thanks for the feedback. The post really solved the issue, because as meine pointed out there is a newbie forum in social groups that I was unaware of. Again, one thing I should have clarified, is the intimidation thing wasn't the result of bumping up against any irascible member or adverse experience, but rather just a product of shyness and lack of confidence in general.

    The debate will continue within the Fedora Project, whether or not, or to what extent they will try to accommodate the general public, but as it stands currently, it is pretty darn easy for a non-tech neophytes to get up and running. Any non-techie that wades into Linux, or any attempt to fiddle or tweak a hard-drive or operating system, should have at least enough common sense to do it (at least in the beginning) on a practice/hobby computer with no important data they can't lose.

    It is really like anything else, ballroom dancing, tennis, you name it........not so easy for the pros to help along the newbs with infinite patience, but that why it is kind of nice to have 'practice hour.'

    Cheers all, and thanks again. Oh yeah, Stoat's going to heaven, but my goodness gracious will all that altruism last for eternity?

  8. #8
    stevea Guest

    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    Well when you stop to think about it there is a long linear gradation from a noob question to a deep question, and there is no clear dividing line. Certainly the person asking "why doesn't command 'XXXX' work ?" has no idea if the answer will b "use 'sudo XXXX'" or if the answer is to install some kernel patch and rebuild. So I think categorizing questions based on topic area rather than "depth" makes a lot more sense.

    Still you've put your finger on a very real problem. We see very similar questions asked repeatedly and rather than point the OP to the 4 week old thread the same issue is rehashed. I see Stoat (good example) displaying the patience of Job re-explaining the boot-up system and it's config for the 33rd time and walking someone through the details. I find that recently (perhaps since F13) I see a lot of threads that I could resolve, but I have insufficient patience to walk someone through all the details (again). Perhaps most annoying I see a lot of wrong answers, bad directions and foolish solutions proposed by ppl who would be better off listening to advice rather than trying to provide it (good intentions, but a superhighway to software hell).

    So perhaps the solutions is to re-direct repeated question to an existing thread ratherh than re-hashing the issue.

    Also it sure would be nice if where were some more sticky "howto" posts. for noobs to use. To abuse the example, Stoat should and certainly could pull together 3 or 4 basic boot up problem solutions into a sticky howto - then we'd have a nice direction to point ppl (noob or not) when hitting a wall.

    I think we need some good static howtos on ....
    yum
    selinux
    bootup
    wifi
    basic networking
    gnome config
    gdm/kdm/*dm config
    vid driver install
    media tool install
    email config
    ....
    I'm sure there are a dozen others.


    I agree w/ your point, but I think a different approach would be more effective.
    I lot of great detailed answers get buried in the primeval ooze after a week and are never seen again. Sad.
    Last edited by stevea; 10th August 2010 at 03:26 AM.

  9. #9
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    Regarding guides and such, I think one of the big problems is that (as has been pointed out by a number of BSDers on here) telling people to "RTFM" doesn't work for Linux because of the inadequacy of the man pages. It's not fair to say "RTFM" when the manual is a F'ing useless. God, some man pages are atrocious.

    The man pages are often badly written, and even the ones that are arguably well-written are typically written for the programmer, the geek, or the hobbyist.
    Last edited by forkbomb; 10th August 2010 at 04:07 AM.
    - Tom
    "What is freedom? To have the will to be responsible for one's self." - Stirner

  10. #10
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    The trouble with stickies is that even they get buried under other stickies. There should probably (he writes, being completely unwilling to do any of the work) be a special forum section, perhaps limited to 20-30 articles, on some of these things. It can be difficult to search the forum, even when you know what you are looking for--for example, I was trying to find stevea's excellent summation of the difference between the desktop distros and the more technically oriented ones, and gave up after awhile.

    We do have the setup guides links. When I find myself answering a question more than a few times, I've often just put up a page about it, because it's just easier to know the link to my page then to try to find a post of mine, even if I knew it was a sticky in guides and howtos.

    (Stoat did eventually put up a sticky for his Broadcom stuff, but even now, I see him walking people through it.)

    As Tom says, many man pages are not useful to the newcomer. It's hard to, especially when is more experienced, realize that to the neophyte, even something like, open a terminal and cd to where you put it <a file in question> isn't really a self-standing instruction.

    As for steavea's comment about pointing the person to a thread that is even no older than a month or so, it's often less work to rehash it. First you have to remember the thread, figure out where it might be---is a postfix or ldap question under network or servers, for example--then try to find it. (Another reason I wound up just putting up short pages on some of these things.)

    To once again cite stevea, his last sentence is quite true. I don't have a solution. Even sticky-ing them isn't really a solution as they'll get buried sooner or later.

    Funny though, that of two of the people saying they don't have patience (forkbomb and stevea), while they're both more irascible than some, I've seen both of them stick with a beginner till the bitter end too, showing far more patience than I could.

  11. #11
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    So perhaps the solutions is to re-direct repeated question to an existing thread ratherh than re-hashing the issue.
    Yes, I do think that is the best solution, (if there is not going to be a obvious place for novices to hash out amongst themselves, and the pros have infinite patience to direct to such posts).

  12. #12
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    Hmmm. Sounds like you're talking about some very basic how-to's ... with small words and lots of pictures.

  13. #13
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    Re: why no newbie / novice / non-tech forum

    Quote Originally Posted by jj97403
    thanks for pointing out newbie forums. good to know.
    I don't know how active they are. if you're a swift learner you'll get more from the regular treads...

    BTW I understand your explanation about 'intimidating' reactions. indeed some explanations are good in a technical point of view but not really self explanatory for a noob.

    ---------- Post added at 11:49 PM CDT ---------- Previous post was at 11:36 PM CDT ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan
    Hmmm. Sounds like you're talking about some very basic how-to's ... with small words and lots of pictures.
    man-pages for dummies...

    in fact a good idea and on a lot of themes not even distro-specific. should serve the ambition to make Linux in general more human acceptable. on the application side I recently encountered a site pointing out alike software on Linux, MS and Mac. that way newcomers can find their way with known vocabulary.
    Fedora 26 -- i3, LXDE

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