Ask Your Question

Ask Fedora: Is it working, and what's the future?

asked 2016-10-20 13:37:18 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

Hi everyone. I'd like to take a moment to discuss the status of Ask Fedora, the potential for the future, and where we should go.

As it stands, the English site has over 17,000 questions, with about 77% of those with at least some answer. That's pretty impressive. The Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese sites have 400-some each, and the other languages just a handful. We've got a community of reasonably-active users, although I'd describe it as a dedicated core rather than an army.

However, the Fedora Infrastructure team tells me that they are spending an increasing amount of time keeping the service just running, and don't have any resources for improvement. The upstream project is not dead, but it's just one developer, and there are many, many things that are painful. The notification system is next-to-useless, the moderation system is a copy-cat of Stack Exchange without the backend tools that make that work smoothly, the badges aren't integrated with Fedora's badges, the close-as-duplicate system is awkward, and we have weird things like "closed: this question is answered!" which is the exact opposite of the goal of building a library of knowledge. I'm sure regular users can think of a million things that could be better — but prospects of that improvement happening are slim.

So, I want to have this discussion. As a community, what do we think? Do we want to keep the service going like this, or should we look to migrate to a new solution of some sort? (If that's what we do, there's no shame in that, or any diminishment of the excellent and helpful work everyone has done so far despite the difficulties I mentioned.)

If we do want to do something else, I can think of several possibilities:

  1. Direct everyone to Stack Exchange as our official answer. Stack Exchange is not open source, so that's a big negative, but they are very friendly towards open _content_, and everything there must be CC-BY-SA.
  2. Set up a Discourse forum as a replacement. It's less Q&A focused, but maybe that's okay — if we're already closing questions as answered, that's more like a help forum anyway, so maybe that tool would actually be better. (And Discourse has a solved plugin which we could use.)
  3. Or, skip Discourse and create a regular mailing list and use that for help discussions. (Users could be pointed at the Hyperkitty interface.)
  4. Fedora Docs is working on a new infrastructure for short help documents; we could have a queue for questions and every week focus on new docs around the most interesting ones.
  5. Or, we could combine 4 with 2 or 3 — that is, have a way to flag forum/mailing list discussions to be sent to the Docs team. We'd use the forum or list for immediate help, but use that to build up a genuine FAQ with frequent and interesting questions from real ...
edit retag flag offensive close merge delete

26 Answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted

answered 2018-04-10 22:44:53 -0500

florian gravatar image

The Document Foundation seems to run askbot version 0.9.x (currently 0.9.3). Not sure if this is any better than the release that is powering ask.fpo but maybe it would be worth upgrading to that newer version.

edit flag offensive delete link more

answered 2019-03-27 03:17:55 -0500

eeijlar gravatar image

I think is great. It's a friendlier community than SO. I have had answers to everything I asked.

edit flag offensive delete link more

answered 2017-03-12 12:58:30 -0500

lynob gravatar image

I personally would also like to a stackexchange website or a merge with UNIX.SE. I mean seriously, this is just a clone of SE, only difference is SE is much better software with more features and less bugs (for example i can see the accept button on all the question but only you can accept, voting is not smooth, all posts are moderated, sometimes the question get asked twice like what happened to me today)

Plus on stackexchange you'll get a lot more exposure, hot questions will be featured, expert linux users on that community will help and so on.

edit flag offensive delete link more

answered 2017-01-16 07:54:35 -0500

mrkenhill gravatar image

If you actually decide to do something useful, please include a skill self-rating on the new site.

You guys have NO idea who people are, how they can help you, or how to help them help you. Please figure out how to do that, then proceed with whatever you decide. This can be ready in a week - right?

The experience I've had with this site has made me consider changing distros.

Oh - and have the guts to keep this thread intact (meaning I know you don't have the guts to keep my posts in this thread).

edit flag offensive delete link more



Wow. Try being polite and not insulting the good people who give their time and energy free here, that would be 'actually deciding to do something useful'

David-LDA gravatar imageDavid-LDA ( 2017-01-16 08:12:41 -0500 )edit

This isn't a thread. This is a questions and answers site, and the software engine and site conventions are designed around this. Since this is a meta discussion I'm going to leave your posts, but if you are going to stick around, please do take some basic time to understand the difference between a forum and a Q&A site.

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2017-01-16 09:16:58 -0500 )edit

self-rating? I don't like it, is a open card for spammers... ask a great question, or answer correctly; then the people can give you karma...

davidva gravatar imagedavidva ( 2017-01-16 13:06:57 -0500 )edit

You guys take yourselves WAY too seriously. A thread is whatever I say it is.

I'm pretty sure the gang of people you're afraid of, "spammers", as you call them (don't worry - that really isn't the definition of a spammer - but I get your usage) are people that have been offended by the moderators of this site.

I really don't care if you like my idea about self-rating. However, It is one way successful projects have been created. And - after all - it's just an idea... It seems like this site lacks focus for various reasons - but one glaring reason is that you don't know what skills are here.

mrkenhill gravatar imagemrkenhill ( 2017-01-16 15:45:08 -0500 )edit

What exactly would a "skill self rating" look like? Is it something you could put in your profile (like at

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2017-01-16 15:56:24 -0500 )edit

answered 2017-01-16 07:30:26 -0500

mrkenhill gravatar image

One more thought...

If your job (generally) is to facilitate support of fedora - you are going about it incorrectly. Possibly because of the tools - but more than likely, it's because you give excuses.

None of the jibberish of the past matters - there is only the future. Make it great. It's up to you.

If I stumbled onto a mistake by coming to this site (because it's nearly a dead project) then - please make that clear - put up a banner - then make sure to redirect traffic to an appropriate site.

THIS doensn't work well... I'm pretty sure that most folks who could actually help you have taken their problems elsewhere... Is that what you really want? You really might want to consider that attitude matters - And IF THAT matters, you should probably be busy playing hacky sack (or whatever it is you do on weekends for fun). Because your attitude stinks.

edit flag offensive delete link more



@mrkenhill stop with your rude answers; exist people helping without earn money! Here is an ecosystem of volunteers. People loving the project.

davidva gravatar imagedavidva ( 2017-01-16 13:14:58 -0500 )edit

Woaahhh!!! Easy there, mate. Even if what you say is right, people might not listen to it is impudent .

deadrat gravatar imagedeadrat ( 2017-02-24 22:54:22 -0500 )edit

answered 2017-01-15 19:23:18 -0500

mrkenhill gravatar image

Remember... You asked.

This is probably a really good example of WAY TOO MUCH conveyance of innuendo, bravado, and posturing. This is a Long email - you should probably create a poll... OR - better yet - do some of that data mining stuff...

But if I filter out most of it the main points, I eventually get something I can respond to.

Personally, I really just want to come to a web-site for help (and to help others)... Not snarky comments, misdirected and faulty reward policies, or vocabulary/spelling lessons (oh hey - here's an idea - why not incorporate a spell checker for the subject line?) I personally don't want to waste my time reading critiques and evaluations of my answers.

Let's face it - If I even bother posting to a site like this - it's because I've exhausted other avenues. And - while I'm here - I may as well try to help out all the other silly people that make RedHat money (by using their product).... YES - YOU TOO HAVE SOMETHING TO SELL... And I ain't buyin' from mattdm.

You should probably have the new folks (like me) self-evaluate their skills THEN weigh in with the moderation. Even if the moderation IS weak and mis-directed, that's where it should be applied.

When you find yourself thinking that you are the smartest guy in the room(s)... You should probably consider that there are a great many people who know more than you. Not because they are smarter - but - because they've been through more than you professionally (I have no idea what makes you tick - so - I can't comment on your personal life). And speaking of personal - My Karma is mine (whatever the heck Karma is). Maybe you should just label your reward system as "stuff that really doesn't matter - it just sounds kewl" ).

After all - you are getting my comments, experience, and insight for nothing. You need us - not the other way around. And you as a moderator should understand that... To it's fullest definition.

So mattdm - you gotta ask yourself - do you really think this site makes a difference? Does it create a effective means to an end? The answer is (from where I sit)... Not really.

Yes - other forums have a slightly better format - but I don't think many of them are that great.

You should probably decide that everything that IRC was (or is) - you guys wrecked with a silly web-site.

Scrap the ineffective and get on with the innovation that Fedora claims to create.


edit flag offensive delete link more


I'm not quite sure what you are saying here. A lot of it seems to be directed personally at me. I think that might be in response to the answer I gave where you asked why you weren't getting "karma" and I made some specific suggestions. I thought you might find that helpful, but I see that you didn't. You're right, "karma" isn't important in any meaningful sense (and that's not my favorite name for it!), but it is the tool this site uses to help enable community moderation. If you don't like it, this probably isn't the best site in which to spend your efforts.

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2017-01-15 21:31:18 -0500 )edit

@mrkenhill, stop with your rude answers; exist people helping without earn money! Here is an ecosystem of volunteers. People loving the project. But exist other legacy ways about how to obtain and help; or new projects...

davidva gravatar imagedavidva ( 2017-01-16 13:19:58 -0500 )edit

The comment, @davidva, is not rude - but truth.

I'm a little amused when people confuse the two.

I will say that my various comments seem disjoint - because of the structure this site foists on it's "members".

Hang Loose. --K

mrkenhill gravatar imagemrkenhill ( 2017-01-16 14:59:58 -0500 )edit

@mattdm - Yes - I was a bit "miffed" with your critique of my answers thus far... They were very short sighted comments. And pretty bold considering you don't know me. So - for lack of something else to say about it - I'd suggest we move past it. I just want to contribute... If there's no value in that - I can move on.

mrkenhill gravatar imagemrkenhill ( 2017-01-16 15:59:01 -0500 )edit

@davidva - Thanks for the link to "new projects" I had no idea there was a "United RPMS" project... That sounds cool.

mrkenhill gravatar imagemrkenhill ( 2017-01-16 16:39:13 -0500 )edit

answered 2017-01-16 12:42:15 -0500

mrkenhill gravatar image

mattdm wrote: "take some basic time to understand the difference between a forum and a Q&A site."

OK mattdm... I told you before - I want to go to a site to help and be helped... No one cares that you are hung up on inconsequential items like:

 1. The various differences between a forum and a Q&A site.
 2. "Karma"
 3. "Moderation" in the wrong places
 4. Poor perception of how/what/why people use fedora

You might first try to understand your audience and focus in on the one thing that would make a difference (unless you really don't care). After you have ONE success - maybe you can put a few successes together... But really - you need to be concerned with what matters (here's a hint - it isn't about you)... You might want to take some basic time to understand THAT if you are to be successful with this task.

edit flag offensive delete link more


If you want helping, then you need need learn about the rules/guidelines... I don't like the rules but it make serious project, and there are necessary.

davidva gravatar imagedavidva ( 2017-01-16 13:32:37 -0500 )edit

Ken, I think you have a misplaced perception about the amount of influence I personally have had into the launch, creation, and community built on this site. You've got a lot of strong claims, like, "no one cares", but clearly the people who set all of this up (including writing the guidelines David points you to) did care. There's surely room for adjustment — that's the point of this whole topic, after all — and you clearly have some input to give, but I think it'd be helpful if you would spend a little bit more time understanding what is here before railing against it.

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2017-01-16 15:54:40 -0500 )edit

Indeed. I'll take that advice.

mrkenhill gravatar imagemrkenhill ( 2017-01-16 16:19:31 -0500 )edit

Thanks! :)

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2017-01-16 16:42:37 -0500 )edit

=== block this user ===

florian gravatar imageflorian ( 2017-02-24 23:07:21 -0500 )edit

Question Tools



Asked: 2016-10-20 13:37:18 -0500

Seen: 11,968 times

Last updated: Mar 27 '19