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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 ...
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26 Answers

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answered 2019-03-27 03:18:03 -0500

eeijlar gravatar image

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

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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.

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answered 2019-03-27 03:17:30 -0500

eeijlar gravatar image

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

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answered 2019-01-15 19:47:18 -0500

Robin gravatar image

I'm wary of the special treatment stackexchange.comhas given Canonical:

Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky put their fingers on the scale in favor of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu community gets the advantage of the specially anointed askubuntu.comsite while gaining the network effects of the network.

Users of other linux distros are left to navigate the,, and sites that are not even specific to the linux platform. Clearly the linux community was large enough to have warranted a site. The use of tagging could have been used to label distro-specific questions (includiing Ubuntu!).

That said, I do feel we must make the best of a bad situation: We must take advantage of the familiarity and social network effects offered by the network.


  1. Promote use of the fedora tag at, and
  2. Embed some kind of gadget to the website that displays the feed of newest questions tagged fedora:
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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.

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answered 2018-04-08 06:22:36 -0500

lsatenstein gravatar image

The has at times 2000 users on concurrently. They have three or four volunteer admins. However, it is a unilingual English site. And that to me is leaving out a large Fedora user group that are non-English.

Today (April 8, 2018) The site is down. Probably for maintenance or system upgrades.

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And, it's been back up for a while.

K7AAY gravatar imageK7AAY ( 2019-01-16 13:15:14 -0500 )edit

answered 2018-02-02 06:25:58 -0500

mikkol gravatar image

I cannot vouch for Stack Exchange. Asking a question there is pointless unless you already mostly know the answer. Whether it be dealing with human languages, programming, or computers in general, the common approach at Stack Exchange is to say a) the question lacks original research, b) the question is in the wrong place, c) the question indicates you don't know anything about the topic, d) some other obscure reason.

In addition, once a user's ostensibly poor questions have been downvoted enough, the user cannot ask any more questions or receive any help. End of life for that account.

Granted, the questions and answers at Stack Exchange are nice—but those are only the questions that ever made it through.

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answered 2017-09-05 04:03:49 -0500

Guus gravatar image

I am an occasional user of Ask Fedora and I am pretty happy with the fact that I can ask a question using an application that appears to be a desktop application, and it gets processed and I get an answer. That is pretty awesome to me! The big advantage is that the audience is targetted to Fedora and the knowledge is there.

I do understand the difficulty of keeping the software running properly or even improving it. When looking for options, an important option is: can we get more developer interest in improving the site?

I would be less inclined to get involved with a commercial hosting site.

My 2 cents, an occasional "ask Fedora" user.

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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.

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answered 2017-02-27 08:11:51 -0500

DaveRo gravatar image

updated 2017-03-11 08:22:15 -0500

I am not a Fedora user (long time SuSE user, me) but seeing this thread I thought I'd mention a Firefox addon I developed for another askbot site and which should work with Ask Fedora. It helps identify questions that have had comments added since your last visit, and (usually) automatically scrolls down to them.

Firefox addon - Jolla Askbot Unseen Posts

Although written for Jolla Together it works with Ask Fedora and some other sites. You need to change the 'includes' option to specify this site's URL. For example this string is the one I use for testing - you could just copy it:


I suggest you read the Jolla Together thread here, especially if you intend to use Firefox on Android:

If you have problems or questions, there's an email address on the Firefox addon page.

(The Chrome version has been discontinued.)

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

Seen: 11,927 times

Last updated: Mar 27 '19