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Ask Fedora: What features / changes do we need in Askbot to make this site *really* work?

asked 2016-12-14 15:02:59 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

updated 2016-12-16 11:38:06 -0500

This is a followup of sorts to Ask Fedora: Is it working, and what's the future?, where as of this writing the top-voted answer comes from the upstream author of Askbot, asking us to keep up with Askbot and to wait for improvements (with which he is willing to help).

I have a list of things I think are important, and I'm going to add those as answers. Please vote up the ones you like, and add suggestions of your own. And, of course, feel free to answer as well.

To be clear, this isn't meant as a list of demands — it should be a useful, prioritized list of things we need which we will try to get help with — from upstream, from the infrastructure team, from the community of people who have worked on Ask Fedora, and from the open source world at large.

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@mattdm: May I ask you what the status with this question and all 33 answers submitted by the user community is? Is there any active development on the Askbot software?

florian gravatar imageflorian ( 2017-08-29 09:41:10 -0500 )edit

@florian the askbot application has been slowly developed since they only have around 1-2 devs fully submitting code. It has been harder to work with and keep things updated. Specially with everything being changed to python3 and askbot only supports python2. I recommend we continue looking into using discourse since its a fully developed forum application that its maintained by tons of devs.

jlozadad gravatar imagejlozadad ( 2017-08-29 11:59:21 -0500 )edit

Whatever you come up with, it need to be intuitive to those logging into the site, not scurried away in some obscure location

toddandmargo gravatar imagetoddandmargo ( 2017-08-31 14:05:59 -0500 )edit

44 Answers

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answered 2016-12-14 15:22:20 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

updated 2016-12-14 15:54:46 -0500

Flags beyond "offensive"

Right now, the only way to report a question is to flag it as "offensive". We certainly don't want that, but there should be flags for other situations, like:

  • spam
  • not offensive, but not nice
  • needs formatting help
  • needs moderator help for some other reason

and possibly others.

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It's possible for a moderator to mark a flagged comment as "not offensive," but that still deletes it. Maybe some Administrator should remove that from the list to prevent problems.

sideburns gravatar imagesideburns ( 2018-04-23 14:00:34 -0500 )edit

answered 2016-12-14 15:25:33 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

updated 2016-12-14 15:49:36 -0500

Actual duplicate handling

Right now, there is a "duplicate" close reason, but it doesn't link to the proposed duplicate. There should be a system which does this, suggesting the duplicate in a box below the question and allowing the community to vote on that. When a threshold is reached, the question should be closed as duplicate with a clear link at the top of the page.

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answered 2016-12-14 16:18:47 -0500

sideburns gravatar image

updated 2016-12-14 19:31:53 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

Make it more clear when new users are being moderated, to prevent duplicates

One thing that would be nice would be a notice that has to be clicked on to continue that your post is being held for moderation. That way, new users wouldn't post the same question two or more times in less than ten minutes because they think that something went wrong.

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answered 2016-12-14 15:17:09 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

updated 2016-12-14 15:20:38 -0500

We need a real Meta sub-site

This question is under [tag:meta], but it really shouldn't be mixed in on the main site. That detracts from the overall mission, but most importantly, it makes it really hard to actually build a community of regular participants. I think this one is pretty much a must-have.

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I also think this would be valuable. One of the issues that make it hard to discuss Ask Fedora is that there's no place to really congregate to discuss issues or ideas for its growth or development.

jflory7 gravatar imagejflory7 ( 2016-12-14 15:50:05 -0500 )edit

I have a ton of things that aren't really appropriate for this message which I want to post once we do have a Meta site. :)

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2016-12-14 19:31:08 -0500 )edit

One suggestion for possible implementation: change "Language" to something more generic ("Section", maybe?) and then just add Meta as another option in that way.

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2016-12-14 19:37:28 -0500 )edit
slelievre gravatar imageslelievre ( 2017-09-10 09:17:13 -0500 )edit

answered 2016-12-14 15:26:34 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

updated 2016-12-14 15:50:29 -0500

"Hold" state for questions with potential

Asking questions turns out to be hard. Often people don't provide enough information. When these questions have potential, they should be put on hold rather than closed, and then automatically closed if there is no further activity — or taken off hold when there is.

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answered 2016-12-16 04:52:03 -0500

padraic gravatar image

Use karma to increase votes, encourage people to mark questions as closed.

A major problem with the site is the lack of participation. Points [karma] are there to encourage participation, we should adjust how karma is dished out to try and increase this useful participation.

  1. I think people should be awarded karma for voting on questions and answers. It doesn't have be be totally linear, i.e. one point per vote as this would just encourage voting without consideration. However regular voting / or using an amount of your daily quota should be rewarded.

  2. The 100 point barrier to downvote should be lowered.

  3. Not marking a question as solved should somehow be penalised - if there are a number of answers / solutions posted.

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I like the idea of encouraging voting, but keep in mind that karma is one of the primary tools against spam and vandalism — it inverts the normal "b.s. asymmetry" rule by making it more work to get enough karma to do harm than it is to moderate the problem. Giving karma just for upvoting is an easy thing to do, and if we allow 30 upvotes per day at +1 each, that's 30 karma available to new users. Other ways to get karma require _other people_, so this is dangerous.

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2016-12-16 11:41:48 -0500 )edit

Also, it's hard to penalize not marking an answer, because many askers never become active site participants.

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2016-12-16 11:42:29 -0500 )edit

Sure I get your point there. Maybe the thing is to reward choosing an answer more. Though I guess that's not going to work with one-shot question askers.

padraic gravatar imagepadraic ( 2016-12-16 14:38:43 -0500 )edit

answered 2016-12-14 15:25:08 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

updated 2016-12-14 15:45:43 -0500

Tools for insight into most popular questions

Right now, one can sort questions by votes, but we have very low voting on this site (a problem of its own!). I'd like to also be able to sort by most viewed and by most duplicated (relying on the implementation of actual duplicates). That would show material which would be good candidates for formal documentation, Fedora Magazine articles — or even prioritizing bugfixes.

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answered 2016-12-14 15:26:02 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

updated 2016-12-14 15:47:19 -0500

Rework notifications

To be blunt, notifications are basically useless as they stand. At the very least, notifications for answers and comments should be separated from other things.

The worst thing, though, is how I get notifications for every activity related to any question I ever edit. This is a huge disincentive to help. If I see a spelling error on Wikipedia or Stack Exchange, I'll fix it. If I do that here, I'm punished by having my notification queue overwhelmed by things I don't care about — if I fix punctuation in some question, I don't need to know anything more about it (except, maybe, if someone rolls back my edit — but even that shouldn't interfere with my actual "my stuff" notifications).

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answered 2016-12-14 15:13:18 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

updated 2016-12-14 15:53:27 -0500

The "question is answered; right answer is accepted" close reason must go.

Rationale: this isn't meant to be just a forum, where we have transient diagnostic threads. It's meant to build up a database of helpful answers. "Closed: this situation is not reproducible" might make sense, but we shouldn't be closing questions with solutions — we should be enshrining them.

And even then, there's always room for improvement — later answers even after one is accepted could elaborate with more detail, update for newer Fedora, etc.

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Followup: I'd actually like to change the list of reasons completely; I think we just need "Not about Fedora", "Please provide more detail", and "Too much to answer in one question". The spam and malicious close reasons don't need to exist because those should just be _deleted_. I can see also "primarily opinion based" — but, on the other hand, that's a cultural thing from Stack Exchange that we don't necessarily need to do the same way here.

mattdm gravatar imagemattdm ( 2016-12-14 19:53:16 -0500 )edit

I see one use for that reason to close a question: somebody posts a response to a question that was asked, answered and forgotten long ago, especially if it's for a Fedora version that's EOL. Yes, there's also "no longer relevant," but for me, this makes the point better.

sideburns gravatar imagesideburns ( 2016-12-14 22:04:21 -0500 )edit

If reason to close is retained then need ability to change what was selected. I know I have closed and accidentally selected a reason which I didn't want. It may be that I was not closely paying attention to what I was doing but realized it and was not able to correct it.

edwardc01 gravatar imageedwardc01 ( 2016-12-17 10:22:39 -0500 )edit

answered 2016-12-14 15:27:02 -0500

mattdm gravatar image

updated 2016-12-14 15:55:43 -0500

Community review queues

There should be an easy, quick way for site participants to find flagged or downvoted questions and help them improve (if possible) or close and delete them completely (if necessary).

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Asked: 2016-12-14 15:02:59 -0500

Seen: 6,522 times

Last updated: Oct 13 '18