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From Jean Weber <>
Subject User support: beyond forums or lists
Date Tue, 23 Aug 2011 23:05:58 GMT
I've started a new thread, because I think Rob Weir's very important point has got lost in
the discussions about forums and lists. Rob wrote:

> Support is important. The question is
> how best to do it.  If all we're doing is considering the merits of
> different access methods to support, without looking at the
> implications of fragmenting the repositories and the resulting
> knowledge base, then we are doing a poor job at thinking this through.
> Remember the best support site is the one that allows the user to
> answer their own question, without signing up for a mailing list or
> posting to a forum. We should be looking at how we can prevent user
> support questions.

This ties in closely with end-user documentation and how it is delivered, so I am very interested
in this topic. Later today I'll go through the archives of this list to find the earlier discussions,
which I believe occurred while I was traveling and thus weren't given enough of my attention
at the time. Or, have ideas and suggestions, perhaps examples of good practice, been posted
to the wiki? Apple is IMO a brilliant example, but they have a lot of resources

It's clear to me that we need to do better than we have in the user support area, if we can
do so. Not only will that benefit users and improve our reputation, it will allow us to work
smarter, not harder. I will pursue this, along with other interested people. It's something
valuable that I can do while the techies are moving websites and working with code etc.

Setting up a suitable system and populating it with suitable information will be a big task
and take quite awhile, especially if we don't have enough skilled people to do it. (I'm referring
to content, not infrastructure.) All the more reason to get started now with planning what
we want to do, so we can start doing it ASAP. 

BTW, the Docs mailing list at OOo gets quite a few enquiries from people wanting to contribute,
and a few of them sound like they have relevant experience and skills. I don't want to lose
them. Yes, we point them to this list as well as ODFAuthors, but I don't know how many have
actually joined. If we're actively discussing topics of interest to documenters, perhaps more
people can be persuaded to get involved.

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