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From Alexandre Rafalovitch <arafa...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: Need feedback: Browsing and searching solr-user list emails
Date Wed, 12 Feb 2014 04:03:37 GMT
Hi Durgam,

You are asking a hard question. Yes, the idea looks interesting as an
experiment. Possibly even useful in some ways. And I love the fact
that you are eating your own dogfood (running Solr). And the interface
looks nice (I guess this is your hosted Nimeyo offering underneath).

Yet, I am having troubles seeing it stick around long term. Here are my reasons:
*) This oferring feels like an inverse of StackExchange. SE is a
primary source of data and they actually get most of the search
traffic from Google. This proposal has the data coming from somewhere
else and is trying to add a search on top of it.
*) Furthermore, the SE voting/participation is heavily gamified and
they spend a lot of time and manpower to keeping the balance of that
gamification vs. abuse. I think it is a lot harder to provide
incentives to vote in your approach
*) There are other dogfood-eating search websites.
http://search-lucene.com/ is one of them.
*) There are also other mailing-list navigational websites with
gateway ability to post message in. They suck, both in interface and
in monetisation around the interface. In fact, they feel like the SPAM
farms similar to those republishing Wikipedia. I am not saying this is
relevant to your effort directly, but it is an issue related to
discovery of good search website in the sea of bad ones. search-lucene
for example is discoverable because it is one of the search engines on
the Apache website. Even then, it took me (at least) very long time to
discover it.
*) In general, discoverability is a b*tch (try to multiterm this,
Solr! :-) as you need a very significant traction for people to use
your site before it becomes useful to more people. A bit of a
catch-22. Again, SE did it by having a large audience on StackOverflow
and then branching off into topics that people on SO were also
interested in. And even that was an issue (see area51 for how they do
it). You have people (who read mailing list), but are they the people
who need to search the archives? I think the mailing list is a more of
a 'flow' interface to most of the people.
*) You have Google Analytics - did you get much traction yet? I
suspect no from the lack of replies on the mailing list.

I would step back and evaluate:
*) Who specifically is a target audience? I, for example, do star some
posts on the mailing list because they are just so good that I will
want to refer to them later. But, even then, I would have no incentive
right now to do it in public. Nor would I do 3-4 steps necessary to go
from email I like to some alternative interface to find the same email
again just to vote for it. And how do I find my voted emails later?
Requiring an account (to track) is even harder to swallow.
*) Again, who specifically is a target audience? Is it beginners?
Intermediates? Advanced? What are the pain point of those different
group you are trying to solve.
*) What can you offer to the first user before the voting actually
works (bootstrap phase). Pure search? Others do that already.
*) How would people find your service (SEO, etc).
*) Why are you doing it. It may not be a lot of effort to set it up,
but to actually grow any crowd-source resource is a significant task.
What does this build towards that will make it sustainable for you.
And, I really hope it is not page ads.
*) From Nimeyo's home page, you are targeting enterprises; are you
sure the offering maps to the public resource with dynamic transient
audience the same way.

Now, if you do want to help Solr community, that would be great. I am
trying to do that in my own way and really welcome anybody try to
assist beyond their own needs. Grow the community, and so on.

Here is an example of how I thought of the above issues myself:
*) I just released the full list of UpdateRequestProcessor Factories (
http://www.solr-start.com/update-request-processor/4.6.1/ ).
*) This is information that anybody can discover for themselves, but
it takes a lot searching and clicking and getting lost. I have
discovered that problem on my own when writing my Solr book and it was
stuck with me as a problem to be solved. So, I solved it (in a very
basic way for this version) and I have more similar things on the way.
*) My target audience, just as with my book, are people trying to
skill up from the beginners to the intermediates. My goal is to reduce
the barrier of entry to the more advanced Solr knowledge.
*) My SEO (we'll see if it works) is to provide information that does
not exist anywhere else in one place and to be discoverable when
people search for the particular names of URP.
*) I also have an incentive to keep it going (version 4.7, 4.8, other
resources) because I want people to be on my mailing list for when I
do the next REALLY exciting Solr project (Github-based interactive
Solr training would be a strong hint). So, these resources are my
bootstrapping strategy as well.

Now, there is plenty of other things that can be done to assist Solr
community. Some of them would align to the skill-set you are bringing
to the table with this website. But they would require a lot more
effort to bootstrap, mostly through manual curation. If that's
something that interests you, you can email me privately with answers
to the questions above and we can see whether one of the items of my
'Help Solr community TODO' list fits with your motivation and effort
available. But, of course, they probably would not fit with your
company's current direction.

Regards,
   Alex.
P.s. The company's website's copyright is 2013. You may want to update it. :-)
Personal website: http://www.outerthoughts.com/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandrerafalovitch
- Time is the quality of nature that keeps events from happening all
at once. Lately, it doesn't seem to be working.  (Anonymous  - via GTD
book)


On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 12:18 PM, Durgam Vahia <corpqa@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Solr-users,
>
> I wanted to get your thoughts/feedback on a potentially useful way to
> browse and search prior email conversations in
> solr-users@lucenedistribution list.
>
> http://www.signaldump.org/solr/qpod/
>
> In a nutshell, this is a Q&A engine like StackExchange (SE) auto-populated
> with solr-users@lucene email threads of past one year. Engine auto-tags
> email threads and creates user profile of participants with points, badges
> etc. New emails also gets processed automatically and will be placed under
> the relevant conversation.
>
> Here are some of the advantages that might be useful -
>
>    - Like SE, users can "crowdsource" the quality of content by voting, and
>    choosing best answers.
>    - You can favorite posts/threads, users, tags to personalize search.
>    - Email conversations and Q&A engine work seamlessly together. One can
>    use any medium and conversations are still presented in a uniform way.
>    - Web UI supports mobile device aspect ratios - just click on above link
>    on your mobile device to get a feel.
>
> Do you think this would be useful for the solr-users community? To get a
> feel, try searching the archive before posting in the email list to see if
> UI makes finding things little gentler. As more people search/view/vote,
> search should become more relevant and personalized.
>
> I would be happy to maintain this for the benefit of the community.
> Currently I have only seeded past one year of email but we could
> potentially go further back if people find this useful.
>
> Thanks and feedback welcome.
>
> And before someone asks - yes, our search engine is Solr ..
>
> Durgam.

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