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From TJ Frazier <>
Subject Re: User support: beyond forums or lists
Date Wed, 24 Aug 2011 17:26:08 GMT
On 8/24/2011 12:40, Rob Weir wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 9:30 PM, drew<>  wrote:
>> On Wed, 2011-08-24 at 09:05 +1000, Jean Weber wrote:
>>> 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
>>> 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.
>> Hi Jean,
>> Before I let another thread slide away from view - I agree completely
>> with approaching this with a unified view of user support, not just
>> stove pipes for different delivery vehicles.
> Does anyone have a sense for how far we can take this by extending
> phpBB?  It looks like we've already enhanced it quite a bit.
> In other words, is phpBB the best way forward?  Is it easy to hack?
> For example, do we think it would be possible to eventually add
> collaborative features like question/answer ranking, etc.?
>> //drew
Not quite on topic, here, but re hacking forum code:
We have a divide between support users (who prefer forums) and support 
providers (who prefer email). How well could forum code provide 
email-like interaction for the providers? E.g., Email for new topics / 
comments of interest; link for fast reply entry. Email /for/ entry? Some 
of this is probably available already. Design input from providers would 
be nice.


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