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 Post subject: Re: Forum split
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:32 am 
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I'd also agree with berkus, but I think maybe an automated private message containing links to forum rules, the getting started page etc. be sent to the person once they're reported? It's an improvement than them just posting again going "WTF WHY WUZ MY POST BLOCKED!?!?!?" and the banhammering to continue.

I mean, optimistically I'd say a third of the people who start off ignorant will eventually learn to abide by the rules and become a member of the community. Hopefully... :?

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 Post subject: Re: Forum split
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:31 pm 
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I've got to say that I do agree with the idea of a split. It doesn't help that, currently, our forum topics are completely and utterly generic.

For example, my post:
MessiahAndrw wrote:
...Inappropriate for the OS Design&Theory forum...Easiest non-x86 architecture

I put it in there because I believed it fell under design rather than development. I wasn't asking anything at all about my implementation.
I was asking, from a design perspective, what people thought was a well-documented non-arcane processor that was sufficiently different
from x86.

Now, I would definitely call it development if I was asking for, say, how to use PPC's paging facilities. As others have said, perhaps that
issue could be resolved by either:
A) revising the descriptions so that 50% of posts don't qualify for both under the stated example topics
or
B) splitting the forum(s) into more specific topics so that if you're not sure, you look at the subcategories and realize either, "Oh, none
of those fits what I'm asking," or, "Ah, yes, that's exactly what I mean."

Personally, I like Troy's idea of a tree, although I'm sure we could figure out a few subcategories and/or better hints for the design & theory
segment.


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 Post subject: Re: Forum split
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:46 am 
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Personally I think instead of breaking the productive parts of the forum into smaller parts, it'd be better to simply create a forum which would likely be the garbage trap for first time posters who don't read the rules and such. For example "I NEED HELP!!" or troubleshooting. This would basically be the "why doesn't this work?" forum, design questions, implementation questions and suggestion questions would take place in the other forums. It should hopefully make things easier for the moderator too and could be avoided by those not wishing to be pestered with questions.

I also agree with Combuster though, making 3 posts on every ill thought out thread telling them to read the web or the forum rules doesn't really help the process much. Let the moderators do their job, and if you'd like to help either report posts or help by contributing to the wiki. If there's a good thread you find on a topic by searching a topic which someone else failed to, then put that in the wiki. Having a more robust wiki should help lower the noise a bit, and even if it doesn't at least it's creating an asset for the community.

On the moderation side of it though, perhaps delayed account activation of posting privileges might help the problem if they aren't in already. Requiring someone to wait 3 days before posting would either force them to read around a bit more, troubleshoot on their own or just give up if they had a false impression about the difficulty of OS dev to begin with.

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 Post subject: Re: Forum split
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:16 am 
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I think the threads you all feel offended by would be much more effectively quenched by someone posting a Wiki link, and the rest of us ignoring the thread.

I don't have any problems with beginner mistakes and questions. They happen. Hell, we all started that way somewhere on the 'net.

What I feel offended by is that the same old subjects, completely covered by prominent articles in our Wiki, get mulled over and over and over again every other month, because everyone has such a good idea which color the bikeshed should be.

Someone has problems with DJGPP on Windows. The ensuing thread usually has everything from how to cobble things together with Windows-specific options to compiler and linker, over links to ready-built MinGW binaries, over hand-written recommendations for Cygwin, to the usual calls to "use Linux", which usually degrades into a discussion of Linux distros.

GCC Cross-Compiler would have been enough. Problem solved, thread quickly paged out of the front page and collecting dust.

If that doesn't work, it's not the fault of the newcomers and / or the forum structure, it's our failure as a know-how-centric repository (as opposed to Slashdot - I wonder how long it will take until I see a "first!" posting here).

Same goes for many other subjects. If someone disagrees with a point the Wiki makes, it should be discussed there.

The Wiki is our central know-how repository, not this forum. It should be used as such.

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 Post subject: Re: Forum split
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:31 pm 
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Solar wrote:
Same goes for many other subjects. If someone disagrees with a point the Wiki makes, it should be discussed there.

The Wiki is our central know-how repository, not this forum. It should be used as such.


Then why do we have a whole forum dedicated to discussing the wiki? :lol:

I think one of the reasons we keep going over the same topics is that there are a lot of opinions about different tools and techniques, and opinions are ill-suited for storage in a wiki. But something is also lost by distilling the information of a thread into a wiki article - you lose a lot of the reasons behind a decision or piece of advice. I think links to threads about a topic should be more common in the wiki: going through dozens of random wiki pages, I can almost never find a thread link, even though many pages have sections for them. Heck, just sorting all of Brendan's posts by topic and automatically placing them in the wiki would practically double it's information content.

Additionally, we could have a page of various problem threads in the wiki - something more extensive than the FAQ, but just a simple list of threads from the OS Development forum that were about obscure problems but actually went somewhere, perhaps in a table with a better-stated problem description. I find that most of the newbie questions are similar to other ones, but the titles of other threads that could be of use are not well thought out, because other newbies asked them, so the search function of the forums is not very helpful, and the problems are too specific to have been documented in the wiki.

Just my 2 cents.


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 Post subject: Re: Forum split
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:10 pm 
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NickJohnson wrote:
Additionally, we could have a page of various problem threads in the wiki - something more extensive than the FAQ, but just a simple list of threads from the OS Development forum that were about obscure problems but actually went somewhere, perhaps in a table with a better-stated problem description.

Just my 2 cents.


That won't work. I don't know if anyone else has picked up on it, but perhaps the reason WHY the newcomers keep posting up distasteful questions is because they come around with the wrong level of preparedness. And of course, added to that is the obvious misunderestimation of how much they are supposed to know for any given stage in development.

I don't know if anyone else has picked this up, but, a question such as:

"Hi everyone I'm from UK, and I like programming and computer and I learned some C in college, and want to grow on it, and I thouht I could make I own o.s. :D I have some great ideas, and I think i culd really get somwhere, but <here's the digression> unfortunetly when I tried compiling the source <error #1> frm the Bare Bone Wiki, it gave me an error.

It keep sayin "Error Unsupported file Format" <annoyance #1> and I tried evrtyhing but no avail and I now have major frustratin this so hard. :oops:

Plz help me if anyone can, I really appreciate it, thanks. [-o<
"

(Note that I didn't actually take that from anywhere. I simply typed it up while assuming the mindset of an underappreciative, non-investigative, reading-phobic individual, and inserted one or two patterns I picked up on from posts that are similar.)

The poster demonstrates a lack of initiative, and a reluctance to use Google. I don't know if it's just me, but after I first compiled the Bare Bones, I felt so stupid, I just threw it away and spent about two weeks re-reading it, and several other articles alongside repeatedly, and using Google intensively, such that I came back after that bit of reading and understood everything so well, I just re-wrote the code by myself.

Does it occur to the poster, maybe since this is only the beginning of his development, and he already has to face the fact that he is completely unprepared, that he is ill-equipped to handle the rest of the project, and therefore should wait, and just read a bit more, then try again?

And, question: does it strike the poster that...you don't NEED to get going RIGHT AWAY, but that small pauses in your dev momentum are completely okay, and everything doesn't have to be continuous? That you CAN take a pause to read for about two weeks, and then come back? So you don't need to post questions on the forum, since the information is right there? And if you read it you'll eventually understand?

And more importantly: that the fact the fact that YOU don't understand doesn't mean that something is wrong with "the system" or the way the article was written, but that YOU just aren't yet at the level necessary to come to grips with what's in the article? I believe people are so accustomed to having things watered down for them that they automatically assume that everything should be stepped down so that they can adjust.

See I don't chock the questions up to a lack of knowledge, (which, yes, does constitute a large part of it), , and definitely not to a lack of availability of information, but rather to a bad attitude.

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 Post subject: Re: Forum split
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:52 pm 
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Oh, and cool phpBB3 feature: if we have a beginner's forum, we can set it up so that the rules are displayed whenever someone posts. No .MODS needed.

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Solar wrote:
It keeps stunning me how friendly we - as a community - are towards people who start programming "their first OS" who don't even have a solid understanding of pointers, their compiler, or how a OS is structured.

I wish I could add more tex


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 Post subject: Re: Forum split
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:16 am 
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@ berkus, @ NickJohnson:

I fully agree that the Wiki is the result, and the forum is the process. But the Wiki is not used as it should be.

  • Beginner questions should be answered by a Wiki link.
  • The Wiki contents should not be discussed in the beginner question thread.
  • If discussion on Wiki contents are necessary, that should be done on the relevant discussion page in the Wiki.
  • The Subforum on the Wiki is for meta problems: Structure, organization, administration, stuff that doesn't have a relevant discussion page.

Beginners ask beginner's questions, and it happens time and again because there are always new beginners. But the umpteenth discussion of Beginner Mistakes, How To Ask Questions, "can I use some some other Language than C/C++", "can I use DJGPP" etc. etc. pp. ad infinitum, by forum regulars, whenever another beginner asks his question, instead of pointing to the Wiki and be done with it, is what "spams" the forum and keeps beginner questions on the top of the thread lists for days and weeks.

The Wiki is our FAQ. It's for answering simple questions quickly and decissively. If a simple question can't be answered by a Wiki link, start a new page.

We're running in small circles here, always answering the same questions (at considerable expense of time and patience for everyone involved), instead of answering new questions.

The Wiki was growing strongly for some time. But that was long ago - today, it's more or less stagnant, with only minor touches made to a few pages. I think there lies our problem.

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