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 Post subject: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:28 am 
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Hi, was thinking that it might be a good idea to create specialized groups where members who specialize in a certain aspect of OSDEV can join with and then a general member can ask their specialized questions direct to the appropriate target audience. Suggested groups:

01. USB
02. PCI
03. ATA/IDE
04. ATAPI
05. Graphics
06. File Systems
07. Memory
...

You still have your general forums for general questions. In the long run, the group threads would naturally group the information and users 2+ years from now will be able to sift through hundreds of relevant threads and it could become a major resource, mainly because it targets a specific topic and stays relevant. Just an idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:50 am 
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Hi,

Personallyy, I don't feel that that would make the forums any easier to use. I am generally agains the creation of new subforums anyway, because I think it puts people off - particularly if they have a question which overlaps two specialist areas and they don't know where to post or end up cross-posting. It doesn't make searching easier either - suppose I want to know how to detect my USB host controller and spend ages looking in the USB subforum only to find that I should have been looking in ACPI / PCI.

However, what may be helpful would be something like a tag list / cloud which enables automatic searching of the wiki and forums on key topics.

Just my two penn'orth.

Cheers,
Adam


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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:05 am 
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I don't know, what I was I trying to get at is that I think groups should be made and those groups should be specialized in something specific, so that people can ask specific questions to the right people. I was just saying that by nature the groups would create a resource of its own. I'm really only concerned with the groups. People only answer questions that they care about or know something about anyway, so why not make it easy to get the right questions to the right people? I bet most members frequent one forum more than others, and they miss a question over in another forum that they could have answered. If they were in a group and members could post questions to that group, that type of thing probably would never happen or happen a lot less.


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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:23 pm 
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People will look at the list of threads in OS Development, because that's where most questions end up. They can choose next which threads to read. Some people (like me) just read everything. Thing is, if you properly mention the subject and the general problem in the topic title, it will be spotted. If people are stupid enough to label a thread "HELP", then we all know who's to blame if there's no answer.

How it works for me, I browse the list, go through the interesting subjects first, and then down to the less interesting subjects, usually picking up speed. If your thread gets last, you are more likely to get a short or no answer than if your thread gets checked first.


Since you mentioned tags, one thing I'd consider a serious flaw of the forum software is that the common subjects are unsearchable, even if they are valid and meaningful queries :(

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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:25 pm 
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Not me, I wont even go past the first page. I look for the properly labeled topics (as you mentioned) and read it only if it interests me or I have some knowledge to provide that might not already have been covered in the thread. I suspect a lot others do the same thing. Anyway...

Funny, possible fix: Look at me. lol :)


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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:00 am 
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neato wrote:
Funny, possible fix: Look at me. lol :)

Which only searches on FDC...:
Quote:
ignored: code disk floppy hard

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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:42 am 
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Did you see the results? A lot more than FDC was shown. You missed this: Search term used: fdc floppy hard disk code If you look at the results, the keywords used for the search are hi-lighted in the results, so you know they were used. Isn't that the case?


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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:50 am 
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I wrote:
Which only searches on FDC

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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:08 am 
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Instead of making different sub-forums, IMHO it would be better to just add an extra entry under your name that says something like

Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:34 pm
Posts: 350
Location: Belgium
Specialization: < Specialization here >

but that would add the additional question: how does one tell in what one is specialized? Can everybody enter his or her own specialization (how believable would that be and where is the limit)?

It's one of those subjects that has both advantages and disadvantages and usually when that happens, it isn't implemented on these forums.

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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:09 pm 
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Creature wrote:
but that would add the additional question: how does one tell in what one is specialized? Can everybody enter his or her own specialization (how believable would that be and where is the limit)?
I know a forum where you could submit your choice of subtext (the location you see "member" or "on probation") to the staff, which would in their own time fill in the rank in question. It would be a bit of administration to manage the initial flood of requests, but if you put the limit above say, three stars and an established reputation, I'd not expect the overhead to get above one rank change every two weeks.

Alternative option is to have a freetext specialization field in the profile, which need not show under each post, while it can on its user page, much like the occupation field. Essentially, you can add some useful information without the need of spamming it. I also do not think that requires any censoring - if you suck, your specialized subject will also suck, only not as bad as the rest. The other half of information can be gotten from the post counter :wink:

I don't see any serious issues with the second alternative - if a cheap solution is needed, you can just reuse the occupation field.

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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:25 pm 
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No, dangerous. You're gonna ban someone each week after this is set up, due to stalking, unsolicited PMs, etc. Instead of searching for answers, people will search for specialists and when they find one, they will PM the **** out of them. The groups are best, because any questions posed to them will be done the traditional forum way and members belonging to that group can chose to answer questions as they will.


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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:12 pm 
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The groups are best, because any questions posed to them will be done the traditional forum way and members belonging to that group can chose to answer questions as they will.

... or people will find the highest post count in the group and PM them.

I think the second option outlined in Combuster's post is best, if this idea was to actually go ahead. However, I disagree with the concept. My "specialisation" would be networking (and even then, I have much to learn!), but I can also provide assistance in a variety of other domains in the OSDev world.

I wouldn't want general assistance to be ignored just because it's outside of the realms of my forum-displayed specialisation, and this could easily end up causing that to happen.

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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:06 pm 
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... or people will find the highest post count in the group and PM them.


That's crazy. Why would anyone do that? You post your question to the ENTIRE group and someone in that group answers the question. No need to PM anyone.

Actually that was Creatures suggestion, but nevertheless, it is no good. Groups provide a means to ask specific questions to people that are knowledgeable (or most knowledgeable) in a specific subject. You wouldn't answer a USB question if you belong to the IDE group, but anyone could still answer general questions in the general forums, no matter what group you belong to. Just because you are ina group, doesn't mean you have to read only your group's threads. And, if you are multi-knowledgeable then I don't see why you couldn't belong to more than one group.


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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:37 am 
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The whole concept would perhaps be nice if this were a professional help board with plenty of people available for each subject, but it isn't.

I understand the initiative to make the board a better place to be for the questioning user, but be careful what you wish for. We - meaning the answering users - are barely managing to keep the quality up as-is. I don't think generating a dozen groups will do anything but increase the administrative overhead; the groups will probably just sit there and collect dust, with the group member list getting outdated faster than you can say "can't compile a cross-compiler".

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 Post subject: Re: Specialized Groups
PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:14 pm 
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Not if the users post their questions to the proper group. Those threads will be quite active, as long as the users do their job. With a little rules, this could work out, for example, each Group has a Captain. Captain approves membership. If a member is offline too long, Captain revokes membership. If Captain goes offline too long, the group can appoint a new Captain or else choose to lock the group. If that happens, then the threads will be become read-only and that groups forum will merge with the general forum as an archive (subforum). If a user wants to re-open the group, he can ask a Mod to give him/her ownership and the group will be restored as before. Groups cannot be created until there are at least 1 Captain and 3 Members. All groups must be approved by Admin or Mod majority vote. Maybe start it off on a trial period (30 days) to see if it works, if not, it shouldn't be too hard to end the trial, merge all the group threads to the general forum, and kill the groups. So, it wont hurt to try.


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