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 Post subject: Re: I AM SO HAPPY
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:04 pm 
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If there are clearly visible forum rules, I don't see why implementation of those rules should require discussion and polls.
The mod forum is used primarily to flag up content for moderation decisions - I see no problem with this and didn't see any problem with it even before I became a mod.

You may feel that the OSDev signal:noise ratio is low now, but I honestly believe that a "100% democratical" voting system would have led to this becoming much more of a basic programming tutorial site. How many people who use the forums do you think have OS development experience and how many do you think are people with little programming experience (noobs,if you like)? I suspect the latter outnumber the former. Why, then, would voting on all moderation decisions improve quality?

At the risk of getting political, I also think that the idea that democracy leads to perfection is quite funny :)

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 Post subject: Re: I AM SO HAPPY
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:50 pm 
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Shikhin wrote:
Read what I wrote. Read the place where I said, and I quote, "perfect OSDev.org forum".

I think there is a slight misconception here. You are talking about the "perfect OSDev.org forum" as if you are the owner, which you (fortunately, IMO) are not. If you wanted to express your views on a perfect operating system development forum, maybe you shouldn't be specifically referring to one that already exists and has different purposes than your hypothetical "perfect" one. The "perfect" OSDev.org forum should be left up to the owner to decide what it is. The owner (or someone else with the owner's permission) has placed the banner up the top, clearly stating the purpose of these forums, which I will not repeat.

And TBH, I don't really care what your (or anyone's for that matter) view of a perfect operating system development forum is (no offense intended).

Shikhin wrote:
Anyway, I guess if the moderators don't want change, and reading how this board functions, I guess it's just better for me to leave this place after some time...

So that's how you see this place... all about how it functions, rather than its purpose. If you were here for proper reasons (i.e. learning OS Dev), you wouldn't care how the board functions, you just use it for what its meant for.

Shikhin wrote:
you sure post a lot

And?

I hope you are beginning to realise that a programming forum is not a good place to start an argument with no real substance behind it. Most of us here aren't 12 year olds with an IQ of < 80.

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 Post subject: Re: I AM SO HAPPY
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:19 am 
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Hi,

AJ wrote:
If there are clearly visible forum rules, I don't see why implementation of those rules should require discussion and polls.
The mod forum is used primarily to flag up content for moderation decisions - I see no problem with this and didn't see any problem with it even before I became a mod.


Unless asking for some statistics leads to some moderator saying that the particular mod forum is "entire confidential?"

AJ wrote:
You may feel that the OSDev signal:noise ratio is low now, but I honestly believe that a "100% democratical" voting system would have led to this becoming much more of a basic programming tutorial site. How many people who use the forums do you think have OS development experience and how many do you think are people with little programming experience (noobs,if you like)? I suspect the latter outnumber the former. Why, then, would voting on all moderation decisions improve quality?

At the risk of getting political, I also think that the idea that democracy leads to perfection is quite funny :)


Heh, you make a valid point. I'm now in a cross... :)

BMW wrote:
Shikhin wrote:
Read what I wrote. Read the place where I said, and I quote, "perfect OSDev.org forum".

I think there is a slight misconception here. You are talking about the "perfect OSDev.org forum" as if you are the owner, which you (fortunately, IMO) are not. If you wanted to express your views on a perfect operating system development forum, maybe you shouldn't be specifically referring to one that already exists and has different purposes than your hypothetical "perfect" one. The "perfect" OSDev.org forum should be left up to the owner to decide what it is. The owner (or someone else with the owner's permission) has placed the banner up the top, clearly stating the purpose of these forums, which I will not repeat.


As far as I know, chase manages most of the service side stuff for OSDev.org. Other than that, there is no such "owner." IMHO, chase shouldn't be the lone person to decide what this forum is for. It's for the people using the forum to decide what the forums is used for. As for the banner at the top, I've seen some threads questioning why it says what it says, too. :)

BMW wrote:
And TBH, I don't really care what your (or anyone's for that matter) view of a perfect operating system development forum is (no offense intended).


If you don't, why the hell are you replying?

Someone on the IRC channel told me that if I have so many problems with this forum, I should stop using it. To give a simple answer to why I'm not doing that (yet): I like this forums, and I care about everyone's opinions. Thus, I'm trying to do a discussion about what I think, how it can be improved, etc. If you don't care about what I think, how I think it can be improved, please stop participating in the discussion.

BMW wrote:
Shikhin wrote:
Anyway, I guess if the moderators don't want change, and reading how this board functions, I guess it's just better for me to leave this place after some time...

So that's how you see this place... all about how it functions, rather than its purpose. If you were here for proper reasons (i.e. learning OS Dev), you wouldn't care how the board functions, you just use it for what its meant for.


Err. You mean to say you don't care about how the board functions? Imagine me making a web-search engine named "BooBoo." BooBoo's purpose is to be the best possible search engine. On the other hand, it functions by parsing all emails in your spam filter, and reporting all the links it finds. If you were using BooBoo for what it's meant for, i.e., perfect search, you wouldn't care about how it functions?

BMW wrote:
Shikhin wrote:
you sure post a lot

And?


And, what? That was a slight remark, made in brackets. Please don't raise invalid questions, just for the heck of it.

BMW wrote:
I hope you are beginning to realise that a programming forum is not a good place to start an argument with no real substance behind it. Most of us here aren't 12 year olds with an IQ of < 80.


D'oh! You're right. Most of us here are 17 year old (note: if you say "12 year olds," you probably just proved what your IQ is) with an IQ of < 80. :)

Combuster wrote:
Sure, the bank is the place to start for getting money, but why stop at that and not just rob it? You'd get more money in the same amount of time and you don't need to give it back.


Heh, that's a beautiful analogy. I might copy it many a times, henceforth. :)

Regards,
Shikhin

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 Post subject: Re: I AM SO HAPPY
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:31 am 
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I see osdev.org as having two components that make it "The Place to Start for Operating System Developers". There is a Wiki, where knowledge can be stored and newcomers can learn how to do specific tasks, and there are the forums, where developers can discuss theories and ideas about OS development. The problem is that the interesting discussions are in danger of being lost in a welter of "how do GDTs work", "how do I create a cross compiler" type questions that are dealt with in the Wiki. There is a chance within the forums to seperate OS discussion from questions about how to program in C or assembler (General Programming Questions), but all too often any and all queries end up in OS Design. This is a distraction.

My view is that any question about programming in C, how a particular processor works, difficulties with assembler code are General Programming questions. They may be asked in the context of OS Design, but that doesn't make them OS Design topics.

I think the forums would work a lot better, with a more favourable signal to noise ratio, if people confined questions to the appropriate forum and consulted the Wiki before diving in with simple programming questions. Heck, they might even search the forums to find the hundred instances where the same question has been dealt with in the past.


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 Post subject: Re: I AM SO HAPPY
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:02 am 
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iansjack wrote:
I think the forums would work a lot better, with a more favourable signal to noise ratio, if people confined questions to the appropriate forum and consulted the Wiki before diving in with simple programming questions. Heck, they might even search the forums to find the hundred instances where the same question has been dealt with in the past.


This can be made into the top osdev.org forums banner or a sticky post just next to the forum rules (TL/DR version).

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:20 am 
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The last topic i felt interested (and remembered) is about kernel stack per user thread / per core.

Shikhin wrote:
Once in a while, we do get an amazing thread, but most of it's spoiled due to useless debates between rdos and Brendan

While sometime they do argue for the sake of arguing, they usually bring up very interesting views on both side. I haven't see rdos show up for a while, and now we only see text-book ideas, that's not discussion. I miss RDOS.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:44 am 
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Rdos, while certainly interesting, had two serious problems IMO:
- You can hit him with the intel manuals an infinite number of times and he'll still claim that he is right and you can't add two numbers even when using a pocket calculator.
- The vast majority of discussions with him were (originally) hijacked threads of others.

At some point I gave up teaching him manners and delegated that to the staff, reporting up to half(!) his posts for being off-topic or making arguments based off factual errors. Brendan has much more patience than I do and liked to publicly fill in the parental role, while the other staff tended to deal with it behind the scenes. My guess is that some party got fed up with the whole situation somewhere and put an end to the mess altogether.

There's still a segmentation wizard or two around here if you have any questions ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:18 am 
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Yo:

There are several very simple reasons why it's impossible to make this forum a haven for satisfying design discussion~~

  • The members who can contribute to serious discussion on design don't want to waste their time elaborating on their design just to have it commented on by people who can't have anything useful to say about it.
  • The members who have kernels worth discussing don't want to discuss their design in here, because they already have access to satisfying discussion in various IRC channels, so they don't need to air their designs here.
  • The kinds of people who join the forum and make rapid progress generally very quickly become one of the above.
  • The kinds of people who join the forum and ask a large number of questions and never really make any headway in a project of note tend to post the most, and as a result the majority of threads are created by or influenced significantly by these types of members.

And the result is that the forum gets very few intense discussions and instead tends to get a larger volume of un-engaging threads. This forum is very well exposed to the public: if you google almost anything about kernel development, this forum will come up in the first 2 pages of google's result set. It's a natural fly-paper for a large influx of less-experienced, ambitious developers. Members who've made more progress have mostly already moved on to small sub-groups in other places. This site is by nature, almost impossible to make friendly to serious discussion simply because the number of people who can seriously discuss any topic are few in number.

Furthermore, the structure of the forum doesn't in any way help to get targeted discussions going. There is a very generalized layout that makes it pointless to try to make a thread about a complicated design. There are no sub-forums for memory management, power management, driver interface design, high-scaling design, kernel API design, IRQ-management approaches, etc. So, you can't easily get into a topic that is really interesting to you and get hooked on the discussion there; there is the "OS Development" forum where a mash-up of topics resides, and people post all manner of nonsense there, and push better topics down. There is no reward for having created a good thread that a large number of people were edified by and that provoked some kind of highly passionate discussion, because it fades away to give place to useless nonsense fairly quickly.

If there were topic-specific sub-forums, someone could much more easily just spend a day reading through (and enjoying) the "high scaling design" sub-forum, as opposed to opening "OS Development" and seeing threads on the GDT. An arrangement like this would immediately raise the enjoyment of the forum for more experienced members, while also increasing the gravity of the threads on the forums as a whole -- a newcomer seeing no "OS Development - post any stupidness that doesn't fit anywhere else in here" forum, and being met with sub-forums with names that imply that he should understand the sub-forum's theme, would be more likely to first look-up the sub-topic, and then read some of the threads in the sub-forum before posting in that sub-forum.

Additionally, since the discussions would be more stimulating, the newcomer would be more likely to get an answer to his question without having to post at all. Even better, is the fact that people might be envouraged to create "RFC" posts that present a design, and say, link to threads with similar designs, explaining their own approach and the pros and cons, then people could comment and get down into a provocative little discussion. Naturally, aggression in such threads would be encouraged because kernel development is all about aggressive weighting of all the various aspects of a design.

Doing this would require a huge overhaul of the forums though, and a huge re-indexing effort where the mods would be required to split the forum up, and then move threads to their appropriate locations. Approximately 70% of the time spent sorting the threads would be spend moving useless topics like "GDT" and "IDT" and "how do I write a heap" and "my LAPIC code don't w0rk pls fix" into a "Useless Noise" subforum, and then you'd have to confront the issue of "what kind of sub-forum to create for boring, useless topics like I can't get my IDT working / My interrupts don't work?". Basically, let the atmosphere of the forum be conducive to ensuring that the forums naturally police themselves. Any structure that needs excessive policing is flawed, and needs re-thinking; I've never been a fan of top-heavy management, and I believe strongly in laissez-faire leadership with proper guidance.

--Peace out,
gravaera

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:56 am 
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Interesting idea.

We've discussed more subforums in the past and I was against it. With the general feeling on the forum at the moment, I would not necessarily be so anti.

What're people's opinions? Would finer-grained subforums raise the level of design discussions, or would we simply end up with a load of empty sub-forums? From my point of view as a mod, any re-indexing would need to happen extremely slowly as it would have to fit around my day job, but that needn't be a problem.

This may seem odd, but I wouldn't want to discourage those basic IDT/GDT type questions altogether - I'm not in favour of "go and learn OS Dev elsewhere and only come back when you're Zen". OTOH, it would be nice if the kind of members you outline in your first 2 points did not feel the need to go elsewhere.

gravaera wrote:
Even better, is the fact that people might be envouraged to create "RFC" posts that present a design, and say, link to threads with similar designs,

One suggestion would be to encourage the creation of such topics as /User: pages in the wiki, which may be a more appropriate format. Discussions about these design topics could then be linked to in the forum (as the talk: pages are worse than useless for proper discussion).

If members feel that these kind of fundamental changes would help OSDev become a better place, let's hear it. If the forum needs to evolve, we can always make well thought through suggestions to Chase.

Cheers,
Adam


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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:04 pm 
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You could create a "Beginner Questions" subforum where newcomers are free to ask potentially stupid questions and then have some more fine-grained forums that doesn't have generalized topics. (For instance, having both a Beginner Questions forum and a OS Development forum will offend people if their topics are moved.) That is, there should be a forum for getting help with potentially trivial stuff, and forums on more advanced topics that no one can help you with, just guide you.


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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:04 pm 
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Hi,

AJ wrote:
What're people's opinions? Would finer-grained subforums raise the level of design discussions, or would we simply end up with a load of empty sub-forums? From my point of view as a mod, any re-indexing would need to happen extremely slowly as it would have to fit around my day job, but that needn't be a problem.


I vote for finer-grained subforums. :)

Regards,
Shikhin

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:56 am 
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Hi,

AJ wrote:
What're people's opinions?


My opinion is:
  • We want to mix "beginner" and "advanced" posts in the same place. If we have "beginner" sub-forums none of the advanced developers will bother looking at them and they'll end up full of unanswered questions and beginners attempting to help beginners ("the blind leading the blind"); and if we have an "advanced developer" sub-forums they'll be empty.
  • If we have topic-specific sub-forums; it won't work - they'll either be "extremely low volume" (e.g. one question/discussion every 6 months); or littered with off-topic and cross-topic posts (e.g. imagine a discussion about the memory management services provided by the kernel to applications; that can't fit entirely in a "memory management" sub-forum or in a "kernel API" sub-forum and will probably drift towards how to use paging properly after 4 posts anyway).
  • People answering questions should be encouraged to use the wiki more. For a lot of forum posts (excluding things "my boot loader crashes!" where the wiki isn't appropriate) there are really only 2 ideal answers - "Here's the wiki page you want" and "It wasn't in the wiki so I created a wiki page containing the information. Here's the new wiki page you want". As an "accidental" side-effect, this will also encourage people asking questions to use the wiki more.
  • We should clearly state that the purpose of the forums is to help beginners become advanced developers (and to help advanced developers become even more advanced). This has never been stated clearly by anyone; and because this isn't clearly stated anywhere, every 6 months or so someone goes all elitist and comes up with some whacky idea like getting rid of the beginners (which would cut off the supply of future advanced developers and will turn the forums into an abandoned waste-land in less than 6 months).

Note: helping beginners become advanced developers includes helping them learn how to find information. This includes helping them learn to find rare/elusive information (e.g. ancient Cyrix CPU datasheets) but also includes helping them learn to find information that's in the wiki. For this reason I'd rather ban someone for posting "RTFM" than to ban someone who needs help learning how to find information in the manual.


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:50 am 
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Quote:
would we simply end up with a load of empty sub-forums


I think so.

Better would be like iansjack suggested before, be very prominent about using wiki and google first. Maybe have a link to lmgtfy.com on the entry page, maybe replace phpBB license agreement with a shortlist of forum rules and a big fat warning. Just make the other non-forum options more visible.

Of course that will never stop idiots, but that's inevitable and we can lower their counts.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:47 am 
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What constitutes "an idiot" is not the actual questions but the way of asking them. Well-spoken questions deserve good answers. If we take this "read the manual" to the extreme, there are not much questions left to be asked. I would not underestimate the value of OSDev-interested people getting together discussing actively. Even though the discussions are not always "perfect", it is better than not having them at all. I highly doubt that advanced users among themselves would get along with each other very long unless they have some project they are working on together. How many active topics we see that are started by an "advanced user"?

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:24 pm 
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I approve of welcoming and helping beginners, as long as their posts are legitimate and on-topic. But I also see a pressing need to draw the line somewhere. Children should not be allowed to disrupt the discussions under the guise of being "beginners". I think that there is a need to define what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable practices. For example, one could say that acceptable practices would include discussions of operating systems and their design, discussion of general programming problems in the correct subforum, and possibly getting help with minor problems provided that the asker has at least a basic idea about what he's trying to do. Unacceptable practices might include basic questions about a programming language, questions that arise from refusing to read an easily available manual, SMS language, random meaningless drivel, tantrums, fits, rages, meltdowns, threats, vengeful/hostile/anti-social behaviour, complaining about how you're treated, etc. If these behaviours were promptly responded to with warnings and bans, things would immediately look much more professional and interesting to viewers who are surfing the web, and one might get more meaningful activity. As I see it, noisemakers are not the beginnings of advanced system developers. If anything, they are the beginning of increasingly advanced forms of disruption.


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