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Old 06-23-2008, 09:41 PM
Kevin Fenzi
 
Default Fedora Support channels Improvement ideas

Greetings.

First of all, I am not sure this is the best place to discuss this, but
I figured I would start here. If someone can think of a better venue I
am happy to move discussion there. (Also, see the end of this mail
where I suggest a brainstorming session on IRC).

This weekend at Paul's State of Fedora talk at the end of the sessions
on Saturday, he mentioned several areas where Fedora really could
improve. One of these areas was the help that people get on the #fedora
irc channel. I've been hanging out in that channel for the last year
and a half, and I agree we could do a lot better than we have been, so
I jotted some ideas down while waiting for my 5 hour delayed flight
leaving boston.

Lets look at where we are now first. End users can seek peer provided
support from:

- #fedora on irc.freenode.net
- #fedora-XX (for lang specific support) on irc.freenode.net
- The web based Fedora forum at http://fedoraforum.org
- The fedora-list email list at:
http://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/fedora-list/

Currently as far as I know, all these efforts are managed by interested
folks in each area, largely without any guidance from the Fedora
Project itself.

I'm going to focus now on the #fedora channel, because I know it.
Perhaps some interested folks who are involved in the forum and/or the
fedora-list can chime in here and talk about them?

On the IRC channel I think there are a number of issues that we should
address, here's just a few I came up with in a few minutes:

- It's impossible for a user seeking help to know who they should
listen to. Anyone can provide incorrect or bad advice, but it should be
easier for them to identify that someone is representing Fedora and/or
has helped lots of others and knows what they are talking about.

- Sometimes no ops are around, so abusive or disruptive people aren't
kicked out soon enough.

- Sometimes no helpers are around, so questions just go unanswered.

- Sometimes users are abused by folks that seem to be helping them.
Always taking their questions very literally, pointing them to
unhelpful sites, leading them on with a bunch of statements that don't
help to get the users question figured out or problem solved.

- Support is uneven. It would be good if there were clear guidelines
what things were off topic and/or not supported. Most folks will tell
users that Fedora versions without updates anymore (anything before f8
currently) aren't supported, but some people still try and assist them.

- Sometimes users are upset with the way they have been treated, and
they have no recourse to improve things or find out what they did
wrong.

Some possible solutions I think would be worth considering:

- Form a 'Fedora Support' SIG to gather all the support channels under
one org and start up some communication channels between them.
Perhaps call it "Fedora HelpDesk" or "Fedora Helpers" or something to
prevent people from confusing it with paid support. One possible
problem with this is the legal aspect: Can folks who are in a SIG
ofically representing Fedora talk about things like the livna repo or
point people to those sources. (Many many many folks coming to #fedora
for help ask about those).

- Some way of showing who has been helpful on the IRC channel would be
great. Perhaps some kind of karma system where users could add karma to
people who are assisting and remove from those who are not, then a
periodic report to the channel about the active users and their
standing, or a pointer to a website with current stats. Perhaps
freenode cloaks for the folks in the SIG/group.

- Some guidelines people could look at for the channel. What is
specifically supported. What is not. A list of items that will get you
removed from the channel. A way to address a complaint to the SIG that
will get mediated and checked. Specific HOWTO's or docs that should be
used to help users.

- Scheduled Shifts for SIG members, listed somewhere people could look.
Ideally we could get enough people to always have someone available to
help. If not, we could clearly show that it was "after hours" and come
back when helpers are around.

- Scheduled Shifts for OP's. Ideally we would always have an active OP
around who could take care of abusive or disruptive people, based on
the guidelines.

- Training for helpers and/or open to the Fedora community.
Get a rotating group of people to do a class on irc once a week on some
topic or SIG. Regular meetings of the SIG could help show other support
channels what questions are "hot" and the best answers to them.

- A bot might be useful to implement some of these things, allowing
users to check karma, get pointers to guidelines or resources, etc.

Thats just a few ideas to get things going.

I propose that any interested parties meet on #fedora-meeting later
this week and brainstorm ideas. Anyone interested in attending, please
send me an email what times you are available on thursday or friday of
this week and we see what we can come up with.

Hopefully the idea isn't all bad.

kevin
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:57 PM
"Colin Walters"
 
Default Fedora Support channels Improvement ideas

2008/6/23 Kevin Fenzi <kevin@scrye.com>:



This weekend at Paul's State of Fedora talk at the end of the sessions

on Saturday, he mentioned several areas where Fedora really could

improve. One of these areas was the help that people get on the #fedora

irc channel.
I think IRC is kind of fundamentally doomed because of the culture.

If we want to emphasize a support medium, the forum is much nicer:

http://forums.fedoraforum.org/forumdisplay.php?f=7


It has decent search (and unlike Bugzilla your forum thread won't vanish from search because it's too old or got fixed, grrr)

The live aspect of IRC is nice though; Mozilla has been doing some work on live chat support which looks potentially useful:

http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Live+Chat


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Old 06-23-2008, 10:05 PM
"Dominik 'Rathann' Mierzejewski"
 
Default Fedora Support channels Improvement ideas

On Monday, 23 June 2008 at 23:57, Colin Walters wrote:
> 2008/6/23 Kevin Fenzi <kevin@scrye.com>:
>
> >
> > This weekend at Paul's State of Fedora talk at the end of the sessions
> > on Saturday, he mentioned several areas where Fedora really could
> > improve. One of these areas was the help that people get on the #fedora
> > irc channel.
>
>
> I think IRC is kind of fundamentally doomed because of the culture.

It's possible to keep small channels (<50 people) nice and civil, but
with more people, it's not really viable unless you have an op watching
at all times.

> If we want to emphasize a support medium, the forum is much nicer:
>
> http://forums.fedoraforum.org/forumdisplay.php?f=7
>
> It has decent search (and unlike Bugzilla your forum thread won't vanish
> from search because it's too old or got fixed, grrr)

I, for one, detest the forums (any forums) for their terrible user
interface. Mailing lists or usenet newsgroups are much more convenient
to use.

Regards,
R.

--
Fedora http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Rathann
Livna http://rpm.livna.org | MPlayer http://mplayerhq.hu
"Faith manages."
-- Delenn to Lennier in Babylon 5:"Confessions and Lamentations"

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Old 06-23-2008, 10:09 PM
Kevin Fenzi
 
Default Fedora Support channels Improvement ideas

On Mon, 23 Jun 2008 17:57:10 -0400
walters@verbum.org ("Colin Walters") wrote:

> 2008/6/23 Kevin Fenzi <kevin@scrye.com>:
>
> >
> > This weekend at Paul's State of Fedora talk at the end of the
> > sessions on Saturday, he mentioned several areas where Fedora
> > really could improve. One of these areas was the help that people
> > get on the #fedora irc channel.
>
>
> I think IRC is kind of fundamentally doomed because of the culture.

Well, I agree there are issues to be overcome, but I think it's worth
us trying to provide all the support channels we can, eventually even
(if enough people are insane enough to want to): call in support
(fedora talk rocks!)

> If we want to emphasize a support medium, the forum is much nicer:
>
> http://forums.fedoraforum.org/forumdisplay.php?f=7
>
> It has decent search (and unlike Bugzilla your forum thread won't
> vanish from search because it's too old or got fixed, grrr)

Sure, I think forums work great for some people... I would love to see
the forum people talking to the irc people talking to the mailing list
people and each providing the support they like to provide.
I have no real idea who runs the forum... are we likely to get them
seeing this thread?

> The live aspect of IRC is nice though; Mozilla has been doing some
> work on live chat support which looks potentially useful:
> http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Live+Chat

Yeah, that would be potentially very nice to use...
We could point that at the #fedora channel if we can get it setup
better.

kevin

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Old 06-23-2008, 10:11 PM
Eric Sandeen
 
Default Fedora Support channels Improvement ideas

Dominik 'Rathann' Mierzejewski wrote:
> On Monday, 23 June 2008 at 23:57, Colin Walters wrote:
>> 2008/6/23 Kevin Fenzi <kevin@scrye.com>:
>>
>>> This weekend at Paul's State of Fedora talk at the end of the sessions
>>> on Saturday, he mentioned several areas where Fedora really could
>>> improve. One of these areas was the help that people get on the #fedora
>>> irc channel.
>>
>> I think IRC is kind of fundamentally doomed because of the culture.
>
> It's possible to keep small channels (<50 people) nice and civil, but
> with more people, it's not really viable unless you have an op watching
> at all times.

What if there were #fedora-filesystems, #fedora-gnome, #fedora-sound,
$fedora-$WHATEVER to focus the discussions & keep things a bit more
manageable? Or is that just many more tabs for the fedora-keepers to
lurk in...

>> If we want to emphasize a support medium, the forum is much nicer:
>>
>> http://forums.fedoraforum.org/forumdisplay.php?f=7
>>
>> It has decent search (and unlike Bugzilla your forum thread won't vanish
>> from search because it's too old or got fixed, grrr)
>
> I, for one, detest the forums (any forums) for their terrible user
> interface. Mailing lists or usenet newsgroups are much more convenient
> to use.

Amen.

-Eric

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Old 06-23-2008, 10:12 PM
"Stephen John Smoogen"
 
Default Fedora Support channels Improvement ideas

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 4:05 PM, Dominik 'Rathann' Mierzejewski
<dominik@greysector.net> wrote:
> On Monday, 23 June 2008 at 23:57, Colin Walters wrote:
>> 2008/6/23 Kevin Fenzi <kevin@scrye.com>:
>>
>> >
>> > This weekend at Paul's State of Fedora talk at the end of the sessions
>> > on Saturday, he mentioned several areas where Fedora really could
>> > improve. One of these areas was the help that people get on the #fedora
>> > irc channel.
>>
>>
>> I think IRC is kind of fundamentally doomed because of the culture.
>
> It's possible to keep small channels (<50 people) nice and civil, but
> with more people, it's not really viable unless you have an op watching
> at all times.
>
>> If we want to emphasize a support medium, the forum is much nicer:
>>
>> http://forums.fedoraforum.org/forumdisplay.php?f=7
>>
>> It has decent search (and unlike Bugzilla your forum thread won't vanish
>> from search because it's too old or got fixed, grrr)
>
> I, for one, detest the forums (any forums) for their terrible user
> interface. Mailing lists or usenet newsgroups are much more convenient
> to use.
>

I have to agree... having tried to do Red Hat support through Forums
before.. it was pretty broken ( a long rant has been deleted due to
not wanting to put on another eyepatch). The interface in forums does
not seem to be any more different from 1999/2000 to now. If anything,
you want something that combines mail and forums.. I need to look at
the mailman patches for that.


--
Stephen J Smoogen. -- BSD/GNU/Linux
How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed
in a naughty world. = Shakespeare. "The Merchant of Venice"

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Old 06-23-2008, 10:14 PM
"Stephen John Smoogen"
 
Default Fedora Support channels Improvement ideas

2008/6/23 Kevin Fenzi <kevin@scrye.com>:
> On Mon, 23 Jun 2008 17:57:10 -0400
> walters@verbum.org ("Colin Walters") wrote:
>
>> 2008/6/23 Kevin Fenzi <kevin@scrye.com>:
>>
>> >
>> > This weekend at Paul's State of Fedora talk at the end of the
>> > sessions on Saturday, he mentioned several areas where Fedora
>> > really could improve. One of these areas was the help that people
>> > get on the #fedora irc channel.
>>
>>
>> I think IRC is kind of fundamentally doomed because of the culture.
>
> Well, I agree there are issues to be overcome, but I think it's worth
> us trying to provide all the support channels we can, eventually even
> (if enough people are insane enough to want to): call in support
> (fedora talk rocks!)
>
>> If we want to emphasize a support medium, the forum is much nicer:
>>
>> http://forums.fedoraforum.org/forumdisplay.php?f=7
>>
>> It has decent search (and unlike Bugzilla your forum thread won't
>> vanish from search because it's too old or got fixed, grrr)
>
> Sure, I think forums work great for some people... I would love to see

Yeah I have seen some people able to wrap their midns around it.. me I
just can't focus on the forums and my email and my IRC sessions.

> the forum people talking to the irc people talking to the mailing list
> people and each providing the support they like to provide.
> I have no real idea who runs the forum... are we likely to get them
> seeing this thread?
>
>> The live aspect of IRC is nice though; Mozilla has been doing some
>> work on live chat support which looks potentially useful:
>> http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Live+Chat
>
> Yeah, that would be potentially very nice to use...
> We could point that at the #fedora channel if we can get it setup
> better.
>

The big issue with IRC is that when you are in crisis mode, you want
to focus on one 'thread' at a time.. and IRC ends up getting lolcat
threads with 'kernel corrupted ext3 node' in horrible ways.


--
Stephen J Smoogen. -- BSD/GNU/Linux
How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed
in a naughty world. = Shakespeare. "The Merchant of Venice"

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Old 06-23-2008, 10:15 PM
"Arthur Pemberton"
 
Default Fedora Support channels Improvement ideas

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 5:11 PM, Eric Sandeen <sandeen@redhat.com> wrote:
> Dominik 'Rathann' Mierzejewski wrote:
>> On Monday, 23 June 2008 at 23:57, Colin Walters wrote:
>>> 2008/6/23 Kevin Fenzi <kevin@scrye.com>:
>>>
>>>> This weekend at Paul's State of Fedora talk at the end of the sessions
>>>> on Saturday, he mentioned several areas where Fedora really could
>>>> improve. One of these areas was the help that people get on the #fedora
>>>> irc channel.
>>>
>>> I think IRC is kind of fundamentally doomed because of the culture.
>>
>> It's possible to keep small channels (<50 people) nice and civil, but
>> with more people, it's not really viable unless you have an op watching
>> at all times.
>
> What if there were #fedora-filesystems, #fedora-gnome, #fedora-sound,
> $fedora-$WHATEVER to focus the discussions & keep things a bit more
> manageable? Or is that just many more tabs for the fedora-keepers to
> lurk in...


That seems the most feasible solution to me. Java applets to connect
to an appropriate channel from the fedora website would also be useful
(to ease the barrier to entry)


--
Fedora 7 : sipping some of that moonshine
( www.pembo13.com )

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Old 06-23-2008, 10:20 PM
"Jeff Spaleta"
 
Default Fedora Support channels Improvement ideas

2008/6/23 Kevin Fenzi <kevin@scrye.com>:
> - Form a 'Fedora Support' SIG to gather all the support channels under
> one org and start up some communication channels between them.
> Perhaps call it "Fedora HelpDesk" or "Fedora Helpers" or something to
> prevent people from confusing it with paid support.

This has been kicked around for a while now. The idea needs a leader
to organize the space. Form the SIG and see who shows up willing to
put in effort.

> - Some way of showing who has been helpful on the IRC channel would be
> great. Perhaps some kind of karma system where users could add karma to
> people who are assisting and remove from those who are not, then a
> periodic report to the channel about the active users and their
> standing, or a pointer to a website with current stats. Perhaps
> freenode cloaks for the folks in the SIG/group.

I have a hard time envisioning how evaluate the quality of help
without introducing significant personal bias. Its beyond me, but
that shouldn't stop you from finding a way to do it. I would certainly
appreciate having a metric by which to trend.

>
> - Some guidelines people could look at for the channel. What is
> specifically supported. What is not. A list of items that will get you
> removed from the channel. A way to address a complaint to the SIG that
> will get mediated and checked. Specific HOWTO's or docs that should be
> used to help users.

I think this would be priority #1 for a SIG in this area. In fact I
think I'm in agreement with the rest of what you said, in the order
you said it as a priority list... its been said before. We need to
either attempt it or we stop talking about it and move on.

If you want to re-use #fedora and other existing channels you'll need
to make an effort to get the ops on those channels in on the SIG work
to draft the guidelines. The more of the existing ops you can have in
the guideline formulation, and the more who affirm their personal
commitment to the final guidelines the less of a fight we'll have when
it comes time to do the re-org.

-jef"If I've been voted out of office, I'll definitely be
participating heavily in the SIG discussions."spaleta

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Old 06-23-2008, 10:35 PM
Scott Glaser
 
Default Fedora Support channels Improvement ideas

On Mon, 2008-06-23 at 17:15 -0500, Arthur Pemberton wrote:
> That seems the most feasible solution to me. Java applets to connect
> to an appropriate channel from the fedora website would also be useful
> (to ease the barrier to entry)

As one of the current OP's #fedora, I think that starting with a basic
#fedora channel guideline would be the best way to start. Then the users
would know what is tolerated and what is not, it would also cover
guidelines for the OP's as far as code of conduct and what is grounds
for a ban/kick including time frames for each.

When I became and OP 2 years ago it was here you go your an OP now. This
was done due to the lack of OPs at the time. Several of us were thrown
into this position this way. Not a good way to start in the channel. It
would have been nice to have a reference at that time.

I am also one of the "Helpers" in the channel, I help many people to the
best of my ability. I do know quite a bit as I have been running *nix
since 1998 but I still have many things to learn. So I agree with the
proposed training sessions.

I am also one of the founders of Fedora Unity and the reason we set it
up was to document many of the items that could not be covered in the
Installation Guide due to legalities. I think we have done a pretty good
job but it would be nice if we could do better.

I am all for the the changes and believe it needs to start with
guidelines first, all the other things could be implemented at a later
time but the guidelines are needed NOW!! The guidelines would instantly
improve the quality of the channel in short time.

V/R

Scott Glaser
Fedora Unity

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