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#1 2004-02-24 01:50:59

Dusty
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From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
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Howto forum

Now that there are quite a few howtos, maybe there should be a special forum to post them in, especially wiki posts. (Actually, is it possible to allow *only* wiki to post?)

Either way, it might be able to find howtos and complete documentation if they were all in one spot, no?

excuse me if this has already been suggested. I've been away for a couple days.

Dusty

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#2 2004-02-24 06:22:02

rasat
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From: Finland, working in Romania
Registered: 2002-12-27
Posts: 2,176
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Re: Howto forum

Dusty wrote:

Now that there are quite a few howtos, maybe there should be a special forum to post them in....

Among the moderators we were discussing about it and concluded that "over time the forum would get filled and ignored... that's why people use the search feature".

For wiki topics alone, a special forum would be ideal. But now resolved topics [FXD] will be assigned requiring also a forum. So the solution is the forum's search engine, not a new forum. PS. for how-to topics we could assign [HWT].

I am aware many users are not aware of this search engine (if not familiar with phpBB). To get everyone, especially the new users, to first search instead of posting a question already asked several times is to make the engine visible.... example a page with pre-installed search criteria.

On "News, FAQ and LP" topic I am trying to setup a "QUICK SEARCH" but so far I haven't find the url code e.g. search keyword: "fxd" with forum: "Desktop Environments" .... any idea how to?
http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?t=2250

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#3 2004-02-24 09:24:22

Moo-Crumpus
Member
From: Hessen / Germany
Registered: 2003-12-01
Posts: 1,443

Re: Howto forum

I can't agree.

As long as users post "Help" and you maybe find the question several postings and requestions later, the search engine is hardly a help. You have to define such a weak query string to find anything matching, and therefore you'll find a mass of postings. Several postings don't fit your needs. Will users ever use strong subjects? I don't think so. All forums I know have debates about this topic. We all shoul'd keep on demanding clear postings, but it is an ongoing fight. Poor usage of subjects  will lead to poor results in searching.

When you search for a general way to do something, you could have a look in the howto chambers, and the forums can be used to discuss variations and more personal stuff. This is how a well organized bbs should work, as far as I am concerned.
Therefore, it would be nice to add a new forum for howtos or whatever it should be named, where only solutions are posted, no questions etc. Maye it should be strongly moderated, to keep it clean.

Reading several postings about demand for better dokumentation, I can't understand why we still argue. Someones have the tools to add a place for howto's in seconds. For sure it may be better to have a wiki or whatever, but it would be a first aid. Don't discuss this questions on and on for ages. Please, fix it.


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#4 2004-02-24 10:39:31

Mr Green
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From: U.K.
Registered: 2003-12-21
Posts: 5,750

Re: Howto forum

Hi

How-to forum.......please

Maybe keep it related to Arch structure....

Mr Green

Gone but not forgotten  :cry:


Mr Green

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#5 2004-02-24 15:44:29

wakeupbomb
Member
From: Liverpool, UK
Registered: 2004-02-15
Posts: 164

Re: Howto forum

Well I think a how-to forum would be a great idea. One would of been useful when I was tryna get Arch figured out.
Also it would cut down on needing much more new documentation since the answer to most questions is in the forum...somewhere, tis just a bugger tryna find them.

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#6 2004-02-24 16:11:06

Xentac
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From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2003-01-17
Posts: 1,797
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Re: Howto forum

Pink Chick wrote:

I can't agree.

As long as users post "Help" and you maybe find the question several postings and requestions later, the search engine is hardly a help. You have to define such a weak query string to find anything matching, and therefore you'll find a mass of postings. Several postings don't fit your needs. Will users ever use strong subjects? I don't think so. All forums I know have debates about this topic. We all shoul'd keep on demanding clear postings, but it is an ongoing fight. Poor usage of subjects  will lead to poor results in searching.

When you search for a general way to do something, you could have a look in the howto chambers, and the forums can be used to discuss variations and more personal stuff. This is how a well organized bbs should work, as far as I am concerned.
Therefore, it would be nice to add a new forum for howtos or whatever it should be named, where only solutions are posted, no questions etc. Maye it should be strongly moderated, to keep it clean.

Reading several postings about demand for better dokumentation, I can't understand why we still argue. Someones have the tools to add a place for howto's in seconds. For sure it may be better to have a wiki or whatever, but it would be a first aid. Don't discuss this questions on and on for ages. Please, fix it.

I'm afraid I don't like your tone.

But, regardless, I'll post anyway.

Over time a Howto category will fill up.  Let's say we solve 5 problems a day (it's an example, I've never actually counted).  In 10 days, that's 50 posts, which is a full screen.  That's no problem.

But in a month, we'd have filled 3 pages.

So, you come on the forum, new to Archlinux.  You have, what you think is a common problem and you look in the Howto category.  Are you going to look through all 150 posts?  Are you just going to look at the first 50?  Or are you going to do a search?

I think it's unrealistic to expect any users to read every post in some category.  We already know some new users don't even read the docs, how can we expect them to read a Howto category looking for a problem?

Will we teach them to?  At that point they'll just start searching through the category anyway.  Why not teach them to search the whole forum and skim/look for solved threads?  The moderaters would only mark threads that show the "arch way" as being solved.

Ok, there's my arguement.  If you want a howto category for people to put howtos that they've written, I don't mind that.  Though, I think that having them in some other place, like a website or something, would be better.  There's a difference between a howto and an answered question and that's the distinction I'm making.

This is why we're still arguing about it.  You may think I'm elitist when I say this, but no one owes you around here.  Be part of the solution instead of distancing yourself from the problem.


I have discovered that all of mans unhappiness derives from only one source, not being able to sit quietly in a room
- Blaise Pascal

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#7 2004-02-24 16:28:07

sarah31
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From: Middle of Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 2,975
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Re: Howto forum

a how-to catagory would  be good and i am not personally opposed to  resolved posts moving there (though a resolved thread catagory would be ok too) .

the arguement about piling up in a catagory, Xentac, does not work for me. leaving a resolved post buried in the 355 or more topics in general is no different than it being buried in 150 posts of resolved. doing a search for "fixed" or "resolved" will still dump the same number of topics. the way i see it having resolved posts collected in one area is not a bad idea. it is more work for the mods though.

right now there are resolved posts all over the place and how-to's all over the place collecting how-to's in one spot and encouraging posting of how-tos in that forum is great and collecting resolved topics is good too. in both cases it is a filter.

the harder thing to stop now though will be the ressurection of long dead posts and the tacking on of questions to an unrelated post. when i have done with a topic i am done. i will not go back and look and therefore the person querying will have one less set of eyes viewing their posts.


alot of posts have been placed in the wrong areas lately too.


AKA uknowme

I am not your friend

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#8 2004-02-24 16:32:25

sarah31
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From: Middle of Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 2,975
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Re: Howto forum

addendum: once a how-to is confirmed to work it should be moved to the FAQs (same with resolved threads) and therefore they can be deleted from the forum at the same time.  ideally speaking that is. that was part of why i suggested that the forum adopt more strict "rules". it make it easier for  the documantation to be upgraded.


AKA uknowme

I am not your friend

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#9 2004-02-24 16:34:43

Xentac
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From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2003-01-17
Posts: 1,797
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Re: Howto forum

sarah31 wrote:

the arguement about piling up in a catagory, Xentac, does not work for me. leaving a resolved post buried in the 355 or more topics in general is no different than it being buried in 150 posts of resolved. doing a search for "fixed" or "resolved" will still dump the same number of topics. the way i see it having resolved posts collected in one area is not a bad idea. it is more work for the mods though.

That's fair enough, they will pile up in either case.  My point is that clearly marking them and then using the search function is probably the way to go.  In doing that I see no difference between putting them all in one category or leaving them where they are, so why not just leave them where they are?


I have discovered that all of mans unhappiness derives from only one source, not being able to sit quietly in a room
- Blaise Pascal

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#10 2004-02-24 16:41:34

sarah31
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From: Middle of Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 2,975
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Re: Howto forum

well really it makes know difference to me or you because we are forum gods  tongue but i was thinking more in the sense of newcomers and  documentation maintainers. the latter would hopefully know how to find the resolved threads via search.


AKA uknowme

I am not your friend

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#11 2004-02-24 18:14:43

Dusty
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From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
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Re: Howto forum

I was thinking more of a forum specifically for howtos, not just resolved topics. I'm defining howtos as a step by step document that will allow a user to install or configure something to do with Arch. Usually, Howtos are written after a user has asked som questions and figured out the exact steps needed to do something.

Howto topics tend to have the initial post giving step-by-step instructions, and replies and follow-up posts are addendums or questions. They tend to be a little more oriented around a specific topic.

If they were forced to be posted as wiki it would be likely that the first post would be changed as new ideas or questions about the specific howto were resolved. Therefore, searchers would only have to read the first post instead of trying to glean information from several disjointed topics.  Basically, the howto forum could be a on-forum wiki.

Dusty

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#12 2004-02-24 18:45:22

Mr Green
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From: U.K.
Registered: 2003-12-21
Posts: 5,750

Re: Howto forum

I agree with Dusty......

Lets stop talking about it & do it.......


Mr Green

O & a forum for the forum gods too..... wink


Mr Green

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#13 2004-02-24 19:01:07

apeiro
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From: Victoria, BC, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-12
Posts: 771
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Re: Howto forum

A forum isn't really an ideal place for completed/finalized howto documents.  I've set up a wiki, and rasat is going to start moving finished documents over to it for archiving.  He'll announce it when it's ready to go.

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#14 2004-02-25 09:45:29

Moo-Crumpus
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From: Hessen / Germany
Registered: 2003-12-01
Posts: 1,443

Re: Howto forum

Xentac wrote:

Ok, there's my arguement.  If you want a howto category for people to put howtos that they've written, I don't mind that.  Though, I think that having them in some other place, like a website or something, would be better.  There's a difference between a howto and an answered question and that's the distinction I'm making.

This is what I said - or meant. Sorry, if you don't like my tone, I tried to be as polite as possible.


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#15 2004-02-25 09:47:22

Moo-Crumpus
Member
From: Hessen / Germany
Registered: 2003-12-01
Posts: 1,443

Re: Howto forum

apeiro wrote:

A forum isn't really an ideal place for completed/finalized howto documents.  I've set up a wiki, and rasat is going to start moving finished documents over to it for archiving.  He'll announce it when it's ready to go.

Thank you!


Frumpus addict
[mu'.krum.pus], [frum.pus]

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#16 2004-02-27 18:30:33

rasat
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From: Finland, working in Romania
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Re: Howto forum

I have posted the announcement in another topic:
http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?t=2880

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#17 2004-03-09 01:21:18

im_ka
Member
Registered: 2004-03-07
Posts: 118

Re: Howto forum

i agree with xentac.

the only thing i'd like to mention is that -being quite new to arch- we should make new users aware that they should look at the docs, wiki, whatever or do a search on the forum be4 they post. irc is a good place to go too (thanks for all the help!  8)

so let's make newbies aware. maybe there could be some warning like "please search before you post"  :?:  or smthg like that so the board doesn't get too bloated.

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#18 2004-03-10 07:47:16

rasat
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From: Finland, working in Romania
Registered: 2002-12-27
Posts: 2,176
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Re: Howto forum

im_ka wrote:

so let's make newbies aware.

What would help, is to add one Wiki icon beside the "Search" icon. 

Example:
<b> FAQ   Search   WikiSearch Memberlist   Usergroups
Profile   You have no new messages   Log in </b>

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#19 2004-03-10 16:31:22

Dusty
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From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
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Re: Howto forum

rasat wrote:
im_ka wrote:

so let's make newbies aware.

What would help, is to add one Wiki icon beside the "Search" icon.

Excellent Suggestion!

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#20 2004-03-10 16:43:06

Mr Green
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From: U.K.
Registered: 2003-12-21
Posts: 5,750

Re: Howto forum

Then do it........ smile


Mr Green

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#21 2004-04-18 18:42:42

skoal
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From: Frequent Flyer Underworld
Registered: 2004-03-23
Posts: 612
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Re: Howto forum

Rather simple solution actually.  When you want the best, steal from the best.  Most Linux websites, and in general, commercial retail sites have separate "FAQ", "Howto", and "Wiki" sections.

In fact, "Wiki" comes from the Hawaiian slang "wiki wiki", which means quick.  In essence, a "Wiki" link should be slightly moderated, and the contributions made therein are provided by the user, from his general experience.  His/Her "Wiki" is hastily edited and provided as a quick supplement to what the site traveler is looking for.  But, by no means, is the "Wiki" an end all solution, or guarantee.

A Separate "FAQ" or "Howto" link on the main AL website would be closely moderated and edited primarily by the AL website maintainers and staff.  The "FAQ" is the professional extraction from the "Wiki" (user contributions) and provided as a link.  Almost all site travelers will hit the "FAQ" section first before a "Forum" or "Wiki".

SUMMARY:

I think a separate "FAQ" link on the main AL website would be welcome

I think it would minimize some repetitive posts in the forums.  In addition, the "search" tool used in most forums (including AL's) is not very precise.  In fact, when most people post a subject as "Help needed", or "I can't figure out what's wrong here...", while scanning the "search" hits in the forums, it's not all too apparent if that particular post is relevant to your query.  And, who really has the patience to scan through a potential 10 replies per thread and 20-30 threads per query?

The Admins could remedy this by the following (and in this order):

1. Allow the "Wiki" to be open to the end user (which I believe it already does), so he/she can post there with their experiences and solutions, following "Wiki" guidelines outlined by AL staff.

2. The Admins/Moderators could themselves contribute to the "Wiki" by extracting the most relevant information from the "Forums", using the thread replies which have good steps or outlined solutions to common problems.

3. The Admins/Moderators, or one in particular, can edit some of the more common "Wiki" posts and place them in the "FAQ" link section.  Currently, the "Wiki" looks like a "FAQ" section.

So, a synopsis of growth would be:

"Forums" create a "Wiki".  "Wiki" creates a "FAQ".  "FAQ" removes "Confusion".  "Confusion" leaves in a fit, frustrated and hell-bent on vengeance, and promptly jumps back to the "Gentoo" site, where it is welcomed and embraced with open arms.

Of course, number 3 would have some overlapping sections with the "Wiki", but that's how it should be.  The benefit is that the growing "FAQ" would be developed as time permits for the AL staff, site travelers would hit that section first before the un-moderated "Forums" or "Wiki" (for reasons relating to general web browsing behaviour given above), and reliance on the frustrating "search" query in the Forums would be lessenned.

Maybe it's just me, but I always look for a "FAQ" or "Howto" when I visit a Linux site.  The AL site was no exception, in my case, when I first came here.  Whether that's a symptom of trained behaviour over the years which arose from early site developer ogranization, or general lack of acceptance or understanding of a "Wiki" by most currently, I think that's the common approach that works best from my experiences on the web, and on Linux sites in particular.

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#22 2004-04-19 03:33:55

rasat
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From: Finland, working in Romania
Registered: 2002-12-27
Posts: 2,176
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Re: Howto forum

skoal wrote:

2. The Admins/Moderators could themselves contribute to the "Wiki" by extracting the most relevant information from the "Forums", using the thread replies which have good steps or outlined solutions to common problems.

This I thought to do when I became moderator.... add [FXx] (solved) in subject header and later add in Wiki. But....

Currently there are about 30 to 50 new posts everyday. Many of the solutions appear after several replies through emotional expressions; anger, happiness, frustration, or changing subject, making it difficult to extract and compare.

No doubt it can be done. Then we need more moderators, especially mods who like to read everything and memorizing what's going on.... a journalist. wink This can also be done by any user who is interested and want to add the solutions in Wiki.

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#23 2004-04-19 19:51:33

skoal
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From: Frequent Flyer Underworld
Registered: 2004-03-23
Posts: 612
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Re: Howto forum

rasat wrote:
skoal wrote:

Currently there are about 30 to 50 new posts everyday. Many of the solutions appear after several replies through emotional expressions; anger, happiness, frustration, or changing subject, making it difficult to extract and compare.

No doubt it can be done. Then we need more moderators, especially mods who like to read everything and memorizing what's going on.... a journalist. wink This can also be done by any user who is interested and want to add the solutions in Wiki.

Yes.  I agree it is time consuming.  I understand the difficulties in implementing an idea in a growing business, as I am self-employed and am pressed for time as well.  Many "productive" ideas I think would contribute to my company are put on the "back burner", until time permits. 

I think, however, AL has a good solid base and will continue to prosper and grow, as I myself spread the word, as others in these forums probably do, about your distribution.  I'm fairly new to AL and am impressed with, primarily, at the speed by which package maintainers release current packages of primary interest to the Linux community (in general).  It would seem the package releases are of primary importance, and the AL website (and underlying issues associated with it) are somewhere just below it on the priority list, with which I agree and appreciate.

The primary thrust of my original post was to, hopefully, stress the importance, IMHO, of a need for a separate "FAQ" link.  Personally, I feel the "Wiki" contents, in their current form, already look like a moderated "FAQ".  It looks well written and moderated.

If you implied in your post above that some of us AL users, like myself for example, could contribute to the "Wiki" now (in it's current form), then I might just do that.  I haven't yet, since I have differing opinions on the usage of a "Wiki", and was a little hesitant to post there in case I had made some careless omissions or errors in my document.  Instead, I use the (even less formal) forums to provide a "detailed" solution when I can. 

I enjoy a break from work by reading these forums and posting solutions, relating to what limited experience I do have with certain aspects of Linux.  I'll read over the "Wiki" guidelines.  If it's open to the end user to post, then I'll give it a try, when I see appropriate to post there instead of the forums.  I'll just leave it to the AL moderators, and their good judgement,  to "slice and dice" my "Wiki" post as they see fit.

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#24 2004-07-31 12:12:01

Leigh
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2004-06-25
Posts: 533

Re: Howto forum

For a user to benifit more from searching for solutions to problems,
maybe a new forum catagory could be added with a topic..

Solutions

and a description... If you had a problem and was able to find a
solution, posting the problem and solution here could help others.

This way you would have a catagory dedicated to solutions by
the users who fixed the problem, istead of trying to weed through
catagorys and posts which may or may not have a solution to your
problem. Also if there was a way to restrict a search to a specific
forum topic it would help when the "solutions" catagory fills up
to a huge amount and your quary would only be filled with posts
listing a solution to a problem.

It may not be that usfull at first but as the posts grow, it could then
be utilized as a base for a new and updated FAQ for users.

just a thought.


-- archlinux 是一个极好的 linux

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#25 2004-07-31 16:33:57

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
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Re: Howto forum

Leigh wrote:

This way you would have a catagory dedicated to solutions by
the users who fixed the problem, istead of trying to weed through
catagorys and posts which may or may not have a solution to your
problem.

This would depend on users being asiduous enough to move their solutions around, but they tend to be lazy.  Another option is for moderators to move stuff, but they tend to be busy.

The paradigm right now is to try to copy frequent problems (rasat and I do this, and users help out too) with solutions into the wiki. "One time" problems tend to be unique, and therefore easier to search for (because they have unique words, such as module names).

Dusty

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