Crossposting between forums

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Crossposting between forums

Postby acknak » Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:51 pm

I don't know about anyone else, but this completely surprised me; although looking back, it should have been obvious that it was going to happen. That is, that people in a hurry for an answer would post the same question to as many support sources as they could find.

The result is not fundamentally different than crossposting to multiple areas of one forum: it duplicates effort to reply and it divides the discussion. Yet it seems there is very little we can do about it, as the support sources are all independent. Even so, many people (including myself) visit several sites regularly, and noticing the duplicates is not difficult.

A discussion of this began here: http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7381#p7381; I suggest it should continue here (if anyone else has anything to say).

Is there any thing we can do about it?

I have (in one case) answered a cross-post on oooforum (because there were already replies there), and left a reply here saying "look over there for my reply". It seems better to have one answer thread than two, even if it's on another forum. Thinking about that now, I'm not so sure, because we don't have control over the content on another forum.

I'm thinking now that maybe we should just officially ignore it. People will still do it--it's a natural tactic when there are multiple resources--and we'll spend more energy trying to discourage it than we will answering the question.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby probe1 » Fri Jan 18, 2008 6:25 pm

Yes, this is happening.

You may answer here and point to this forum's post/answer in order to attract people to here. Since this was created if oooforum stops working, I wouldn't do it the other way round.

And - copying my answer from here to other forums with identical questions takes only seconds and doesn't hurt (me).
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby DrewJensen » Fri Jan 18, 2008 6:46 pm

I also don't see anyway to stop it - not necessarily that we should. It is a tactic I have employed in the past ( only very rarely )

As for making reference to posts on other sites - I;m ok with that a long as it is situational...

In other words I would not be supportive of someone going to oooForum with the express purpose of finding questions and then simply saying see http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum?topic.... just to drive traffic from there to here...less so in the other direction.

The reality is however that we are, just about all of us, on both sites from time to time, and for some - other sites to boot. Sometimes it is just easier to say - oh saw that answered over at ............ I have been doing that to some extent at the user@openoffice.org mailing list for example.

All that said I can only share how I am personally going to move forward - I will be moving answers to questions from old posts at OOoForum to this forum. Not everyone but many. For example I just got a reply to a topic from April on oooforum, yesterday - actually a reply and a PM from the posts ( he really wants help..LOL ) and I looked at the topic and sent him a PM that I am moving the main topic, screenshots and base file for download to this forum - where I will address his specific 'how do I change that to? question. But for others old topics where a one or two line response was appropriate I just post them at oooForum.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:26 pm

Cross-posting is not even mentioned in the Survival Guide to the Forum. That should be fixed. I no longer visit the other forum, so what happens there is not my concern, though it is still annoying to waste time answering a question that has been answered elsewhere, so perhaps that could be mentioned.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby DrewJensen » Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:36 pm

You are not suggesting that we say "Ask here and no where else" are you? I assume you mean the survival guide should mention cross posting inside the forum site only - which I believe it does already, doesn't it?
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby probe1 » Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:56 pm

DrewJensen wrote:someone going to oooForum with the express purpose of finding questions and then simply saying see http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum?topic.... just to drive traffic from there to here...less so in the other direction.

Just to clarify: I didn't think of "oh, you have to look in OOCF to find the answer..."

I'm going to oooforum to find questions ... to answer them.
And if I knew (or find) an answer here or elsewhere I will surely post the answer and the source there - not only the link, but too will state the source like "this answer was found ...."
That's what I always do. Give credit to the solution finder.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby DrewJensen » Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:15 pm

I didn't mean to imply you did intend that - i was just stating my opinion in general terms.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:06 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Cross-posting is not even mentioned in the Survival Guide to the Forum.

Done (here: One issue, one thread). But no reference about oooforum, I fully agree with Drew.

As for my position, I don't visit oooforum anymore except to find answers when I remember having seen an issue already discussed there. If it's one of my answers, I just copy and paste it here; if it comes from another user, I copy the answer, giving the link to the thread also (note that here, I just give the link, +1 with the "Give credit to the solution finder" philosophy).

We've set up this forum because oooforum could just vanish at anytime so why still posting over there? OK, it's a bit rude, I do know but we've to assume the path we've taken. As soon as users find good answers on oooforum, both forums will live their own life. But if Ed doesn't pay the forum fee (remember Dec. 2006 offline day?) for example, then end of the game for all the oooforum users.

Moreover, the features in this forum are far better than in oooforum, posting is more comfortable, searching not so (personal opinion because we've to remember to check the results display by topics instead of posts, but no big deal).

There is still one unclear point for me: why all top posters at oooforums haven't followed here? BTW, I just checked about Andrew (Pitonyak) and just discovered that he had been promoted administrator at oooforum! That may explain why we don't see him anymore here.

My conclusion is that "users first" was not the moto for everyone. I guess now that according to what I've seen on oooforum tonight, the risk of it going offline is now quite low. So we've 2 cores of users helping others (some involved in both forums). Is it the worst or best case? Who cares in fact? Let's go back to the forum, answer the questions and have a look at the statistics in some months.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby TerryE » Sat Jan 19, 2008 3:50 pm

acknak wrote:A discussion of this began here: http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7381#p7381; I suggest it should continue here (if anyone else has anything to say).
Acknak, remember that by moving this discussion to this forum we exclude the general membership as only Volunteers can see this forum. I realise that that means we can be a little more frank, but I am not sure that we should deny access to the general membership. Perhaps a better home would be "Site Feedback". Thought anyone?

As to OOoForum, I also rarely go there and then mainly to research old posts, but when I do out of courtesy I always have a quick scan of the unanswered posts > 24hrs old to see if I can quickly answer any, so my post rates have collapsed but are still ticking over.

Acknak and I have played around with mining the old forum, but morally we could only use the information (since it isn't covered by an explicit Free or Copy left licence) if the original contributors agreed. Maybe this is an exercise that we should move up the priorities.

Hagar de l'Est wrote:the features in this forum are far better ... searching not so ...
Just as an aside we haven't forgotten this one. I would like to make this a UCP configuration preference.
Hagar de l'Est wrote:There is still one unclear point for me: why all top posters at oooforums haven't followed here?
If we look at posting patterns for the two forums now, the ratio of Q demand to poster capacity is very different. On usOOo some user will often ask a Q kicking off a debate between 3 or 4 or the power posters around aspects of the issue; and we have virtually no deserving Qs that go unanswered. On OOoF, the % of Qs going unanswered is steadily rising and many answers are terse and minimal. Ed Bunt has also "gone fishing" again for the last two months. Nonetheless, users are still going to OOoForum and some power posters still feel the need to serve these users. It hasn't quite reached the tipping point where the forum is no longer viable, though this could happen within the next month or so. Like others I have decided to do likewise to encourage the tip in user postings: "Also try the Official OOo Community Forum where I mainly post now."
Hagar de l'Est wrote:BTW, I just checked about Andrew (Pitonyak) and just discovered that he had been promoted administrator at oooforum! That may explain why we don't see him anymore here.
No, this happened in October time. If you look Andrew has been posting here a lot more than OOoF. I think that the real issue is Baby No2 + work pressures mean that priorities have had to adjust. (Thank goodness that I am long past such pressures :-))
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby acknak » Sat Jan 19, 2008 7:42 pm

Acknak, remember that by moving this discussion to this forum we exclude the general membership... Perhaps a better home would be "Site Feedback". Thought anyone?

No, I didn't realize that; thanks for pointing it out.

Moved to "Site Feedback"

I didn't notice that anything that might have been expected to be private--if you did, then I apologize in advance.

Is there anything we could do to highlight which forums are public and which are restricted? Obviously if you can't get in, then it's restricted, but if you can get in it's harder to tell.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby DrewJensen » Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:37 pm

The administrative forums ( Quarantine [ topics reported as spam ] and Site-Forum Issues ) are private to members of the Administrator, Moderator and Volunteer group members.

The forum Archive is not visible to anyone - as you may recall this contains the topic posts from the testing period prior to the site going live. At some point in the future I suppose that should be purged and removed permanently.

From time to time there will be special purpose forums that would also have restricted visiblity, for example there is one opened now for discussing issues relating to a collaboration between this site and another site. While that is still in the formative stages with the owner of the other site that is 'restricted' from general view.

At the moment you would just have to remember that these forums do not have universal visibility.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby kingfisher » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:52 pm

Even if you wanted to stop people posting elsewhere as well as here, what can you do? You can only delete or lock the local post. Surely that is not being seriously considered by anyone?
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Phil » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:11 am

Thanks, guys, for the live discussion!

I have a better understanding of the coexistence of the two forums now, and I partly refrain from my thoughts that I posted here.
I admit that it is not really crossposting when it is done in two independent forums. And yes, it costs probably more energy to keep people from posting to multiple forums than to simply post an answer in both forums.

As for me, I will mainly stick to this forum in the future, as I appreciate the much better features. 8-)
And if there is a double posting in the other one, than I'll just post a link to the corresponding thread in this forum. :mrgreen:

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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby TerryE » Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:10 pm

acknak wrote:Is there anything we could do to highlight which forums are public and which are restricted? Obviously if you can't get in, then it's restricted, but if you can get in it's harder to tell.
Not within current phpBB3 features. At the moment the only restricted forums are under the "Admin Forums" section and these are only open to admins and volunteers.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Buddyboy » Sat Feb 09, 2008 1:58 am

Well, just a couple of additional comments from an occasional visitor of the Open Office Forum.

I have used Open Office for about three years. It's a great suite, in my view even better than Microsoft's offering. They gave? me downgraded versions of Microsoft Office with my preloaded system including Microsoft Works. It took me a while to get over the fact that the majority of computer users could not open Works files. It was having such files constantly returned to me as being un-openable that I searched for something better and found Open Office. Open Office does all that I would ever want of a paid system such as Microsoft Office. In that I can now even create PDF documents I can even do more than I used to be able. I love the (free) price of Open Office and I truly appreciate that the world community is striving to help one another in this way, free of charge. It's a wonderful example to others in so many other spheres of life.

Today I did a Google search to get to the Open Office Forum where, I knew, I was already registered. I punched in my username and password and kept getting bounced. Perhaps it has been too long since my last visit, I thought, so I registered again, then posted my question. Later in the day I returned to the site to see if I had an answer, but this time I used my Bookmarks made some time ago. Of course, it took me to the old forum. I had an eerie feeling it looked slightly different but the penny did not drop. Not being able to find my posted question I assumed perhaps there had been a glitch, that it never made it to the board, so I posted the question again. More time passed and, again, I returned to see if there was an answer. This time I ended back at the new forum, saw my original question and read a gentle admonition that I had posted in two sites. I closed off the question on the old site so that solved that, and I began to read here why this is happening.

To my surprise, there is no up-front declaration in a "Read This First" type of title at the top of the front page that explains the two site situation. Following the links I was able to piece together how the new site came about, but that exploration has taken me the better part of almost two hours. As a casual user, I wonder why I have spent so much time doing this but, frankly, it's because I care about the efforts of people who do so much out of the goodness of their hearts.

So, I have one main recommendation. The site really needs a short, clear explanation of the fact that there are two sites for Open Office Forum, why this is the case, and that explanation needs to be at the top of every page in the forum. I think you must surely lose forum users who don't have the time or inclination to understand what is going on here.

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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby squenson » Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:40 am

Why not update your signature in the OOoforum and mention:
>>> Do you know the new OOo support forum http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/index.php? <<<
All your posts will be automatically updated and this can gradually move more people to this forum.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby TerryE » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:50 pm

This is a direct comment on the rather thoughtful and constructive post from Buddyboy.

Basically anyone can register any domain name that they can get — it's a case of first-come first-served. One of the guys who was actively involved in the OOo community back in late 2002 decided that it needed a support forum, so he personally registered and created OOoForum, and by filling a need in the community, this steadily grew over time to become the leading OOo forum in the English community. Having one visionary adopting a "just go and do" policy was a strength of this forum in the early days. However having one guy in charge who would not share control with others also became its fundamental flaw: in mid 2005 his personal priorities changed and leaving the forum to carry on under its own inertia with little or no effective administration, so it started to falter despite the efforts of its supporters.

At that point a group of the active OOoForum supporters grew extremely concerned that the forum would fail and so started to look at alternative continuity options. At the same time the OOo project was also evaluating the integration of a proper user community forum into its own structure and these two groups hooked up leading to creation of user.services.OpenOffice.org. This forum has two key characteristics that differentiate it from OOoForum:
  • OOoForum is total independent from OpenOffice.org; it just happens to attract people interest in OOo. This User Community Forum has a formal relationship with OOo, with a broad charter to represent and support the OOo User Community.
  • OOoForum is administered by a single individual who has had minimal interaction with the forum for the last 30 months. The User Community Forum is run by a group of volunteers under a charter. This gives us the capability and the bandwidth to develop the forum to reflect the needs of the community.
The reality is that many of the moderators and supporters of OOo who used to work in OOoForum, have moved their allegiance to this forum. Some continue to support both, and some have decided that as long as users come to OOoForum there is a need for supporters and therefore continue to support it. At the moment both forums run in parallel providing similar services. My personal view is that over time this forum will become the dominant support forum for the user community.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Feb 09, 2008 3:19 pm

TerryE wrote:At that point a group of the active OOoForum supporters grew extremely concerned that the forum would fail

In addition, we should remember that it was not just theoretical fears, the site eventually died for a full day (end of 2006) because the subscription for the domain name had not been paid.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Buddyboy » Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:39 pm

TerryE: You have encapsulated a nice historical explanation of where this forum came from and why. That's exactly what I suggest is needed somewhere "up front" for an extended period of time. The only thing I would change is where you stated:

"OOoForum is administered by a single individual who has had minimal interaction with the forum for the last 30 months. The User Community Forum is run by a group of volunteers under a charter. This gives us the capability and the bandwidth to develop the forum to reflect the needs of the community."

Change for the last 30 days to an approximate date and the explanation would then not become dated over time. Nicely described.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby acknak » Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:18 pm

There is an announcement posted on oooforum: OpenOffice.org Community Forum, which appears at the top of the "General Discussion" forum, yet which is not all that readily seen by occasional oooforum visitors.

I think you have a good suggestion. My understanding is that OOCF is going to get a "front page" at some point, which would be a great place for a link to the "history/context" information, although I think it has to be condensed down to 2-3 sentences) and worded to reflect positive points, rather than negative. I'm sure the last thing any of us wants to do is criticize oooforum.

I suppose, in the meantime, an announcement post could go under the Beginners forum, and maybe link to that from the site FAQ and/or the Survival Guide.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Phil » Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:35 pm

After some time of silence, I'd like to come back to that topic, especially to the post of TerryE, which was very informative for me.

I wasn't aware of all these details. But concluding from that and from the fact that the number of new users entering the two forums is comparable, I wonder why both forums are still almost equally presented (and thus promoted) on http://support.openoffice.org/?
I would certainly not want to banish the old forum from there, but IMHO it should be made much clearer that OOCF is the official forum and that OOoForum is an independent project.

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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby kingfisher » Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:39 am

The last time I looked, that's what the support page does. I don't see any problem with someone posting on both forums.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby James » Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:26 am

Phil wrote:IMHO it should be made much clearer that OOCF is the official forum and that OOoForum is an independent project.

That is the way it is indicated at the moment.

IIRC the support page is to be revised after the new homepage design goes live. Judging by the responses we've received on the website-dev mailing list I think the new page will satisfy your requirements :)
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Phil » Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:31 pm

kingfisher wrote:The last time I looked, that's what the support page does.

Formally yes. But if there is an intention of moving more people to the official forum, then the difference should be made clearer.

kingfisher wrote:I don't see any problem with someone posting on both forums.

We have discussed that already, and I agree to that.
My point is that, based on the facts TerryE gave us, the goal should be to move more people to the official forum, the more so as it is a far more modern platform with much better features.

James wrote:Judging by the responses we've received on the website-dev mailing list I think the new page will satisfy your requirements :)

OK, that sounds good. :mrgreen:
I'm looking forward to the new site. 8-) When is it going to be launched?

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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby James » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:05 pm

Phil wrote:I'm looking forward to the new site. 8-) When is it going to be launched?

You'll be surprised to hear there isn't a specific date ;) But it is close now. My guess is they'll try to get everything sorted to coincide with the release of 2.4.0 - but I could be wrong :o

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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Phil » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:32 pm

James wrote:You'll be surprised to hear there isn't a specific date ;)

I would never have expected that! :lol:

Anyway, the synchronization with release 2.4 is a good idea, of course.

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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby acknak » Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:22 pm

Phil wrote:... the goal should be to move more people to the official forum, the more so as it is a far more modern platform with much better features.

I'm not sure what you had in mind when you wrote that, but taking it at face value, I would like to say that there is no such goal--at least that I'm aware of. There are people who prefer oooforum over this one. That should be entirely their choice; we have no business trying to influence anyone in any particular direction, IMO.

We can just do our best here and let people choose to participate wherever they like.

If OO.org chooses to link directly or visibly to this site, then that's their decision. I hope they will continue to link to other support sites as well.

Maybe that's all you were thinking of; I just wanted to be clear.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Phil » Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:17 am

acknak wrote:
Phil wrote:... the goal should be to move more people to the official forum, the more so as it is a far more modern platform with much better features.

I'm not sure what you had in mind when you wrote that, but taking it at face value, I would like to say that there is no such goal--at least that I'm aware of.

There is probably no such goal yet - what I was thinking of is whether there should be such a goal.
What I specifically had in mind are the statements made by TerryE:
TerryE wrote:OOoForum is total independent from OpenOffice.org;
[...]
This User Community Forum has a formal relationship with OOo, with a broad charter to represent and support the OOo User Community.
[...]
OOoForum is administered by a single individual who has had minimal interaction with the forum for the last 30 months.

From these facts I think that OO.org should have the goal to primarily promote this User Community Forum and thus I think, as you assumed correctly, that OO.org should primarily link to this community. Of course they should still link to other, independent support sites as well, but this forum should be pointed out as the one with the formal relationship, thus the official forum.
Of course we are not OO.org, so it's not our direct decision. But having a formal relationship with them, we could discuss that matter with them, couldn't we?

You should maybe also see it from the new users perspective. It is helpful to see one support forum being the official one where a new user can start off with. In a second step, the new user could (and probably will) look for support sites beyond that main possibility.

BR, phil
OOo 3.0.1 & DEV-3.1 • WinXP pro 32-bit + SP3 + current patches
Looking for OpenOffice-related information? Try the search engine on OpenOfficeNinja - a great tool!
My favorite extension: Alt. Find & Replace for Writer. All you need and much more...
OOo 2.4.X on Ms Windows XP
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby TerryE » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:20 pm

Phil, the primary goal of OpenOffice.org is to develop and to foster the use of the OOo product set world-wide.

I feel that the OOo management team wants to see a thriving an cooperative User Community service which is why it has supported us in setting up this site. Our goal is to provide an effective user support service and to develop that through the means of this forum initially. We community volunteers don't see this forum as having the sort of competitive relationship with the other forums where we seek to be the "alpha male".

If OOoForum is providing a service then good luck to it. It merits respect for what it has achieved historically. The OOo main site will and does primarily reference this forum — if you go to the OOo site and click on the Support Tab, the first main link is to this site. However, I feel that we should continue to be "Open" in our approach to other forums as well as in our approach the developing software products, and whilst the OOoForum continues to provide a service, it also merits a reference.

I am a "super-user" on OOoForum for historic reasons, though I now focus my effort here. I only tend to visit it now to look up old topics, but when I do I still as a courtesy have a quick scan of the unanswered posts to see if there are any I can quickly answer.
Ubuntu 11.04-x64 + LibreOffice 3 and MS free except the boss's Notebook which runs XP + OOo 3.3.
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Re: Crossposting between forums

Postby Phil » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:55 pm

TerryE,

your arguments are very convincing.

Maybe I have really seen this too much from the point of view of competition.
I just remembered that, when I started to use OOo, I was a bit puzzled by the existence of the two forums.
And as OOCF appealed to me much more than OOoForum, the thought came up that it should somehow replace it.
I admit this was the wrong way of looking at it. :oops:
Also, I maybe stated my opinion a bit drastically. :roll:
OOoForum is an excellent archive of answers, and like you I often use it to look for answers (and also post answers myself from time to time).
And indeed you are right, a new user can clearly see from support.openoffice.org that there is an official forum and other resources. I did not check that again lately and instead remembered it differently.

I really appreciate the live discussion we had, and would like to point out that I feel very comfortable in this community!

Best wishes,
phil
OOo 3.0.1 & DEV-3.1 • WinXP pro 32-bit + SP3 + current patches
Looking for OpenOffice-related information? Try the search engine on OpenOfficeNinja - a great tool!
My favorite extension: Alt. Find & Replace for Writer. All you need and much more...
OOo 2.4.X on Ms Windows XP
Phil
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Posts: 802
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:35 pm
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