How to ask questions
And that whole big long thing can be summed up as: don’t be a whiny baby, do your research before asking a question (the same questions keep getting asked, and answered, over and over and…). Most people also claim that they ‘looked’ for the answer first, to which I respond, ‘mooseshit.’ *tickle NM*
Most of us started here with no prior knowledge of PHP/mySQL/CSS/whatever-the-w3c. You don’t need to know those things to start using WP, but you do have to know how to, uh, READ.
Craig, I appreciate the posted link (which I’ve seen before, over at Postnuke), but I fear that very few of those you intended it for will see it. That damn reading thing, again. 😉
I’ve no doubt that you are correct. BUT…now we have a thread that we all can use to point people to…hehe.
BTW…If I told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times…I’m not ticklish… 😉
Sometimes I answer even the obvious repetitive questions by doing a cut & paste of what I find and ending with “I searched for XXX in the Wiki”, etc.. with precise links.
Unfortunately the FAQ and documentation links from the main site are so badly presented and incomplete, that may be another reason why site visitors just use the forums. The FAQ even encourages writing to the forums instead of searching! I wish I could change that, fortunately there’s the wiki to express myself 🙂
I think it’s just easier & faster to fire off questions without searching, until people realize an answer may never show up (check the 0-reply posts). Maybe then they’ll see that taking the extra 2 *seconds* to enter a search term (and document their finding after that for others) will help them. But that is forcing them to put that extra effort, instead of designing properly from the beginning.
_mf_ – What it says is to start in the forums…. doesn’t say anything about posting or writting to it forst. In fact, the next sentence says: “Be sure to use the search feature to see if your problem has already been addressed.”
All: From experience, you can put up all the “help” stuff & “that’s already been answered” type things you want….. there will always be some that either don’t get it, or are just plain lazy.
At least the search feature is more prominent now, but it’s still really dependent on knowing which terms to enter. I know newbies aren’t encouraged to look in the Wiki, but I’m still not sure exactly why that is. It would cut out the middleman in a lot of these situations.
There are *many* posts directing people to the wiki. But I agree, it needs more exposure than it’s currently getting – a more prominent link in the forums, for example.
The wiki also needs a good reorganization. Although I’ve been there since it’s inception as both a contributor and a reader, I still have a hard time finding what I want sometimes. It’s on my List.
To my mind this is a really interesting issue to do with information architecture
and the user interface. To we go right in to the blog? Or do we give more info
on the front page? If so what does the info consist of. Sometimes I think (and this may be controversial) that the WP front page could be (gasp) static html. If you want to download read this. If you want to blog go here. If you need a Howto READ THIS. etc. Should the blog have a domain name or be a sub directory. This is complicated stuff and there is no easy answer. At least some folks think about it. None of this works perfectly but there are from time to time either rants or well informed commentary about the default interface from the IA / UI point of view. Maybe we need to listen. And think.
Yeah, but it’s not up to the users how this site is designed. Ultimately this is Matt’s domain and he makes all the decisions. He wants an ugly gray sidebar so we have one whether we want it or not. If he wanted a link to the Wiki from the main menu it would be there. If he wants a post to disappear it disappears. He’s paying for the domain so he has the right to dictate these things.
The Wiki however is a community effort where if somebody thinks a link needs to be added or made more prominent they have the power to do it. It will be interesting to see whether the official site continues to sideline the Wiki or embrace some of its flexibility by taking the opinions of users into account.
I was not referring to the Wp site in particular. I was referring to the IA / UI issues in how we set up our blogs. Of course that does require raising the dialogue a notch beyond css compliance alone. As to the Wp log itself. It may or may not be a good model. What we do know is it has a lot of users some of whom are well informed. We also know Matt is a heck of a programmer. It is inevitable that how this blog works will affect some peoples build choices.
A good resource Nuclear Moose shared; it matters not really at all whether active participants here, including N.M. himself, may have seen it before he now decided its relevancy was worth making it accessible so much as the fact that now it is available to all. It’s mind-boggling sometimes to step back and realize that for every person here who’s familiar with the resource there are plenty who aren’t and plenty more who won’t be even for another year or two … While it’s very true that “Most of us started here with no prior knowledge of PHP/mySQL/CSS/whatever-the-w3c …” it’s just as true that WordPress in fact — if it’s any good and it’s press and promo is any good, will draw in those entirely new to the web and internet and computing entirely! Does that mean, or should it mean, that WordPress is out of their range entirely? I don’t know — I don’t know how far-ranging Matt and/or the developers’ vision is for WP as I’d venture to guess that most of us don’t, since we aren’t mind-readers and/or since such information isn’t explicity discussed here anywhere. In other words, if one is new to everything e-world entirely yet arrives at WP — and people do! — there isn’t any information offered here to suggest that such a person — who may be of extraordinary intelligence and aptitude — might not be able to use WP. I’m not suggesting that it needs to be, either. I’m just saying that this is a reality and that part of that reality also is the fact that the notion and concept of the “forum” can be alien and a whole new world to such users. So that’s something to keep in mind. Yet, how exasperating that people being people means that there are some who will attempt to read through things first whle others will not– (afraid, for example, that they’ll “get lost” attempting to navigate through things and opt to post questions first, as well as those who can’t or don’t read for other reasons?) While I may be appearing to defend such newcomers I can assure you that it has taken me a lifetime to be able to even accept the fact that there are those people who speak first without looking, investigating, thinking, reading — in all of life and living and not just solely in experiences computing-related. And in fact, each of us have been guilty on some occasion or another of speaking first. It’s all part of the territory, I guess. Which doesn’t make it any easier, maybe, but it’s perhaps worth saving one’s self a coronary or, at minimum, undue stress, to know that despite all of the best intentions, there will be failings as experienced by this person or that, and that nothing, not even WordPress, and its community/support/developers, laudible that they are, just can’t be all things to all people, especially when it comes to computing and e-technology. Which doesn’t mean, interestingly, that that fact is a reason for not trying to take it as far to make it as all-encompassing as possible — to strive for that, actually, seems a very worthy goal, but paradoxically calls for remembering that it is all about the human being(s) who meet the software/program/technology. Elsewise, no reason to make or create the thing in the first place, right? Again, I’m not suggesting or pretending to know how accessible WordPress means to or ought to make itself — I’m just saying that there isn’t any sort of control to be had when it comes to people who find themselves here and considering using WordPress and that — people being people — simply because someone is new to the whole virtual/e world entirely doesn’t mean that they are incapable — not at all — of being able to jump in and do it. And that when such people post in the forums what may sound whiny or this or that may in fact be the farthest thing from that poster’s actual experience — that s/he is simply speaking the truth or querying according to how they might otherwise, in life not e-forum. It could be a very good thing, perhaps, to have things set up as mentioned earlier, with different options/levels of experience at “first meeting” –which I think could include info about asking questions/interacting forum-wise a la Nuclear Moose’s resource — or Not. Ultimately, that depends on the developer'(s)’ philosophy, intentions while it also means that it’s absolutely true that no matter how far-reaching and/or inclusive things are set to be, that still there will be people who will vex and try each involved participant when certain resources that cost a great deal to implement are nevertheless ignored… people being people, you know?
Assuming for a moment that the URI to which NM refers is useful and appropriate my point concerning information architechture becomes more relevant. If it is necessary or indeed critical to impart key information to bloggers before they post, then the message would need to be where they can see it before they do in fact start posting. I do not say that particular piece of information should or should not be displayed more prominently. I just say that the key information needs to be displayed up front where the first time user will see it. I would hazard a guess that the folks who might benefit from the particular link posted are least likely to find the link in this forum.That is an information architecture issue. Furthermore although it may be true that folks will some how always vex the system it is the task of the web constructor on his own site to make it as useable as possible for the greatest numbers. It won’t be perfect. But that is not an excuse not to start.
Yes, anonymous, I was driving at that notion — that it would be good to have not necessarily that exact resource per se but the appropriate relevant pcs of info contained within it made specific and/or relevant, or it to serve as a starting pt/template maybe, better said, for that level/depth/ knowledge base — what have you — for the new to everything of which WP is only a part user. But again, that is more a philosophical/perspective decision or choice that isn’t mine to make. Information architecture is a function of the development/er(s) intent and interest. There’s no obligation implied or inherent. I can create whatever work of art I please and it can be shown and make available to be seen by whomever but in terms of social responsibility/consequence, nothing’s owed by me. Bottom-line. And, like you say/reinforce, once the decision’s made to have a certain amount of concern for “the populace” that may be affected, as I see fit, it is still imperative to understand that my efforts (1) will still not satisfy or fulfill all needs but that (2) that is no reason not to make those efforts.
I just noticed that peg doesn’t have a link to her profile under her username. How did you get your username to display if your not a member?
This is not really the right dialogue for this forum. But I constrained to say that many of us will be unable to agree with you when you that IA is a function of the developers intent and interest, that further; nothing is owed by you in terms of social responsiblity or consequence with no obligation, inherent or implied. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I really am not inclined to bore the readers here by explaining that to you or why you are wholly wrong.
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