Standing in the street trying to hear yourself think

Evan eapache at
Fri Jul 3 18:23:19 UTC 2009

On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 1:50 PM, Evan R. Murphy <evanrmurphy at>wrote:

> 2009/7/3 Evan <eapache at>:
> > I've been subscribed to this list and filing bugs for over a year now,
> and I
> > hadn't even heard of Launchpad Answers before now. Maybe I live under a
> > rock, but I think promotion / awareness would go a long way.
> I dream about a much tighter integration of all the community
> discussion tools. (The fact that such an experienced contributor could
> not know about Launchpad Answers is very telling about our room for
> improvement in this area.) If a question is answered once on Ubuntu
> Forums, what if it never had to come up again on IRC, Launchpad
> Answers or a mailing list (or again on the forums), and vice versa?
> The obvious difficulty, of course, is implementation: How do you
> accurately index all of these diverse media (IRC channel logs, Ubuntu
> Forums and mailing list archives, Launchpad Answers questions, etc.)
> and elegantly connect them to one another. I would love to help make
> this happen, but I'm not sure I'm smart enough to get it started, or
> even how possible it is today.

We also seem to have a duplication of effort on several fronts. At last
glance we have:

- mailing lists
- wiki
- launchpad
- launchpad answers
- forums

Launchpad is for bug reporting and tracking, beyond that I have no idea
where the actual division of responsibilities lies. Perhaps clarifying that
(ex: Wiki is for Howtos only, forums are only for ...) and then providing a
meta-support page for each topic would help. So somebody looking for help
from Ubuntu gets directed to This would have links
such as:

I want to know how to do something (wiki)
I want to report a bug on the topic (lp)
I think I have a bug but I'm not sure (lp answers?)
I have a question or suggestion concerning the future of the topic
None of the above (#ubuntu-signpost)

On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 1:56 PM, Steven Danna <sdanna7 at>wrote:

> > For the latter, we should have a review group to:
> > * look at the questions/answers, and
> > * verify correctness,
> > * edit if needed (clarifying the question and answer), and
> > * classify the question following a (given) taxonomy.
> >
> > Following from here:
> >
> > * once a question/answer has been reviewed and approved, it could be
> > locked against changes, and clearly marked reviewed ("seal of
> > approval");
> > * an action "this answer is wrong" should be provided, with a text entry
> > for explanations. This action should be available for *every* Q/A,
> > irrespective of status;
> > * the taxomony should be widely published, and adhered to everywhere
> > (*including* Mallone). This would provide us with consistency.  The
> > Wikipaedia classification [1] would probably be useful to us, at least
> > as a starting point. Other examples are the ACM classification [2], the
> > AMS one [3], etc, etc.
> Hi,
> I do quite a bit of work on Answers and I think that some of your
> suggestions are good.  But many just wouldn't work very well for the
> type of questions that mostly up on
> Most users are not very good at articulating a problem.  Hence in many
> questions you will see a back and forth between the question asker and
> answer contributors.  Many of the early answers will be "wrong" because
> it is often very difficult to determine the /actual/ problem the user is
> experiencing.  This situation is made worse by the fact that because
> there are not many answer contacts in languages other than English, most
> people are posting questions in their non-native language.

This looks like another possible location to implement the sub-channels and
meta-channels. Again, permission management becomes an issue.

> What I do think needs to happen, is that we need to make greater use of
> the FAQ functionality within Answers and there should be a way for
> somebody other than the question asker to mark a question as correct,
> since they often just mark whatever the last message in the conversation
> was or the don't mark any answer.

 Agreed. This would also be useful in the forums, but that leads to quite a
lot of overlap. Again, an official division of responsibilities between
channels would be nice.

- - -

Something else worth considering is the ability for people (perhaps only the
authors) to move threads around between services. I post something in the
forums, find out it isn't my fault (it's a bug), press a button, and turn it
into a launchpad report, complete with all the information the forum had
already gathered. Ditto for between all the other services. I think that
would be really useful.

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