Standing in the street trying to hear yourself think
andrew-ubuntu-devel at pileofstuff.org
Wed Jul 8 09:46:20 UTC 2009
I think the model we're heading towards with the signpost is that the
wiki page contains questions that have been asked before, while IRC and
the wiki discussion page are for new questions.
If it works, I think #ubuntu might want to look at the signpost model.
Being able to click "I have a problem with my hardware -> video card ->
NVidia card -> unsupported NVidia card" would satisfy a bunch of users
without needing direct support, and would make it easier to direct
people towards the "level 2 tech support" channels.
Done right, a signpost-like model could also ensure that level 2 support
requests are well formulated. Leaf nodes for unknown problems might
look like this:
=== Modern NVidia card with no known issues ===
Your problem is not covered by this guide. Go to #ubuntu-video and say
"I have a problem with my modern NVidia card (TYPE). This card has no
known issues. My problem is: PROBLEM". Make sure to replace "TYPE" and
"PROBLEM" with the type of card you have and the problem you're having
About people asking already-answered questions - As I half-suggested in
another post, I think the second-order problem here is that many
approaches make it easier to post than to search. I would recommend
forums drowning in deja vu to try putting roadblocks between the user
and the "send message" button. Preferably, these roadblocks should be
in the form of search buttons :)
I also think there's a third-order problem here: developers don't have
to-the-eyeball strategies for delivering their content. Expecting users
to trawl through old posts seems intuitively reasonable, but the
evidence is that it doesn't work that way.
Here's a nice demonstration that convinced me of the need for software
to deliver information right into the user's eyeball. It doesn't work
unless you actually do it, so please have a go - I promise it's not a trick.
For this demonstration, you'll need a thumb and a digital watch.
Hold your thumb at arm's length and stare at your thumbnail for a
moment. Then place your watch over your thumb, such that the "seconds"
counter is over your thumbnail. With your thumb still at arm's length,
stare at your thumbnail and count the seconds going by. You should be
able to count the seconds easily.
Now place your watch to the left of your thumb, such that the "seconds"
counter is jammed against the side of your thumbnail. With your thumb
at arm's length, stare at your thumb and try to count the seconds go by.
You might be able to detect when there's a change, but will be
completely unable to read the numbers.
90% of the rod and cone cells in your entire eye are pointed at an area
about the size of your thumbnail. So information just one thumbwidth
away from the point you're focussing on is almost impossible to take in.
To solve the third-order problem, I recommend putting the above
demonstration in front of developers' eyeballs :)
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