Request for comments about the Ubuntu Signpost

Andrew Sayers at
Fri Jul 10 01:47:16 UTC 2009

Dougie Richardson wrote:
> I can see why you'd want to have something to show before mentioning
> it but I wonder why this deserves a separate team.

Speaking for myself, I think that turning this into a doc team project 
is a good idea.  Traffic on #ubuntu-signpost while I was AFK suggests 
I'm not alone.  I'm kind of surprised you're interested though, as I 
don't personally consider this documentation.

Speaking for myself, I think of documentation as providing answers, 
whereas I see the signpost as pointing people *in the direction of* 
answers.  As such, I prefer it when the signpost sticks to lists of 
links (as with [1]), and become uncomfortable when the signpost provides 
real information (as with [2]).

If we put answers on the signpost, then it will eventually be expected 
to have *every* answer in one place, and people will expect signpost 
maintainers to know every answer to every conceivable question. 
Something that big would be completely unsustainable.

Having said all that, *documenters* are people that find answers, so the 
signpost requires the same basic skillset as documentation.  The 
signpost also needs to go on a publicly editable Ubuntu website, and 
only HUC fits the bill. So I'd be happy for the doc team to run it.

> If this was to become a separate web page I understand but as a subset
> of pages on then I'd have to ask what the longer term
> objective for this project is?  You'd also need to appreciate that
> anyone could change your material.

The plan for the signpost currently quite simple:

Stage 1 was to get something written up that represented a complete 
proposal.  That's now finished, except for a large amount of finesse 
(e.g. I'd like to put real answers on separate pages).

Stage 2 is to approach teams with it.  I'd like to approach the beginner 
team next, then approach the forums; other people might have different 
priorities.  Approaching them would mean finding any misdirected 
questions that those teams get, getting information about resources that 
are currently missing, and spreading awareness about the signpost.

Stage 3 is maintenence.  People wait in #ubuntu-signpost and/or monitor 
Signpost/PageDiscussion, answer questions, and feed the answers back 
into the signpost proper.

The critical point about stage 3 is that it's mainly reactive.  Ubuntu 
development projects (like documentation) proactively work on issues 
they expect users to have, whereas the idea here is to make changes 
mainly based on specific requests.  IMHO, the reactive approach is 
necessary to save us from the trap that FAQs fell into back in the day: 
"questions that nobody would ever ask, but we would like to answer".

If the doc team wants to point people in the right direction when asked, 
then my first request is to get ubottu into #ubuntu-signpost :)

	- Andrew


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