Arduino Forum

Community => Website and Forum => Topic started by: Robin2 on Apr 03, 2013, 05:18 pm

Title: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: Robin2 on Apr 03, 2013, 05:18 pm
I'm new to Arduino but I have programmed PICs and PCs in the past so I have reasonable experience.

In contrast to some other Forums I follow (JRuby programming and model railways) this Forum is really busy. That means that a question I asked yesterday morning is now on page 4. I did get some helpful information in response but I suspect there may be more available from some other forum readers. However I'd be very surprised if it is is ever seen again. It has been completely swamped (just like every other question) by dozens of newer different questions.

The other side of this problem is that I myself have information that may be helpful to other readers but there seems to be no easy way to find questions that I may be able to answer - short of spending hours reading the forum.

I realize that this may not be an easy problem to solve (that is, if anyone shares my view that it is a problem). One possibility might be to have a limited series of Tags that each question could be linked to. For example "stepper motor", "serial comms". Stackoverflow uses a system like that. I think it would be important that the Forum managers should control the list of Tags. If there are too many they would be no improvement on the present situation. It may be appropriate to have a different list of tags for the different Forums.

There seems to be no facility for me to see a list of all the topics I have posted to. It's easy to forget where I asked or answered a question (especially if it has slipped 3 or 4 pages) and I do like to keep in touch with topics in case I need to make a further input. www.rmweb.co.uk has this facility - though it may not be obvious unless you are logged in.

The inbuilt Forum search system seems to me to be poor to the point of being useless. I have no idea how it organizes the results. The style of the inbuilt search results is also unhelpful as it wastes screen space with excerpts from the posts whereas a list of topics would be sufficient. And there seems to be no method to get it to search for a phrase. When I put things in "quotes" it still returned examples with individual words. Searching the forum with Google was much more useful. Why not include that as an option in the forum?

Having said all that this forum is many times better than Google's own Google Groups system.

Thanks

...R
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: CrossRoads on Apr 03, 2013, 06:39 pm
One way is to search for yourself in Members, and review your posts there.
Or save a thread in your Browser favorites.
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: codlink on Apr 03, 2013, 06:47 pm
I would have to agree, Robin, but this is what we have.  This site has tons of information if someone is patient enough to search for it.

If you post in a thread, and there is a reply, you will get emailed and a link to the thread in the email.  That is how I keep up with the topics I am in.

Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: robtillaart on Apr 03, 2013, 07:48 pm
you can allways check replies in the upper right
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: rockwallaby on Apr 04, 2013, 02:50 am
Robin2 wrote:
Quote
One possibility might be to have a limited series of Tags that each question could be linked to. For example "stepper motor", "serial comms". Stackoverflow uses a system like that.


Yes, I like how Stackoverflow is so easy to use. The tag base approach, related links on the right hand side. Answers can be voted upon, making it easier for a newcomer to find a best approach method.

You are right, I've not come across another forum as busy as this one, refresh the main forum page, blink,refresh again and it's all new posts. A lot of the time many new posts are re-hashed old posts as a lot of people do not re-search by looking to see if their question might have been answered beforehand in another thread.

At least we are a busy bunch and you don't need to wait for days for advice if you present your question clearly and with any code in code tags. Nick Gammon has been trying to address a lot of the issues with providing a more detailed 'How to use this forum' topic.

I guess we are also stuck with this version of SFM forum software for the time being.
Hopefully when the next upgrade is performed it will relieve some of these issues.

Imagine, a forum for the Arduino community that was base on the Stackoverflow model, yum.
_____
Paul
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: fkeel on Apr 06, 2013, 04:25 pm

I agree with Robin2. Finding a way to make the forum easier to search and to apply filters would greatly improve the forum.
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: Robin2 on Apr 06, 2013, 08:09 pm
I have no objection if this site were to switch to using Stackexchange technology.

Another feature that should be considered for this site is to be able to list unanswered questions.

...R
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: Robin2 on Apr 07, 2013, 11:51 am
I thought there was a post on this thread by POWTAC referring to his comments in the GENERAL section http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,158796.0.html

And I am pretty certain I replied to it.   Has somebody removed stuff or any I deluded?

...R
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: fkeel on Apr 07, 2013, 12:37 pm
you are not deluded - I too was confused for a moment.
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: Coding Badly on Apr 07, 2013, 09:13 pm
I thought there was a post on this thread by POWTAC...


You are not deluded.  I removed both posts (but should have left yours; which I've returned).  His original post is available in General Discussion.
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: Robin2 on Apr 07, 2013, 11:12 pm
Thank you.

As far as I recall POWTAC's post was very short and was a useful cross-reference between similar discussions in two places. I don't understand why it was removed.

And I thought my own reply was rather longer and, in any case, it really only makes sense if it is seen as a response to an attempt to set up another forum for Arduino stuff.

In the long run none of anything makes any difference :)

...R
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: Coding Badly on Apr 07, 2013, 11:30 pm
As far as I recall POWTAC's post was very short and was a useful cross-reference between similar discussions in two places.


He posted it more places than that.

Quote
I don't understand why it was removed.


It was removed because I got tired of trying to sift through his mess.

Quote
And I thought my own reply was rather longer...


Two sentences which essentially acknowledged the link.

Quote
...it really only makes sense if it is seen as a response to an attempt to set up another forum for Arduino stuff.


I disagree.  The post can be construed as you adding two additional ideas to the ones you have already presented.
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: Louis Davis on Apr 08, 2013, 04:20 pm
Have you guys heard of http://www.discourse.org/

It was started by Jeff Atwood from Stackexchange.com

I don't know much about it yet, but it does look interesting as a new take on forum software.
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: iyahdub on Apr 08, 2013, 04:25 pm
Posts being tagged by topics and a main-sub topics index in the forum wouldnt hurt at all, i think !! Theres a lot to earn if individualposts could be sub indexed !! Would maximize a lot the effort of those who dont mind helping and the satisfaction level of users overall !! But, i know there are a lot of more important things in line of priority. Just passing a suggestion, anyway !!
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: Robin2 on Apr 09, 2013, 08:04 pm
I have a lot of time for Jeff Atwood and I suspect there is a lot of useful "outside the box" thinking in Discourse.

However I also think (based on a very brief look) that it addresses different problems from the success that this forum "suffers" from.

The problem here is that questions get lost in the jungle before the person who really knows the answer sees them. If anything, Discourse would seem to make it easier to create an even thicker jungle. In my opinion Stackoverflow with tags and votes is a better model.

...R


Have you guys heard of http://www.discourse.org/

It was started by Jeff Atwood from Stackexchange.com

I don't know much about it yet, but it does look interesting as a new take on forum software.
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: modeller on Apr 10, 2013, 02:52 am

I'm new to Arduino but I have programmed PICs and PCs in the past so I have reasonable experience.

In contrast to some other Forums I follow (JRuby programming and model railways) this Forum is really busy. That means that a question I asked yesterday morning is now on page 4. I did get some helpful information in response but I suspect there may be more available from some other forum readers. However I'd be very surprised if it is is ever seen again. It has been completely swamped (just like every other question) by dozens of newer different questions. ...


Robin,

The problems are -

A. Too many of the same questions get asked over and over. And over. They need to come up with a way to screen these same questions because most new members will not search for answers. Answering how transistors work and so on can best be left to the myriad of other very good resources that already exist.

B. The forum is over-boarded - this is a classic case study of trying to take on way too much for one forum. They are trying for a be-all and end all for any and every possible type of project anyone can imagine (and school assignments for students). They should support the Arduino, it's intrinsic capabilities, and the software. They should leave to other forums the support of the myriad and sundry projects that people might want to build.

Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: retrolefty on Apr 10, 2013, 03:24 am
I guess one has to decide what they would want the forum best to strive for, an archive of 'approved' solutions and instructions for easy access without redundancy or alternate viewpoints.

Or if one would rather see it as a near real time interaction of people asking questions and people trying to provide answers. I would lean towards the latter. I'm more interested in the people side of the forum rather then it's possible academic value as some kind of repository.

But this is certainly an interesting topic worth discussing.

Lefty  
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: modeller on Apr 10, 2013, 04:08 am
I think what the support staff is trying to do is admirable. But it's just too much for one forum.

When I got my Arduino, I joined this forum like I do other forums for other interests, to follow along with the posts and so on. I soon found out this was a futile effort here. If I checked in at 0800, by the end of the day there would be 15 - 20 PAGES of posts. Impossible to "follow along" with members, get to know them, and their interests. It's not so much a small community as a giant airport terminal with strangers every day I've never seen before. I don't do it anymore. I am over the hump now as far as the Arduino goes for what I need it for - I can use it for what I need for my model railroad. If I need to learn a new function I just teach myself or try to search the forum. But as far as trying to keep up with the community members - it can't be done. And that's a shame.

My analogy for this place would be this -

You are the producer of a certain popular model of cordless drill. You set up a forum for it to answer questions regarding it's capabilities. Except before you know it you are not just helping people learn how to properly use it to drill holes and drive screws, and how to properly charge it's batteries, you suddenly have boards set up for help with constructing dog houses, multi-level outdoor decks, summer cottages, and complete two-story homes.

Not only that, you are getting questions about how to use the drill to power go-carts and how to remove the motor from the drill to use in a home made blender. Also questions about how much current the helper LED light takes and how one could convert and connect a gas generator to drive the motor of the drill directly for more power, and how to mod it for use in space travel to the Space Station and beyond.

And what about nuclear power for it? Oh and don't forget the joke board too.

Too much, too much ...

It's a drill. Support the drill. Leave the projects the drill can be used for to other venues.
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: graynomad on Apr 10, 2013, 09:39 am
:), funny analogy.

Yes the search is next to useless, I almost never use it.

It's normal now to get 20+ pages of new posts in the morning and probably another 15 by the evening, I've pretty much given up on clicking "unread posts" and now have 8 bookmarks that read the unread posts in the 8 boards I have the most interest in. Even then I usually only look at the Due board and 1 or 2 others.

As for finding the unanswered posts you can click on the "Replies" heading, that will sort by replies, but only in the current unread set
______
Rob

Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: Robin2 on Apr 10, 2013, 10:45 am
I have developed a management strategy that may be useful for others...

FIRST...
I have discovered that my "members" page (click the link at the top of the screen and then search for yourself) has an option to "show posts" which lists all of the posts I have made and includes links the the topics where they were made. This allows me to follow up on any comments I have made without having to remember where I made them.

To save myself the trouble of searching for myself on the members page I have stored an external link to that page in a "mylinks.html" text file where I have lots of other links to websites that I use - I find it easier to use for regular stuff than the Opera browser bookmarks.

SECOND...
I limit myself to the Project Guidance and Programming Questions areas and I am careful to click "Mark Read" each time when I am finished browsing.

If there were useful tags on posts I would probably be tempted to follow one or two of those as well.

...R

Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: modeller on Apr 10, 2013, 02:27 pm
Here's prime examples of over-boarding -

This is a topic for an entire forum -

Robotics
Platforms, motors, algorithms and sensors to conform robotics projects


This is a topic for an entire forum -

Education and Teaching
Course curriculum, links to existing courses, discussions about experiences at different locations


This is a topic for an entire forum -

Interactive Art
Art installations, wearable objects, music instruments, projects from the arts field interactive Art


This is a topic for an entire forum -

Product Design
Creating interactive prototypes of future devices


This is a topic for an entire forum -

General Electronics
Resistors, capacitors, breadboards, soldering, etc.


Not only is "general electronics" a topic for an entire forum, there are already resources and forums that exist that are as good or better than this one for general electrons support. The internet is flooded with that kind of help. There is no logical reason for this support forum to help people with general electronics when it's being covered in a hundred other forums and websites. I just looked at the recent general elec. posts - pull-down resistors, transistors, breadboards, schematic symbols, relays, yada, yada, yada - same things day-in and day-out, all too much and off- topic for an Arduino support forum.

^^^ Why are they interested in adding all that burden and traffic to a support forum for the Arduino? It detracts from the core purpose here - helping people understand how the Arduino works - not how to solve any and every possible thing anyone can dream up.

If those boards were removed, and there was a need for that type of support community, I guarantee people will start those forums, and concentrate on those specific topics.

Now will anything change here. Probably not. It's too late, it's like a large corporation - too big to turn and I see no open mindset for improvement or change here.
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: fkeel on Apr 10, 2013, 10:49 pm
I like it, that its all together. Otherwise I would need to register for an electronics board and for a programming board and for a design and arts board.

I guess you just dont follow the stuff you dont care about.

Granted I have not been on here in a while and I can imagine with the marketing push I am experiencing here in Europe (all of a sudden you can actually buy Arduinos in stores...) that the forum has recently grown.

Quote
Or if one would rather see it as a near real time interaction of people asking questions and people trying to provide answers. I would lean towards the latter. I'm more interested in the people side of the forum rather then it's possible academic value as some kind of repository.


I agree with what retrolefty said here. I find it interesting and sometimes very rewarding when I can help some kid from the US complete a project for science fair or if I can help someone in Australia mod his car. Thats why I like helping here. And thats much more fun than some knowledge base.

Quote
Impossible to "follow along" with members, get to know them, and their interests. It's not so much a small community as a giant airport terminal with strangers every day I've never seen before.


I disagree. If you hang out here for longer, you will meet many characters and you *do* get to "know" them. Graynomad here is from australia and has more interests than I thought is possible (check out his website). Retrolefty has been programming machines since the seventies and has a ton of interesting stories to share. PaulS is a trove of knowledge and completely unfriendly and grumpy (but always helpful). GrumpyMike is not as grumpy as he pretends he is and used to publish a computing magazine back in the day when the stuff we where doing was new. (haha hope this does not make me appear as a stalker. I read the forum a lot more than I post I think... )

So anyway. My point is, this is a place I like to come to when I have nothing else to do. I learn a lot her and I try to help out when and where I can. I think some of the problems you guys describe either are new, or are problems because you have not been around for that long.

my 2c

Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: GrooveFlotilla on Apr 11, 2013, 08:45 pm
I'm fundamentally opposed to the kind of reforms proposed by "modeller".

I don't want a perfect micromanaged toy world.

I like the chaos and sheer unexpectedness of the forum as it is; it's like a rummage sale, or a parts bin, and someone with a completely different background and life experience will challenge your thinking.
Hell, software and hardware design requires rigid, methodical thinking, so it's good to come somewhere where you can encounter other people with a different outlook.

I don't want compartmentalisation.

If you want/need an Arduino forum just for toy trains, start one, but don't stunt the growth of this one.

Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: modeller on Apr 21, 2013, 03:21 am

If you want/need an Arduino forum just for toy trains, start one, but don't stunt the growth of this one.


You don't have a clue what you are talking about do you?  :smiley-slim:
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: codlink on Apr 21, 2013, 04:03 am
I think Groove has a good point.  And I tend to agree with it. 
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: AWOL on Apr 21, 2013, 04:00 pm
I'm happy with the forum as it is - variety and diversity, and more than a little bored with "modeller"'s constant sniping.

Really modeller, give it a rest, it's getting got tedious.
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: mbanzi on Apr 21, 2013, 04:35 pm

You don't have a clue what you are talking about do you?  :smiley-slim:


Dear modeller
Any user's opinion is as good as yours so be polite.

m
Title: Re: Forum is popular and stuff gets lost
Post by: iyahdub on Apr 22, 2013, 01:53 am
Yeah too much detail will only end up complicating... But maybe tag posts, like you do with youtube , as an example...Given the situation of having already several subtopics, and some quite varied as we know, would probably help a bit, without being too complicated.
Specially if there is additional hardware/ Protocols associated with it...