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Overall, a +2, Ady.

Comments interspersed below.

On 11/10/13 9:11 PM, Ady wrote:


As there were some exchanges about the survey here and as I advertised
it on this mailing list as well, I thought you might be interested by
my initial analysis:

Thank you for your participation!


If I may...

There are many ways for users to communicate: LibreOffice forum, Ask
LibreOffice, several LibreOffice mailing lists, Nabble, wiki,
Bugzilla, and several irc channels. The problem is, IMHO, they are
sometimes "too many" and "too complicated". Let me explain with a
simple example.

And I would add, unknown to many users, including myself. I don't have the time to deal with the few newsgroups I try to follow now, much less spending a lot of time on LO's website, and then learning how to use the different venues.

I will give LO kudos for apparently having the content of Nabble and the mailing list being identical. At least I believe it's identical. But LO falls a little bit short in not being able to attach documents, screenshots, etc. via the mailing list when you use If that's a gmane issue, then that's the way it is, especially if you've requested that ability.

I prefer a newsgroup reader to any of the varied forum formats, which is why I use gmane. To me, Nabble is a forum. But it is better than most because there is a threaded view. Even at that, it's not as efficient and quick as using a newsgroup reader. The display takes too much space for the information displayed, and of course, much slower from what I've experienced.

In the release notes for LO 4.1.3, it said that the release was bit
by bit the same as "RC3". Well, that was incorrect, as it is the same
as, a.k.a. RC2 (there was no What a casual reader
needs to do if he happens to catch the "typo"? Can he easily report
the one-character mistake? Does anyone think that this typo deserves
opening a new bug report in Bugzilla?

I've not found Bugzilla to be user friendly for the average user. Period. If it's not user friendly for the average user, that user is going to walk away with a negative impression.

For each contact method mentioned above (each ML, Nabble, wiki,
Bugzilla, forum,...), a user needs to go through an additional sign
up, sometimes requiring multiple steps. In our example (RC3 typo), do
you think a casual reader would go through a sign up process just to
report one wrong character?

Just as an example, I am subscribed to the users ML, and I found
annoying to go through additional sign-ups for Nabble. I can
understand that there might be relevant reasons for this; but it is
still annoying :). On the other hand, if a user is interested in
Writer only, having to receive emails regarding Draw (or anything
else than Writer) is one reason not to subscribe to the users ML. So
perhaps separated per-program lists should be available, instead of
one unified "users" ML? (I am not necessarily recommending it; just
mentioning such potential situation.)

Add my support to that suggestion. I get tired of having to deal with Base issues, since I don't use Base.

Then we have several irc channels, but none of those channels
targeted to users are really active, ever (e.g. #libreoffice and/or
#libreoffice-qa). So what's the point of publishing the "existence"
of those irc channels if they are not really open with someone from
the LibreOffice Team being present in the channel? I'm not saying
answers should be "on real time". For irc to be relevant for users,
someone at least should maintain the channel open and saving logs,
checking it once a day or so. This is one contact method that could
be easily used to report the typo mentioned in our example.

One day is one typo, another day is another typo. Then there is some
minor low-priority bug in the installer (e.g adding a link to the
desktop even when the user unchecked the corresponding box during the
installation process). Then the wiki might need some little
correction or update... For each minor issue, a user could just think
"not worth going through all the sign up troubles for each different
service". As a consequence, none of those little corrections are
reported / performed.

What's the point of "Ask LibreOffice" if each question is seen, say,
3 times in a one week period? Most questions are unanswered.
Similarly with LibreOffice forum. A user might not bother to sign up
to such a method that is hardly ever used by relevant users; and if
it goes through it anyway and no answer is provided (as it is the
case with most "Ask LibreOffice" topics), it would probably generate
a rejection response towards LibreOffice.

Regarding the previous 3 paragraphs:

irc channels, most people have never heard of them. The same for ICQ. So they don't know how to use them. I use Skype and Yahoo Messenger. And I started using them because I was given the information those systems existed. No software package has ever told me "You can get help using the irc channels, and this is how you use them."

Same for wikis and "Ask LIbreOffice". I didn't know "Ask LibreOffice" even existed until your message. I, and the people I know, don't live on LO, their smartphones, tablets, living their lives there. The computer is a tool, not a virtual reality to live in.

I think every download package should include some kind of messaging of how and where to get help via some kind of splash screen (or something similar) letting new users know of these help options, and how to get to them.

If a user signs up and opens a bug report, that's because it is
significant for him. Is this procedure relevant if the bug report is
left unanswered for 2 years? Is this user going to keep reporting
additional bugs? Evidently, solving bugs requires man power, so
finding a simpler method to report "you have a st*pid typo" might
help reduce wasted time, for both developers and users.

So, making the contact methods more relevant, easier (unified?) sign
up procedures and actually maintaining "active" and relevant the
different contact channels would contribute to receive more feedback
and eventually reduce wasted time.

I would add, if there are more than one channel that supports users, like this mailing list, the contents should be spread across all the channels. Then it doesn't matter which method of support is desired by the user, the user has access to all possible support answers from individuals, and the same question is less likely to be asked multiple places.

I am writing not to complain, but to voice my personal view of some
of the ways to improve user's involvement in LibreOffice. I admit I
am not sure if any of these changes would be the most effective use
of man-power, so I'm not going to call these "recommendations". These
might be potential considerations for potential improvements. Whether
they are _effective_ use of man-power, I don't really know.

Thank you and Best Regards,


Mac OS X 10.8.5
Firefox 24.0
Thunderbird 17.0.8

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