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Le 2010-10-18 10:51, James Wilde a écrit :
Originally posted on the Discuss list, where the suggestion, quite rightly, was that I move it here.

I've been reading the comments on list vs forum, traffic problems and so on, and taking a look at 
the options available to users.  Why, I wondered, are so many questions that should be on [users] 
coming to [discuss]?  So I took a look at the options for user support.  It was when I was about to 
suggest that list moderators should be able to redirect list messages instead of just approve them, 
and then realised that list moderators only see about five out of every thousand messages, that I 
realised that it was a forum we needed, and began looking at LIbO's interface with the world.  And 
discovered what a mess, sorry, eight-armed octopus it has become, from the users' point of view.

This is what I found:

I'm a libreoffice user and I want help.  I test and I'm redirected to  Hello, who are these TDF guys and what do they have to do with my problem? 
 I want help with LibO, not TDF.

Action point 1:  redirect TDF to LibO and not vice versa or have TDF as a 'corporate' site.

The Supporters page gives me a list of companies and individuals who think we're doing a great job, 
but nothing on how to fix my problem.

Action point 2:  Rename 'Supporters' to 'Admirers of what we're doing'.

On the TDF site as it is, I _may_ find my way to the Contribute page - not the most intuitive.  I 
want support, I'm not ready to contribute yet.  If I  stay on the Contribute page long enough,  I 
_may_ notice that there is a bunch of lists, and I _may_ go and take a look at those lists and 
discover, if I scroll a looong  way down that there is a Users list, which is for support.

Action point 3:  Rename 'Contribute' to 'Support'.  Move Users to the top of the lists list.  But 
see below.

There is also a forum.  How I'm going to find that there is a I don't know.  
Maybe it's referenced somewhere.  I think there was a link on the Contribute page, alongside the 
link to 'some lists'.  However, the forum address should be, so that one can 
get there from, via a link at the top, saying Forum.

Action point 4:  Put a redirect on the site to  Or better 
yet, sink altogether, and use

Now I have a lot of respect for Barbara Duprey, who is far and away better than I will ever be at 
helping users.  Barbara prefers a mailing list to a forum for non-technical users.  Unfortunately, 
I'm a technical user so I'm not typical, but I have to challenge her view on that.  I'm a member of 
a site for those who read e-books, and help there is via a forum.  If there's one place where 
technical illiterates could be considered to gather, it's on a site devoted to e-books. But the 
forum there functions well.  Another forum which works well - for writers, perhaps even more 
technically incompetent - is on the Scrivener site.

An advantage of a forum over a mailing list is that the moderators can move threads which land in 
the wrong place - like all these user questions in discuss, for example.

Another advantage of a forum over a mailing list is that I can come and do a quick search for my 
problem (which I can in the list archives also, of course) and then open a thread for my problem.  
When I come back I just need to look at that thread - I can browse the others if I want, and that 
way I may get involved - and get my replies.  And when I've solved my problem, if I'm not 
interested in staying with the community, I just don't return until I have a new problem.  I don't 
have to unsubscribe, which, since I'm illiterate as well as technically illiterate, I can't see how 
to do from the lines at the bottom of the email.  So no 'help me unsubscribe' messages.

Action point 5:  Let the list system fade out, or at least move it down the priorities for user 
support.  I know there are people in here who live in the Unix world - I did myself once - and use 
text-only email readers, and who therefore prefer mailing lists, but ordinary users don't like 
them.  So keep and monitor the lists, but plug the forum.

Thanks for listening.  Now, Houston, help us get back to Earth.  :)


I'm also leaving this note from the discuss thread and am adding this:

> yes, indeed, Mailman does support something like a
> mailinglist-forum-bridge. I am also involved in the new Mageia
> distribution and one of the participants there has for test purposes
> created such a forum-mailinglist gateway. You can read his
> introduction to the forum and the link to it in this email:
> I'm sure he would be willing to help out a bit - if asked nicely. ;)
> Sigrid

Thanks Sigrid, I was exactly going to recommend the same thing. I am also part of the Mageia marketing team and a lot of the mailist/forums problems are similar for both groups. It may be a good idea to "team up" with the Mageia people who are in charge and compare notes just for the sake of expediency.


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