Vote now for a more supportive future!

14Jul10

Evan promotes his pet project to get more people using stackexchange for Ubuntu support questions and answers!

Evan, seen lurking here in the background, has a favour to ask. Stackoverflow is a website that allows professional and enthusiast developers to ask questions of one another in order to share ideas, solutions and make the life of developers better. It’s an extremely high quality resource but those clever folks over at Stack Overflow aren’t content to stop there!

They have another site they call Area 51. This is where groups of people can propose custom sites based around Stack Overflow for their own projects. This is where Evan’s favour comes in as he, like many of us working on Ubuntu, would like to have a really great place to send people with questions about Ubuntu. Not only that but one that’s already got an army of intelligent helpful people helping one another – with a healthy collection of Ubuntu users in there too I’ll wager.

A stackexchange powered solution would be nothing short of amazing and YOU can help!

But how do I help, Iain?

I’m thrilled you asked!

1. Visit the Ubuntu proposal page on stackexchange.
2. Register and vote for this proposal.

Then while you enjoy a celebratory cup of tea and a biscuit think of ways to spread this as far and wide as you can.

Let’s tweet http://www.tinyurl.com/stackexchange using #ubuntu and put up signs in our offices, and send each other pictures of these signs in our offices!

Tell your brothers, sisters, friends, lovers, mothers, ex-lovers, ex-mothers … wait that doesn’t work … get a tattoo!*

If you can think of any other ways of getting this out there tell us in the comments! Thanks for listening and good luck. We’ll follow up with progress :) At time of writing we have 76 people committed!

*Seriously, really don’t get a tattoo

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15 Responses to “Vote now for a more supportive future!”

  1. How different to answers.launchpad.net will that be?

    • 2 Iain Farrell

      If you have a look at Stack Overflow I think you’ll see it differs in a lot of ways. It’s a simpler interface for one and the voting system and incentives for members such as badges and personal profiles showing activity keep people involved and information current. We think it could be a good way to keep information that is often buried in forums, wiki pages or old answers pages current.

      I also may be wrong but it appears to me like Answers on Launchpad isn’t very widely used.

  2. Must resist the urge to get a tattoo lol

  3. I just had a quick look on it, looks good to me ! I think it could even be more powerful than ubuntuforums, don’t you think so?

    • 8 Iain Farrell

      I do, powerful in a lot of ways not least because it has such a big user base but also it’s much newer web technology.

  4. Hi Iain,

    I’m glad you’re turned on by the idea of a new Q&A community system for Ubuntu, but I really hope you don’t overlook the excellent FOSS solutions that already exist to power such a site. OSQA, the open source Q&A system, is a powerful free alternative to the closed, proprietary StackExchange system. OSQA is in active use by a large and growing number of sites, both personal and professional.

    You can also be 100% sure that OSQA runs great on Ubuntu – that what we use to run http://www.osqa.net and http://meta.osqa.net and ALL of our OSQA sites! This , of course, willl never happen with StackExchange, since it runs only on WIndows and you can’t run it yourself anyway.

    We’d be happy to help you get things rolling with OSQA. Please feel free to get in touch. We could get you up and running today!

    Cheers,
    Rick Ross
    rick@dzone.com

  5. I can’t support yet another English-only, non-free system.

    Let’s encourage sites like OSQA or http://ubuntu.shapado.com (which have free licenses) to use Launchpad’s API and step up to the challenge of bringing to Launchpad the social community *multi-lingual* community it should have been.

    • Hi Fabian,

      OSQA already supports a variety of languages, and it is relatively easy to add more (as long as someone knows the target language!) What is it that you are hoping we might be able to do for Launchpad?

      • OpenID support, and importing information such as karma, contact info, etc. when one joins would make it that much faster to get new users.

        I am pitching such ideas at Shapado, feel free to also use them. I am not getting involved in development, though, only bug reporting and testing (and being the admin of the Ubuntu community there).

  6. 13 Iain Farrell

    The tricky thing with all of these sites other than Stack Exchange is that they don’t have the numbers. Starting from scratch now would mean trying to attract and retain huge numbers of people. By using something that already exists we benefit from the massive numbers already there and help promote Ubuntu to people who may not be using or may not have tried it in a while.

    Going to places where people already hang out and mixing up the open source and proprietary worlds I think can be really good for us.

    • Hi Iain,

      I’m not sure that is correct, actually. Remember that StackExchange is not StackOverflow. Some of the largest StackExchange sites have already migrated successfully to OSQA, and a lot more are about to, including 2-3 of the top 10 largest.

      The Ubuntu Q&A community will live and die by its own initiative, and you should not expect much to come from incidental or coincidental cross-pollenation. In order to grow a healthy Ubuntu Q&A community you are going to have to do a lot of work, promote it on other Ubuntu resources, and somehow get the global group of Ubuntu domain experts engaged and motivated.

      Anyway, I am baffled that you don’t favor the open source alternatives, especially when OSQA is actually a better solution in many ways than StackExchange AND it runs on Ubuntu. Don’t be fooled into thinking the StackOverflow crowd will help you much – they won’t.

      Cheers,
      Rick

    • I’d agree with Rick here.

      I am not against using StackExchange – but mostly against using it exclusively, specially when we now know there are two direct alternatives.

      I wouldn’t make this into an endless “This tool vs. This other one” debate, however, afterall Stack Exchange may decide as a result they should make their code free and adjust their business model accordingly.


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