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Q&A area should look more like the tutorial area

by 5mi11er (Deacon)
on Mar 08, 2005 at 21:41 UTC ( #437732=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hello all,

Ok, I've flitted around this site for long enough now that I think I've identified an area that could use some much needed ease of use study/face lift/overhaul.

IMHO, the "Q&A" interface is quite bad. Being what I'd consider a power user of nearly anything I get involved with, PERL not being an exception, I can barely identify which "subcategory" my question might fall under. Those with less experience surely can't find this interface intuitive.

On the other hand, the "tutorial" area is much more user friendly allowing the user to visually search the areas on one long page, without having to commit to a guess, then go back, try again, etc, just to find out whether or not their question might be located within the "Q&A" area.

I'll assume that "Q&A" has many more topics covered than the "tutorial" area, and thus there are difficulties in doing this exactly as suggested (ok, yes I'm admitting I've not browsed through the Q&A area much, primarily because of my perception of that interface being too opaque). However, I thought this might be a good topic for other, more experienced monks to discuss to possibly improve the usability of that area.


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Re: Q&A area should look more like the tutorial area
by jbrugger (Parson) on Mar 09, 2005 at 05:30 UTC
    Have you tried the super search to find your answers?
    Imho, like the nature of Perl, on this site there is more than one way to get your information. (some echo that i heard before?) Categorized Questions and Answers is one of them.
    Personally, i think nothing is wrong with that section, but then again, that's only me :) update Could the dear person who voted nodes down in this discussion please be so kind to explain why that was the case, i do not see any reason whatsoever.
    But then again, i might be to picky about XP... (Ooops, i might have started a troll now about XP...)
      Thanks for the replys BUU & jbrugger,

      Yes, I used super search to see if there had already been lots of discussions about fixing/improving the Q&A area. From the strings I searched on, it looked like there were no discussions about improving this area. And yes, I understand that what you were actually suggesting was that super search is a valid and perhaps adequate vehicle into the Q&A areas.

      Granted, my recomendation is vague at this point, but I did point out what I thought was a better model. So, BUU, you are essentially saying that you have no suggestions, and that there are no monks that have any thoughts on how it might be possible to improve the Q&A area? I must say, I am surprised there aren't more comments about this post, and none that are positive, but the original post's reputation at this time is still in the positive numbers. Could it be you've frightened those that might have good comments off?

      I've seen various comments/complaints about how the newby's never search for answers before posting etc. I'm not saying that this is a problem that is easily fixable, I don't think it's fixable at all. But, if the areas that do answer frequent questions were better accessable, perhaps some of the repeat stuff would diminish.

      I find it hard to belive that with all the intelligent people frequenting this site, that someone wouldn't know of a better suggestion for the interface for the Q&A area. As I said originally I think the model for the tutorials is better than the existing Q&A area. There might be a better option, I'm looking to spark a positive discussion toward that goal.


        I'd keep the current sections but add a Tutorials-like table of contents for a significant subset of the questions. But someone has got to regularly update such a thing. Are you volunteering? (Just asking, and not pointedly.)

        There are tons of things that need to be done to CatQ+A to make it work well as a FAQ repository. Several times I've seen one or more of these changes get started but they have never really kept traction. Too much maintenance work is required for most of them.

        In some ways, no matter how well-done CatQ+A becomes, there will always be new guests who don't make use of it and post questions that are well-answered there. And in some ways, CatQ+A is just not close enough to the focus of PerlMonks.

        - tye        

Re: Q&A area should look more like the tutorial area
by BUU (Prior) on Mar 09, 2005 at 05:01 UTC
    Yay, another "Gee, I think X should be better. I have no idea how, but I'm sure someone can make it better!" post. While this may be a tad harsh, there are literally hundreds of posts very similar to yours, suggesting vague improvements to the site. And of course, none of thise improvements are ever implemented, because they're too vague for one of the holy people who have the actual access to the source code to implement, as they're too busy creating their own personal features to try to design something based on this vague suggestion.

    In other words, if you want something to change, PUT SOME WORK IN TO IT. Create a detailed specification of exactly what you want to change, how you would change it, and why it would be an improvement. If it's actually a good idea, I'm sure it'll then get implemented. But just throwing out vague ideas never really helps.
Re: Q&A area should look more like the tutorial area
by Squall` (Initiate) on Mar 10, 2005 at 14:32 UTC
    Firstly, it's Perl. There's a difference. But as far as your discussion goes, the Q&A area, at least from what I've seen is not intended to be a guide in learning new topics. It seems to be more of an FAQ on Perl topics. If you can't find an answer to your question, ask it, and perhaps it will end up in the Q&A. By the way, if you are not sure in what area it could be found under, try doing a search.
      Thanks for the reply Squall`,

      I don't currently have a "question" to ask. I was simply making the point that when I have questions, and I think to peruse through the Q&A area, it is a cumbersome interface to use. I'd like to help make it a better interface.


Re: Q&A area should look more like the tutorial area
by Roy Johnson (Monsignor) on Mar 14, 2005 at 15:09 UTC
    I'm admitting I've not browsed through the Q&A area much, primarily because of my perception of that interface being too opaque
    I can't see how the possibility difficulty in finding an answer to a specific question would discourage you from browsing with no particular question in mind. I think I went through all of the Q&A during my first few weeks here. It's a great repository of information. On the other hand, I haven't really delved into the Tutorials section.

    I agree that the categorizations aren't perfect; many questions might reasonably fall into more than one category, but are only listed in one. Possibly some cross-listing would help.

    When someone asked you whether you'd tried Super Search, I think they meant for finding what you might be seeking in Q&A, not for finding whether this topic had been discussed. Super Search is another way of finding what you want in Q&A.

    Caution: Contents may have been coded under pressure.

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