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"Kuro5hin Q & A", anyone?

By MoxFulder in Meta
Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 04:44:11 AM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

One thing (make that "the only thing") that I like a lot about Slashdot is the Ask Slashdot section. Would anyone else like to see a similar section on Kuro5hin? There doesn't seem to be an appropriate place to ask technology questions which are of a practical rather than a conceptual nature.

There seems to be no good way to ask practical or quick questions on Kuro5hin, other than by posting a whole article, which is usually overkill. Or you can go off on a tangent in a comment to ask your questions, but that's obviously sub-optimal as well :-)

I realize that nobody wants this to become a help site overrun with stupid questions, but most people on K5 have a lot of technical expertise in one area or another, and it would be great to be able to share it in one way or another.

It might be a good idea to prevent Q&A posts from ever showing up on the front page ... and maybe they could have a lower post/dump threshold. Other than that, I don't think that anything special would be required to implement a Q&A section ...


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"Kuro5hin Q & A", anyone? | 16 comments (11 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
better places to ask (3.84 / 13) (#1)
by enterfornone on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:06:25 PM EST

My fave Ask Slashdot went something along the lines of "Where can I download issues of Phrack". A few people posted the URL, a lot more posted trolls. It was quite pointless.

Asking questions that require a single answer have no place on a discussion forum like this. Find a relevant newsgroup or mailing list.

On the other hand technical questions that create real discussion already fit into the current system. I don't think anything needs to change in that regard.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Title? (4.57 / 14) (#3)
by Dacta on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 10:16:52 PM EST

From the title I thought you meant you wanted a section where users could ask questions about K5. I like that idea.

I don't like the "Ask K5" idea. You can already submit a story with a topic=Help in any section, so that covers some of the need for it. In general, though I think people don't like the help posting because people often try to use them as a substitute for doing research themselves.

Most Ask Slashdot stories are like this, and irritate me endlessly. Look at the last few Ask Slashdot stories for instance.

  1. Specialized MP3 Compression Hardware?
  2. Other Fair-Uses For DeCSS?
  3. If ICANN Can't, Who Can?
  4. Searching For A Reliable Backup System?
  5. Storing Hundreds Of CDs?
  6. ISP Failures and Ususpecting Users?
  7. Restrictions That @Home Places on Their Customers
  8. 99 Minute CDs?
  9. Hardware Based Screen Capture?
  10. What's The Best Way To Retain Trained Employees?
Are any of those topics things that (a)there is a definitive answer for and (b)couldn't be solved after spending 10 minutes at Google?

I'm not elitest - I like the stories like I want to use an Open Source EJB container. Here's the list of containers I've found, and here's my experiences with them. I'm leaning towards using this one - does anyone have any experiences they can share?

I don't like stories like What's the best free EJB server and where can I download it?

Creating a "Ask K5" section is likely to encourage the second type of story, IMHO.

Ditto (3.80 / 5) (#5)
by 0xdeadbeef on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 11:50:56 PM EST

I agree, I hate Ask Slashdot and this is beyond the scope of k5. But I think this is a great idea, one that merits it's own site. Perhaps it should be posted to www.shouldexist.org. It would really be cool if one could register specific subject areas that one is interested in, as either an expert who can answer questions, or a novice with questions or curious to see what others ask. JGuru is kind of like this, but restricted to Java subjects. There was a company hoping to make money on just such a scheme, where people can actually earn money answering questions, payed by the askers, but I don't remember the address.

Perhaps doing it for money is a bit too ambitious (since I haven't seen any press on that company lately, it may have folded). I bet a karma system would work well, whereby those with the best and most frequent answers to questions get points. Lots of people like to be know-it-alls, and this would quantify that. It would certainly make good resume fodder.

You could even moderate questions too. That would cut down on the vague questions of the second type.

[ Parent ]

Already exists. (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by whatnotever on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 10:31:42 AM EST

Simple Q&A sites have been around for a while now:

Most do have "economies" of sorts, as you mention. I think at least a few have real money involved. Not sure.

[ Parent ]
K5 is... (3.33 / 3) (#6)
by madams on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 12:31:31 AM EST

I think of K5 as a place to discuss relevent issues, not practical technology questions. I prefer stories that analyze something of interest/relevence to the community. I fear "Ask K5" would either all be "So what do you think questions?" (authors who say this are usually unsure of themselves, as if their article by itself isn't enough to promote discussion) or "I'm having trouble coding this kernel module for Kerberos authentication. Can anyone help me?" Neither types of questions are very interesting for a site like K5.

Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.

Pratical tech too close to tech support (2.00 / 1) (#7)
by Nick Ives on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 01:29:47 AM EST

I think that if there were a section devoted solely to asking/answering pratical technical questions it would quickly degrade into "How do I get x sound card to work?" or "I have x hardware and have to do x job what do I do?" style questions. Sometimes people do get into interesting situations and need pratical help that would promote a worthwhile discussion, but I think that anyone who is in an interesting situation could at least be able to write a half decent article about it describing what went wrong, maybe even why they think its going wrong, if possible offering some technical insight, etc.

Straight "help me I cant RTFM" type questions wind me up no end and im positive that there will be so many of those that having to go in and -1 them all would become a chore after a while. If there were a system implimented at the same time letting you choose your own sections, then I'd be OK about a QA section because I'd just turn it off. Well, I'd leave it on for a while in hope, but im doubtful that any good would come of such a section here on K5.

not really.. (none / 0) (#10)
by Danse on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 02:00:07 AM EST

You wouldn't have to go in and -1 them all. They simply wouldn't get enough +1's to get them posted since presumably there wouldn't be very many people interested in them.

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Scaling of a Section System (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by dice on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 01:48:00 AM EST

Personally I believe the way the section system is attached to every new addition is not the best way.
I don't know the answer... but for both this idea and the diaries, I think some synthesis between a story and a super-special thread is in order. The use of the stories, and sectioning, and all that seems a little messy to use _for everything_.

It'd be a lot like diaries (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by jesterzog on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 03:11:26 AM EST

Like a lot of other people who have posted so far, I'm not sure if I'd want kuro5hin suddenly overrun by people asking technical questions when they could probably find the answer relatively easily somewhere else.

That's why the story moderation system exists, but at the same time I can see the moderation queue rejecting stories that are very relevant to a niche type of community. I don't think Ask Slashdot is a great success either.... they can't possibly post (fairly) all the questions people would ask or slashdot would be overrun with it.

I have another idea though, which could be feasible.

Diary entries should be renamed something like "Personal entries", or "Personal stories". They're guaranteed to get through, and when entering them people flag them as a diary entry, or a tech question... or whatever other minor personal types of sections there are. Let people browse the personal stories filtering for the personal section flags they want to see.

I guess the biggest problems to get around would be that good stories would end up being mis-posted to personal sections, and that trolls could potentially start spamming the tech questions area with stupid questions or undelated junk, that couldn't be moderated away. When categories are slapped on it there's no way to make sure people stick to the categories.

Even now though, letting people flag their diary entries for the type of entry that it is might be useful - even if there is some abuse.

jesterzog Fight the light

Ask Slashdot? (4.83 / 6) (#14)
by Spinoza on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 07:11:08 AM EST

Let me see if I comprehend the ask slashdot system fully, based on what I have observed:

Step 1: Someone has a question, and feels that, for reasons I can't even guess at, the slashdot forum regulars can provide a sensible, useful answer. Maybe I should have labelled this "Mistake 1". The question is usually something that could be answered more quickly by the standard application of a web search engine, or in unusual cases, a good library.

Step 2: The brain-dump. Fifty posts are made, detailing everything that the individual posters know on the subject (around six lines apiece), without coming close to answering the question, but enabling readers to determine by subtraction, the depth of each poster's ignorance.

Step 3: The discussion proceeds to lose contact with reality, as the initial posts are dissected and analysed by a second wave of cretins. Since no new information is introduced at this point, the discussion relies on pure imagination and pettifogging to provide it with additional steam.

Step 4: The answer is provided, in a one line post that is now completely buried by the two hundred other posts above it. If this post is noticed at all, it is probably rated -1:redundant.


Writing a Server: The discussion forks early, with half the comments addressing a question about memory leaks, while the on-topic answers are split between several recommendations for the same book, and interestingly daft suggestions such as "Just use Java!"

Is There a PGP Key Repository?: The question is mildly silly. The answers are a carnival of idiocy. Almost everyone misses the point of the question, in their haste to argue over the particulars of the "web of trust".

Echelon Protection: The mind boggles.

In short, I would like to know what you want in an "Ask k5" section. Presumably something that is not provided in "Ask Slashdot", such as answers, but you could get those from usenet, mailing lists, etc.

"Kuro5hin Q & A", anyone? | 16 comments (11 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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