Those of us who have been around for a while generally know how things work. I'm not sure I can say the same for some casual forum visitors. As we try to respond to posts in the various forums we encounter many of the same issues no matter where the post originates:

  • The question is posted in the wrong forum. Volunteers with the appropriate expertise are less likely to see the post.
  • The issue as presented is too vague. Specific details are needed so we ask follow-up questions before we can diagnose the problem.
  • Sometimes expectations are unrealistic.
  • Sometimes the requested information is available in the product documentation but the poster hasn't looked, perhaps because (s)he is unaware it is available online or hasn't been able to locate it.
  • Others may have encountered the same issue and it is already documented in a TID but the poster hasn't checked.

And the list goes on...

What we would like to do is make people more aware of the many resources available to them before they post so they can decide for themselves which resource(s) might be most appropriate. We would also like to remind them how to use the forums most effectively.

The support forums are product focused. While TAG websites contain vast amounts of information, most of which are organized into categories and can be located from the main header, there is currently no grouping of information by product. The product support forums are an ideal place, perhaps even the only place, to make that information available. We are thinking of using sticky posts to accomplish that.

The challenge, of course, is to decide what to include and how to present it. I know visitors to this Community Chat Forum are never shy when it comes to expressing opinions so we would like to get some of that feedback before we proceed.

I have prepared a sample post that might be used in OES-Linux Install forum. I will post it as a reply to this post so we have a concrete example of what we have in mind.