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FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?

FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« on: September 19, 2007, 09:08:14 PM »
The developers have brought it to my attention that a lot of advice that is being given in this forum is bad.  As you may have noticed, we are trying out different ways of implementing a good/bad advice rating system.  We haven't decided if that will stay or not, but I think one thing we are lacking are some recommendations to users of SME Server as to what sort of advice is genrally good, and what is not. 

Things that are generally good to do:
  • Report problems when you first find them to the bug tracker at http://bugs.contribs.org after searching there to see if the same problem has been reported already.  But remember that the purpose of the bug tracker is to diagnose and fix the problem in an updated version of SME Server.  You should be prepared to provide detailed information, be patient, and provide follow up when asked by the developers who will try to reproduce and fix the bug.

Things that are generally bad to do: 
(If someone recommend you do one of these things, perhaps you should not follow, or at least question, their advice)
  • Don't do things from the command line that you can do from the server manager
  • Don't install gcc or any other *-devel rpms on your server.
  • Don't install contribs that are not in one of the repositories on mirrors.contribs.org and don't have a category in the bug tracker.  If they are not there, ask the developer of the contrib why that is.
  • Don't do anything that includes an instruction with something like 'rpm -Uvh --force ???' or 'rpm -Uvh --nodeps ???'.  Not a wise thing to do 99% of the time.
  • Don't upgrade the version of php, mysql, apache, perl or any other packages that are included in SME Server.  Very bad - don't do this!  Don't enable the 'centosplus' or any other 3rd party repository which includes these packages.

Please add your comments, or if you have moderator access, please just edit this posting directly with your additions.  Developers and the support team - please add some comments.

Thanks,
« Last Edit: September 24, 2007, 08:57:14 PM by gregswallow »

Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2007, 10:16:51 PM »
Good to know, I'd give you a "good advice" uptick if I could figure out how.  :-)

Perhaps your advice above could be posted on the front page of the forums.

Did the good/bad advice counters get reset recently. I noticed that I was back at zero and I was so very proud (insert sarcasm smiley here) of my +2 ranking. I guess it is just as likely that I got a couple of -ve's also.

Offline mmccarn

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Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2007, 10:37:35 PM »
As someone who spends more time giving (bad?) advice than asking for help, this is how I read this policy.  Please correct anything I have mis-interpreted.
  • Don't provide instructions that involve the command line
  • If a configuration setting cannot be set in server-manager, provide a link to the wiki, manual or existing bug where the command is documented (spamassassin white lists, for example?)
  • If there is no documented solution to a problem (in the wiki, manual, or existing bugs), open a new bug in the bug tracker so that the developers can weigh in on the issue.
  • Make sure that all bugs include approved resolution instructions, or links to instructions in the wiki (Bug 3352, for example, traces the development of a solution, but the next person who ran into this problem couldn't tell what to do from the bug tracker and had to ask for help: http://forums.contribs.org/index.php?topic=38555.msg174842#msg174842)

Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2007, 10:57:03 PM »
  • Don't provide instructions that involve the command line
  • If a configuration setting cannot be set in server-manager, provide a link to the wiki, manual or existing bug where the command is documented (spamassassin white lists, for example?)
  • If there is no documented solution to a problem (in the wiki, manual, or existing bugs), open a new bug in the bug tracker so that the developers can weigh in on the issue.
  • Make sure that all bugs include approved resolution instructions, or links to instructions in the wiki (Bug 3352, for example, traces the development of a solution, but the next person who ran into this problem couldn't tell what to do from the bug tracker and had to ask for help: http://forums.contribs.org/index.php?topic=38555.msg174842#msg174842)

1 - I would say 'Don't provide instructions that involve the command line if the same thing can be done through the server manager'.
2 - sounds like a good suggestion to the people writing the advice
3 - I will ammend the first post to say something about searching the bug tracker before posting a new bug report.
4 - sounds good, but not really related to good/bad advice in the forums.

I think we could incorporate some of your suggestions into a "Best practices for giving advice" section in the first post.  I'll add that too.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 11:21:02 PM by gregswallow »

Offline mmccarn

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Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2007, 05:46:50 PM »
Quote from: gregswallow
1 - I would say 'Don't provide instructions that involve the command line if the same thing can be done through the server manager'.
I went back and forth on this.  My first impulse is to throw a bunch of command line stuff into the forum - but then I thought "why not open a bug report, put the command line stuff there, and refer to it from the forums?" - that way the developers get to weigh in on the validity of my impulses without needing to scan the forums for my misguided advice.

I see a work-flow like this:
  • The first time a question is asked in the forum, an advice-giver like myself finds a reference to the answer and gives the link, or creates a bug for the question and proposes a solution there
  • the bug then proceeds wherever it goes - ending in 'fixed in....' an updated RPM or a wiki update or a documentation update
  • the next time this question is asked, the solution is referred to in the wiki or docs

The "pro" side of this is that all advice goes through bugzilla so the developers get to see it.  The "con" side is that I don't like opening frivolous bugs and potentially wasting the developers' time. 

Also, I don't know how to remove anything from bugzilla - if I upload a proposed script that ends up causing problems, or make a post with code in it that doesn't work, how can I make sure no one uses it?  In the forums I try to go back and edit any post I give where my advice is "just wrong" to keep folks from using it.

Having said that, I will follow the recommended procedures to the best of my ability, whatever they are!


Quote from: gregswallow
4 - sounds good, but not really related to good/bad advice in the forums.
Yes, but once we publish "question answering" guidelines I think they should include the requirement that the answer flow all the way through to either an updated RPM, an updated wiki or manual page, or a concise statement (understandable by end users) why not...

Offline slords

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Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2007, 05:22:02 AM »
The "pro" side of this is that all advice goes through bugzilla so the developers get to see it.  The "con" side is that I don't like opening frivolous bugs and potentially wasting the developers' time.

Raising bugs is never a waste of our time.  Having to search the forums is.  If you raise a bug the worst we can do is just close it won't fix.  That takes very little time but still puts something out there for bugzilla to search one.

Also, I don't know how to remove anything from bugzilla - if I upload a proposed script that ends up causing problems, or make a post with code in it that doesn't work, how can I make sure no one uses it?  In the forums I try to go back and edit any post I give where my advice is "just wrong" to keep folks from using it.

You can mark an attached file as obsolete indicating that it is no longer valid.  In the forums you are allowed to edit posts but only for up to 7 days after it was posted.  After that point things are locked to keep them static.
"Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs,
and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning." -- Rich Cook

Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2007, 03:09:23 AM »
Which is the place to discuss the bad votes that they have given me?

Offline cactus

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Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2007, 08:30:38 AM »
Which is the place to discuss the bad votes that they have given me?
As per bug 3389, comment 22 you can see that at this moment only a strict group (I guess the developers and perhaps some others, who have extensive knowledge of SME Server) have the possibility to cast votes. This is done after an extensive discussion, as you can see in this bug there have been a lot of remarks already on the voting system it self.

The voting system was implemented out of a feeling of dissatisfaction with the quality of advice given in the forums, the development team is of the opinion that a lot of advice in the forums is not good enough, or could be better.

As you can see in comment 6 I already suggested that there is no way of reviewing your votes. Your best bet is to ask th developers in a (new) bug report I guess.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than its worth ~ Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Offline byte

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Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2007, 12:35:38 PM »
I already suggested that there is no way of reviewing your votes. Your best bet is to ask th developers in a (new) bug report I guess.

There is a way to review your good/bad advice click on your profile and you will see...

"Who changed my karma     Whose karma have I changed"

--[byte]--

Have you filled in a Bug Report over @ http://bugs.contribs.org ? Please don't wait to be told this way you help us to help you/others - Thanks!

Offline cactus

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Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2007, 05:55:36 PM »
There is a way to review your good/bad advice click on your profile and you will see...

"Who changed my karma     Whose karma have I changed"
Is this new or did I just not see it all the time?
« Last Edit: October 08, 2007, 06:06:42 PM by cactus »
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than its worth ~ Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2007, 06:28:43 PM »
There is a way to review your good/bad advice click on your profile and you will see...

"Who changed my karma     Whose karma have I changed"


My member status only allow view, but not review

Offline byte

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Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2007, 06:57:27 PM »
Is this new or did I just not see it all the time?

It's newly implemented.
--[byte]--

Have you filled in a Bug Report over @ http://bugs.contribs.org ? Please don't wait to be told this way you help us to help you/others - Thanks!

Offline byte

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Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2007, 07:01:59 PM »
My member status only allow view, but not review

We all should be able to see this in our profile...

"Who changed my karma     Whose karma have I changed"

If you can't please raise a bug in the website section. Thanks.
--[byte]--

Have you filled in a Bug Report over @ http://bugs.contribs.org ? Please don't wait to be told this way you help us to help you/others - Thanks!

Offline cactus

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Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2007, 07:11:01 PM »
It's newly implemented.
Kudos! I just yesterday installed SMF on my test server with the karma plugin to try and see what I could do to to make it fit to the forums but it seems someone beet me to it :-)
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than its worth ~ Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Re: FAQ: Should I trust/follow the advice I get in this forum?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2007, 08:00:16 PM »
We all should be able to see this in our profile...

"Who changed my karma     Whose karma have I changed"

If you can't please raise a bug in the website section. Thanks.
Yes Byte, I can see who and why change my karma. My question is about review my karma.
Read from http://forums.contribs.org/index.php?topic=38704.msg175677#msg175677 to the end.
Because I am spanish moderator, 80% of my posts are in spanish forum, and any developer can't evaluate my real karma or "Advice given".

I am very in discord with this system. I know I have a lot of good "Advices given" in spanish forum and here too.
Sorry for discuss here and not in bug tracker because I only want to clarify the situation.