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Thread: Ideas and Plans for Improving Ubuntu Documentation

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,364
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    Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Re: A "guide bot" and other ways to reduce bandwidth

    My earliest motivation stemmed from a desire to know statistical information about my own posts. I felt that if I could know, for example, that 65% of my posts involved hardware questions; or that 90% of my first responses were to provide information from the wiki or www.google.com/linux; or what were the average number of posts per solved thread; or, how many threads that I participated in were solved...etc...etc...

    Also, to improve my abilities in helping others here, it would be useful to know similar statistics about the forum as a whole (or at least the beginner forum which is where I tend to respond to posts). Further, I'm planning on contributing to editing some of the numerous wikis that need editing; it would be nice to try and fix those in order of priority. Or, write a howto when I can see that it is sorely needed.

    So those were my personal motivations. However, what I meant by "unify" was not that the forum should be the sole source of documentation--to me that is absurd. What I am saying is that every single resource that Ubuntu has should be easily accessible by all the others. When it comes to solving problems this means having a search engine that could equally find related solved posts, related howtos, and anything else related.. (I need to know more about what all the resources even are--see my point ). It is not that documentation is created entirely based on forum posts. It is that the documenation considers all helpful information, which of course would include "solved posts".

    The key to all of this is providing meta-data to all documents (including threads and their corresponding posts) so that they can easily be searched or analysed for any number of useful purposes. The exact forms of utilizing that information (bot, unified search engine, individual uses, whatever) are secondary; since, without the meta-data none of it is practically possible.
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Old Chinese Proverb
    How To Help Yourself | Ubuntu User #15136"

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Kingston, On
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    Re: A "guide bot" and other ways to reduce bandwidth

    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatist
    The key to all of this is providing meta-data to all documents (including threads and their corresponding posts) so that they can easily be searched or analysed for any number of useful purposes. The exact forms of utilizing that information (bot, unified search engine, individual uses, whatever) are secondary; since, without the meta-data none of it is practically possible.
    Well, for moin-based pages, you can subscribe to be advised of any changes to pages in any section of the wiki, so automating the tagging or part of the tagging for wiki-based documents should not be too hard.

    The same goes for mailing lists - you just subscribe the bot to them and stuff them into the database as they come. If the mailing lists do get put into launchpad, it may be even more direct.

    Now for the forums, it may not be so easy. vBuletin is proprietary. The big dissadvantages are that you have to *pay* for the source code and any changes you make to the code to add tags to the posts may not make it upstream. That means that your tagging code may not survive different releases and so you will continually have to keep writing it. Maybe there is a way around it.

    Maybe the daily IRC logs could somehow be tagged, too?

    Are there any other sources of Ubuntu documentation that can be tagged?

    So, once you get your database of tags going, you can have many different frontends to it, be it an application that runs on the default ubuntu desktop (like yelp), a web page, a vBuletin plugin, whatever.

    Anyone reading this see anything they can do for this effort?
    Last edited by az; March 23rd, 2006 at 01:29 AM.

  3. #43
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    Oct 2004
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    Re: A "guide bot" and other ways to reduce bandwidth

    Quote Originally Posted by azz

    Now for the forums, it may not be so easy. vBuletin is proprietary. The big dissadvantages are that you have to *pay* for the source code and any changes you make to the code to add tags to the posts may not make it upstream. That means that your tagging code may not survive different releases and so you will continually have to keep writing it. Maybe there is a way around it.
    As of Vbulletin 3.5 there is an extensive plugin/product system using the vbulletin API that allows users to create almost any type of addon without altering any code.

    http://www.vbulletin.com/docs/html/ - More information can be found there.
    My Blog | Forum Search | Forum Guidelines
    Please don't PM support questions--post a thread so everyone can benefit!

  4. #44
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    May 2005
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    US
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    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: A "guide bot" and other ways to reduce bandwidth

    In many ways, I and other veteran forum members operate as living "bots."

    Usually when I see a question, the first thing I do is point to one or more "solution" threads or links.

    Only if the original post-er has issue with following the directions (or has some unique situation that requires extra care) do I then follow-up with more interactive guidance.

  5. #45
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    Re: A "guide bot" and other ways to reduce bandwidth

    Quote Originally Posted by ubuntu-geek
    As of Vbulletin 3.5 there is an extensive plugin/product system using the vbulletin API that allows users to create almost any type of addon without altering any code.

    http://www.vbulletin.com/docs/html/ - More information can be found there.
    Super! We're good to go!

  6. #46
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    Oct 2004
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    USA
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    Re: A "guide bot" and other ways to reduce bandwidth

    Quote Originally Posted by azz
    Super! We're good to go!
    For sure.. A test board can always be setup with access to the API hooks..
    My Blog | Forum Search | Forum Guidelines
    Please don't PM support questions--post a thread so everyone can benefit!

  7. #47
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    Re: A "guide bot" and other ways to reduce bandwidth

    Quote Originally Posted by ubuntu-geek
    For sure.. A test board can always be setup with access to the API hooks..
    https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ub...ch/005633.html

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Brisbane
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    Re: A "guide bot" and other ways to reduce bandwidth

    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatist
    4.) Ultimately a kind of host/hostess "bot" that walks the user through a series of questions. They wouldn't have to use this, but if it was designed well, it would be in everybody's interest to do so. It would save time. The "bot" could ask simple, pointed, questions like "does this have to do with hardware or software" "What is the brand and model of the device" etc...
    I think people get creeped out by a computer talking to them - re: Microsoft Word Paperclip and H.A.L.
    Ubuntu: It's betterer than Fedora..

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Distro
    Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Re: A "guide bot" and other ways to reduce bandwidth

    Originally Posted by: naaman
    I think people get creeped out by a computer talking to them - re: Microsoft Word Paperclip and H.A.L.
    LOL 'what are you doing dave....'

    I agree with you there. Two points though. First, people are extremely comfortable and familiar with "wizards", which is more like what I was talking about. Second, in my most recent post I clarified what I feel is the key issue:

    The key to all of this is providing meta-data to all documents (including threads and their corresponding posts) so that they can easily be searched or analysed for any number of useful purposes.
    I just relabeled my inital post: Unify Documentation Resources Through Meta-Data

    Is there a way to change the title of the thread? This way we can focus on meta-data, rather than on the manifold ways of using the, currently unavailble, meta-data.
    Last edited by Pragmatist; March 23rd, 2006 at 07:11 PM.
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Old Chinese Proverb
    How To Help Yourself | Ubuntu User #15136"

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Portugal , Castelo Branco
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    45
    Distro
    The Feisty Fawn Testing

    Ubuntu step by step - Making better user guides

    5.04 was my first Ubuntu version , and the first Gnu/Linux distro actually being installed on my hard drive (other were just live-cd´s).

    I started by ordering the cd´s from shipit (free cd´s , the killer "app" for me ) , and meanwhile i waited for them to come i started googling for guides.

    The first guide i found was the Unofficial Ubuntu Starter Guide , and i hated it! Why? because i like being able to do things for myself , and the only thing the guide sad was commands to copy/paste , and i like understading and being able to do things on my own!

    The second guide i found was Ubuntu howcome , it was bloated with too much info that actuall was required , but i loved it! Why? Because it explained a bunch of usefull things , like apt-get , users and permissions , why Ubuntu doesn´t support mp3 out of the box , etc... And after printing , and reading it a couple of times i was ready for the Ubuntu desktop.

    So why i´m i talking about this?

    It passed a long time since i first installed Ubuntu , i become an experienced user , and i helped a bunch of other users with less knowledges than my ones at #ubuntu @ ptnet , and i realized something :

    The current online documentation about Ubuntu is badly organized and insuficient! (With this critic realize i dont want to flamme or troll , my gold is to help with sugestions for improvement)

    Why i think this? newcomers to Ubuntu usually have a bunch of questions , and the answers are not usually right out the box avaiable , things like howto to install software , do i need an AV an firewall like in windows , how can i dual-boot windows and Ubuntu , etc.... ,( yes they may exist at forums and so on , but if no one knows there is a problem/situation will they search for the solution before facing it? how can someone google something they dont even know the name?)
    , so they end up doing things the wrong way and thinking :

    Ubuntu sucks or Ubuntu is hard to use

    Yes most guides tell users howto do taks X or Y , but do they explain what task X is about? do they explain the consequences of taks Y? yes you can tell copy/paste this , but will that really help? what is the difference between that and fixing and win-box of your friend which is full of spyware , but you dont tell him howto prevent future spyware?

    Recently i started working in a guide (with the help of other members in portuguese community) that would guide users since the beginning of Ubuntu , from instalation to some basic tasks like apt-get , it is inspired in the original howcome wiki , and the goal is to explain things in a easy way.

    Is still a sketch , and needs a lot of work , but what matters is that helps users!

    Original Portuguese version

    Web translated version (babelfish translation sucks )

    I personally think we need two different kind of guides , one that teaches people to use Ubuntu , other that tells them right away what to do (and not just the second)! Because what kind of freedom of choice do users have if they aren´t informmed about their choices?

    Ubuntu is a great OS , but who needs a tool that he cant master? What is the point at math of learning a formula if you dont know to use it? Giving users directions will make their Ubuntu adoption easier , and bug 1 disappear faster

    Now what i want to know is what the comunnity thinks!
    There is only one god, and Ubuntu is its prophet.

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