Author Topic: A new forum board to help new users & relieve experienced contributing members  (Read 16079 times)

hiccup

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There is a large amount of questions and issues being posted on the forum that have been asked, addressed and answered many times before.
To this day it takes a lot of new MusicBee users time and effort to ask for help,  and a lot of experienced and contributing  forum members time and effort in answering, explaining, and providing a variety of links to related issues and solutions.

What—in my opinion—could be very helpful to make this easier both on new MusicBee users, and on experienced contributing members, is if there would be a forum board called something like:

MusicBee's Ultimate Resource of Common Questions, Issues and Problems, and their Answers and Solutions

Yes, a lot of words, but google-search friendly ;-)

There could be several dedicated threads residing under it, such as:

Album grouping issues
    tracks of an album are split-up
    folders not displayed correctly

Artwork display issues
    wrong artists
    wrong albumart

Audio issues
    no sound
    bad sound
    loudness
    audio formats
    neighbours

Backup issues
    save settings
    restore settings

Layout issues
    what's the skin layout on MusicBee's main page?
    how to restore or save a layout

Library issues

    missing files
    count discrepancy

MusicBee installation
    Store, Full install or Portable?

MusicBee update issues

    Store version
    Installer version
    Portable version

Operating system questions
    Windows
    Linux
    Commodore 64

Playback order issues
    random is not random

Playlist issues
    incorrect order

Portable devices issues
    Android
    Apple

Tags and tagging issues
    custom tags
    virtual tags
    compatibility with other software
    rating tags

Undesired behaviour of MusicBee

    MusicBee altering files
    MusicBee accessing internet
    MusicBee flirting with my wife

Virus warning issues
    Microsoft
    Avast
    Coughing

- - -

These are just some impulsively chosen categories and wordings, only picked to present the general idea.
If this gets any support, it would be good if a more sensible and complete structure could be decided on.


So...

The idea is to have a new forum board (MusicBee's Ultimate Resource of Common Questions, Issues and Problems, and their Answers and Solutions) containing separate threads per subject.
(such as the ones suggested above, printed in a bold font)

The start post of each thread should be dynamic, and updated to the latest available information and answers.

Thinking ahead; if this idea gets support and gets implemented, it would be good if the start post of each 'issue' thread could be edited and improved on by any forum member that has a certain experience/knowledge/track-record, and a drive to contribute and improve things.
I am not sure if SimpleMachines allows for this, but if it does, it shouldn't be difficult for the moderators to decide whether or not to grant such editing powers to a member. (or revoke it when thing turn bad)
The bar for members allowed to do this probably shouldn't be set too high either.
Anyone volunteering for this task is probably already on 'the good side'.

Thoughts?

phred

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A good idea. Since, as you say, we're seeing a lot of repeat questions. It would be like a MegaFAQ.

What I see as the main downside to this, aside from it being a massive project (IMO) is that it will be under utilized. Much the same as how almost no one looks the very helpful hint, when posting a message, that tells exactly how to include a screenshot. It's just not read. (Hmmm ... as much as I hate the <blink> tag in HTML, maybe we should use it for the screenshot hint.)

My feeling is that new users (especially) are in too much of a hurry to get MB working as they expect. And don't want to search the forum when they can simply create a post asking for help. Granted that with the MegaFAQ there exists the potential for the new user to get an instant answer. But they're just not going to search for it when they can post. (And then complain when they haven't gotten a reply in an hour.)
Download the latest MusicBee v3.4 patch from here.
Download the latest MusicBee v3.5 beta patch from here.
Unzip into your MusicBee directory and overwrite existing files.

----------
Check out the MusicBee Wiki.
How to post screenshots is here

frankz

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While phred is right that the typical new user is unlikely to go to this type of area for answers, it is still a great idea for the simple reason that it would give the rest of us the ability to just post a link to the complete, community-accepted answer in response rather than having to write a "new" response to the same question over and over again.

In other words, they probably still won't find it, but at least we'll know where the answers are and can easily link to them.  As a bonus, repeated links to these accepted answers will raise their rank in Google as search results.

That is miles ahead of the current FAQ, where I don't think you can even post a link directly to an answer or even a section of it. 
Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 06:42:19 PM by frankz
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phred

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it would give the rest of us the ability to just post a link to the complete, community-accepted answer in response rather than having to write a "new" response to the same question over and over again.
Yes, a valid point.
Download the latest MusicBee v3.4 patch from here.
Download the latest MusicBee v3.5 beta patch from here.
Unzip into your MusicBee directory and overwrite existing files.

----------
Check out the MusicBee Wiki.
How to post screenshots is here

psychoadept

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You all realize this is exactly what the wiki is for, right? A centralized place for people to find or link to answers. It can be edited/updated by anyone so it can stay current and is much easier to search and navigate than the forum.
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest beta patch (3.5)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

frankz

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I've got pihole and never see them, but isn't the wiki a bombardment of advertising and tracking links?  I know when I look at my pihole log after loading a page there it's a sea of red (blocked).

I think people, including me, are more likely to want to stay "in house."
A smile is happiness you'll find right under your nose.

hiccup

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You all realize this is exactly what the wiki is for, right? A centralized place for people to find or link to answers. It can be edited/updated by anyone so it can stay current and is much easier to search and navigate than the forum.

I don't think it would be the same as the wiki at all.

The wiki is a great source of information, and it is very valuable as a resource to find and learn 'how things work'.
I frequently consult it myself to find information that 'I forgot' and would take me a lot of time to search my brain or the forum for.
But I don't think it's main focus is 'solving and answering common questions and issues'.
And I don't think it's much community-driven.
That's not a negative. Better a single well-informed and focussed maintainer than a rowdy crowd.

My proposal for a new forum board is intended and targeted at users and members that are comfortable with, and used to the forum, and maybe are not aware, don't stumble upon, or are not able or motivated to contribute to the wiki.

Also, one of this proposed new board's objectives is to be some honeypot to catch the most commonly occurring questions, issues and bugs that have already been asked and answered many, many times, and have it provide well explained and up-to-date answers to them.

So both the wiki and this proposed board have their own specific value, usage, and contributors, and any information available in either still can and will be assimilated, strengthened and improved between the both of them.


edit:

This is an edited post that is different from what I originally posted.
The intention and thoughts behind it are the same, but I think it is better worded.

My apologies to frankz, who's response now is to a posting that is not here anymore.
(hopefully he still agrees... )
Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 10:23:13 PM by hiccup

frankz

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Yeah, I second that.  I hope no one takes my Wiki comments as anything other than a criticism of Fandom itself. The actual content of the Wiki is and has been very useful.

Spitballing here - Wiki software is open source and available to use by everyone.    Would the best-of-both-worlds approach be to have a Wiki area here at home base?  Does anyone know if it's hard / time consuming to set up and maintain the code on a site.  I did it a long time ago on my local machine to goof around with it and it didn't seem especially technical, but that was with one user (me) and very light demand on the system.
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The Incredible Boom Boom

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I think this is a good idea. It could be a board where regular users can't post new topics and only replies are allowed? The most active of us could manually scrape the established boards for topics that contain answers to common questions and send them as links under the various categories to the moderators to either move to this new board and/link to. Things would be immensely more tidy. Would there be a way to display a message for new posters (or display the message to everyone if not) to check the new board for an answer to the question, or else it will likely go unanswered?

hiccup

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I think this is a good idea. It could be a board where regular users can't post new topics and only replies are allowed?

Yes, usually with forums it is possible to appoint moderators that have rights to specific boards only.
So a global moderator could grant any member who is interested in contributing to this 'answers to issues' board moderating rights for that board only.
The moderators could discuss granting access to volunteers by means of PM with other 'senior' members and moderators.
But the principle should be that any member that volunteers for this and has at least some track-record of providing good answers and has some specific knowledge should be accepted as board moderator.
It should be a community driven resource and benefit from that.

The startpost of each thread in this board should aim to contain all available and recent information on the specific topic/issue.
So a user looking for answers and solutions to his issue should always only need to read the startpost.

I agree that only board moderators should be able to create new topic threads.
But all forum members should be allowed to reply and contribute to existing threads in that board.
Many will have good questions or suggestions and will provide useful additional information that is not yet available in the startpost.
Such contributions could be used to improve the content of the startpost by board moderators editing and improving the startpost.
But it should be clear that any reply that is not helpful to that thread, or perhaps lost it's additional value can and will be deleted without much discussion or explanation so to keep the threads clean and concise.

The first (locked) topic should probably be a listing (index) of all issues that have a specific thread in that board, with shortcuts directing to them.
Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 03:48:34 PM by hiccup

The Incredible Boom Boom

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Yes, usually with forums it is possible to appoint moderators that have rights to specific boards only.
So a global moderator could grant any member who is interested in contributing to this 'answers to issues' board moderating rights for that board only.
The moderators could discuss granting access to volunteers by means of PM with other 'senior' members and moderators.
But the principle should be that any member that volunteers for this and has at least some track-record of providing good answers and has some specific knowledge should be accepted as board moderator.
It should be a community driven resource and benefit from that.

The startpost of each thread in this board should aim to contain all available and recent information on the specific topic/issue.
So a user looking for answers and solutions to his issue should always only need to read the startpost.

I agree that only board moderators should be able to create new topic threads.
But all forum members should be allowed to reply and contribute to existing threads in that board.
Many will have good questions or suggestions and will provide useful additional information that is not yet available in the startpost.
Such contributions could be used to improve the content of the startpost by board moderators editing and improving the startpost.
But it should be clear that any reply that is not helpful to that thread, or perhaps lost it's additional value can and will be deleted without much discussion or explanation so to keep the threads clean and concise.

The first (locked) topic should probably be a listing (index) of all issues that have a specific thread in that board, with shortcuts directing to them.

Agree with all the above. Even temporary moderator access to trusted members for the process of moving common questions to the new board could work. There are currently four hundred fifty pages on the Questions board. If there were ten volunteers, forty-five pages could be split among each person in order to accomplish the clean up. In addition, moving relevant posts from the Bug Reports board could also be in play?

Honestly, my OCD has been itching for this kind of thing to happen for a while now. Lol

Steven

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I am happy to set up such a board and assign moderators for the people volunteering. Let me know what you want it called and whether Tips and Tricks should remain a separate board.

sveakul

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Yes, usually with forums it is possible to appoint moderators that have rights to specific boards only.
So a global moderator could grant any member who is interested in contributing to this 'answers to issues' board moderating rights for that board only.
The moderators could discuss granting access to volunteers by means of PM with other 'senior' members and moderators.
But the principle should be that any member that volunteers for this and has at least some track-record of providing good answers and has some specific knowledge should be accepted as board moderator.
It should be a community driven resource and benefit from that..

When/if this structure is created, I would be happy to volunteer for this on the subject of radio streams.  IMO Tips and Tricks should remain a separate board for now, subject to change as the new board fleshes out.

hiccup

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Maybe something like:

Answers and solutions to common questions and issues
Explanations on most FAQ's — not intended for asking questions!

I also think that Tips and Tricks should remain.
It's very useful for providing suggestions on how things can be done that are not problems or issues, and other users may never have thought of.
There will be threads in there that may be better suited for this new board. Perhaps over time those could selectively be moved to it. Or some of it's content used and copied to threads in the new board.

Steven

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Can we be clear on what the boundaries are with the Wiki?
I see the Wiki as like a user manual where a new user can read and learn from scratch how to use MusicBee, where-as what is being proposed in this new board is a collection of common problems users have and what the solution might be.
How do others see the distinction?