A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

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M. Fioretti M. Fioretti
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A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

As per subject:

http://stop.zona-m.net/2010/11/a-proposal-for-effective-volunteer-friendly-user-support-in-libreoffice/

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Benjamin Horst Benjamin Horst
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

Hello,

On Nov 23, 2010, at 10:42 AM, M. Fioretti wrote:
> As per subject:
>
> http://stop.zona-m.net/2010/11/a-proposal-for-effective-volunteer-friendly-user-support-in-libreoffice/

I reviewed your proposal and think you make very good points. As I personally haven't closely followed the user support mailing list over the years, I don't feel qualified to respond in too much detail on those points. :)

However, have we considered adopting a "knowledge base" type interface to supplement our user support? One I worked with in the past allowed users to input their questions, and would automatically direct them toward similar questions that had been asked and answered already. If they don't find a sufficient response from the existing knowledge base, their question is automatically forwarded through to a human support person, who interacts with the user through a web application. Their answer is then added to the growing repository for the next user.

This is different from a basic FAQ published in any ordinary CMS, because of the automatic search for similar questions, and because after passing that threshold, it leads directly to a human support person (or volunteer).

Searching quickly for "open source knowledge base" I came upon the following useful discussion: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/284477/anybody-knows-any-knowledge-base-open-source

I don't think the responses fill all of the criteria I discussed above, yet they may point us in a useful direction.

Has anyone else worked with tools like I describe here? Do you think it makes sense to hybridize our support offering in this way, remove the challenge of an email list for many users, archive responses in an easy web-accessible location, and yet allow our support volunteers to continue using email or choose a web interface to do their part?

-Ben


Benjamin Horst
[hidden email]
646-464-2314 (Eastern)
www.solidoffice.com


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Pedro Pedro
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

In reply to this post by M. Fioretti
I do agree that volunteer-friendly user support is the key for the success of any Open Source project.

However, in my opinion e-mail and mailing lists are obsolete and ineffective tools.

A user forum (with optional mail notification) and a wiki are much more powerful tools.

A forum makes it much easier to create a hierarchy of helpers based on merit and on the other hand to handle poorly behaved users.

A wiki can be an organized structure of accumulated knowledge.
Nathan Nathan
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

On 11/23/2010 11:57 AM, plino wrote:

>
> I do agree that volunteer-friendly user support is the key for the success of
> any Open Source project.
>
> However, in my opinion e-mail and mailing lists are obsolete and ineffective
> tools.
>
> A user forum (with optional mail notification) and a wiki are much more
> powerful tools.
>
> A forum makes it much easier to create a hierarchy of helpers based on merit
> and on the other hand to handle poorly behaved users.
>
> A wiki can be an organized structure of accumulated knowledge.
i agree, a forum would be more efficient and easier to manage. Out of
all the open source forum solutions currently out, I would have to say
that Vanilla forums is the best. Between active development,
aesthetically appealing, up to date feature sets, it has it all.

http://www.vanillaforums.org

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Thanks for your time,
Nathan Heafner

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Kevin Vermeer Kevin Vermeer
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 12:28 PM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 11/23/2010 11:57 AM, plino wrote:
>
>>
>> I do agree that volunteer-friendly user support is the key for the success
>> of
>> any Open Source project.
>>
>> However, in my opinion e-mail and mailing lists are obsolete and
>> ineffective
>> tools.
>>
>> A user forum (with optional mail notification) and a wiki are much more
>> powerful tools.
>>
>> A forum makes it much easier to create a hierarchy of helpers based on
>> merit
>> and on the other hand to handle poorly behaved users.
>>
>> A wiki can be an organized structure of accumulated knowledge.
>>
> i agree, a forum would be more efficient and easier to manage. Out of all
> the open source forum solutions currently out, I would have to say that
> Vanilla forums is the best. Between active development, aesthetically
> appealing, up to date feature sets, it has it all.
>
> http://www.vanillaforums.org


Forums and wikis both have their uses, but a wiki is limited by the keywords
the user knows, its existing content, and its search function, and a forum
is prone to developing long, meandering questions/discussions and lots of
duplicate questions.  As Benjamin demonstrated (accidentally), they're not
ideal for question-and-answer discussions.  He linked to stackoverflow.com,
which is not an open-source platform, but is a great precedent for a support
system.  It integrates the concepts of a blog, wiki, forum, and Digg/Reddit
into one system that seems to work well for asking and getting answers to
questions.

Superuser.com is actually the place to ask questions about the use of
software rather than Stackoverflow, which is for development.
OpenOffice.org actually has 181 questions in their own tag on this site.
There are no questions about LibreOffice yet.  Should we start a new tag for
LibreOffice and maintain a presence there?
--
Kevin Vermeer

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Ian Lynch Ian Lynch
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

In reply to this post by Nathan
On 23 November 2010 17:28, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 11/23/2010 11:57 AM, plino wrote:
>
>>
>> I do agree that volunteer-friendly user support is the key for the success
>> of
>> any Open Source project.
>>
>> However, in my opinion e-mail and mailing lists are obsolete and
>> ineffective
>> tools.
>>
>> A user forum (with optional mail notification) and a wiki are much more
>> powerful tools.
>>
>> A forum makes it much easier to create a hierarchy of helpers based on
>> merit
>> and on the other hand to handle poorly behaved users.
>>
>> A wiki can be an organized structure of accumulated knowledge.
>>
> i agree, a forum would be more efficient and easier to manage. Out of all
> the open source forum solutions currently out, I would have to say that
> Vanilla forums is the best. Between active development, aesthetically
> appealing, up to date feature sets, it has it all.
>
> http://www.vanillaforums.org
>
> --
> Thanks for your time,
> Nathan Heafner


Since the project is moving to Drupal, it makes sense to use Drupal forums
since then there is just one system to manage.




>
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>


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T. J. Brumfield T. J. Brumfield
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

In reply to this post by Kevin Vermeer
There are open software stacks with various CMS tools where you can combine
wiki, blog, forum, and FAQ functionality together. A community site could
have articles on the front end to help demonstate features, provide
tutorials, expose new templates and extensions, etc.

Users can provide comments and questions on the articles as well as post in
the forums. Duplicate questions are bound to occur in forums. The problem
with that is retyping the same solutions time and time again. But if there
is an integrated wiki/knowledgebase in the site, then you can link to the
solution there.

My concern is that many users expect help to be present in the application
itself, and not everyone is willing to go and find answers in a community.
Could the application itself pull its "Help" functionality from online
resources?

-- T. J.

On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 11:52 AM, Kevin Vermeer <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 12:28 PM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > On 11/23/2010 11:57 AM, plino wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> I do agree that volunteer-friendly user support is the key for the
> success
> >> of
> >> any Open Source project.
> >>
> >> However, in my opinion e-mail and mailing lists are obsolete and
> >> ineffective
> >> tools.
> >>
> >> A user forum (with optional mail notification) and a wiki are much more
> >> powerful tools.
> >>
> >> A forum makes it much easier to create a hierarchy of helpers based on
> >> merit
> >> and on the other hand to handle poorly behaved users.
> >>
> >> A wiki can be an organized structure of accumulated knowledge.
> >>
> > i agree, a forum would be more efficient and easier to manage. Out of all
> > the open source forum solutions currently out, I would have to say that
> > Vanilla forums is the best. Between active development, aesthetically
> > appealing, up to date feature sets, it has it all.
> >
> > http://www.vanillaforums.org
>
>
> Forums and wikis both have their uses, but a wiki is limited by the
> keywords
> the user knows, its existing content, and its search function, and a forum
> is prone to developing long, meandering questions/discussions and lots of
> duplicate questions.  As Benjamin demonstrated (accidentally), they're not
> ideal for question-and-answer discussions.  He linked to stackoverflow.com
> ,
> which is not an open-source platform, but is a great precedent for a
> support
> system.  It integrates the concepts of a blog, wiki, forum, and Digg/Reddit
> into one system that seems to work well for asking and getting answers to
> questions.
>
> Superuser.com is actually the place to ask questions about the use of
> software rather than Stackoverflow, which is for development.
> OpenOffice.org actually has 181 questions in their own tag on this site.
> There are no questions about LibreOffice yet.  Should we start a new tag
> for
> LibreOffice and maintain a presence there?
> --
> Kevin Vermeer
>

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Pedro Pedro
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice


My concern is that many users expect help to be present in the application
itself, and not everyone is willing to go and find answers in a community.
Could the application itself pull its "Help" functionality from online
resources?

In my experience an online forum/help/FAQ does NOT replace an offline help, it is a complement. There is always the need for an offline FAQ (included in the help files) which must be compiled by humans from the most frequent questions at the forum (ideally already organized in the wiki)

If people keep asking the same questions (hence they are considered FAQ) it's because it's not clear enough on the standard help file how to perform those tasks.

Even assuming that many people don't bother to read before asking, if a given task generates repeated questions it means that it should be included in the online and offline FAQs as a first approach and that the GUI itself should be re-designed to make it easier to find the function.

I know this is easier said than done. But it is the key to a successful program.
marcpare4 marcpare4
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

Le 2010-11-23 13:31, plino a écrit :

>
>> My concern is that many users expect help to be present in the application
>> itself, and not everyone is willing to go and find answers in a community.
>> Could the application itself pull its "Help" functionality from online
>> resources?
>>
>
> In my experience an online forum/help/FAQ does NOT replace an offline help,
> it is a complement. There is always the need for an offline FAQ (included in
> the help files) which must be compiled by humans from the most frequent
> questions at the forum (ideally already organized in the wiki)
>
> If people keep asking the same questions (hence they are considered FAQ)
> it's because it's not clear enough on the standard help file how to perform
> those tasks.
>
> Even assuming that many people don't bother to read before asking, if a
> given task generates repeated questions it means that it should be included
> in the online and offline FAQs as a first approach and that the GUI itself
> should be re-designed to make it easier to find the function.
>
> I know this is easier said than done. But it is the key to a successful
> program.
>

If we establish the clear needs on this thread we can look at the
requirements and there is probably a Drupal solution for it or maybe a
Drupal dev would be able to code something together to fit our needs.

Could someone make a list of proposed requirements here after
discussion? We will then take a close look at the requirements and try
to fit a solution to it.

If it gets really elaborate, someone could put it up on the ideas page
here: http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Marketing/Ideas  I know it is
on the marketing wiki page, but the Drupal Team does take these ideas
seriously. I could put it on there if you have any problems with wiki
posting.

Marc
Drupal Dev. Team member
Marketing Team member


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M. Fioretti M. Fioretti
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

In reply to this post by Benjamin Horst
On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 11:41:53 AM -0500, Benjamin Horst ([hidden email]) wrote:
> Hello,
>
> On Nov 23, 2010, at 10:42 AM, M. Fioretti wrote:
> > As per subject:
> >
> > http://stop.zona-m.net/2010/11/a-proposal-for-effective-volunteer-friendly-user-support-in-libreoffice/
>
> I reviewed your proposal and think you make very good points.

Thanks!

> As I personally haven't closely followed the user support mailing
> list over the years, I don't feel> qualified to respond in too much
> detail on those points. :) However, have we considered adopting a
> "knowledge base" type interface to supplement our user support?

I'll leave to others the answer to this question. Personally, I think
it is both advisable and unavoidable to have more user support
channels or resources.

Me, I've just personally experienced many times that

a) there are many people who are only willing to provide free support
through email (ie if they have to go to web forums, newsgroup or
anything else they won't do it, period, for reasons not even worth
discussing here) and...

b) the way you were supposed to do this at ooo-users drove away many
people over the years.

My proposal is meant to eliminate **that** problem, but there's surely
space and need for other channels too. What matters is that all that
is done doesn't repeat those errors from OOo and that everything is
coordinated.

        Marco

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M. Fioretti M. Fioretti
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

In reply to this post by Pedro
On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 08:57:45 AM -0800, plino ([hidden email]) wrote:
>
> I do agree that volunteer-friendly user support is the key for the
> success of any Open Source project. However, in my opinion e-mail
> and mailing lists are obsolete and ineffective tools.

The problem I describe did not happen because OOo had no support
forum. They happened because many volunteers did not want to use them
but the official mailing list sucked big time because of certain
"policies".

Now, in my **opinion**, forums are very limiting and ineffective tools
compared to email and mailing lists. But this is my opinion, so we can
safely ignore it.

What I know for a FACT, which is embarassingly evident from the
ooo-users archives, is that, regardless of your opinion, there ARE
many people who were only available to provide support by email, were
driven away by the dumb strategies I describe in the article and never
used the forums that OOo does have.

So, if you want to engage those potential contributors too, you have
to give them an email environment that is purged for good from certain
bright ideas. If you don't want that, no problem. The "form that sends
the help request" can certainly send it to a forum instead of a
mailing list, if that's the only channel TDF decides to offer for
LibreOffice.

Marco


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marcpare4 marcpare4
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

Le 2010-11-23 14:29, M. Fioretti a écrit :

> On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 08:57:45 AM -0800, plino ([hidden email]) wrote:
>>
>> I do agree that volunteer-friendly user support is the key for the
>> success of any Open Source project. However, in my opinion e-mail
>> and mailing lists are obsolete and ineffective tools.
>
> The problem I describe did not happen because OOo had no support
> forum. They happened because many volunteers did not want to use them
> but the official mailing list sucked big time because of certain
> "policies".
>
> Now, in my **opinion**, forums are very limiting and ineffective tools
> compared to email and mailing lists. But this is my opinion, so we can
> safely ignore it.
>
> What I know for a FACT, which is embarassingly evident from the
> ooo-users archives, is that, regardless of your opinion, there ARE
> many people who were only available to provide support by email, were
> driven away by the dumb strategies I describe in the article and never
> used the forums that OOo does have.
>
> So, if you want to engage those potential contributors too, you have
> to give them an email environment that is purged for good from certain
> bright ideas. If you don't want that, no problem. The "form that sends
> the help request" can certainly send it to a forum instead of a
> mailing list, if that's the only channel TDF decides to offer for
> LibreOffice.
>
> Marco
>
>

Hi Marco

If this means anything, the Drupal LibreOffice website will be offering
all modes of communications to the users: mailists, forums and wiki. If
you can think of any other modes let us know and we will into providing
it for the members.

Cheers

Marc
Drupal Web Dev. Team Member


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Pedro Pedro
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

 
If this means anything, the Drupal LibreOffice website will be offering
all modes of communications to the users: mailists, forums and wiki. If
you can think of any other modes let us know and we will into providing
it for the members.

Marc, does it provide Live support such as a one-on-one Chat (like Facebook or Gtalk) or a IRC type page?

I occasionally use the Gnumeric and Abiword IRC channels to get fast, direct answers and it works extremely well.
Ian Lynch Ian Lynch
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

In reply to this post by T. J. Brumfield
On 23 November 2010 18:14, T. J. Brumfield <[hidden email]> wrote:

> There are open software stacks with various CMS tools where you can combine
> wiki, blog, forum, and FAQ functionality together. A community site could
> have articles on the front end to help demonstate features, provide
> tutorials, expose new templates and extensions, etc.
>
> Users can provide comments and questions on the articles as well as post in
> the forums. Duplicate questions are bound to occur in forums. The problem
> with that is retyping the same solutions time and time again. But if there
> is an integrated wiki/knowledgebase in the site, then you can link to the
> solution there.
>
> My concern is that many users expect help to be present in the application
> itself, and not everyone is willing to go and find answers in a community.
> Could the application itself pull its "Help" functionality from online
> resources?
>

That is quite common with Linux applications. Certainly links from the
application help to on-line search of discussions etc should be relatively
easy.

Only draw back I can think of is potentially broken links. One advantage to
linking to say a public editable page would be that if you found the help
unhelpful but then realised why you could document it for others and
eventually the improvements could find their way in to the application help.
--
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You have received this email from the following company: The Learning
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Robert Derman Robert Derman
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

In reply to this post by Pedro
plino wrote:

>> My concern is that many users expect help to be present in the application
>> itself, and not everyone is willing to go and find answers in a community.
>> Could the application itself pull its "Help" functionality from online
>> resources?
>>
>>    
>
> In my experience an online forum/help/FAQ does NOT replace an offline help,
> it is a complement. There is always the need for an offline FAQ (included in
> the help files) which must be compiled by humans from the most frequent
> questions at the forum (ideally already organized in the wiki)
>
> If people keep asking the same questions (hence they are considered FAQ)
> it's because it's not clear enough on the standard help file how to perform
> those tasks.
>
> Even assuming that many people don't bother to read before asking, if a
> given task generates repeated questions it means that it should be included
> in the online and offline FAQs as a first approach and that the GUI itself
> should be re-designed to make it easier to find the function.
>
> I know this is easier said than done. But it is the key to a successful
> program.
>  
I have said this in the OOo discuss list, and I think it bears repeating
here.  One of the biggest problems causing the need for users especially
new ones to need help is the lack of a good users manual.  The OOo
documentation site is very confusing, there are too many manuals to
choose from and nothing says anything like "If you are a new user, this
is the one you want".  I could be wrong in this, but I don't think that
I am.  The only module I ever use with any regularity is Writer.  If I
can figure out how to use it, I might use Calc for a personal check
register, likewise I might use Base for a list of all my DVD collection,
but it's Writer that I use daily.  I suspect that I am fairly typical in
this, and that perhaps 50% or more of OOo, and now LO users use Writer
far more than they use the other applications.  A survey might tell us
if that is so.



Assuming that it is, I think the primary users manual should focus on
Writer, with just one chapter on each of the other modules, and a
pointer to where to download a more extensive manual on each.  Where I
disagree with most who write in, is that I think that a basic manual
like I describe *should be in the download package*.  In order to keep
it small for that reason, it should be in ODF format not PDF, and it
should be formatted for an 8.5x11 page rather than the usual 5x7 so that
it would be practical for the user to print out without the horrendous
paper waste of the 5x7 format.  (Remember all printer paper comes in
8.5x11 or similar) Also keeping it to 100 pages or less will both keep
the download size down, and encourage users to actually print a hard
copy.  (a hard copy is very useful because you can read in the manual
while using the software) I find help often less than helpful simply
because it can be difficult to both read how to do a thing and
simultaneously do it.    I recognize that a much longer and more
detailed manual is required to completely cover subjects like Styles,
but for all beginners, and most other users a manual like I just
described is what's needed.  Probably organized with an introduction to
the most used commands, then a tutorial, then a reference section.


This could be one thing that would set LO apart from other packages that
offer good word processors,  Even expensive MS basically sucks in the
area of manuals and user support.  Years ago they used to be much better
in this area.  Good user support seems to be the first thing that for
profit companies give up when they think they can get away with it.    
Now it is time for me to climb down off of my soapbox    Robert Derman

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marcpare4 marcpare4
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

Le 2010-11-23 15:36, Robert Derman a écrit :

> I have said this in the OOo discuss list, and I think it bears repeating
> here. One of the biggest problems causing the need for users especially
> new ones to need help is the lack of a good users manual. The OOo
> documentation site is very confusing, there are too many manuals to
> choose from and nothing says anything like "If you are a new user, this
> is the one you want". I could be wrong in this, but I don't think that I
> am. The only module I ever use with any regularity is Writer. If I can
> figure out how to use it, I might use Calc for a personal check
> register, likewise I might use Base for a list of all my DVD collection,
> but it's Writer that I use daily. I suspect that I am fairly typical in
> this, and that perhaps 50% or more of OOo, and now LO users use Writer
> far more than they use the other applications. A survey might tell us if
> that is so.
>
>
> Assuming that it is, I think the primary users manual should focus on
> Writer, with just one chapter on each of the other modules, and a
> pointer to where to download a more extensive manual on each. Where I
> disagree with most who write in, is that I think that a basic manual
> like I describe *should be in the download package*. In order to keep it
> small for that reason, it should be in ODF format not PDF, and it should
> be formatted for an 8.5x11 page rather than the usual 5x7 so that it
> would be practical for the user to print out without the horrendous
> paper waste of the 5x7 format. (Remember all printer paper comes in
> 8.5x11 or similar) Also keeping it to 100 pages or less will both keep
> the download size down, and encourage users to actually print a hard
> copy. (a hard copy is very useful because you can read in the manual
> while using the software) I find help often less than helpful simply
> because it can be difficult to both read how to do a thing and
> simultaneously do it. I recognize that a much longer and more detailed
> manual is required to completely cover subjects like Styles, but for all
> beginners, and most other users a manual like I just described is what's
> needed. Probably organized with an introduction to the most used
> commands, then a tutorial, then a reference section.
>
> This could be one thing that would set LO apart from other packages that
> offer good word processors, Even expensive MS basically sucks in the
> area of manuals and user support. Years ago they used to be much better
> in this area. Good user support seems to be the first thing that for
> profit companies give up when they think they can get away with it. Now
> it is time for me to climb down off of my soapbox Robert Derman
>

Hi Robert. This could probably be easily done. However, adding it to the
download may not be a good idea as some of us (there are qutie a few)
are already worried about the size of the download. Maybe make
advertising of the download a little more obvious would be the solution.
Then the user would only have to download the manual at that point. I
will leave a note to the documentation team and se what they think of
this. I'm sure they will come back with usefull information.

Cheers

Marc


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marcpare4 marcpare4
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

In reply to this post by Pedro
Le 2010-11-23 15:11, plino a écrit :

>
>> If this means anything, the Drupal LibreOffice website will be offering
>> all modes of communications to the users: mailists, forums and wiki. If
>> you can think of any other modes let us know and we will into providing
>> it for the members.
>>
>
> Marc, does it provide Live support such as a one-on-one Chat (like Facebook
> or Gtalk) or a IRC type page?
>
> I occasionally use the Gnumeric and Abiword IRC channels to get fast, direct
> answers and it works extremely well.
>
I'll leave foward a note on to Michael who will be able to fill you in
with the details.

Marc


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M. Fioretti M. Fioretti
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

In reply to this post by marcpare4
On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 14:42:57 PM -0500, Marc Paré ([hidden email]) wrote:

> If this means anything, the Drupal LibreOffice website will be
> offering all modes of communications to the users: mailists, forums
> and wiki. If you can think of any other modes let us know and we
> will into providing it for the members.

Marc,

as I already said, more than promoting any support mode as the only
one, my proposal is more limited to NOT making useless/embarassing the
email mode. Right now, the only other proposals that come to my mind
to make support as efficient as possible are:

- add some "problem category" field to the form I mention in my
  article (e.g. "My problem is: 1) format compatibility, 2)
  configuration, 3 macros....)

- instead of sending an email, that form inside LibO may just query
  the search engine of the Drupal website.

Thanks,
        Marco

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marcpare4 marcpare4
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

Le 2010-11-23 16:05, M. Fioretti a écrit :

> On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 14:42:57 PM -0500, Marc Paré ([hidden email]) wrote:
>
>> If this means anything, the Drupal LibreOffice website will be
>> offering all modes of communications to the users: mailists, forums
>> and wiki. If you can think of any other modes let us know and we
>> will into providing it for the members.
>
> Marc,
>
> as I already said, more than promoting any support mode as the only
> one, my proposal is more limited to NOT making useless/embarassing the
> email mode. Right now, the only other proposals that come to my mind
> to make support as efficient as possible are:
>
> - add some "problem category" field to the form I mention in my
>    article (e.g. "My problem is: 1) format compatibility, 2)
>    configuration, 3 macros....)
>
> - instead of sending an email, that form inside LibO may just query
>    the search engine of the Drupal website.
>
> Thanks,
> Marco
>

That sounds like a reasonable request.

Marc


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Andy Brown Andy Brown
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Re: A proposal for effective, volunteer-friendly user support in LibreOffice

In reply to this post by Robert Derman
On Tue Nov 23 2010 12:36:35 GMT-0800 (PST)  Robert Derman wrote:

> Assuming that it is, I think the primary users manual should focus on
> Writer, with just one chapter on each of the other modules, and a
> pointer to where to download a more extensive manual on each.  Where I
> disagree with most who write in, is that I think that a basic manual
> like I describe *should be in the download package*.  In order to keep
> it small for that reason, it should be in ODF format not PDF, and it
> should be formatted for an 8.5x11 page rather than the usual 5x7 so that
> it would be practical for the user to print out without the horrendous
> paper waste of the 5x7 format.  (Remember all printer paper comes in
> 8.5x11 or similar) Also keeping it to 100 pages or less will both keep
> the download size down, and encourage users to actually print a hard
> copy.  (a hard copy is very useful because you can read in the manual
> while using the software) I find help often less than helpful simply
> because it can be difficult to both read how to do a thing and
> simultaneously do it.    I recognize that a much longer and more
> detailed manual is required to completely cover subjects like Styles,
> but for all beginners, and most other users a manual like I just
> described is what's needed.  Probably organized with an introduction to
> the most used commands, then a tutorial, then a reference section.

There are two of your points I would like to comment on.

First, use ODF instead of PDF.  If a person wishes to view the
installation part of the document before they install the software then
they are out of luck.

Second, where do you get the idea that the documents are formated to 5x7
paper size?  None of the documents I have seen have been formated for
that size paper.  All the docs from the OOoAuthors site are in fact
formated for paper size A4.  The PDFs can be printed two-up on 8.5x11 paper.

Andy

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