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Proposal: Tridion

There is currently a very active and growing Tridion Community, but not one that really uses the current Stack Overflow site. On the last try only 30 posts come up with a search for Tridion.

Not all Tridion questions are programming related, and are mostly raised in the closed Tridion forums. The forums are difficult to navigate and do not benefit from the features of a Stack Exchange site, which I think would help the Tridion Community to develop further.

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As a veteran Stack Overflow user, and a fairly new Tridion user. I can say that Stack Overflow is great for questions of syntax and for algorithmic errors or often questions of architecture.

However, it is difficult to get answers on niche topics such as SDL Tridion, because these questions tend to get buried beneath the more common language specific questions on the popular tags such as C#, jQuery, etc.

A community specifically for SDL Tridion would lower the barrier to entry for people to share their knowledge making it far easier than it currently is to give back to the community. The Stack Exchange platform is proven, fast and mature.

The reputation scores create healthy competition between experts as we've seen on Stack Overflow - the top users have become minor celebrities on the web. It would be a good measure for MVP status.

As you say Dave, Tridion is distinct from Stack Overflow in that a lot of the questions that arise around the product are not programming related, which would likely be closed as off-topic on Stack Overflow, there are issues of content management for example and techniques such as Blue Printing and Compound Component Templates which simply do not exist in other products.

Finally, I think ideas evolve from discussion and it would ultimately become a brilliant resource that could drive best practice and the product's reputation.

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    Why isn't webapps.stackexchange.com appropriate for the non-programming related questions? – Verbeia Mar 1 '12 at 11:54
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    @Verbeia According to the Web Applications FAQ questions about "Hosted scripts such as Wordpress.org and phpBB, Developing web applications" are expressly off-topic. Rob's already stated why Stack Overflow isn't really suitable. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Mar 20 '12 at 23:07
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I completely agree with Rob - it's easy to get answers to general Tridion programming questions since it's essentially just a web app; however when it comes to questions such as architecture, blueprinting and templating these are not always appropriate for StackOverflow.

In many ways it's similar to SharePoint (which has it's own site at sharepoint.stackexchange.com) - it's a highly specialised subject that the majority of developers will have little experience in.

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SDL Tridion needs it's own StackExchange site because

  1. StackExchange offers a mature and flexible platform for a community driven Q&A site
  2. A community driven site should NOT be under exclusive control of the vendor
  3. A community driven site should be open to everyone
  4. Existing stackexchange offerings are insufficiently specific to the kind of problems we tend to encounter or explicitly bar product/design/architecture/content/administration related questions
  5. Many questions that COULD be posted in different stackexchange environments will eventually cross-pollinate because there are many scenarios with SDL Tridion where e.g. the answer to a content question is an infrastructure solution; the achieved critical mass centered around the product will be much more attractive than fragmented and isolated posts in 5+ different stackexchange environments

1-3 disqualify the current SDL Tridion forum and 4-5 disqualify the existing stackexchange offering.

  • I'm seeing point 5 as I first posted some Tridion functional questions on Super User then realized it's for non-Web questions. I flagged it for Web Apps, but it got moved to Web Masters. In the end yup, the answer leaned on the technical. – Alvin Reyes May 11 '12 at 4:08
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Apart from not all Tridion questions being programming related, even the ones that are typical programming questions can easily get an incorrect answer because its context isn't clear.

For example this question Unable to load .Net dll while publishing, it was answered quite fast by somebody with .net knowledge. But because he did not understand the context of the question (it was SDL Tridion related), his answer did not make sense and got down-voted. I think that's sad for his effort that he ends up loosing reputation. If this question was asked on tridion.stackexchange.com he would probably not have answered, knowing he doesn't understand the context.

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    That's a great example Bart. A question on Stack Overflow tagged with [tridion] and [.net] is definitely not the same as one on "Tridion Overflow" tagged with [.net]. – Frank van Puffelen Mar 31 '12 at 16:59
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Yes, many programming-related Tridion questions have "easy" answers because someone will know the programming language or basic concepts. I agree the content management discussion is challenging--just because we can do it a certain way with a system such as Tridion doesn't mean we should.

A strong development team can implement Tridion in a way that meets technical requirements with clean, maintainable code but leave out author needs in the process.

I suspect too questions don't make it even to the closed forum since content authors, programmers, and consultants can find workarounds. We need technical, functional, and possibly content author perspectives.

  • As a long time SO user, when I started using Tridion I really struggled with the lack of publicly accessible information out there, and the lack of SO users that had experience with Tridion (as can be seen by the User Rep list on this proposal - only 17 committers with over 200 rep) - we were a dev agency working for a client that had the relationship with Tridion - sorting out access to the forums etc. was a lot harder than it probably needed to be. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Mar 20 '12 at 23:14
  • Yes, you'll find more SO activity just recently (a few of those 200+ committers recently earned their rep specifically for this proposal) along with activity on Twitter (#SDLTridion or sometimes #Tridion -- wait just saw your tweet, thanks!), and the TridionWorld community updates. I suspect the slow shift simply comes from it being a mature (and commercial) product that was around before SO and other dev-friendly resources. Forum access was traditionally for clients (at least when I first used Tridion)--were you able to get access? – Alvin Reyes Mar 22 '12 at 3:45
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The Tridion forums are closed. That is a a problem, but is it a necessary security "problem"?

I am in favor of a Tridion community in Stack Overflow, but Tridion has so many different ways to be implemented as a product that users may be very inclined to post sensitive information about their organization which their security director may not be pleased to see on the Internet. When users & developers of any system need help, they are going to ask for it and the concern of the sensitivity of their material may get lost.

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    I don't think anybody would ever request or require sensitive data to troubleshoot issues, so I suppose it would be down to the community who run the site to help guide the users. I guess the majority of users would be a lot more aware in an open forum. – Dave Houlker Feb 17 '12 at 17:23
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    People should be sensible when posting in public groups; Tridion or otherwise. I think the idea is to work in conjunction with the Tridion forums & Tridion support tickets which help for more project specific / sensitive issues. – Chris Morgan Feb 17 '12 at 17:55
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    I am excited for the day I can Google a Tridion issue. The Tridion forum search is weak! – Chris Morgan Feb 17 '12 at 17:58
  • Morgano, I completely agree with you on the searching aspect & being aware. I hope my post here and your comments adds awareness to someone who just never thought about it before. – MADCookie Feb 17 '12 at 19:04
  • Coming from a (the same as MADCookie's actually) corporate IT background, I can appreciate the concern. I think that's the biggest challenge with the existing closed forum and the question of opening it up--what content is "safe" to release to the public? All developers face the same challenge with asking/sharing with any development community; it helps to have examples and feedback from the community and within our organizations on how to balance and protect sensitive information. Practice helps! :-) – Alvin Reyes Feb 19 '12 at 0:43
  • "The Tridion forum search is weak!" Likely because we forget to type in the write keywords and some technical minds have trouble spelling, including me. :-) @Morgano, have you tried Googling Tridion issues? It's far from all there, but it's quickly changing. I see more "how tos" but not as many specific stack traces just yet. – Alvin Reyes Mar 3 '12 at 22:12
  • You really don't want a Tridion Stack Exchange site to devolve into "Technical Support for Tridion" -- If your troubleshooting is along the lines of what happens on SharePoint/Drupal Answers, and as long as people are sensible in what they post I don't think you'll have any security problems. "Safe" disclosure will vary from company to company. – voretaq7 Dec 11 '12 at 18:27

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