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Proposal: Tridion

I have pretty much ignored the Tridion Forum for a while now, since all the questions can be answered on StackOverflow because of the type of Tridion developers who actively use Stackoverflow.

But, I can see still quite some activity on there. Also from a lot of the people who are very active on StackOverflow. I understand some questions might not be ready yet for StackoverFlow due to the non-technical nature, but the sooner we can pull the plug on the forum the faster we can get StackExchange going, right?

Perhaps start pointing people with mild force towards Stackoverflow when the questions are suitable. Is Tridion itself willing to cooperate on this as well? Forum message, mailing, etc?

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    Are there any questions that would be off topic on StackOverflow? If not, why does Tridion need its own Stack Exchange site? – Verbeia May 25 '12 at 1:42
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    A lot of Tridion related questions are not purely technical but also have to do with concepts and architecture. Also a .NET related question in Tridion might get the wrong type of answer by someone who know .NET, but is not familiar with Tridion. Read through this discussion to see see more arguments about why Tridion needs a StackExchange site – Hendrik Beenker May 25 '12 at 7:53
  • +1, excellent question, Hendrik. I'll answer yes/no. Yes, TridionWorld might split the attention of existing forum members. But also "no," I actually think we need more Tridionauts on TridionWorld and elsewhere. Answer below, thanks! – Alvin Reyes Jul 27 '12 at 7:34
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This question seems based on the presupposition that SE > Forums for all things.

That is not and has never been the case or intent with Stack Exchange.

There are certain things that the Q&A format does much better than a forum. But there are some things you simply can't do in Q&A. Every day, we get questions on SO from people who have no idea what they're doing. Who are just starting out and ask nonsense, basic, or just "help me" questions. These are quickly downvoted and closed. As they should be.

But that doesn't solve the problems of the people behind those questions.

Q&A sites are a way to use the question/answer format to create a knowledge-base. It's designed to be impersonal and clinical. That's great, for that purpose. But one thing it isn't is personal help. It isn't guiding a person, step-by-step, through the initial steps into a piece of technology.

So long as people need help, they will need something other than Q&A to get it. Forums help people. Forums are personal. Forums are a decent means towards providing someone with help.

Forums are still useful. To me, the most important thing that the SE model does is get Q&A off of forums, so that forums can do what they're supposed to: deal with personal interaction.

That's not to say that the Tridion developers shouldn't push SO as a useful place to ask real, practical questions. But that doesn't mean that they should just hang up their forums.

Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed.

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    Hi Nicol, I do think a forum is a good tool as well. However current forums lack the crowd-control that would allow easy removal of duplicate posts, spam, etc... The whole reputation score, and all the extra privileges and control people can get should make a Tridion Q&A Stack Exhange site much more accurate and alive – Hendrik Beenker Jul 23 '12 at 8:59
  • As Tridion StackExchange exists now, I see the more personal community aspect spill over into comments and the meta site as well as non-StackExchange blogs, email, and chat. – Alvin Reyes Sep 24 '13 at 17:28
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I think it's high time that the forum should be gently eased out of use. In practice, this will come from the reality that there's much more high-quality searchable content being created on SE than in the forum. This is already true. How long it will take for the forum to die is an open question. Perhaps once the Tridion Stack Exchange site is live, SDL might think of retiring the forum. Presumably this would mean making it read-only.

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    After revamping the sdl.com website, SDL is now looking at revamping the community sites, however this will be done for the entire SDL community and not just the SDL Tridion one, so it is going to take some time as different strategies are now being discussed. My aim is to make the current forum read-only and possibly replace it with a new one, but Tridion Stack Exchange will certainly be mentioned if its live and most likely also StackOverflow in its current form will be. The idea now is to deliver a site with a complete list of resources, not necessarily keeping everything in house. – Bart Koopman Jul 25 '12 at 7:03
  • It would be a shame if, after all the effort of getting an open community effort going (with much agonizing about whether it would result in fragmented resources) SDL themselves were to open a competing site. Obviously, anything behind a log-in wouldn't really be competing, as most contributors want their efforts to be available via Google. – Dominic Cronin Jul 29 '12 at 16:43
  • I'm not sure that "most contributors" want to share openly. Probably most consultants, Dominic? I'm still seeing corporate employees hesitant at posting openly. I like Nicol's description--Q&A can live side-by-side with a forum. I'm still seeing new user questions on TridionWorld, for example. – Alvin Reyes Oct 3 '12 at 5:07
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To me the SDL Tridion forum seems a bit outdated and unnecessarily slow. If you use Google in the right way, you can easily find the information you need. and places like Stack Exchange will be a good addition to the many sources we have these days.

Maybe the SDL Tridion crew can open up there Support Q/A to the public true Stack Exchange. It will prevent us all from asking the same question over and over.

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    Hi Roel, I am pretty sure Tridion won't open up the Tridion Forum, because over the years there might be information in there that was not posted with the intent or knowledge of it being really public. – Hendrik Beenker Jul 23 '12 at 8:56
  • Hi Hendrik, I Guess you’re right. But there must be some information that can be reused. for example common xml config settings mistakes. – roelvroozendaal Aug 7 '12 at 13:18
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I believe Tridion developers should support TridionWorld (and more) to increase the Tridion Area 51 launch probability.

We should support the forum as it exists now and in the future, open source projects, and other sites like Linked-In, blogs, webinars, and user groups This isn't a zero-sum scenario where TridionWorld activity necessarily slows the adoption of a Tridion Stack Exchange site.

...some questions might not be ready yet for StackoverFlow due to the non-technical nature, but the sooner we can pull the plug on the forum the faster we can get StackExchange going, right?

Many questions and community updates don't fit a Q&A format. I believe the real challenges are:

  • getting people online at all -- the more we have online anywhere, the easier it will be launching the informal Q&A site
  • sharing examples and increasing expertise across the community
  • creating an atmosphere where SDL employees, partners, and customers are comfortable learning and sharing with each other

We currently have 200+ committers with over half with 200 points on other StackExchange (SE) sites. The next actual steps would be:

  • having already-committed participants focus less on StackOverflow and on other SE sites
  • increasing the numbers online--we probably have many that cannot publicly post

The most active TridionWorld participants that would contribute to a Tridion-specific SE site already have. I think we need more online in general and TridionWorld is a good place to start as any.

Is Tridion itself willing to cooperate on this as well? Forum message, mailing, etc?

Yup, the April edition of SDL WCMS Customer Support Newsletter mentioned and linked to the Area 51 proposal. Software vendors have to be clear that unofficial sites like this are community-driven, but it's definitely not a secret that many of the regulars are already here.

  • Good answer Alvin! I know you are big on the whole community aspect from reading your blogs ;-). But wouldn't it be the best to actively start redirecting people from the forum to StackOverflow? For any new question asked tell the person to create the question on StackOverflow to get an answer, or even recreate the question on StackoverFlow? – Hendrik Beenker Jul 27 '12 at 8:06
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    Yes, I can agree with that approach to get the beta site up. I do see SO regularly mentioned in my day-to-day email and chat. Let's encourage SO (and other SE) participation by pointing it out to askers (Area 51 is even on my TridionWorld signature). I'm still obviously biased and in-favor of some kind of forum though--it's where I "grew up" and first met you and the other Tridionauts. – Alvin Reyes Jul 27 '12 at 19:19

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