Moving help to StackOverflow. #1979

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mrdoob opened this Issue May 24, 2012 · 11 comments

6 participants

Owner
mrdoob commented May 24, 2012

I think helping the users in the issues section has been good for a while but at this point I think is seriously affecting the development. For a long while I've found myself spending way too much time answering (sometimes repeating) questions instead of spending that time improving the lib itself. There is still a lot for me to do here so I better focus on that.

I've seen other projects relying on StackOverflow and after a quick check I see that there is already some kind people answering questions over there:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/three.js

I think that it's best if we use both websites like this:

github issues

  • feature requests (ex. "Could CanvasRenderer support Vertex Colors?")
  • bug reports (ex. "SkeletalAnimation is broken")
  • suggestions (ex. "Renaming .__dirty* to .*NeedsUpdate?")

stackoverflow

  • help (ex. "How can I rotate an object using quaternions?", "My object is not showing the textures", ...)

I understand that sometimes it'll be hard to know what type of issue you're having, but I think that would be the exception.

Of course, the IRC channel is also a good place for getting help.

Huck commented May 24, 2012

the problem with stack overflow is that its not a good exchange forum. Its designed for very clear Q&A format and admins will quickly close any questions that are slightly fuzzy on the format. not good fod "valuable" exchanges. maybe a google goup or a proper forum would be more adapted to the needs?

Owner
mrdoob commented May 24, 2012

Maybe. The IRC chanel is probably good for that too.

Contributor

@mrdoob - I very much agree that the more time you can spend coding and the less time you spend you spend helping dummies like me the sooner the world will get the next release of Three.js

@Huck - I agree with your thought that you have to be extremely precise and careful in StackOverflow - which is one reason why it is so useful when people do follow the model. But it is a difficult standard to achieve. I have had answers seriously downgraded for adding a teensy bit more flavor to answer than was asked for.

So much as I respect StackOverflow I don't see it being that helpful for dummies.

I also think that a Google Group might be a good response. The benefit of a Google Group is that the Three.js Authors could turn off receiving emails from the Group and just visit its web page when they felt the urge for a good laugh.

But:

The issue with a split between the GitHub Issues page for the advanced and Google Group for the learners is that the Advanced tend to feel that they are learners and the Learners know that they are advanced so messages end up in the wrong place. And then the authors would start having two places to check (and StackOverflow as well since it is also becoming a question magnet.)

And:

What would really help is a good FAQ. All it will take is snagging the text from the messages Mr.doob has kindly pulled into this thread and adding it to the existing text on the Wiki.

This FAQ work is on my list of things to do, but at the moment my spare, spare time is being spent on the Three.js Wikipedia entry.

Wait. Wait. There's more:

An interim measure might be to add more moderators to the Issues page. The job of the moderators would be to get to new messages before the Authors do and tag the relevant material as "How-To" queries. The author class of people could then go on and just read important messages while the moderator class of people could deal with the newbs. ;-)

In order to enable more moderators on GitGub, the Three.js repository might have to be cloned to a GitHub Organization. And for Three.js to become a GitHub Organization might not be a bad thing either.

Owner
mrdoob commented May 30, 2012

I also think that a Google Group might be a good response.

Maybe, but IRC pretty much achieves the same but in realtime...

What would really help is a good FAQ.

That may help a bit, but people keep asking questions that are answered on the wiki... not sure...

An interim measure might be to add more moderators to the Issues page.

Part of the reason why this got unmanageable is because @github refuses to improve this section. Being able to have instructions in the first post would be handy, but seems like it's not their priority. You won't believe how much time I have spent formatting code of newbies.

What I like from StackOverflow is that the community forces you to be a better internet citizen and be more careful. Also people that are interested in related topics (javascript, webgl) get to see the questions and give a hand too. It's better use of the internet imho.

Contributor

I also think that a Google Group might be a good response.

Maybe, but IRC pretty much achieves the same but in realtime...

Correct me if I am wrong, with IRC there's no way to search for questions that have already been answered. And as George Santayana said: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Nevertheless, I have bookmarked the IRC link and will try to listen in from time to time.

What would really help is a good FAQ.

That may help a bit, but people keep asking questions that are answered on the wiki... not sure...

What is needed is that the FAQ on the Wiki is properly organized and edited and that each answer has a working example in jsFiddle. There will need to be a visible link from the Examples page and the Read Me page. I hope to slide gently into this direction after I have the Three.js Wikipedia entry complete and available.

Part of the reason why this got unmanageable is because @github refuses to improve this section.

I hear you.

What I like from StackOverflow is that the community forces you to be a better internet citizen and be more careful.

So I can continue to be one of the "dummies" - just as long as I am more careful about it? ;-)

One benefit of StackOverflow is that there are Three.js supporters already working there and the Three.js tag is well-established.

So nothing new need be done, It's already there. It seems a good solution for current needs.

My suggestions might be to add to the top of the Read Me a menu similar to the side menu of the Examples page.

It might also be nice to have two menu items:

  • Developer Questions - which would link to here
  • User Questions - which would link to StackOverflow
Owner
mrdoob commented Jun 1, 2012

So I can continue to be one of the "dummies" - just as long as I am more careful about it? ;-)

I should change it to "respectful dummies" ;)

My suggestions might be to add to the top of the Read Me a menu similar to the side menu of the Examples page.

Makes sense. Will add.

This was referenced Jun 4, 2012
This was referenced Sep 14, 2012
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Closed
@mrdoob mrdoob closed this Jan 1, 2013

Just a note, StackOverflow is very far behind in answering questions and it's pretty sad when important features of Three.js are not documented well and no one can really get the information they need.

Owner
mrdoob commented Oct 22, 2014

We'll try harder!! :)

No pressure mrdoob! Just wanted you guys to know the status since although you definitely did the right thing moving tech questions there, they're mostly in limbo.

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