W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webplatform@w3.org > October 2012

Re: Purpose of IRC and Q&A

From: Tony Crockford <tonyc@boldfish.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2012 20:54:08 +0100
Message-Id: <899F3F98-F6EA-402D-9A19-7447231EB72C@boldfish.co.uk>
To: public-webplatform@w3.org
On 11 Oct 2012, at 20:21, Tobie Langel wrote:
> There absolutely needs to be a split between the channel for people
> working on the site and a channel for questions about the site's content.
> Answering questions in irc channels is exhausting and a poor use of
> resources which could be creating lasting content instead.

I've always seen a distinction where the  form of communication media moulds the nature of the conversation.

I wonder if I'm alone in this?

For  a specific problem with a specific site I'll seek out a related web forum, (like SO, doctype.com etc) search for answers with a SE and/or ask on a mailing list or social media.

For a general issue relating to best practice I might do the same or more likely look in the W3C specs, or sitepoint.com or similar, but I'm hoping to be able to find those answers in WPD in future.

I'd probably only use IRC if I wanted a very specific answer from a very small specialist group - e.g. a particular software that was troubling me, I'd seek out the IRC for the development team.  For WPD I'm looking to the IRC  for help with understanding the "what is WPD?" question at the moment, as I expected to find those closest to the core team lurking there.

As I see it WPD provides a large body of reference material and accopanying site infrastructure which includes a forum called Q&A and a Chat option(IRC).

The questions *at the moment* appear to fall into (broadly speaking)  "How do I do x within the WPD site/wiki/Q&A forums?" and more general "I want to be seen to be getting involved so I'll ask a  question"   I don't see many "my site's broken how do I fix it?" yet.

I'd be very much inclined to see the future of the Q&A forums as a place to ask about implementation of a specific web element/technology in general, e.g  "When should I use <aside> as opposed to <article>?"  or "I read this in the docs <link> Why is it that way, not this?"

Clearly in the early stages there will also be questions about how to use the site. (the sooner there's a sticky post for that the better!)

Since the IRC channel gets impossible to follow with a  lot of voices, I suspect it will be more a sort of second level support or inner circle where the thornier questions are asked before they are brought to the wider mailing list for general discussion.

My opinion would be that specific questions about a particular site with a problem are inappropriate in any of the three WPD channels (mailing list, IRC, Q&A forum)  but that in all likelihood most of the questions about *how* the site works or how a web thing is implemented will start on the mailing list (for more immediate response) or in the Q&A forums for a wider audience and a more drawn out discussion.  IRC will be a subsection of both where more immediacy or higher technical levels of discussion take place.

Are we imagining a problem that isn't there (specific site problem questions) and couldn't we just make it go away by referring the questioners to the appropriate support group?

That said, explaining the purpose of the WPD community channels more clearly "at the door" might make the *problem* go away before it starts.

I read this article earlier, (via WaxEagle)  it seems apt:

Received on Thursday, 11 October 2012 23:47:36 UTC

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