ask.debian.net

Since a few hours, a Shapado instance for Debian is available at:

Shapado is a Question and Answer (QA) website, meant to provide user support to the community, by the community.

Another way of seeing it is as a skill exchange website: users can ask questions about stuff they don't know and other users, possiby more expert on that topic, can answer those questions; everyone can then use peer review to evaluate and sort answers.

Several proprietary web applications are based on the above notions and have proven useful for user support in several contexts, including other Free Software distributions. Shapado on the other hand is Free Software released under AGPL; as such it's the best match to give a try to something similar in the context of Debian. Shapado has also a couple of other niceties, e.g. offers login via OpenID and supports questions/answers in multiple languages.

Will it work for us?
Will it not?
It's up to the community. This kind of user support works when it reaches a critical mass of both "newbie" users in need of help and of "expert" users willing to help them. No matter your category, give it a try: go to the website and look around, you'll probably find a question to ask, a question to answer, or an answer to evaluate.

Acknowledgements

  • the Shapado developers
  • Patrick Aljord for hosting support
  • Fernando C. Estrada and Luis Uribe for admin / moderation work (by the way, they are looking for help)
  • Jorge Castro for pinging me about this idea

Update: add mention of multi-language support
Update: shapado.debian.net is now ask.debian.net (redirection is in place, don't worry)

Here are our posts too [1] [2] but of course the publicity of your post is very important to get more users to the Shapado instance for Debian :-)

Regards,

[1] http://wiki.freaks-unidos.net/weblogs/acme/shapado_debian_net

[2] http://blog.fcestrada.com/2010/10/02/questions-and-answers-about-debian/

Comment by Fernando C. Estrada Sun 03 Oct 2010 11:03:21 AM CEST

Tried to write a question but you need to register and I failed (openid error). Too bad.

Comment by Anonymous Sun 03 Oct 2010 05:19:23 PM CEST

Nevermind. It was a PBKAC issue ;-) My question is here http://shapado.debian.net/questions/init-system-for-wheezy

Comment by Anonymous Sun 03 Oct 2010 05:24:39 PM CEST

Weird, must have been transient or, most likely, a problem with your OpenID provider. I'm using it only via OpenID login, and I know that several other of the first users are doing the same, currently.

Comment by zack Sun 03 Oct 2010 08:26:30 PM CEST

Great idea, thanks!

However, I'm not shure if current domain name is ok -- shapado.debian.net is quite hard to remember and says nothing about what this service is, especially if someone (like me) never heard of Shapado. I believe something like ask.debian.net would be much better.

Comment by azhag Tue 05 Oct 2010 02:06:24 PM CEST

However, I'm not shure if current domain name is ok -- shapado.debian.net is quite hard to remember and says nothing about what this service is, especially if someone (like me) never heard of Shapado. I believe something like ask.debian.net would be much better.

You are totally right and we've in fact already agreed that ask.debian.net is the way to go. We're just waiting for a few more days before doing the switch, but it will happen really soon now.

Thanks for your support!

Comment by zack Tue 05 Oct 2010 04:37:43 PM CEST