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New Forum for tutorials

(27 posts)
  • Started 8 years ago by whs
  • Latest reply from LH
  • Topic Viewed 3199 times

whs
Posts: 17584

We have quite a few threads that are more of a tutorial (educational) nature than just adressing one problem. I am thinking of jd's write up on UAC, ScottW's on codecs or my own on ghosting/imaging or on compatibility mode. Maybe we should group those together in a "Tutorial Forum" so that they can be easily found rather than having to leaf back 113 pages on the general forum. I know the argument is going to be : put it into the Wiki. But that is a much more involved job and we often don't have the time or courage to do that. There is also a lot of formal rules for the Wiki that not everybody wants to study. The "tutorial" route would be something in between and once it exists it may encourage more people to contribute their specialized knowledge. And often a thread does not start as such, but develops into it. I would leave it at the discretion of the Mods and the Geek to move the threads that qualify. --- Any comments?

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Good idea.

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

Stickies can be labeled 'Tutorial'. Forum's often close the stickies and questions unanswered are posted under an appropriate forum thread. That would solve the 113 page issue and let members post queries that are unique to their issue.

We've encouraged more than one member to write tutorials and can easily add a sub-section of stickies for just that purpose. Thank you whs for doing what you've done already.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

No need to thank me. I just do what comes to mind. The stickies is fine, but you don't want to have too many of those. And after a while they change anyhow. But any mechanism (sub-stickies or a dedicated Forum) could serve the purpose, provided enough people think it is worth the change.

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

Ah, how about stickies attached only to their specific forum and not on the main page?

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

I would not spread them all over the place. My idea was, if someone wanted to read up on a specific subject, he could first check in 1 place whether there is a useful tutorial. Because if you use the Forum search, you get every dog and pony post that contains the search argument words and it is tedious to find the one that is really helpful. It was just an idea to make it easier to study a subject in a more comprhensive fashion. Over time it would become a complementary resource to the Geeks How To's (which would be even more useful if there were a search function just for those).
Btw: It would be nice if there were a search facility that searched only in "that folder" - like in Explorer (unless I am missing something).

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

We could have Vista specific tutorials for instance appear only on the front of the Vista forum. I think.
The search question will be deferred to The Geek.

Posted 8 years ago
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The Geek
Posts: 2059

We could definitely "sticky" the threads, but I think we'd end up potentially having too many stickies all over the place.

I'll give some thought to this, there might be another way to accomplish this by re-enabling the tags feature in a limited fashion. That way threads could be "tagged" as a tutorial, and there's a built-in page for each tag, effectively making a "Tutorial" page.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Very good. I just thought that it would be good if thase threads were in one place. Would make it easier for those who seek "education" to find them. I would be against "all over the place" too. But it is your call - if any.

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

I'm not sure there would be stickies all over the place. Two, three or four per forum may be quite helpful actually.

Posted 8 years ago
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The Geek
Posts: 2059

I think Scott's idea of using stickies will work just fine for now... it's not like I really have the time to get the tags working this week.

If the tutorial stickies get out of control then we can just migrate them into a separate tutorials area.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

OK

Posted 8 years ago
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jmcguire
Posts: 552

I think this is a good idea, though I agree with whs where stickies could easily get out of control, especially if people are then encouraged to share their expertise on something and it ends up developing into a very in depth topic (as with ScottW's explanation on codecs).

Posted 8 years ago
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The Geek
Posts: 2059

I've been flirting with the idea of creating a "wiki" type of forum post, where posts could be tagged as tutorials or "articles". The only real difference would be that the first post could be edited without a time limit, with the edit history viewable for everybody.

It's not a new idea, it's similar to Jeff Atwood's Stack Overflow site ( http://stackoverflow.com )

Posted 8 years ago
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jmcguire
Posts: 552

@The Geek
That sound like a good idea to me, though would it be possible to make any post (at the choice of you or a mod) the editable post? I ask this because of instances where the "tutorial" comes from an answer to a post and not the initial post itself.

Posted 8 years ago
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milnerw
Posts: 528

Why not just submit your tutorials to The Geek and let him add it to his already wonderful list of how to's? Seeing as how he already has a place to search for how to's,

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

milnerw, not everything fits into the Geeks plans and he is overworked already. Why swamp him with more stuff. Plus, I have now started video tutorials. Those would not fit at all into the current schemes.

Posted 8 years ago
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techgranny
Posts: 1443

As one most in need of tutorials, I would prefer a forum topic, like Vista, Xp, Geek Stuff, etc, with no additional input, tutorial only. A designated forum where I could search for the lesson I want would be greatly appreciated.

Posted 8 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 6609

I have seen other forums where there are tutorial threads in which the first post is the tutorial. While that is a fine idea, I'm not crazy about doing it here at HTG forums because there is so very many limitations in the posting software which would severely limit the usability of the tutorial. No formatting, bold, italics and such; no tables or nested lists, ordered or unordered; and no *true* block quote that preserves whitespace.

I don't have a solution for this, but anything that adds a burden to The Geek or the MODs is a non-starter to me.

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

Couldn't tutorials go in the Wiki ?

Posted 8 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 6609

LH, yes. Unless there is a better idea, the wiki is good enough for writing "fancy" tutorial and puts almost no burden on The Geek or the MODs. However, it places an extra burden on tutorial writers to learn wiki code. Perhaps both the forum post and wiki tutorials should be options. If simple formatting is enough, the forum post means there is no need for wiki code.

Posted 8 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

@ScottW:
I have chatted Outside of Forum with The Geek and we both thought of some ways a tutorial forum could be done but I think The Geek is too busy with other things like writing new articles for the site and doesn't have time to code them at the moment*

Some Simple Ideas**:
1) Rename "wiki" to something more friendly like "User Edited Tutorial Articles" instead of wiki as the word "wiki" is something that is not as widely recognized as the word "Forums" is.

2) Integrate the wiki into the forums somehow to enable discussion of all articles.
One big problem with the wiki right now is there is not any discussion feature and it helps to have feedback on an article.
One way to accomplish this would be to have another forum labeled "Tutorials" where the new topic page for it actually creates a wiki article and a real topic containing a link to the wiki article and lets people reply with their thoughts on it.
Then on all the wiki pages, there could be a discussion link that goes directly to the topic for it in the "Tutorials" forum.

Notes:
* This is an assumption that may or may not be correct. Only The Geek knows for sure what The Geek does.
** We both thought of other variations on those ideas but they are not much different then these so it's not really worth listing them.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

ScottW, agreed, the HTG facilities for fancy layouts are limited. But I do most of my stuff in Word 2007, then usually convert it to PDF and upload it to e.g. Skydrive. On the tutorial forum I would just make a link like this. Now for simple text postings, the forum facilities are ok, but I don't think we should wait for more facilities to do it. Then there are video tutorials. Those would not fit into any scheme other than via a link. One can post a brief summary of the content and then the link.
The wiki is not an alternative - too cumbersome and too many rules. I would not mess with it, but maybe others find this to be the right place for their tutorial postings. If you want people to make contributions, you have to give them an easy entry. If it takes a lengthy study just to post something, then people shy off. The general success of HTG is in part due to it's simplicity. Not all Forums are like that - but some have tutorial threads.
As HTG is right now, it is pretty useless for tutorial posting. The few I have posted myself and some of the ones others have posted are spread all over the place and I have a hard time finding even my own. No point in adding any more.

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

My apologies. Not having ever tried to post something in the Wiki, I didn't realize it was that difficult. :(

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

LH, no need to apologize. The Wiki has some formalities - and for good reason. That just is not everyones cup of tea. Try it, you may not like it either.

Posted 8 years ago
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Aleeve
Posts: 2818

Wikis are nothing like as simple as they look!

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

I didn't ask for the Spanish Inquisition :)

Posted 8 years ago
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