OK Ladies and Gents, having been away for a little bit for various reasons, it’s time to get the support ball rolling. First things First, a date for your diaries.
On the 26th of August I’m organising a meeting to formally create the group from those interested parties and to set out some priorities. Initially we need to focus on some given areas where people ask for support. Once we have one or two of these running we can then branch out into other areas and help improve things where necessary.
I’ll stick a formal agenda on the UK Wiki, but if people want to start thinking about the following things it would be appreciated.
- How to report (issues/progress/problems fixed) for statistical purposes
- Initial Targets (UK Section of the Forums/IRC/Stack Exchange/Mailing Lists?)
- Blogging problems and resolutions
- What to train on (problem solving techniques/diagnosis howto/?)
- What materials do the training team have for this
- How to put people in contact with the correct person to solve their issue
This is not a comprehensive list of the issues we’ll need to cover, but gives a good starting point to mull over. If you want to do a mini implimentation of something yourself, have a go and let us know how it goes at the meeting.
If people want to get hold of me individually to go through any issues, you can get me in jabber (daubers at REMOVE THIS jabber dot org) or on irc.freenode.net in #ubuntu-uk (nick of daubers) or by email on (matt at REMOVE THIS TOO daubers dot co dot uk)
If anyone doesn’t already know, I’m on a push to see if community support can be improved. When I gave a talk at Oggcamp on this, someone suggested that the solution might become more apparent if I could understand what drove people to help support others.
I’ve sat and thought about this for a couple of weeks now, and as I sit here with a mug of tea mulling this over a bit more I think this is actually a very hard question to answer. I think it boils down to the following.
I help other people because I dislike feeling useless, and the people I look up to in the community helped me feel less useless by providing that support when I was learning.
I have a terrible habit of projecting my own feelings onto others. If I feel useless about something, then without thinking, I believe that other people would feel the same way. Due to the way I felt in that position, and how I that was solved. It seems fair to me that I do the same for others as others had done for me.
Now, that is my view, what I really need to know is why other people support new users. What is it that drives you and what could be done to help encourage people to improve the way in which they support others.
Please, please let me know. The more data I can collect, the better the solution I hope I can present back to the community to help improve things.
For a little while now I’ve noticed that the community based support for Ubuntu is a little patchy. Admittedly, this is largely in reference to IRC, but I think there are some simple things that could be done to improve this situation. In consultation with the Ubuntu-UK Loco and a few other groups, an etherpad session was started and some discussion has gone on around that. What has come from this exercise is a general set of guidelines for supporting new users. At the last Loco meeting I was actioned to create this into a wiki page to see if some more discussion can be formed, and then a vote will be taken at the next meeting to see if the Loco should adopt them.
Now, to me these seem fairly sensible guidelines, but what would be better is if people took just a few minutes to read over them and comment on whether or not they think they are feasible. The more eyeballs that see this document, the better it can be and the more consistent support we can offer new users. Having something like this would also help set users expectations of community support, which should help us to get users expecting an instant solution from volunteers.
So, please just spend a few minutes looking these over and let me know what you think.