What do you think about creating a default template for new topics?
We could use that to structure the question users have and inform them to post enough information, including
- their systems specs (with typical commands to retrieve system specs from cli, like lsusb, lspci, inxi, lshw, cat …)
- their logs (with ways to read logs using
- their DE
- the source the installed the package from
Some projects do that on github and gitlab when you report an issue and I think it can help to shorten the way to a solution.
I think it is worth a try to see if it helps.
However, my feedback from using it on other Linux-related Discourse sites is that a small percentage of people actually read it, most people ignore it and another small percentage of people don’t understand how it works and end up with the template embedded in their actual post.
How about create some template for replies?
Member familiar to the site can quote those templates as a reply, to ask OP for further details.
I’m afraid this might not be so simple:
- Too generic template will include irrelevant info and/or miss important info.
- Too detailed template may confuse and discourage newbies.
The information required to collect depends on the problem and the user often does not have enough competence to decide what info is relevant.
I think a template that asks for commonly requested info such as the output of inxi, uname, etc. may be good. Other info would totally depend upon the issue and as noted by @vgaetera could likely be irrelevant or not enough.
A template that aims for ‘one size fits all’ would be daunting and often totally irrelevant.
Often a question is simply asking ‘how to’ and may not actually have anything directly related to either the actual hardware or software, but more related to users knowledge or experience.
I am against plaintext / inline templates for posts (the kind that is pre-filled into a single large textarea like the post body). It is not nice for users (just too much to read before posting) and prone to editing errors.
See it a lot on GitHub. Users mangle the template, copy and paste over the wrong lines, or only fill in partially and leave long sections of template text unedited.
A good template must have proper UI (an accessible form, with separate inputs for each item). The Guided bug form on rhbz (requires login) is a decent example. But, it could be overkill for users who just want to ask simple questions.
Overall, I don’t think it is essential for a forum.
On the other hand, I would like template replies. A Discourse Templates plugin was mentioned in a previous thread on this subject.
Some template replies that I see the need for:
- How to get a specific boot journal (relevant Quick Docs)
- How to get a specific dnf/PackageKit transaction history—in response to “something broke after an update”
- How to get audio info—I have seen a few times users asking for pipewire service status in response to general audio hardware/software questions, which is almost always irrelevant (unless talking about pipewire config). You want
Alternatively, these could be written as guides / wiki-posts and linked to (easier for the answerer, but harder for the asker as they have to navigate away from their post).