Categories vs Topics for Help and Support

A lot of questions are short lived things, “how do I tag X” or whatever. Discovering those types of posts from the front page of the current site is (approximately) never going to happen.

Does it make sense to have more than one category for QA? Like “Mapping Questions” and “Technical Help” or whatever?

Seems to be contrary to “The Discourse”(to be clear, this is a sarcastic comment about discussions supposedly having a single best flow no matter the number and differences among the contributors), but an initial experience that is confusing or daunting to first time users of the site is the opposite of what is needed, and a single category with dozens of topics shifting around is going to be confusing and daunting.


Do you really find the current Help OSM start page confusing and dounting? I on the other hand wouldn’t want a new user to worry about finding the right category (Does why does the shop I mapped not show up on the map? belong into mapping or technical?). It then gets confusin when moderators start moving topics to the correct category and users don’t find their questions anymore.

I like the idea of tagging questions with appropriate key words, though.

(missing the downvoting feature already, SCNR)

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The existing help site isn’t blended in with other discussions, so I’m not sure it is all that informative to consider how it functions. And it anyway shouldn’t be treated as the high bar.

We don’t have to agree, but I am pretty sure that “Mapping Questions” is going to successfully attract mapping questions more often than “Help and Support”.

And if you have a segmented category like that, you can put a big “Ask a question” button on the top of categories that are anyway going to be simple questions asked over and over again.

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people are not expected to discover posts by browsing through categories, rather they should try to find something with the search function, at least someone replying to them should find these older questions so they can point to them when they tell the poster that it is a duplicate question

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Agreed. For functional parity with would show recent questions at the top (it does), which questions have answers (it does) how many answers there are (it doesn’t) and whether there’s an accepted answer (it does).

Search works (differently, but it does work) and search by tag also works.

Newcomers will probably have no idea what the pictures or numbers on each line of mean, but that’s not really a problem. The lack of question, answer and comment voting is a deal-breaking issue, but that has been dealt with elsewhere.

There is an initiative to create a topic for newcomers with the most frequent questions and answers, that can be pinned on top of any topic inside that category

Reply count is displayed under the “Replies” column.

That doesn’t distinguish between answers and comments though? Is this being dealt with by

I think that’s the same thing for discourse, even if we install a plugin to have nested replies, they are just replies in the DB.

OK - that’s less of a showstopper for the OSM help site than it might be for other “stack”-type sites. OSQA allows more freedom about what you can out in comments compared to e.g. stackoverflow, and some of the comments at <> are very “answer-like”.

I think the Question Answer plugin helps at least in creating a visual distinction between both. Here’s an example: What's it like to be a bat? - Question Answer - Try Pavilion


Expected by who/what?

Like is there data suggesting that new users come in and search more often than they come in and browse?