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An idea for Vanilla Forums to create the first community book

I've been very fortunate to meet awesome people on here and get lots of detailed help and understanding.

I thought of an idea that I think will help grow the community and also reward the people sharing their time and knowledge here. Here it goes:

What if vanilla discussions allowed posters to offer bounties ($5-$x) for their question. Then whoever has the best solution (step-by-step or explanation) gets the bounty awarded to them by the poster. This way we are rewarding developers for their time and knowledge, and creating lots of content for Google searches to grow this community/platform.

Then something really interesting happens-- All the questions that bounties were awarded for are automatically inserted into an ebook (with discussion title being inserted into table of contents of the book) and the discussion question/solution+discussion link are entered into the book so that clicking the title in table of contents of the book leads to the question and solution, with a hyper link underneath to discussion link. So you're literally auto generating an ebook of examples with 200+ examples.

The ebook gets sold and part of the revenue goes to Vanilla and part of it gets split with the developers who answered the bounties.

I love learning from examples and I think this is the best way for beginners to learn about Vanilla. It will give developers an incentive so they aren't freelancing the site 100%. At the same time this will also lead to less questions asked that could be found through search because people will find their answers in the ebook.

vrijvlinder

Comments

  • R_JR_J Cheerleader & Troubleshooter Munich Moderator

    Some developers have their paypal accounts in their plugins so users could really easy donate money. I think this is enough for an open source support forum. No need to make a business of it.
    Getting $5 for an answer wouldn't allow you to pay any bills, so I think it wouldn't be able to motivate profit oriented people to spent their time writing answers.

    @okhawaja said:
    At the same time this will also lead to less questions asked that could be found through search because people will find their answers in the ebook.

    This forum is already as good as an eBook (though searching and finding is not trivial) and I'm deeply convinced that no kind of documentation would hinder people from asking all the same questions again. It's a principle of nature that most people ask first and do not search.
    To be fair: searching requires being able to know the right words to search for. And that can be quite hard for beginners.


    okhawaja
  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    @R_J said:
    I'm deeply convinced that no kind of documentation would hinder people from asking all >the same questions again. It's a principle of nature that most people ask first and do not >search.

    It is a sense of entitlement people who need help but lack basic code understanding have. They don't want links to the answers either apparently. They want help now, but can't understand the answers because they did not read the how to of anything and the discussion becomes a php lesson.

    To be fair: searching requires being able to know the right words to search for. And that >can be quite hard for beginners.

    No it does not require special words. It requires reading the Tutorial category which contains everything a new person needs to know to get them going. In fact I wrote a tutorial about "How to Search the Forum" ….

    https://vanillaforums.org/discussion/24503/how-to-search-the-forum-before-you-ask

    All you need to do is input your own question into the search field. Test it yourself, I do it all the time to find answers for people just to prove myself right. I input the title of their discussion and find all related discussions. Before asking people should try that.

    @okhawaja said:
    What if vanilla discussions allowed posters to offer bounties ($5-$x) for their question.

    Not enough paying customers. People's time is worth more than $5 more than $20 and more than $ 100 . No one is going to make a living from helping people on this forum. Most of us have other jobs and obligations. Our time is worth a lot and thus it should be appreciated.
    Some people have paypal and get some donations that way. But charging people for volunteers to help is against their Vanilla's Business model.

    This forum has hundreds of thousands of discussions and questions solved.
    No point in rehashing, new people will force a rerun anyway.

    I love learning from examples and I think this is the best way for beginners to learn about >Vanilla.

    The best way is like we all did, we were all beginners at one point, we all learned from reading everything, the code the files , the discussions and we started discussions to get help as well. Like R_J says, people never read the instructions manual. It's their fault when things break and you can't force anyone to read it.

    Maybe offering the new people $5 as an incentive to read the Documentation and tutorials could work better.

    okhawaja
  • I hope the $5 thing isn't taken as an insult...What that was referring to is the lower bound on bounty is $5 and upper bound is infinity. It isn't meant to make the devs here rich, but simply meant as a "thank you, let me buy you a coffee or beer."

  • @R_J said:

    To be fair: searching requires being able to know the right words to search for. And that can be quite hard for beginners.

    I STRONGLY agree with this one. So many engineers are suprised and many people don't know the power of Google until they figure out how to use the right keywords to search for what they want....Google is like a product that you learn to use overtime through experience. I think this forum's search is probably the same.

  • RiverRiver MVP
    edited June 2016

    @okhawaja said

    What hindered you here? question to ask. not know a module. not knowing panel? not reading documentation? or just overwhelming bits of information to search, it was easier to ask the question. or inability to find it in documentation or tutorials. Beginners difficulty could be gauged from your answer.

    @okhawaja said: I love learning from examples and I think this is the best way for beginners to learn about Vanilla

    True.

    @r_j said:
    This forum is already as good as an eBook (though searching and finding is not trivial) and I'm deeply convinced >that no kind of documentation would hinder people from asking all the same questions again.

    Only because the people who read documentation and search and find the answers don't ask the question and won't be counted.

    r_j said: To be fair: searching requires being able to know the right words to search for. And that
    can be quite hard for beginners.

    @vrijvlinder said:
    No it does not require special words. It requires reading the Tutorial category which contains everything a new person needs to know to get them going. In fact I wrote a tutorial about "How to Search the Forum" ….

    Yes and No. Case in point.

    Here is a recent question asked:

    Discussion Title: Adding Modules To Discussions

    Q. How do I make the friendship box panel go above another plugin's panel? Simply want to change the order in which the modules appear in that panel.

    In this case. "Modules" would be the correct word. Sorting might be a difficult one. Re-order might be a different word.

    Answers:

    Vanilla Documentation:

    However - would you know to look in framework? for your answer. possibly not.

    http://docs.vanillaforums.com/developers/framework/modules/

    Vanilla Tutorials:

    Would you look in tutorials - Frequently Asked Questions? maybe not maybe yes.

    https://vanillaforums.org/discussion/comment/232501/#Comment_232501

    Would you look at this title.? which basically reflects your question.

    https://vanillaforums.org/discussion/24995/tutorial-how-to-change-the-order-of-modules-and-menu-items

    Searching with "Module" and "Sort"

    https://vanillaforums.org/search?adv=1&search=sort+modules&title=&author=&cat=all&archived=1&tags=&discussion_d=1&discussion_question=1&comment_c=1&comment_answer=1&within=1+day&date=

    would an e-book have helped? probably not.

    https://vanillaforums.org/discussion/comment/241526/#Comment_241526

    Pragmatism is all I have to offer. Avoiding the sidelines and providing centerline pro-tips.

    okhawaja
  • okhawajaokhawaja New
    edited June 2016

    When I started, it took me over a week before I figured out that a module in vanilla is that box on the left. It's not the only module, but it's what a "module" looks like. Then I figured out those discussion filters, new discussion button, my profile box, etc. are all different things and they are all called modules. From there I figured out if that's a module then I need to sort modules.

    Example questions have screenshots showing the interface that's broken or desired for change, and the solution shows the code that affects the interface.

    The main difficulty I had and am learning is how the code affects what you see, and what part of the code affects what part of the interface. Sure, reading the documentation probably will make sense to a lot of people, but I would think there are people like me who see and learn. Not all discussion will qualify as an example with a solution because some questions are VERY user specific and don't apply to the general people, so questions that serve as examples for the general people could be grouped into an ebook to provide good learning (it filters out the questions that don't apply to you)....After me asking question and getting a very thorough answer from @R_J , I learned those box things I was trying to rearrange/modify are called modules and files with "hooks" in them affect the view of the page in certain ways...

    I think most people here are pretty good at Vanilla editing already, and the better you get at something the more advanced your questions are, the less % of people can understand/answer/learn from your questions, so it's not something that would be useful for beginners. Vanilla/Garden is a technology and something new when most people come to using the platform, and like any technology, learning it is a steep curve and having beginners group questions would help those beginners. If there was an ebook with lots of examples and solutions for modifying different things in vanilla then I'd definitely pay $500 and I am sure many others would too. It's like creating Coursera for Vanilla...Why not? People sell Java books, C# books, so why not a Vanilla book?

    Like I said, I am a persona of a beginner (not a new coder, but new to Vanilla/Garden) and personas are what books/products are targeted towards in a market. The forum will get plenty of developers joining as the years go, but the growth will be much much faster if there are resources to help people who learn by example. Universities teach through theories and Colleges teach through hands-on learning. Two different education styles, but both train different types.

    The bounty would be optional just how Stackoverflow has optional bounties. It is meant as a "thank you for helping, let me buy you a coffee/beer"

    The only downfall I can see to this would be not enough paying customers, but I hope that changes as Vanilla becomes more popular.

  • RiverRiver MVP
    edited June 2016

    perhaps true.

    Pragmatism is all I have to offer. Avoiding the sidelines and providing centerline pro-tips.

    okhawaja
  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    The forum will get plenty of developers joining as the years go, but the growth will be much much faster if there are resources to help people who learn by example.

    I have been here for almost 4 years, there have been only a handful of people that have benefited the community. Most people come here to get help when they have a problem then you never see them again until they have another problem. This is not a fraternity or a social network for developers. It is a forum made up of users who volunteer to answer questions when they have time or if it has to do with their add on, if they have time.
    Some people never come back at all. :(

    An ebook won't change that.

    It is of my opinion that everything you need to know you can find searching the forum. It is up to the users to make the effort to learn on their own as much as possible. Google is your friend even when it comes to Vanilla.

    People here are under no obligation to help but they do so because they enjoy helping and passing on their knowledge. But there is also a limit because time is limited .
    We have spent countless hours writing Tutorials that cover all of the problems that come up.

    Vanilla is rather easy to learn if you put some effort. By reading the code and playing with things. Besides something like a new bug that came up, all the issues people face with this software is due from lack of reading the tutorials because everything is covered.

    okhawaja
  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    @okhawaja said:
    When I started, it took me over a week before I figured out that a module in vanilla is that box on the left.

    Actually no. The #Panel/box on the left, is an asset , where you can put modules, the same with the #Head and #Content and #Foot

    These are simply container columns for content, modules or other things like links etc.

    A module is another name for a widget.

    okhawaja
  • hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New Moderator

    I don't like the idea of making the community "pay for help" which is what offering bounties essentially does.

    Do you really want to attract developers whose sole purpose is to get them sweet bounties?

    Search first

    Check out the Documentation! We are always looking for new content and pull requests.

    Click on insightful, awesome, and funny reactions to thank community volunteers for their valuable posts.

    okhawajaLinc
  • @hgtonight said:
    I don't like the idea of making the community "pay for help" which is what offering bounties essentially does.

    Do you really want to attract developers whose sole purpose is to get them sweet bounties?

    Definitely don't want to attract those types of developers, but at the same time I'd like to offer something for the awesome help I get. I suppose paypal donation is the best thing and my whole idea about bounties is flawed.

    Linc
  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP
    edited June 2016

    We get paid by reactions. When you click Insightful or awesome we get points and once we reach one million points, we get a house in Fiji.. it's in the contributor contract in small print
    , which is why some of us have stayed … ;)

    okhawaja
  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    But you have not given anyone any points … are you able to see the eye and the heart at the bottom of every comment ?

  • R_JR_J Cheerleader & Troubleshooter Munich Moderator

    Leaving every discussion if that would result in less questions aside: I would buy a book on Vanilla. But writing a book needs some skills that have nothing to do with coding and code alone doesn't make a book.

    You are not the first whose coming up with ideas to make Vanilla more popular and think improving the documentation would be a great start.

    The documentation can be ehanced like Vanilla can be: there is a GitHub repo for the docs. So everyone who is willing to add something can do so. I also like docs where there are examples enclosed. You could go through the docs and anywhere you find a chapter that could need an example add one.

    Even if you do not feel you are able to write the example by yourself: sometimes all that is needed is someone who acts like a firestarter. Make a new discussion, cite something of the documentation and ask a question like "Could anyone give a short example for this? Maybe it could be even added to the documentation later on!"

    That way you would help growing the existing documentation. Your plans from the opening discussion are very abstract. Although you could continue working at that vision, I bet you could achieve faster results by extending what already is available.


    okhawaja
  • hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New Moderator

    @R_J said:
    sometimes all that is needed is someone who acts like a firestarter.

    Definitely.

    We also need some kindling ;)

    Search first

    Check out the Documentation! We are always looking for new content and pull requests.

    Click on insightful, awesome, and funny reactions to thank community volunteers for their valuable posts.

    okhawaja
  • TimTim Operations Vanilla Staff

    A documentation update is in the works internally, stay tuned for that. When its done, Vanilla will handle the user tutorial stuff (how to use the actual product) and the API, and you guys can contribute to the developer-focused docs (which we will continue to work on as well).

    Vanilla Forums COO [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

    R_Jokhawajarbrahmsonvrijvlinder
  • RiverRiver MVP
    edited June 2016

    @Tim said:
    A documentation update is in the works internally, stay tuned for that. When its done, Vanilla will handle the user tutorial stuff (how to use the actual product) and the API, and you guys can contribute to the developer-focused docs (which we will continue to work on as well).

    Better user documentation regarding confirm email permissions and roles showing up in dashboard would be handy when it is updated.

    https://vanillaforums.org/discussion/comment/241699/#Comment_241699

    Pragmatism is all I have to offer. Avoiding the sidelines and providing centerline pro-tips.

  • LincLinc Director of Development Detroit Vanilla Staff

    The entire UX of roles and permissions is going to be reworked, probably later this year. We've been talking about how bad it is for years. It's not a docs problem, it's an interface problem. You shouldn't need to search docs to figure out how to assign permissions.

    okhawaja
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