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permies.com suggestion: Test Section  RSS feed

 
Josh Kunkel
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I'm proposing a new section under permies.com where people can freely practice posting. The back and forth with questions and answers on how to link, format etc. can occur in this section. The reason I feel there is a need for this is the recurring instances of 'how to' questions about posting in the general forums, one example is: https://permies.com/t/31696/posts-simple
Permies is what I consider the safest place on the internet to ask for for help. There are people who would like to include richer content in their postings do not because they don't know how. A new section dedicated to learning the 'how to' will be a big help for these people. It would also consolidate the help efforts so someone exploring it would answer some of their questions before asking them.

Postings in the Test Section will adhere to https://permies.com/t/17422/permies-publishing-standards

And people are to read this thread before jumping in to test posts: https://permies.com/t/31696/posts-simple

A safe place to make mistakes is always a good place.
 
r ranson
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I like the idea.

This sounds a lot like what we encourage in the Tinkering with this site section.  Can you tell us more about how it's different? 

Or maybe we could improve the description for this forum to encourage more questions about testing and trying new features?
 
Josh Kunkel
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In the current setup of the site the Tinkering section is the closest I see to serving the needs I addressed in the original post. I'm in agreement that it is the best place if there is a perceived need to keep the sections to a limited number.
Some considerations:
-I haven't consistently seen posts in the general forums with posting questions be directed to tinkering, the questions are addressed in those threads.
-Tinkering has a lot of sitewide suggestions, it may feel intimidating to some to address their personal posting questions there.
-People who would benefit from Test Section posts would find one place to peruse previous interactions without searching through the higher level Tinkering posts.
-A dedicated Test Section would 'leave an open door' encouraging the opportunity of playing with post formatting without pushing in on the perceived serious business of site Tinkering.
-My ideal vision of the Test Section is a fun place where some cool learning by trial and error can happen assisted by the helpful folks here.

 
r ranson
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All great points.

I love the idea of having a place where everyone can try new things.  I also know Paul's going to ask me "don't we already have a forum that can do that?"  So I'm wondering how we can make the Tinkering forum more friendly and encouraging for people to use as their sandbox.  If not, then I need a solid argument in favour of making a new forum. 


-I haven't consistently seen posts in the general forums with posting questions be directed to tinkering, the questions are addressed in those threads. 


Possibly because these are off topic so they magically vanish after a few days so not to distract from the conversation.

-Tinkering has a lot of sitewide suggestions, it may feel intimidating to some to address their personal posting questions there.
-People who would benefit from Test Section posts would find one place to peruse previous interactions without searching through the higher level Tinkering posts.
-A dedicated Test Section would 'leave an open door' encouraging the opportunity of playing with post formatting without pushing in on the perceived serious business of site Tinkering. 


I can see this.  I wonder, is it possible to make it less intimidating?  Would it be as simple as having a few people start some threads?  If we make a new forum, we need at least 10 threads ready to move into it and at least five more made in the first 24 hours (this generates google love, I'm told), so either way, starting a few threads would be a help.

-My ideal vision of the Test Section is a fun place where some cool learning by trial and error can happen assisted by the helpful folks here.


Excellent idea.
 
Josh Kunkel
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I really appreciate your enthusiastic dialogue, thank you.

It helps to have the google goggles (things as viewed by google) considered in the discussion.

At this time I feel it makes the most sense to move this energy to Tinkering. An effort to steer and encourage those who could benefit would give the effort some momentum. Intervention of topics drifting off course because of formatting questions could direct to Tinkering with proactive effort to offer help in the form of discourse there.


 
Anne Miller
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Could a topic be set up with a sticky to keep it at the top of a forum be used as a test section?  The original post could contain links to "How permies works", How to post pictures, publishing standards, etc. Then folks could try out what they want to learn. Or am I missing the point of the Test Section?

https://permies.com/wiki/34193/permies-works-links-threads#267492
 
r ranson
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Paul's pretty anti-sticky threads.  But it's a possibility.

However, at the top of each forum is a place where we put links.  At the moment we have a few at the top of the tinkering forum. 
- can you think of any other threads that we could link to there?
- does it need to be more visible?  If so, how so?
 
Anne Miller
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On the Forum page, to the left there are "Best Ever" and "Best This Year".  Maybe the sticky could be at the top of "Best Ever"?   I am not sure where it would be best seen by new folks.
Maybe to the right under "Top Forums"

Many new folks do not know how to post photos, make bold statements, change colors or how to post a link.  Many of the items at the top of the Reply selection I have never tried and they seem a little intimidating.

This seems to be good for posting pictures:

https://permies.com/t/25828/post-pictures-permies#256136

This is a similar topic where some folks used it to test:

https://permies.com/t/25828/post-pictures-permieswebpage

This one is also helpful:

https://permies.com/t/52284/media-rich-thread-product-business#422768

I've been on many different forums over the years and it seems that permies has a lot to offer folks in the way of enjoyment.  It would be very helpful  to have a way of explaining all the great aspects and features that it offers.
 
paul wheaton
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This forum, the tinkering forum, was originally designed to learn the ins and outs of the newly installed forum software.  At the time, the forum was super small.  As the site grew, the tinkering forum served as the forum to talk about using the forums.

On my other site, coderanch, we had a similar forum ...   I think the name of the forum might have been "this site" or something weak like that.  Eventually, we renamed it to "ranch office" which I think is a good fitting name. 

Maybe the first question should be "what would be a better name for this forum?"  Maybe "farm office"? 

But, for now, I encourage people to make experimental threads in this forum.  Maybe each experimental thread can explain what is being tried and turn into a tutorial-of-sorts for a feature?

 
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