Use Stack Exchange for promoting FreeBSD

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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Most of you know what Stack Overflow is and that it's for asking programming questions but you may not know that there are sister sites for asking about Unix and BSD and server questions. These sister sites do not get the usage that Stack Overflow does but it still gets a lot of eyes looking at it. What I am suggesting is that, if you have a question about setting up or configuring FreeBSD or server related questions, you ask there in order to expose people to FreeBSD for public awareness and attention more than anything else.

Rarely do I see such questions there but am often surprised at the quality answers received. Even if you don't get an answer to yours, it would be good exposure for the OS.

For programming questions (only!): Stack Overflow
For operating system administrating and configuration: Unix & Linux
For server questions about managing information technology systems in a business environment: Server Fault

Note: some of you know that I have moderator privileges on Stack Overflow. I am not suggesting this for personal gain in any way and I do not and will not receive anything in return. I also am not doing this to help the Stack Exchange sites. It's only an effort that I think might give more exposure for FreeBSD.
 

sko

Aspiring Daemon

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What's the benefit of spreading out from a place (i.e. this forum) where a lot of knowledge is already present and searchable and a that is well established in the community?
You'll be answering all the basic stuff over and over again that everyone could have found here easily in a multitude of variants. I don't think thats very efficient - neither for someone searching for help, nor for those who are offering help in their free time.
 

fraxamo

Member

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expose people to FreeBSD for public awareness and attention
I seem to recall a number of years ago (possibly 2012 or 2013) that there was a proposal for a BSD-specific Stack Exchange site on the meta Area51 discussion zone, but it was knocked back for lack of votes. As an SE moderator do you think a site like this might be more viable now or even make sense over being part of a blanket Unix/Linux Stack Exchange site? FreeBSD (in particular) seems (to me at least) to be more popular now than it was back then and having a BSD-specific site would presumably expose people to FreeBSD even more.
 

reddy

Active Member

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I share the feelings expressed by sko, absent this forum I would have totally agreed with drhowarddrfine but this forum is already ranking high in search engines and is even the top result for me most of the time. It is quite easy to find FreeBSD related information, and for questions not already answered, this forum is very active to answer questions.

I therefore think that promoting StackExchange at this point, would simply transfer the social wealth of this community away to StackExchange Inc (who is increasingly pushing to monetize their platform these days) while at the same time somehow degrading the experience for users by moving from having a single source of truth, to diluting the engagement of community members across many platforms.

Of course users are and should remain free to post their questions wherever they want, but I do not think it would be in the best interest of the community to actively encourage people to use StackExchange. I think this is more beneficial for projects lacking an engaged community and a proper infrastructure to manage it - which FreeBSD already has.
Personally, I was seduced by the fact that FreeBSD has its own forum which is very active. It contributed to giving it a more polished feel than Linux where information is scattered around the internet with no single source of truth.
 
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drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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sko As I already said, to expose people to FreeBSD for public awareness and attention. That is the sole purpose of my suggestion.

fraxamo It already bothers me that a Discord server was set up instead of directing those people here or the mailing lists. I'm not sure I would want a FreeBSD only specific section there.
 

Zirias

Daemon

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You'll be answering all the basic stuff over and over again that everyone could have found here easily in a multitude of variants.
You discovered the not-so-secret gamification model of Stack Exchange. Earn "reputation" by knowing your way around Google et al.
 

fraxamo

Member

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It already bothers me that a Discord server was set up instead of directing those people here or the mailing lists
Yes, it bothers me as well. The community feels like it's getting diluted. I always thought that between the mailing lists, the forums and IRC we were pretty well-covered, as each mode of communication served a different purpose. I'm not sure what Discord brings to the table, but I don't want to miss out so I've reluctantly signed up. I've only been on there a couple of times so not sure what to make of it yet.

I'm not sure I would want a FreeBSD only specific section there.
Well, the original SE proposal was for a BSD Stack Exchange site, not a FreeBSD-specific one, so it would include all the other BSD's as well. But I take your point.
 

Jose

Aspiring Daemon

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Haven't the Stackexchange sites been overrun with the culture war? I want one place where I can discuss purely technical matters without having to worry about that tiresome nonsense.
 
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drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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I want one place where I can discuss purely technical matters
Then SO isn't that place. SO is strictly Q&A. You ask a specific question about a specific problem that will return a fact based answer that solves it. Discussion should be only to help solve the problem and minimal.

One thing of note. I do see people who are, essentially, trying to use SO to start up answers to trouble shooting questions by opening questions and turning around and answering them. That's one way to establish a beach head. But keep in mind that SO is for programming only.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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You don't lose entire message history if you disconnect. Also does not have all this cloaking bullshit.
Don't many IRC channels have a bot to archive convo?

When Discord closes down (replaced by the next fad known as FatChat), all your history will also be lost.
 

shkhln

Daemon

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Don't many IRC channels have a bot to archive convo?
Well, not FreeBSD-related ones, afaik.

When Discord closes down (replaced by the next fad known as FatChat), all your history will also be lost.
I only care about a few days of history, which already requires a high-effort bouncer setup for an IRC equivalent (on both sides of the conversation).
 

sidetone

Daemon

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A Stack Exchange would be of special value that it can cover several BSD's, even if its just FreeBSD and its derivatives.

There's lack of a common place for FreeBSD derivatives, which many have the same answers as on here, but the rules are that only FreeBSD specific questions/answers be on here. The derivatives and those who use a few of those derivatives can be asked there. They can find the answer for those derivatives here, but they really can't be asked or answered here, with some exceptions.

I did used to search for answers, and the search engines led me here to find them. It doesn't hurt to have a second place where people can find answers, that cover FreeBSD derivatives. As for accounts, it's what's more convenient. For those who use other BSD's or FreeBSD derivatives, with or without FreeBSD, a Stack Exchange not associated with the FreeBSD Foundation would be worth using.

I use FreeBSD a lot that it's worth having one account. For a short time I used NetBSD, and it didn't have the kind of support base. It's good for convenience, what someone's primary OS is, and if they use various OS's, whether someone comes here, or uses a different support website. I have an easier time finding answers on something like this. For other subjects, a stack exchange provided useful answers, but required pre-requiste knowledge outside of those answers. It seems that it's easier to ask, interpret and receive answers on a forum than on a stack exchange. The value of a stack exchange for what DragonFlyBSD, GhostBSD, MidnightBSD, NomadBSD, FreeNAS, TrueNAS, and FreeBSD have in common is suitable for 1 account to be used with any combination of those they use. NetBSD, Fugulta and OpenBSD as well can be covered there.

Something like a wiki seems more useful than a How-to/FAQ section. The How-to section is nice, but it would allow organizing information as more is added or learned by multiple people, to allow improvements from what the original author wrote. There's one, but it doesn't have users on it. The one that has users is for development task and updates. They work a lot better and are easier to improve to be up to date than the Handbook.
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

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sko As I already said, to expose people to FreeBSD for public awareness and attention. That is the sole purpose of my suggestion.
They have FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD forums at daemonforums.org and it's underused IMO. If I was going to ask a question about OpenBSD I'd go there to ask it.

When I was on tour promoting my site I went to Linux forums that had UNIX sub-forums like Linuxquestions.org or a UNIX forum where almost everyone used Linux like dslreports.com. I belong to unix.com but there's not much happening there last time I checked.

I never go to SE, superuser, or anywhere to find out about anything but here or google.
fraxamo It already bothers me that a Discord server was set up instead of directing those people here or the mailing lists. I'm not sure I would want a FreeBSD only specific section there.
I will never understand why they named it Discord. Because Discourse was already taken?.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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I actually quite like the UNIX & Linux stack exchange. It is one of the few communities on that platform which isn't overrun with the word "JQuery".

I tend to use it mainly for "Generic" UNIX issues. This is actually important to find best practices in terms of portability. For example if a question is asked and someone replies with something that only works on BSD, it wouldn't be as useful there (whereas it is obviously still very relevant here).

When it comes to issues integrating FreeBSD with other *nix or even Windows, I tend to use that site too.

My only gripe with it is there is a *lot* of Docker and Bash crap there ;)
 
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drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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kpedersen What you can do is put ignore tags and use follow tags on the right hand side. That helps but, when I only want to see FreeBSD stuff, I can click on the tag and get only FreeBSD questions.
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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There is also unitedbsd.com which is heavily skewed towards NetBSD.
I didn't know of this one. Looks like a very generic forum platform but the content looks good (albeit NetBSD focused as you mentioned).

I am also on the mailing lists ports@freebsd.org and freebsd-games@freebsd.org but these don't quite have the same communities as forums.

kpedersen What you can do is put ignore tags and use follow tags on the right hand side. That helps but, when I only want to see FreeBSD stuff, I can click on the tag and get only FreeBSD questions.

Ah good point. JQuery, Docker, Python can all be ignored.

But as a mod, can you not simply remove all those threads from the database? They are probably nonsense anyway ;)
 

reddy

Active Member

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It has just been announced that StackExchange has just been sold to the owner of Tencent for $1.8B. The investor will obviously seek a return-on-investment, so at the very least it would be wise to wait 18-24 months to see what happens next and assess if this website remains a minimum credible for FreeBSD.
 
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drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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see what happens next and assess if this website remains a minimum credible for FreeBSD.
I wasn't suggesting this for credibility. I suggested it for publicity. However, I went on vacation last week and, after doing my morning coffee while closing all the questions asking about how to boot Linux or how to install drivers, I am reminded again why I don't do anything else there. It's a good source for finding answers but no longer a good source for asking serious questions. The kids have taken over and no one seems to care.
 

mark_j

Daemon

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I don't use these sites, partially for the reason drhowarddrfine mentions, but I did today and was confronted with this HUGE cookie element which states:

Your privacy.

By clicking “Accept all cookies”, you agree Stack Exchange can store cookies on your device and disclose information in accordance with our Cookie Policy.

However, as I do not use javascript (except on a per-website/needs basis such as this site), this object is basically blocking 1/4 of the screen. It was obviously intended to do so. Sure, I can open the developer option and delete the element, but why should I?

So, my vote would be to avoid this group of sites. I do detest sites forcing cookie policies onto the user which effectively give you no choice under the guise of giving you choice. It seems to circumvent the intent of the European laws and that defines these sites to me as acting with dubious intent.
 

scottro

Daemon

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The daemonforums site is certainly not against FreeBSD. The history in a nutshell. There was a FreeBSD forum site, or maybe bsdforums, I've forgotten, which is where everyone went. The administrator became ill and though some folks were going to buy the site from him, it never went through and the site just became filled with spam.
Then, daemonforums was started and was going to be the alternative, so it was mostly FreeBSD. However, after it had started, FreeBSD.org started its own forums, this one. So, daemonforums lost most of its FreeBSD traffic to this site, but FreeBSD, or any BSD questions are welcomed. (You can ask your questions about CURRENT there, too. ) :)
 

Trihexagonal

Daemon

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I wasn't trying to imply it favored or was skewed toward any one OS. It covers it all, but if I was going to ask a question about OpenBSD that's where I would go to ask it.

Because they have OpenBSD forums. 🐡

And I would be much more likely to have to ask a question about OpenBSD than I would FreeBSD.
 
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