KDE Promo Sprint – it’s over now

This day has come to an end now, and with the promo sprint has ended. Unfortunately, i must say. It was a great experience, nice people, and i’d really to see them again in time.

Anyway, what happened today? As there was already much talk on the topics that needed to be discussed, this day was mostly filled with actually doing some real work on it. This included code and test the new structure of the kde site navigation, testing options we have and searching for improvements. I can’t go into too much detail at this point, but once it comes out, you most likely will enjoy it. Really.

At the middle of the day each team presented their work. And of course, some things still needs to be done, but it’s good to be at a point where you actually see what needs to be done in a clear fashion. Now that’s actually my point of view, speaking as a newcomer to the promo world.

What can i take home with me?
– A big bunch of motivation to go further with my work on the kde websites
– Clearly more motivation to also get more involved in the promo parts
– KDE clearly has great people in their community
– I hate speaking english…
– Having a good understanding of what KDE exactly is, helps a lot
– I want Jos’s jacket, it’s great

Probably more, but this is what comes to my mind right now, still being full with the impressions of this weekend. There were also some discussions aside from the main action that could be interesting in the feature, but time will come for that.

So, cooling down now, sleeping and then going on the 8 hour trip back home.

KDE Promo Sprint – Day 2

Day 2 of the promo sprint has found an end, and it’s time to sit down and write about it.
Till now, it was an awesome experience for me to finally meet some faces behind the (mostly) virtual concept of the KDE community. Overall great people and i am feeling more motivated than before to go forward and trying to help out more in the area of the KDE websites (maybe even promo itself now).
So, we are stuck to the room (or better, two of them, to do teamwork). What did we do so far?
It was already mentioned that the main issue was on rebranding KDE. And was worked out so far really seems like a good idea, from the first impression it is way better than before and can really solve some missunderstandings about KDE really is. But we need to wait for the official announcement before saying anything… so, stay tuned and watch the DOT.

Anyway, the main point why i am here is the www part of this sprint. This has some surprises to me, actually. First, i was not aware, that this area is on focus for our beloved promo crowd (at least not at this time). Second, not far ago we already tried some
enhancements to it from the forum team. And as it seems, we were just slightly to early.
There will be some major improvements on the main KDE site, most of that was discussed in the last 2 days. Again, stay tuned to see results (is this called “making your mouth wet” or something?)

Then, one important thing and one of my pet projects, was a discussion about how to introduce new contributors. Well, some maybe know about the “klassroom” project the forum had some time ago. Unfortunately this was not as regularly as it was supposed to be. Just because we went out of manpower for this.

So, this is my call to any contributor to KDE out there: Become a mentor on the forums and do a klassroom session to help out new contributors!. It doesn’t matter which area it is, be it coding, artwork, translation, bughunting, webdeveloping, doc writing, etc. Whichever area you work on for KDE, think of becoming a mentor to involve possible contributors to real life subjects on your topic. Maintainer or not, doesn’t matter. And it is way easier than you think. If you are interested, don’t hesitate to contact me or one of the forum staff or just visit us on freenode in the channel #kde-forum. Any questions can be answered.

So far so good, bed is calling, last day is coming. Good night everyone.

1st Birthday of the KDE Community Forums

As you maybe already read here, we are celebrating the ending of the first year of the KDE Community Forums.
But let me add some personal remarks.

We once started it with 2 people because we just felt the need for it rising (apart from us being just a sort of website guys). We just started from the ground and hoped it would rise to something really helpful for the users AND the developers.

Soon the first contributors showed up, willing to help out in the team. Some of them users, some of them developers. That was already great step for me. And along with the new team members there came a lot of new ideas. What could we provide, how can we improve both, the user experience in the forum AND in KDE.
First idea, klassrooms (don’t discuss with me the obligatory K in it, please 😉 ), they went well. But after some of them we just ran out of manpower, as also other ideas showed up.
Yes, Brainstorm. It was probably the biggest addition we ever did, as it feels for some users as a real different area (Note: as of know it just feels like it, but it isn’t, for the technical interested folks).

I guess you get the other additions from the dot post. But what impressed me most over the time, that we somehow managed to have gotten aware by the developers. Over the time we contacted by developers of specific applications if they could have their own area. Hell yeah, sure you can! 🙂 And they all also integrated well as moderators of their own area.
For those of you not knowing it, this is not taken for granted, especially for OSS forums.
So let me give a big kudo to the developers being active in the forums, although they could stick to mailinglists only.

Summary:
It was a great year with the forums, as it was with KDE, big improvements in KDE over this time, many of it even making our work as supporters easier. So, devs, keep up the good work, and so will we. 😉
But apart from that, still every volunteer welcome to do maybe a kourse, or provide some feedback, or even give us some new ideas.

Extended search in the forums

Lately there have been some additions to the default search system.
First, we switched the backend to a much smoother one, so we now finally can search for common words like “plasma” again… 😀

Along with that we integrated the feed system into the search. What does that mean? You can now put search results into your feedreader. Let’s say you are interested in topics containing the keyword “crash” and “plasma” (to stay at the last example) you can keep updated in your feedreader about every new post or topic containing this criteria.

Now you are not tied to feeds for special forums anymore. This opens many new possibilities.
But this will not be the last change, so stay tuned.

Krita on the KDE Community Forums

We can now proudly present a very own forum area dedicated to Krita.

After we included the forum for Amarok some months ago we were now contacted by the Krita team with the wish to have its own area.
Well, that makes us proud in 2 ways:
– Another app drives now its own forum with us
– The developers took interest in it

The latter is a very special point, which shows not only end users are interested in the forums, we also get attention from developers. And that makes conversation in the community much more fruitful than just a forum where users help users.

So, if you are a Krita user, and want to discuss or even share your artwork done in Krita, visit the Krita Forum.
I am sure the Krita team is happy to have your feedback.

Featured phpBB for August 2009: KDE Community Forums!

This is a great honour for me and my mates in the forums team. See this:
http://www.phpbbhacks.com/features/phpbb.php
Quote for why sites are chosen:

They are the standard in which phpBBs should be measured by. The pride of phpBB.

Wow, that is far beyond my expectations.
And that reminds me of something i should have said even earlier in public:
Thanks to all the team members to form it, and also to all the users using it. The atmosphere overall is a really nice place, what else can you wish as an admin for a forum.

New Idea again…

Most of you know behindkde.org. I always enjoyed reading about the persons behind KDE.
That made us think we could do something like that on the forum. And Nightrose extended this idea a bit (thanks for that).
Maybe some of you know about digg dialogg. It is a place where you can submit/vote on questions that will be asked to an important person. So it is basically a community driven interview. I really like that aspect.

So what is it technically? It is a threaded display of all possible interviews, where commenters can be voted.
We are a forum, so we have the threaded display. Also, thanks to Brainstorm we already have a voting system in place. All we would need to do is change the topic voting to a post voting.

So, if we find a KDE contributor that is willing to be interviewed we could set up a new topic in this new area and the users can post their questions to this person. After a (yet undefined) time period we close this topic and the 10-20 (?) most popular questions will be handed over to person that will be interviewed.

That’s about it. Oh, i forgot, we found a possible name for this new Area: “KDialog *gearhead = new KDialog;” 😀

So, my question: Users, would you like such thing on the forums? And Contributors, would be willing to get interviewed in such a way?

Please tell me your opinions.

5 years old KDE user computer abilities

We just got a nice success story on the forum from user miguelbranco that i’d like to share with you. The original story can be found here.

Quote:

I’ll introduce the story a bit. About 4 to 5 years ago I really got bored of dealing with Windows so I looked for alternatives. I found Linux and I happily migrated. As I’m the only computer geek at home, out of 8 people!, I progressively moved every computer at home to Linux with KDE. The rest of my family just moved with me and eventually loved the change. This is not to say that they haven’t had issues from time to time but they can always get help from me. With Windows it was just the same, so no change here. They felt the change was for good, they found KDE easier, prettier and less intrusive. Seriously. In fact right now the only Windows installation at home it’s my sister’s dual boot that has a Vista… and it’s there because I told my sister not to deleted it, just in case she might needed it. She really hates Vista (something I don’t). She wanted to have it deleted but I insisted (I completely deleted Vista 15 days after having bought the laptop, by the way).

So, the story is that my nephew, who’s 5 y.o right now, has been using Linux and Windows since always and can explain you what’s the difference between them and how to select one or the other in GRUB’s menu…. The first day he had computer classes at school teachers simply got amazed of his computer abilities. The kid asked – Teacher, don’t you use Linux here? – as he saw XP on the screens. I don’t even think the poor teacher knew what Linux was. As you can imagine, he can’t read yet. He knows the numbers and letters and he’s just started learning how to pronounce groups of letters (Galician and Spanish have regular orthographies so one grapheme nearly always equates to one phoneme). To brief up, very basic reading skills. While still a baby we’d let him play with mouse, then with two y.o we opened a web browser and have him playing simple games at BBC kids web page and so on. Progressively I taught him to switch on and off the PC and to select the OS in the GRUB menu (he couldn’t read but knew that windows was third), I taught him how to select a user and write the password in KDM (yes, his mother has passworded login 😉 ) and how to open firefox (the fox ball, he calls it) and use bookmarks (which I set up for him). I think you get ti, he knows that kind if things. Some times he even tells me – hey, look what trick I know! – and changes the virtual desktop or something alike.

But the other day I just perceive how much his “computing” skills had advanced and how pathetic some people, that has been using computers since they had been invented, seem in comparison. He switch on the laptop as always, typed in the password, and went on to launch a web browser. He basically uses the laptop for playing flash games. He launched kickoff (yes, kickoff); for some mysterious reason he ignored Firefox, which is bookmarked as a favorite, move to the ‘recently used’ tab, looked for Opera and launched it. Then, he moved to the direction bar, or whatever you call it, pressed the button that shows the recently typed web pages (that small triangle) and scrolled through the list until the found the one he likes. I’ve no clue how he recognized the domain, by the way. (Shape recognition?). The page loaded and then he clicked in a game which triggered the opening of a background tab, to where he immediately moved to happily start playing. It is not that he knows how to do all that things individually, it’s that he has discovered them through use and now uses all them routinely without doubting about what he has to do next. Oh, he said Opera was better than Firefox for games 🙂 . Don’t ask me why.

Besides that my nephew might be brighter than the average, to my head came all that futile debated about kickoff, how bad it was, people counting clicks and so on. It suites the need of my nephew and It’s just right for most of people. My experience is that average users don’t care about learning applications names and don’t even know or care about what applications are installed. It isn’t different if the user has gone to the university or not. Most user simply don’t care about anything computer related. The question type I’ve been made the most is ‘what do I use for …?’ and ‘where do I find my….?’. Kickoff does well at helping people finding applications and folders. I might not be a perfect tool but does the job well. I have the impression that users most opposed to changes are long term users that simply don’t want things to change because if they change they have to learn a new series of habits. But new users easily adapt, especially 5 y.o KDE users 🙂 .

Nice, isn’t it?

KDE Forums – Something big is about to happen

>Lately there has been a lot of activity in the KDE Forums IRC channel, #kde-forum on freenode. neverendingo, one of the forum admins, also said something interesting this evening:

neverendingo: finally… nightmares from conditional html code…
neverendingo: and bubbles, i see them everywhere…

Now you might wonder, what has bubbles to do with the forum? Unfortunately I can’t give you an answer, but it seems to be related to this picture that has been floating around:

One thing is for sure though: we will find out more in the not-so-distant future.

KDE Forums – News and what to expect

>The forum is now nearly one year old. And after some discussions in the team (and the not so far away release of KDE 4.3) we decided to do some major changes. The most obvious one will be a layout change. The old one served us very well, right, but as time goes, i would like to have a new one. And along with the really great looking AIR theme from the oxygen team i invested some time to do a new design. I can’t post screenshots yet, as i have no internet connection (at an internet cafe right now) but these will follow soon. Just stay tuned 😉

Right after our major upgrade we want to introduce the “KDE Forums house kleaning day”. This will also happen shortly before the 4.3 release in July.

What does this mean?
We invite every user of the forums to discuss with us
The forum structure
Maybe you are not sure if the structure of the forum is really good enough. Suggest something else.
Unanswered posts
Yes, unfortunately there are still posts that weren’t answered. And we’d like to have an answer on nearly every question. So this is your chance to get involved and help people with their problems. The “Solved” button is there for a reason 😉 .
Topics not in the right place/already solved etc
Sometimes it happens that topics land in the wrong place. This is no big problem, but to give new users the chance to find what they need we should have them in the right place. Find these topics and give us a hint to where they should belong. Also, some topics could already be solved but aren’t marked as such. Tell us. Same for the brainstorm area. Maybe some of the items are already in bugzilla, or already implemented.

The day in question will be shortly before the 4.3 release and we will announce it in time to give everybody the chance to get involved. Discussion can take part in the “Feedback” area, and also in our irc team channel at freenode, #kde-forum.

So for everybody who would like to give a helping hand, join us.