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From Andreas S├Ąger <>
Subject Re: User support: beyond forums or lists
Date Thu, 25 Aug 2011 12:20:56 GMT
Am 24.08.2011 21:50, TJ Frazier wrote:

> (1) With email, the questions come to you, according to your filters
> &c., and you can read them at your convenience. With fora, you have to
> log in and go looking, and may find nothing.

No login required.
Index page >> "View unanswered posts":

I use to use on the index page: "View active topics":

What you see is a list of all topics in all public subforums having the 
most recent additions. Unanswered topics are the ones with 0 replies.

When you're logged-in, the topics with your contributions have a little 
star in the icon.
Being logged-in, "View new posts(12)":
shows the topics with new posts you did not read yet until the previous 

"View unread posts"
shows topics you never touched.

shows a listing with all my attachments, including hyperlinks to the 
topics where they have been attached, how often they have been 

> (2) With email, you can reply with one click or so, quite independent of
> how long it takes you to come up with the answer. With fora, if you can
> answer off the top of your head, you are again only one click away from
> the reply. But, if you need to do some research, you must bookmark the
> question in some fashion, and then get back to it later (lots of clicks).

Being logged-in, you click a quote button in the posting you want to 
quote. While writing you can also select some snippet in the history and 
click the same button to insert the snippet as quote including a prefix 
"user_name wrote:".
The HTML-like PHP formatting tags together with screenshots are 
particularly useful.
- Code is really readable and scrollable in separate code blocks.
- Hyperlinks have an URL and an optional human readable text.
- There is room for off topic personal messages with attachments and 
- Attached example documents allow us to develop really complex 
solutions without wasting too much time with misunderstandings and 
describing things. Quite often a new tutorial evolve from such intense 
discussions about non-obvious use cases. All tutorials are easy to find 
and easy to link in their separate sub-forums.
The overall technical level of forum discussions is much higher than on 
any user mailing list.

All threads are lined up in a one-dimensional time line which becomes a 
problem when a thread becomes really long while being still on topic. 
Usually the moderators split all off-topic and spam to separate topics 
or quarantine respectively. This way most users will not see most of the 
rubbish and splitting up an existing topic is possible at any time 
because all users see the same hierarchy rather than their individual 
message copies.
Moderators can lock a topic for further replies.
The group of voluteers can read and write internal messages in subforums 
that are hidden to guests and logged-in users. They also tag 
inappropriate posts so they are found easily by the moderators.

An ego-search with keywords is possible at any time without log-in.
For really complex searching I recommend a domain search with google.

This is a built-in chronological ego-search for a logged-in user:

You can specify for each single topic if you want to be notified by 
email or not when the topic receives new messages and/or when you get a 
personal message.

Hope this helps a little.

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