Okay, I don't run any loco :) The idea of this question is to create a few brief bullet points that explain a couple of things:

  • Why should my loco care about AU? What makes it so great?
  • What should I (as a LoCo leader) urge people to do on AU?
  • What should I warn them about / ask them not to do?

This might also include language issues. Eventually, a short document, maybe even a presentation, should be sent to all of the Locos, to get them excited about AU.

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Good idea! I'm planning to start a Barbados LoCo (still gaining traction :P) and AU will play a big role. –  RolandiXor Nov 18 '11 at 19:54
    
Not very helpful to other non english users. I posted an answer for this since the whole thing did not fit here but to sum it up, all 3 points are mute for a country that its native language is not english. Would be a whole ball game if StackExchange included multiple languages or a way to work in AskUbuntu using multiple languages. Anyway, this is a very good question (+1 to it) that am thinking will catch much attention to both problems, uniting Ubuntu efforts and speeding up language support at the stack exchange sites. –  Luis Alvarado Nov 20 '11 at 6:29
    
Can a translation site be used to translate questions? Such as: babelfish.yahoo.com/… –  cprofitt Nov 22 '11 at 16:37
    
What is a Loco? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LoCo_team –  Roger Lipscombe Dec 4 '13 at 9:37

5 Answers 5

  • Why should my LoCo care about AU?
    • Quite simply, because it is big. Big things cannot just be ignored.
    • It's a viable resource, and such resources should never be wasted.
    • Your LoCo should care because AU will likely be one of the first support channels that many users encounter when installing Ubuntu (heck! it's in the installer!).

  • What makes it so great?
    • Unlike a forum, there is much more control over the direction which "threads" take. "Threads" are less likely to get turned into knots. What this means in simple terms is, when a question is asked, it gets answered - and nothing more. Forums often lead into long discussions etc, which can be a support nightmare.
    • A LoCo should promote AU locally as a resource for both casual users and those who actually provide support to others within the LoCo.
    • AU can remove a lot of the stress of asking/searching around for a solution to a tough issue.

  • What should I (as a LoCo leader) urge people to do on AU?
    • You should urge them (and practise this yourself) to look out for any opportunity to pitch in and help. The more questions (of greater variety) are answered, the less likely you are to have to go looking for obscure solutions.
    • You should especially look for members of your LoCo (local community) on AskUbuntu and try to help them where you can. You can even open a chat room for them to meet up and stay organized.
    • AskUbuntu is an English-only site, but at the same time you should encourage those in your community who know multiple languages to help out where they can to direct others in the right direction.
      • This means you should encourage them to translate questions and answers where necessary (original text + translation <--- perfect!), and to remind new members of the LoCo who and where to go when they need help in this way.

  • What should I warn them about / ask them not to do?
    • There are many things you could ask them not to do, but giving a bunch of "don't"s isn't the most encouraging way to engage them.
    • What you should encourage them not to do is use Ask Ubuntu as the first choice in cases where they can provide support locally.
      • In such cases, encourage them to interface directly with the person(s) who need assistance (in a friendly way of course), because nothing beats that local, personal, touch.
      • Let them know it's fine to use Ask Ubuntu as a resource for finding solutions to other's problems, but that it's best if they act as a proxy.
        • That means, if someone in the community has a problem, and there is someone else with more experience providing assistance, that someone else should be the one to jump on to AU and ask the questions, and not the less experienced user.
    • Encourage them not to circumvent Ask Ubuntu's rules and policies. If they don't like the way we do things, direct them to meta, or kindly suggest that they simply find somewhere else.
    • We are a global community, but remember the site is run from an English-Speaking country. This means that it is rather difficult to provide multilingual support.
      • Encourage your LoCo to avoid using a language that most people on Ask Ubuntu will not understand, and explain to them that it is for their own benefit if they do not.
      • Do not encourage them to join chat rooms with English-speaking users and start blabbering off in another language.
        • I say this from experience. As a community moderator (a GM from the community) in a game with a worldwide player base, we often had users who came on chat and started rattling off in a language most other players had no clue about.
        • It resulted in prejudice (not every one is wise or kind), and often in fights. It's not that anything is wrong with other languages, but just that communication is not something to mess with.
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I find the following argument strange and wonder wether it would benefit from rephrasing "Quite simply, because it is big. Big things cannot just be ignored." Obviously it's harder to ignore big things than small things. But something being hard to ignore is not to say that it's good in any way. –  N.N. Nov 18 '11 at 20:33
    
@N.N. I'm not saying there that Ask Ubuntu is good or bad :). I'm just saying - it's big - so it's in the way whether it is good for the community or not, and it should be dealt with - in which ever way necessary. –  RolandiXor Nov 18 '11 at 20:39

Helping users solve problems

I've never been involved in a LoCo but I imagine that a LoCo would like to learn people how to help themselves. To help oneself is to identify one's problem and resolve it and this is something both LoCos and Ask Ubuntu can help with. The typical parts of solving problems is the following:

  1. Identifying the problem.
  2. Finding a solution for the problem when it's identified.
  3. Applying the solution.

The first two parts are something both LoCos and Ask Ubuntu can help with.

To identify a problem is not always straightforward and may requires skill and such skill which can be learned both from LoCo and Ask Ubuntu. Obviously LoCo may be better in learning novice users such skills because they may not know of Ask Ubuntu or how to use it. Once a user knows how to use Ask Ubuntu they may also use it to learn how to identify a problem.

To find a solution to a problem also requires skill which can be learned both from LoCo and Ask Ubuntu. A user may ask someone in a LoCo for a solution but also search the internet for a solution. However searching the internet for a solution requires skills in searching which may be learned from the LoCo. A LoCo may also teach users how to use Ask Ubuntu to find a solution to a problem.

Benefits

Helping more users solve problems is obviously a benefit for both LoCos and Ask Ubuntu but there's more.

LoCos may benefit from Ask Ubuntu because it contains questions. For example if one wonders how to solve some LoCo problem one may ask it at Ask Ubuntu.

Ask Ubuntu may benefit from LoCos if LoCos learn people how to ask good questions and how to use Ask Ubuntu properly.

In short, there is a mutual benefit for LoCos and Ask Ubuntu in collaborating.

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Ask Ubuntu does two core things for a LoCo team

  1. Allows the loco team to venture out of 'being' local only and contribute to the global Ubuntu Community. Ask Ubuntu has a lower technical requirement than doing bug jams, etc. A person can start contributing simply by asking questions for others to answer and build their knowledge until they are answering questions.
  2. Allows loco teams to find people in their geographic region and make them aware of their loco team. You can do this using a query I fleshed out that Jorge C showed me. Even if making contact is not desired a loco team can use the information about questions to tailor the meeting topics they have towards topics being asked about.

There are also benefits for Ask Ubuntu:

  1. Help being rendered at the local level can be self-documented for others to use instead of stuck at the local level.
  2. Loco teams can help show people how to use Ask Ubuntu raising the number of people contributing too and using the service

There are some points raised in other answers I would like to address

It means that to a degree, the LoCo has failed

I would have to disagree. The sole purpose of a loco is not to provide help to Ubuntu users. One of the missions is to advocate for the adoption of Ubuntu and another is to help local Ubuntu users contribute to the Global Ubuntu Community. Both of these missions are symbiotic with Ask Ubuntu and do not conflict.

Also, for some geographically large loco teams it may be impossible to offer local in-person support.

Consider:

Texas — 2nd largest state 268,581 sq mi

vs

UK 94,060 sq mi

Currently, Ask Ubuntu is English only, which could (and has been) a issue in the past

I agree that it would be fantastic if StackExchange had built in translations, but the English Only issue should not result in the resource being useless to loco teams. I also wonder if it is possible to use translation sites to translate the answers well enough to still allow the site to serve as a resource.

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I was going to post this as a comment but seeing as I got a little over the max limit of characters here is my 2 cents (Give them back cause I need to buy some AskUbuntu pants to match my AskUbuntu Shirt ;) ):

First the 3 points made:

  • Why should my loco care about AU? What makes it so great?
  • What should I (as a LoCo leader) urge people to do on AU?
  • What should I warn them about / ask them not to do?

In my country (spanish) I have been and seen several "problems" in regards to all 3 points mentioned here. The fact of the matter is that if AU is in english and does not have a spanish version (in my case spanish but this includes all other possible languages) then a loco team will find it very difficult, I mean REALLY difficult to not only tell newcomers to go to AU but to promote it since it is not in a common language for my country.

It is better for an individual to just search the internet for a answer to the problem in their native language than to come here. Few exceptions like myself and any other from any country that has English as a second, third.. language.

The LoCo group promotes Ubuntu yes, but in their language, with what they can and have in hand to work with.

Saying this includes the fact that for English speaking users, the LoCo teams and the AskUbuntu site can work together and not only create a better environment for each but centralized questions and answers in AskUbuntu (And their respective site forums) and focus a little bit more on real world events (For example Ubuntu reunions, celebrating when a release is made, Ubuntu Parties, Ubuntu FliSol which is a celebration in spanish latin countries.) The can focus more on the community and organize better ideas and have to worry less on solving questions and answers since they can be found in AskUbuntu, at least most of them.

Of course this is only for English speaking users. For others is totally different. In my country for example, users rely on the LoCos forum, IRC and other places with few questions ever answered (Which is why I am trying to create another LoCo team but as I was told I can not create another but only work with the existing one which for various reasons including but not limited to political ideas and not actually been centralized on the community it will be impossible). AskUbuntu is very tough place to ask LoCo uses if you are not from the US or UK (Or other english spoken places). You ask in my country and you will actually get a "Are you LOCO!" response.

  • So: Why should my loco care about AU? What makes it so great?

They won't care until the language is in their native tongue.

  • So: What should I (as a LoCo leader) urge people to do on AU?

You should do nothing since trying to teach users to use Ubuntu is enough without trying to teach users to go to an english site to resolve Ubuntu problem (Its like me trying to learn Ubuntu in a Russian, Chinese or Arab language. It will be very difficutl for me and since am coming from Windows as a newcomer the first thing in my mind would be to return to it. I point this 3 since I have good friends there and the letter type is different.)

  • So: What should I warn them about / ask them not to do?

You should warn them that AskUbuntu is in english and promote a way for StackExchange to hurry with the Language support. As an alternative maybe create an alternative to AskUbuntu for ubuntu users which supports multiple languages and this site would be worked not only by a group of Ubuntu developers but also LoCo teams for each language and the Ubuntu community worldwide.

The only thing I can say is that all 3 points are mute until the language barrier is broken, either here or at a new central site.

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The localisation problem is very difficult so solve, as you know. However, I would argue that there are lots and lots of English-speaking Ubuntu users in LoCos around the world. And we're not trying to replace all of the Ubuntu ecosystem, we're merely trying to let them know that this tool is available to them as well. –  Stefano Palazzo Nov 20 '11 at 7:54
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Obviously we would love to cater to the millions of Spanish-speaking Ubuntu users (who don't speak English). The fact that AU isn't available to them is a real problem, indeed, and people (SE) are working on solving it. They ought to hurry up a bit. :) –  Stefano Palazzo Nov 20 '11 at 8:04
    
This is what we're up against: List of countries by English-speaking population. –  Stefano Palazzo Nov 20 '11 at 8:06
  • LoCos + Ask Ubuntu = PROFIT?!

Jokes aside, here's why I think LoCos should care:

  • It means that to a degree, the LoCo has failed.

Someone asking a question on Ask Ubuntu means that the LoCo hasn't:

  • Made itself widely known
  • Because it isn't widely know, that means the person can't go ask the LoCo guys "Hey, I have a problem, can you help?" - this is true for all online support methods.

From the LoCoFAQ:

A LoCo Team is a Local Community of (in our case) Ubuntu users. A LoCo can involve things such as local promotion, support in the local language, general support to local users and much more. Most importantly however, it lets people find other Ubuntu users near them and experience the Ubuntu Community firsthand.

(Emphasis mine)

Currently, Ask Ubuntu is English only, which could (and has been) a issue in the past.

Just my two cents, but that's something I feel very strongly about.

however, at the same time, I'm no saying that LoCo's and Ask Ubuntu can't co-exist to their mutual benefit - in fact, I was one of the first to try and get a LoCo involved - I'm just saying that it's a sympton of a failing (or nonexistent) LoCo.

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I think it's totally wrong to view LoCos and AU as mutually exclusive. In fact I think that LoCos and AU can work in parallel and also benefit from each others. –  N.N. Nov 18 '11 at 19:56
    
@N.N. Please see my edit. :) –  jrg Nov 18 '11 at 20:00
    
@jrg I personally disagree, but I can see where you are coming from. –  RolandiXor Nov 18 '11 at 20:03
    
I don't get exactly why a LoCo has "failed" here. Do all locos know about AU? Do we have resources on how they can use AU to get support? Has anyone reached out to local teams and let them know this resource is available, etc? –  Jorge Castro Nov 18 '11 at 20:06
    
@jrg Even if LoCos is supposed to work with support there is no reason, nor anything in that quote, that suggest that LoCos and Ask Ubuntu is mutually exclusive. I've elaborated on my argument in the answer meta.askubuntu.com/questions/2074/… –  N.N. Nov 18 '11 at 20:58
    
@N.N. '@Jorge' and I have updated my answer to explain what I mean a little more, since people seem to be misunderstanding (to some degree) my point. :) –  jrg Nov 18 '11 at 21:11
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@jrg I think that LoCos are very important but I think your argument fails. That someone asks a question on Ask Ubuntu does not necessarily mean that a LoCo has failed. It may as well be that the question is something the LoCo can't help the user with, maybe it's a question for which the LoCo lacks expertise. Also, support is not always to provide a direct solution but help the user find help and that might mean directing them to a place where they might find a solution. That LoCos should provide self-sufficient support (i.e. not direct users to other resources) is not realistic. –  N.N. Nov 18 '11 at 21:45

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