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When investing my time into something, I like to know where it's going. Helping one person is good but if I can help 10, that's better. Is my time here worth more than that on IRC/forums/etc? To know that I need to know the plan for this site.

I don't mean to sound so self-important. I think this is a question that we should all be asking ourselves: "What this site is really aiming to do?" Are we striving to become Ubuntu's new official support mechanism or are we just another little community with very little impact on the whole?

I personally think we're better than the rest of the Ubuntu support mechanisms if only because we have a slightly better infrastructure and the naive enthusiasm and dedication that comes with shiny new things... But what happens when this wears off?

Like it or not, this place is going to be driven by the questions that come in. If we can't attract people with problems, people looking to help others aren't going to bother. And if we can't increase our daily throughput, we're going to lose existing users to other support streams.

A dirty experiment fighting for life in the wild.

That's right. We're a dirty little experiment happening at the bottom of the garden --not even Canonical's garden-- trying to justify our own existence. We might gain critical mass to attract people on our own but as it is, I think we're on running on the fumes of the current members' enthusiasm. 20 questions a day is probably a hundredth of what we need as a base level. But how do people get here short of reading about it on the planet or Google?

We need official direction and people with problems coming from official sources.

I know several users here are proper Ubuntu Members, some commanding a decent level of influence in Canonical and the Ubuntu community. As it is, I am not one of these people. Would it be possible for one/many of you to start having discussions with the "Powers That Be". Ask them what they think of the infrastructure, how we could fit into an official support process.

A link from the community support pages would be a great start to get a few extra people trickling through.

If the "Powers That Be" don't want us as an official part of Ubuntu, should we exist at all? At what point are we wasting our time? At what point do we just distract and fragment the support landscape? At what point should we consider merging with the more generic unix.se?

Of course none of this is just up to us, the Community Council or Canonical. Jeff Atwood (et al) need to enable us and set terms for any arrangement.

  • 1
    Did you ever consider something like Hollywood or the sort? – arsaKasra Jan 23 '14 at 8:30
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Thanks for bringing this up. I too am frustrated that we've only got ~1700 users. I can tell you what I've been doing to get this off the ground. (I am a Canonical employee but doing this because I think it's a great idea, it's not assigned to me or anything like that).

  • Blogged on planet ubuntu. Tweeted a ton of times.
  • Mailed the reddit/r/ubuntu guys to add a link (they have like 8000 people over there!) (Done)
  • Asked teams within Canonical and Ubuntu to use and support the site.
  • Asked Jono to post a link in the Ubuntu Facebook group, which he did twice.
  • Asked it to be put in the /topic of #ubuntu to make that channel actually useful. (Got declined on this one.)
  • Asked for it to be included in Ubuntu Weekly News. (Done)
    • Asked for the top 5 hot questions and top 5 contributors of the week to be included in each issues. (Done)
  • Sent in a voicemail announcement to the Ubuntu UK podcast. (Done)
  • Asked 2 LinuxJournal authors to tweet it. (One of them did)
  • Started a conversation with the Launchpad developers about the future of Launchpad answers.
  • Talked to the Canonical design team on help with the design and logos. (Done)
  • Community call for help to support the exchange in Gwibber.
    • Bug report with linked first implementation. (Needs help finishing it off!)

Unfortunately we still have a chicken and egg problem.

  • Many people still "don't get" the SE experience, so we need help trying to explain it. For example see morberley's answer to this question, we're going to need this exact kind of help to make it work.
  • Many people want to support whatever the "official" thing is. We can't become "official" until people use it and there's quality content out there.

I am open to any ideas, but please hang in there!

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    Good work, Jorge. I'll be here as long as there are questions to answer. It sounds like we're on the same page as far as the future goes and it's immensely reassuring to know you're being so active in promoting it to both the community and Canonical. – Oli Aug 25 '10 at 9:29
  • Good job... the more we promote this - the better chance we have of succeeding. I've been using StackOverflow for almost a year now, so I'm quite familiar with the site... maybe we should make a guide for the new users? – Nathan Osman Aug 27 '10 at 15:42
  • Maybe we should have a page on wiki.ubuntu.com explaining the use and direction of this site – txwikinger Sep 1 '10 at 15:50
  • Someone just sstart it and we'll get to work on it! – Jorge Castro Sep 2 '10 at 23:30
  • Going "Official" and getting recognition from Canonical and Ubuntu is going to be vital for this communities success. – Marco Ceppi Sep 4 '10 at 3:21
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    Well, seems like an update would be appropriate here. askubuntu now has 9.5k users, 6.9k questions, and 15k answers. Some of the answers are even good! There's still no wiki.ubuntu.com page or community support mention that I can find, though. – belacqua Jan 27 '11 at 6:32

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