[opensource] Mailing list vs contact form

Michael Yanovich yanovich.1 at osu.edu
Fri Mar 4 13:43:11 EST 2011


Hi Peter,

I think this is a great idea. We do almost always have someone active
during all parts of the day, including in the middle of the night.

Setting up an embedded web-client of freenode isn't very difficult:
http://yanovich.net/freenode.php It works pretty good with the overall
theme of my website.

However, to further address Brian's points. I think by default
information sent through the contact form should be posted to the
mailing list, and the user has to specifically select to opt-out. I
think explaining that would help alleviate the problem we have now.

Michael Yanovich

On 03/04/2011 01:21 PM, Dietz, Peter M. wrote:
>  Hi Brian,
> 
> You might want to look at embedding a web-irc client into your contact us page. The good news in your case is that you have an active IRC, with operators standing by almost all hours of the day.
> 
> The project that I work on has a web IRC and users randomly come in and ask questions.
> http://demo.dspace.org/#irc
> 
> 
> P.S. The modern web surfer is almost completely blind to a block of text with instructions.
> 
> --
> Peter Dietz
> Systems Developer/Engineer
> University Libraries
> ________________________________
> From: opensource-bounces at cse.ohio-state.edu [opensource-bounces at cse.ohio-state.edu] on behalf of Brian Swaney [swaneybr at opensource.osu.edu]
> Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 10:37 AM
> To: Open Source Club
> Subject: [opensource] Mailing list vs contact form
> 
> 
> Here is a problem I am kind of stuck on, and hoping somebody here can
> help out with it. There is an increasing trend of people asking their
> general questions using the contact form at
> https://opensource.cse.ohio-state.edu/contact . What usually happens
> is that someone somewhere asks a question somewhere else (e.g. 8-HELP)
> about open source software, and they get referred to our website.
> Admittedly, this is much better than the IT staff's past attitude
> about "unsupported software," but end-users seem to assume that the
> contact form is where they should submit their problem tickets. Our
> contact form is intended for something like if ACM-W wants to invite
> us to another quiz bowl, if Northrop Grumman wants to present before
> our meeting again, or for some other reason (e.g. website/registration
> problems) someone wants to privately contact a small subset of the
> current Open Source Club administration without speaking to the club
> as a whole.
> 
> While I don't have a problem personally answering people's questions,
> there are not a lot of people who get copied on things sent through
> our contact form, by design. It is not a support forum, and therefore
> what often happens is nobody included in the Open Source Club
> administration is able to answer the question, and at best the user
> gets a response that "we don't know, ask somewhere else (mailing
> list)" which they never do. Lately, the only things on the mailing
> list are meeting announcements for the Open Source Club and other
> people's tech events around Columbus, while the contact form seems to
> get all the people asking for support.
> 
> On the contact form, there are 4 options, and each of them is, I
> thought, spelled out pretty clearly. It also explicitly says if you
> are looking for support that you should use the mailing list. As an
> anti-spam measure, the mailing list requires registration, so I can't
> effectively link the contact form to it. As a compromise to this
> policy, anonymous messages can be sent by anonymously posting on our
> website, and they will be sent to a moderation queue. If we turned off
> the registration requirement, then everyone here will wind up with a
> LOT of spam. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is it possible the
> contact form is not worded clearly? Are people intimidated by using a
> public forum to ask questions about open source software? Am I just
> incoherently ranting about nonsense nobody else cares about?
> 
> 
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject:     Re: [General inquiries] Open Source Music
> Date:     Wed, 02 Mar 2011 19:02:50 -0500
> From:     Matt Meinwald <meinwald at opensource.osu.edu>
> To:     Brian Swaney <swaneybr at opensource.osu.edu>
> CC:     info at opensource.osu.edu
> 
> 
> 
> Brian,
> My suggestion would be to reply *and* forward the question to the
> mailing list,
> telling him you are doing so. Let me know if you'd like me to do this.
> 
> On 03/02/2011 05:20 PM, Brian Swaney wrote:
>> I would ordinarily suggest this user check the creative commons or
>> something, but this is really the kind of thing which should be
>> asked on the mailing list. I don't want to turn someone down, but
>> what seems to be happening is that every time someone gets
>> referred to us, and they find the contact form, they use that and
>> completely disregard everything about our mailing list. I don't
>> want to scorn these guests, or refuse help for failure to follow
>> instructions, but they're just looking for a quick answer to a
>> question. It just seems like the only thing the mailing list is
>> used for anymore is announcements for a bunch of other people's
>> meetings/events.
> 
>> To be clear, I am not in any way frustrated by getting questions
>> like this, but I'm frustrated in that I'm one of the only people
>> who actually GETS the opportunity to answer, and in many cases the
>> question is specific to something else I am not familiar with or I
>> just lack the expertise, and am unable to help (along with the
>> rest of our administration). I would really like if
>> questions/comments on our contact form were limited to things that
>> could only be addressed by the club administration, and for
>> anything other kind of issue the whole club gets a chance to
>> answer. On the contact form, I have clearly spelled out what each
>> option is for, and that anything not aimed at the leadership (e.g.
>> proposal for a presentation) should be sent to the mailing list,
>> but I've seen half a dozen of these and nothing close to them on
>> the list.
> 
>> Any suggestions? Should I ask THIS question in the mailing list? Is
>> this just my own personal opinion that nobody else is bothered by?
>> Did I word the description on the contact form badly?
> 
> 
>> On Wed, March 2, 2011 12:51 pm, <snip> wrote:
>>> <snip> sent a message using the contact form at
>>> https://opensource.cse.ohio-state.edu/contact.
>>>
>>> I'm looking for open source music. Sort of stock music which
>>> could be used in a student production as background music (no
>>> vocals). I talked with the digital union and they suggest I ask
>>> you.
>>>
>>> Thanks, <snip>
>>>
> 

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