After about two years with our current setup, we are taking stock of the current situation here and considering making some changes to http://forum.jquery.com. We have received a lot of mixed feedback about the forum over the years with respect to both usability and volume, while we've seen the community at StackOverflow continue to flourish in the interim. Thus, we are considering two possible courses of action, in order of likelihood:
1. Move Q&A/Support from here at forum.jquery.com to StackOverflow
We would close posting on the Using jQuery, Using jQuery UI, Using jQuery Plugins, and jQuery Mobile forums, instructing users to instead post support queries to StackOverflow, where quality questions are more likely to receive a rapid resonse, and lower quality questions will be filtered out. Discussion will continue as usual in all of the development forums, which can provide a useful venue for developers to propose new ideas and ask questions that pertain to the development of the jQuery family of libraries.
2. Sunset the forum entirely
We'll close posting on all the forums but maintain the existing content so that is still accessible from search engines, etc. Q&A and support will move to StackOverflow, and discussion will move to another, as-yet-undecided venue. This involves considerably more overhead, but we are willing to consider it if we find that there are a large number of users who are avoiding getting involved in any sort of discussion entirely because of the platform itself.
3. Leave well enough alone
Don't tilt the apple cart! Everything's great! Work on incremental changes to improve the forum experience, but leave all support and discussion here for the foreseeable future.
The forum as is contains a lot of historical information and discussion from thousands of developers, and your feedback on how to proceed here is crucial to making the right decision. We are curious to get your general sentiment about the forum and your impressions from using it - or not using it! (If you'd prefer to provide your feedback *not* via this forum thread, feel free to get in touch via another mechanism... e-mail, Twitter, IRC). If you prefer #2 and have suggestions about *where* that discussion belongs, please provide that as well.
or people looking for a particular plugin, those threads get quickly removed from SO.
I would prefer that the forum stays but improves such as getting a better editor like the one SO uses, one that complements a programming forum, and handling new users being moderated better, easier access to changing account information, etc. There's plenty of areas that i feel these forums need improvement. It also seems to run extremely slow which becomes very annoying.
We have given high priority to address the slowness of the forum. I will keep you posted the status. Once updated, you could feel the difference. Please bear with us till then. Thank you for your feedback and keep them coming.
Unfortunately, many of the features/flaws you've outlined above Kevin are inherent in the Zoho platform, instead than being features/fixes we'd have the ability to add ourselves. As good as those ideas are, we have limited agency to implementing or even facilitating the implementation of those features. It's because we know a lot of the things you've pointed out are pain points that we wanted to open up this discussion to begin with :)
I'm afraid the right solution is to go back to where we were before: a mailing list for "developping jQuery". Let Stack Overflow be used to handle the "using jQuery" kind of questions. I personally answer as much deferred related questions as I can (or rather catch) there already but most are already answered correctly.
I'd be happier with an instance of the stack overflow software specific to jQuery since I feel like the best answers are not always the most voted and/or chosen but if the experience we had with these very forums is any hint, we're better off not trying to out-do Stack Overflow.
I am kinda' with Kevin on this one. SO is a good place for getting questions answered when they are tech in nature but when it comes to discussion the forum is a somewhat better place.
Because of the issues with the forum we have a hard time attracting more folks that can help with questions. They tend to float over to SO. I see several folks on both outlets trying to help when they can. But there is a distinct set of people only on SO. Same with IRC.
It's kind of a mixed bag. If the forum truly rocked I'd say keep it.
I just randomly typed stuff, hopefully it makes sense.
My thinking is inline with Kevin's. I also liked reading the idea about going back to mailing list.
I miss the old Google group list. Search capability was far better than what ZOHO offers, which compared to most other forum platforms, is pretty bad. Tracking emails and responding was a lot faster and simpler too. Considering what ZOHO does with there other tools, I've always been amazed at the poor quality of this platform.
A lot of the traffic through this forum would likely get quickly closed on SO. There's a lot more patience here with entry level issues and it serves a slightly different need than SO. A lot of threads here get started by people who aren't even sure what to ask, yet end up with positive results eventually. A thread that starts out with "how do I do this..." or "can this be done" could get shut off in less than 15 minutes on SO.
Another big difference ... here a link to a page is welcomed and encouraged, not so in SO. A lot of issues get resolved here only because of being able to access a live page.
My first choice would be a standalone environment , but one with more user friendliness than this one. Next choice if another platform is out of the question would be to keep this forum.
I'm not sure if you're interested in the opinion of an entry level user, but here is my two cents worth. Many of us have expertice in other areas and are trying to learn jQuery to improve our programming.
Charlietfl touched on the point that there is a lot more patience here for entry level issues then at SO. That couldn't be more true. I do use both forums to research questions and try to learn, but posting on SO can be an unpleasent experience for people like me. There seem to be a lot of members over at SO that can't tolerate beginners and don't want to be bothered by our questions. I've seen insults fly and the negative points system only degrades and discourages new or inexperienced programers. I'm not saying that there aren't helpful users at SO, but they are often drown out by those who only wish to cut down others.
The forum here has a much different feel. This seems more like a community of programers who are happy to help beginners learn the craft. Experts like charlietlf, jake cigar, kevin and jayblanc often respond to simple issues with answers and/or links to the proper API materials.
I don't know if this type of support is one of your forum objectives, but it is valuable to new users like me and will be sadly missed if turned over to SO.
SO is a great resource, I use it all the time myself, with that being said I like the idea of keeping the forums here as well but improving them. Both in speed and usability. I certainly agree with what Charlie said about threads getting good, positive, helpful answers here that would get shut down or drowned out in ridicule elsewhere. I think just having a forum titled "Getting Started" says it all.
Even without the the SO volume, I'm not sure that that is a bad thing. It might even be a good thing, the community here seems much more friendly and that may be a function of its smaller size. People here regularly stay with a posters thread and answer progressive questions over several days.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these forums are on the JQuery site, there a a lot of people out there will trust them more simply because they are on the JQuery site, giving them the "official" stamp. If the forums were faster, more easily searchable, and had an improved interface I think there would be pick up in usage.
Another thing I thought of while posting an answer a minute ago is that another benefit of the difference in styles between here and SO is that I see a lot more people take time to explain why they are telling someone to do something a certain way, instead of simply posting a few lines of code and a couple of sentences.
If you do keep everything here (and even if you just keep development discussion here), can something be done to make it more clear that the development forums are for discussing development of the product itself?
People just don't seem to get it. I think a lot of that might be language issues - it is an international community, and I think a lot of people just don't get the nuance between "using" and "developing".
I find myself alternating between letting people know they're posting in the wrong forum, just answering the question, and answering the question and letting them know it's in the wrong forum.
If ZoHo has stickies, perhaps a sticky on each of the development forums would help.
Can admins move posts? If so, it doesn't appear that anybody is actively doing this. On other forums that I participate in, it's common for admins to move posts to the appropriate forum.
I tend to agree with others that even if solutions belong on SO, there is still a place for more general discussion between users, and SO isn't the place for that.
One feature (if everything stays here or on some forum software) I have seen used very effectively elsewhere is one where the forum software suggests already-existing posts that might answer the question. Essentially, it does a search as you type the heading.
(Edit: I see the forum software here DOES support suggestions. But perhaps it is only when you select "report a problem"? I don't routinely see this come up. Maybe it's only enabled in certain forums?)
I'm new to this forum but not noticing a painful speed issue as far as UX. Stack is actively hostile towards discussion of a subjective nature so matters of library/framework/pattern philosophy, etc... would likely get shot down regularly unless what you're proposing is an actual JQ section on the stack exchange with its own rules. I'd be surprised if they were open to fracturing their dev-oriented stuff further than they already have, however.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'd prefer a forum experience to stack for the deeper stuff that involves informed opinions more than technical how-to stuff.
I like the idea of having a jquery forum that lives on jquery.com and is managed entirely by jquery, which can avoid the problem of SO being difficult with certain types of questions. If this forum is more friendly to beginner questions then that is a big plus and shouldn't be overlooked.
That being said I frequently end up on SO for one reason only - when I have a jquery question I start with google, and google almost always brings up a handful of extremely relevant SO threads. Is it because those threads only exist on SO, and similar questions haven't been asked here? Or is it because the jquery forum isn't as well ranked on google? I don't know, all I know is the result - I end up at SO and usually get an answer there from a question someone else has already asked.
I'm not a fan of the mailing list idea, I feel like that's a step backward.
Splitting the forum (idea #1) could get confusing. Will we all need two accounts? Will new users register here, discover that they can't post their question here, and then have to register another account at SO? What if someone on SO wants a discussion question, will SO direct them here for that and ask them to create a separate account?
Definitely not a mailing list - as has been said not very searchable and a real pain to use.
Of all the comments I've read so far, I am the newest beginner of al beginners, not in programming but in the use of JQuery.
What I see some users comment on is precisely the emotion I would like to emphisis.
The JQuery forum is friendly for guys like me, maybe annoying to the advanced users, but if you want to help people which I do believe is the objective of this forum, then make the life of the person asking the question as simple and as pleasant as possible and easily accessible.
In that way they'll (we'll) be back and will be able to start helping others in the future.
Make there (our) life hell and difficult and you might as well have a forum somewhere on mount Olympus, and meet with the other Gods as we 'The beginners' will never feel part of your community ever!
Keep what you have, it helps guys like me and will help a lot of us in the future!
I had a few problems just trying to create an account to use the forum.
I tried to log into the forum and i knew i had an account as i submitted a bug a while ago but it refused to sign me in. I then clicked the "forgotten password" link and entered my email address when it said it didn't exist so i assume it uses different systems and proceeded to create another account but it was quite confusing. Could there be a way to link them or notify members who do have an account on one or the other.
Clicking the reply button at the bottom of a topic when not logged in brings up a lightbox, at the bottom of which is a button that has something like "Create an account", which i clicked several times but it didn't work in Opera 12. Fortunately the link in the menu does.
Upon creating an account by following the link in a confirmatino email i was directed to the https://forum.jquery.com/jquery URL which doesn't exist and so a 404 error kept popping up.
Hi. Thanks for providing this thread. I hope it is still active. I've raised the following issue several times and also raised it in Zoho's forum too, but as yet I have received no official response from either. Simply; it is not practical to write a post using an Android mobile device (my device uses Android Gingerbread) because most of the form buttons do not work, and it is not possible to enter text into the wysiwyg editor window. Whilst it is possible to use html edit mode, or to submit posts by email, the formatting is terrible and not conducive to providing comprehensive posts. I provide a large amount of support to jQuery developers, for free, but I cannot continue to do so unless the forum is corrected so it will operate properly on Android mobile devices. It is a TERRIBLE experience for users who need to be reassured that jQuery works on mobile devices! I know the forum is hosted by Zoho and it surely provides an awful user experience for their clients too. Increasingly, the platform of choice is moving towards Android. For goodness sake... surely the jQuery Mobile forum should work properly on mobile devices... shouldn't it. Zoho needs to do something about it and very quickly. Best wishes, Alan.
(written using the html edit window, via my Android device)
AFAIK, the part of this editor that doesn't work on mobile devices is the fact that the contentEditable element is within an iframe. If it were pulled out of the iframe, it would work on mobile devices. I personally would rather a markdown editor.
How about adding a "meta.jquery.com" based on the StackExchange platform for discussions about jQuery? Someone could make a proposal for it Area51, and all of us vote for it ;). I say this because meta.stackoverflow.com is specifically meant for discussion about stackoverflow and if the users here migrated to it, it would have a much more relaxed and friendly atmosphere. I don't see this as trying to "outdo" StackOverflow, but instead supplementing it. Also, since the site is registered with the StackExchange network, you could still get notifications from StackOverflow and easily migrate questions/answers back and forth.