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Re: Slightly OT: Comments, ideas, or suggestions for improving websites

> I wonder if you or colleagues have taken a good look at what other
> distros and their users are doing with regard to websites. Perhaps some
> ideas may come of it? The only other ones I know well are SuSE and
> Ubuntu. SuSE's online presence is also a little bitty and spread around,
> largely because of the way the distro evolved before Novell took it over.

I have looked at them a bit, but I'm really hoping to get a sense of what
the Debian community would prefer also. I think Ubuntu's sites, both
official and third party sites, such as ours, are done very well. I know
also that the "tone" of those sites seems to be very welcoming and
inclusive. From inputs I have gathered this far, I would say that that
tone is one of the real strengths of such sites.
> My ideal website would be one that combined the material in the really
> useful http://www.debian-administration.org/
> with simpler guides for less experienced users (such as, the basics of
> aptitude, how to install Nvidia/ATI 3d drivers, or the basics of
> Debian-specific commands like dpkg-reconfigure or invoke-rc.d) and
> forums where folks could discuss things, ask questions and point out
> helpful tips like where good apt sources are. There might also be a news
> section where Debian-specific items were announced or interviews run
> (there is no shortage of Debian developers to interview or ask for
> pieces from).

Excellent suggestion. In fact, Steve emailed myself and my colleague from
Debian-News to get the scoop on what we're trying to accomplish. I agree
that the documentation for new users would probably be a very useful
asset; I think someplace welcoming to new users would be a great idea.
> However, in my experience running a website is a great deal of hard work
> and many people start to flag after three months or so. Many other
> people enjoy running their own show and wouldn't want to combine into a
> bigger one, other than as, perhaps, an item in a web ring.

Agreed. I have worked on several projects where this exact thing happened.
In fact, some of my original volunteers have begun to peter out a bit
already. The web-ring idea has been suggested to me by several people.
While I agree with the sentiment, I really hate web-rings. Perhaps some
kind of gateway site would work? Take something like
http://linuxhomepage.com as a base model with the RSS feeds, possibly some
way for visitors to review/comment on the sites?

> I guess your questions are pertinent and quite hard to answer, because
> there is already quite a lot of information out there even if it can be
> hard to find and is divided between various sites. Good luck, anyway!
> Many folks talk about doing this but few get off their backsides and
> make the effort.

I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. I'm hoping that with a
sufficiently motived group, we can get things moving and sustained. That
is one problem I have seen with some of the more established sites; they
seem to have slowed to a crawl in some cases. Many people have commented
to me that they had tried to contact those existing sites to volunteer to
help out but either didn't receive a response or other such problems.
Hopefully we can get them involved in some way as well. Please keep the
ideas and comments coming; the more inputs the better.


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