As the title indicates, we're looking to move LinuxExchange.org off the current StackExchange platform and have narrowed our choices down to Shapado or OSQA. Any real word feedback, comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

asked 24 Jan '11, 20:25

jeremy's gravatar image

jeremy ♦♦
accept rate: 37%

Please accept an answer so the question/answer can be finished. Or provide more details so we can help.

(20 Apr '11, 14:19) rfelsburg ♦

Well, what are the advantages/disadvantages of each system?

Would I lose my rankings/etc or will those migrate as well?

Would I need to setup an account again?

Also, regardless of what system you use, the key is to generate more traffic to the site (regardless of what it runs on), and to get people to participate on it.

I personally vote for leaving it the way it is now and get more people here. If I have any influence at all, I hope it is because of my participation here, my ranking of stats (if that means anything here), etc, as I'm right under you, Jeremy. I'm probably the heaviest, regular user of this site as such, I really have to say we don't need more software...we need more users.

Look at the main page.. 3 days between posts.

Addendum on 01/25/2011 - Jeremy, look at this own post of yours, it's basically jazz and I agreeing and commenting back and forth. 2 users out of how many that are on this site? It's your site, do as you will, but I think this stands to only serve to further prove my point. Your post has been up 24 hours thus far, with very little action from the site-at-large really.

Moving this site over to a shiny new platform is akin to Microsoft or Apple saying that "the next version of XYZ is going to be soooo cool".


answered 24 Jan '11, 23:25

Ron's gravatar image

Ron ♦
accept rate: 13%

edited 25 Jan '11, 23:18

First, let me say thanks for the feedback. The reason we are moving is because we have to. SE 1 is being EOL'ed and we need to move to a new platform by April. Either solution should carry over all reputations, ranks, etc. I agree that the site needs more traffic and more members and I am certainly open to feedback on how this can be accomplished.


(26 Jan '11, 19:58) jeremy ♦♦

DOH!! E-O-L makes a difference.... ok. Then move we must. I think shapado has a better look and feel to it than OSQA does. That's my vote.

(26 Jan '11, 22:52) Ron ♦

Thanks again for the feedback. We plan to make a final decision in early February and get things moved over in March.


(27 Jan '11, 22:27) jeremy ♦♦

As another long time user, I perceived two main usability problems:

  • There are tons of zombie questions floating around, for which none of us has the rank to vote to close them.
  • If new questions are answered, they often don't get accepted or rated, even if the creator of the question is happy with the given answer.

If a transition to another service solves those problems, I would welcome it. Although manually giving trusted users the right to close-vote and adding the accept-rate-functionality from other stackoverflow-sites present two simple solutions.

As Ron already mentioned, the main problem is the low activity on the site, though. There are hardly any new and interesting questions which would motivate people to participate in this project more often.

Edit: To round some comments up:

  • A transition to another service is a good idea, if it makes managing and cleaning of the site easier.
  • The main problem is low site activity, and thus independent of the service used. A discussion on how to create more activity, or even why activity has faded, could be useful.

answered 25 Jan '11, 00:55

Jazz's gravatar image

Jazz ♦
accept rate: 33%

edited 26 Jan '11, 00:36


Thanks jazz....also, god idea on closing out some of those stale questions. Good call. Also, like me, you seem to have racked up some points, which tells me you've been active on the site. (I've found a list of many users with lower stats, which tells me many users here aren't active.)

I've also noticed that some people ask a question, someone resonds, and then that's it. The original poster never responds back. I can think of a few posts where I asked for more info, only to get nothing instead. I can't help those who won't let me help them, or help me to help them, ya know?

(25 Jan '11, 14:42) Ron ♦

I think what you are experiencing is a mixture of various problems. Anyone can post a question, as far as I know, even without registering. That in itself is great, but leads to people asking questions and never returning to read our answers. The proper way to handle such a case would be to upvote good answers (and the question itself if it is good) and close the question. By doing so, you're motivating people to provide good answers, which could be helpful for people stumbling over it in the future, and still have a neat and orderly site. (1/2)

(25 Jan '11, 17:20) Jazz ♦

I'd love to upvote everyones contributions, but I don't want to waste my time searching for them through all that chaos. (2/2)

(25 Jan '11, 17:20) Jazz ♦

jazz, agreed. Again, I don't think we need new software so much as we need better management of the existing system, postings, and to promote this site to not only get users here, but to keep them actively and productively engaged. To give an analogy...first the people need to know your business exists, secondly, you need to get them in the door, thrirdly, get them to buy things, and lastly, get them to return to your store and do more purchases. It's the same with this (or any) website, but instead of purchases here, it's good, valid posts that are beyond what a simple web search will find.

(25 Jan '11, 23:10) Ron ♦

After a move to the new system I'd certainly be willing to address some of these technical and non-technical points. We'll certainly have more control over what the platform does, which will be nice.

(26 Jan '11, 20:00) jeremy ♦♦


(26 Jan '11, 22:53) Ron ♦
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

Hi There --

I am pleased to be one of the more senior users of this site and am happy to weigh in.

I don't think it matters what platform you build on. I think the site suffers from confusion about its identity and competition. LinuxQuestions was and is great. It is hard to see how this site differs (except for having very little traffic). When I was first enticed here by Jeremy's LQ post, I interpreted the function of the site to be minitutorials. LQ is more about (sometimes) fairly specialized questions getting a lot of traffic with specialized answers.

Still, this site competes with LQ. For the NOOB's, the site also competes with Ubuntu forums. Ubuntu forums seem to work really well even if they have a high percentage of somewhat clueless posts. The beginners all help eachother and eventually get the job done. And for so many of those users, I do not think they think to look beyond Ubuntu. Ubuntu IS Linux for them.

Of course, for long tutorials, there is TLDP. So -- given TLDP, LQ and Ubuntu forums, how does this site contribute?

One thing marketeers always worry about it what their product is called. In these Google-y days, a routine name does not pop up well in search results, but unusual names (e.g. Dale Chihuly) are easy to find. LinuxExchange tends to bring up a lot of results about Microsoft Exchange (ugh). Linux Collective is better, but not great. I can't claim I have a really good name, but maybe you can do better than LinuxExchange. Ideally it ought to capture what is special about the site. LinuxQuestions was self explanatory. How is LinuxExchange different? Maybe you want to create a discussion about the name/function of this site?

I've been using this site to ask and answer my own questions as I run into problems and solve them on my own. I could just put them on my own blog, but I am not committed enough to that to get much traffic. I assume that by putting them here they do more good. I always feel a little weird answering my own questions... maybe you should make that more natural -- Perhaps let people say in advance that they have an answer they'd like to share.

I have also found that there are not nearly enough useful TAGS. You ought to drop your threshold to create to say 100 posts ... or even 50. You may have seen you frustrated some NOOBs on this site who wanted their own tag and weren't allowed to post without one.

Taking the "TAGS" idea and running with it a bit further -- Some questions are generic (about IDEs, or tools, or terminals) while others seem to be distro-specific. I know lots of folks (again, Ubuntuans) who don't even look at an answer that is not about their distro. Firstly, you ought to have Tags for all the major distro families ... and/or you ought to have a required field when you generate the post that specifies whether this is a distro specific question or a generic question.

To sum up:

  1. Permalink on LQ directing people here and explaining why it's a useful site.
  2. Change the name to get away from Microsoft Exchange (or add a new name).
  3. Permalink here explaining the same.
  4. Better "branding".
  5. Making it more "wiki-like" in addition to Q/A.
  6. Give existing users more power to improve site (TAGS, cleaning up old posts, etc, as suggested by others as well.
  7. Make the distros that a Q/A combo applies to explicit (e.g. All Linux, All open source, Mandriva only, Debian derivatives ... etc.)
  8. ... And more trivially ... let us upload our own avatars. I don't want to register for yet some other service to have an avatar show up here.

answered 29 Jan '11, 04:02

pcardout's gravatar image

accept rate: 46%

edited 29 Jan '11, 05:30

I really like the idea of posting good questions and answering them yourself. Everyone of us runs into problems on a daily basis. If we would post our competent solutions, this would not only help a lot of users, but also generate lots of activity (discussions, new users, better solutions,...).

(29 Jan '11, 19:01) Jazz ♦

Thanks Jazz. Glad to hear you like the idea of making this a repository of found solutions.

(30 Jan '11, 00:52) pcardout

EXCELLENT!! This site could turn into a nice knowledgebase.

(31 Jan '11, 18:52) Ron ♦

Thanks for the feedback. After updating the site we'll definitely look to tweak some of the current minimum requirements for actions such as creating tags. I also think it makes sense for a few of the most active community members to have additional elevated privileges.

(01 Feb '11, 22:12) jeremy ♦♦

Additionally, asking and answering your own questions is definitely encouraged. If that isn't clear we need to fix that.


(01 Feb '11, 22:13) jeremy ♦♦

cool deal on more privledges, Jeremy. Any idea which system we'll be migrating to? Also, yeah it's not very clear about answering your own questions, so that too does need to be corrected.

From what i've seen in some questions, what's being asked can be answered with a simple search on the web; yet many fail to do that. Ubuntuforums is a great knowledgebase; for all levels of Q&A, I'd like to see us have the more intermediate/advanced level stuff vs. "how do I connect my printer in Ubuntu."

(03 Feb '11, 18:33) Ron ♦

I'd also push this more in the direction of providing solutions for more advanced problems, as Ron suggested. A simple entry in the FAQ could encourage this. With good solutions as new use-cases in addition to our current goal of answering question, this site would not be as redundant as it currently is.

(04 Feb '11, 14:23) Jazz ♦
showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments


Any update on the migration as to which format we'll be moving to and when?


answered 24 Feb '11, 18:11

Ron's gravatar image

Ron ♦
accept rate: 13%

Ron, we still haven't had a chance to fully evaluate each system. I'd like to do so and make a tentative decision by the end of next week. Any additional feedback is welcome.

(24 Feb '11, 19:22) jeremy ♦♦

An update: we've almost made a final decision and should be making an announcement soon, along with outlining a migration plan. Thanks again for the feedback. Once we make the move I'm interested in 1) promoting the site heavily and 2) finding a few members who are interested in taking on increased roles. If anyone has feedback or is interested in helping with either, let me know.


(16 Mar '11, 17:44) jeremy ♦♦

Sign me up :) What duties can I do?

(17 Mar '11, 14:48) Ron ♦

We've decided on OSQA and I've made a beta site and done an initial import. Please let me know if you see any bugs. Keep in mind that I am still adjusting some of the configuration options (feedback on those is welcome).

Once we're on the new platform, we'll be picking some active members to help set the direction of the site and take on increased roles (Thanks for the offer Ron, consider is accepted). Thanks again.


(28 Mar '11, 00:43) jeremy ♦♦

Jeremy, it looks good. really good, also very similar to what we have now, so I'm not sure where the real differences come into play. Honestly, I probably won't be able to offer a ton of feedback until it's in production and has replaced this site. I see my name and reputation # is over there, so I assume accounts will migrate etc with reps. and passwords, histores, etc, all of which are very very good.

(28 Mar '11, 17:15) Ron ♦

Thanks for the feedback, Ron. Based on this we plan to make the cut-over ASAP.


(30 Mar '11, 15:45) jeremy ♦♦
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Asked: 24 Jan '11, 20:25

Seen: 54,828 times

Last updated: 20 Apr '11, 14:19

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