Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

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Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby annadane » 2017-10-13 04:07

Hello Debian! Myself and another person are putting together - and need volunteers for - a project to attempt to unify support resources in Debian.The name of the project is Debian Integrated Support System (DISS). The aim of this is to reduce repetitive questions on IRC (and other places where questions get asked) and have resources to be able to answer them. An archive where common questions can go, and to have a kind of ReportBug interface with prompts to be able to guide users. We're interested in people skilled or interested in all kinds of areas (and very much need people with coding skill). The aim is to package it for Debian, so it will also be actively maintained once it's up and running. The project is still very much in the discussion phase as of right now. If this is something that sounds interesting, full details are on the github page at https://github.com/kathryntolsen/diss/ and you can apply or join the discussion on #diss in freenode. Thank you!
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby debiman » 2017-10-13 06:23

i think most large foss projects have a separate bug tracker, forum, irc channel and mailing list(s) (or are there more "scattered resources" you are refering to?).
how do these other projects deal with it?

the github project readme doesn't say much; the atempt is to create a passive browser for existing resources? sounds like a good (and not too difficult to implement) idea to me.
just remember to make a GUI version, otherwise the newbies will balk...
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby ktolsen » 2017-10-13 08:10

We literally just created this project a few hours ago, it's something I've been thinking of for years and just finally someone else took interest in. The idea is to create a more polished frontend similar to reportbug with ideally a core package and lots of different frontends like debconf has, and multiple backends to access this forum, the bts, mailing list, irc support, etc. It'd be a tiered support system that would attempt to solve the issue first, then check the bts, then go to irc, then if user isnt willing to sit there and get a solution it'd optionally forward the issue to mailing list or the issue tracker would allow responses to be logged into the issue and forwarded back to the user's supplied reply email or possibly viewed by a tracker id number. We'd want to use the existing systems in a synergistic fashion, rather than duplicate or consolidate them into a central database. The only idea for a central server component would be for metadata specific to the "ticket" that would point to any paste.debian.net logs, bugs filed, or other data on other services. I would like to see implementation of diagnostic trees that are well tested diagnostics, signed and trusted. An example I've been using is an issue I had recently where I had no sound in pianobar and mps-youtube but my sound worked anyhow. I'd fire up such a support client and select a program like pianobar, then enter in my issue "no sound" or such and it'd first do as reportbug does and gather info about pianobar, its dependancies, versions, etc, then it'd follow a diagnostic tree for "sound" issues, which would in such a case realize that pianobar depends on libao, so first it'd do a ALSA sound test, telling the user it's going to run "aplay test.wav" or such, then when they allow it to do so, it'll ask if they heard that. In this case I'd say yes, and it'd then run an libao sound test and ask if I hear it. .and I'd say no.. so now it knows that the problem is with libao.conf it'd check to see if libao.conf existed which in this case it didn't and then the obvious diagnostic tree would be since alsa works and libao doesnt, and there is no libao config, it needs to create a libao.conf that uses alsa as the default output. Problem solved. If it hadn't been solved, it would check the bts and show me bugs for pianobar, if I didn't see any relevant bugs it would connect to the IRC bot component and announce my issue to support channels and make the logs it compiled available to supporters and forward back to the client any responses to this issue. Ideally the bot will act as a proxy forwarding only stuff relevant to the issue at hand. "< dissbot> Issue #195724: no sound in pianobar" would appear in the channel and users could then using that id number to address this user.. now how that would work could be either through irc client scripts which help tab-complete that issue number so the bot knows that response belongs to that issue, or maybe you could /msg dissbot with a command telling it you're signing on to that issue so anything you say to dissbot is now going to that issue.. etc.. that makes it easier for the user because they dont see all the chatter only that relevant and it makes it easier to save the solutions onto the forums or forward it on to BTS or Mailing lists later if the issue isn't resolved in chat. It also would allow people not wanting to partake in this form of support to simply ignore the bot or anything being said to the bot which also can be done with scripts or built-in irc client features. People sitting around wanting to support an issue could also just ask the bot what open issues are available. These solutions would then be rated, like on most good open source forums, by the user which would add trust to the solutions and in the case of the diagnostic trees, it'd add a gpg signature to that tree increasing the trust of that diagnostic. The diagnostic trees are going to be the most complex part as they will require a high level of security and be used only for basic and well tested diagnostics to cut down on simple problems and to gather information to be used by other tiers of support. These will need to be updated and new ones created, and this will need to be done with special care and signed by multiple parties and still only allowed to do things by telling the user first what commands are running, showing them the output before its made available, and whenever possible locked down perhaps in schrooted environments or making use of kernel level security mechanisms to limit what can be done, and making backups of files modified and such. This will not allow running of arbitrary commands only highly trusted diagnostic trees selected for the issue by the user. So there will be essentially a client, server/tracker, bot, and possibly some irc client scripts for supporters who simply want to use their normal irc clients to interface with more ease. Its a very ambitious project unlike anything I've ever seen, that will have a lot of moving parts and require lots of help from people with experience in all areas of development from GUI programming, socket and network programming, trust based services, etc. This will also need to take special care to pay attention to the branch of the system, directing to appropriate channels, check for mixing and frakendebian situations, and so on.
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby pylkko » 2017-10-13 10:49

I'm going to go read a newspaper right now just to see some paragraphs.
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby Lysander » 2017-10-13 11:08

Congratulations on composing the hardest to decipher wall of text viewable in modern history since the discovery of the Rosetta Stone.
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-10-13 12:00

Did you really have to full quote it , to make a 2 line comment ?
Please learn to stop "full quoting."

========== edited=========
Thank you, who ever removed the unnecessary full quote.
Last edited by GarryRicketson on 2017-10-13 18:24, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby Lysander » 2017-10-13 12:39

GarryRicketson wrote:Did you really have to full quote it , to make a 2 line comment ?


Yes.

I did think about it. I thought, "shall I quote the whole text or just part of it?" Quel dilemme. I then decided - this was an act, not an omission to act - to quote the full text since this lent weight to my argument and reiterated the point that the post is weighty, unapproachable and, to an extent, unreadable.

PS: my comment, on my monitor at least, is only one line. I realise that this probably makes my post even more annoying, incidental and potentially trivial [not to mention arguably unnecessary]. Though it's good to know that the boards are being policed stringently.
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-10-13 12:48

Great, just what we need, more smart alecs,...
So you figure, 1 post with excessive text,(garbage) warrants doubling the
noise/garbage content, by full quoting it. The only purpose it serves is to increase the noise and garbage level.

No wonder this forum is getting trashier everyday.
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby Lysander » 2017-10-13 13:16

GarryRicketson wrote:No wonder this forum is getting trashier everyday.


This forum is not getting 'trashier' everyday because of posts such as mine per se, even though I'm glad it didn't go unnoticed; moreover this is due to the large amount of unnecessary topics posted by clueless Linux users, which are then responded to with similarly clueless answers. Additionally, these are people who are not told to RTFM but who are spoon-fed every last drop of drawn-out assistance when they could have sorted out their own problems by reading the Debian Wiki and learned more about troubleshooting the OS in the process.

Standards have declined but this is not the place or the topic, and I refuse to prolong this hijack.
Last edited by Lysander on 2017-10-13 13:33, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby golinux » 2017-10-13 13:20

"DISS"? LMAO!!
May the FORK be with you!
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-10-13 14:24

by Lysander » ---- snip---Additionally, these are people who are not told to RTFM --snip--

Pleas read the forum guide lines, :
Forum guidelines. Please read before first post!
5. Be polite. Remember that the skill level of the forum members ranges from the absolute beginner to the very seasoned Linux user and what might be obvious to you might be very hard to understand for others. It's OK to point someone to other resources or suggest means of learning but do so politely; 'RTFM' has no place on this board.


by Lysander »Standards have declined but this is not the place or the topic, and I refuse to prolong this hijack.

So why did you hijack the topic to start with ? You could have simply sent the
OP a PM , politely suggesting they edit the overly long and difficult to read text,
but no, you just had to add to it, and full quote the overly long text, which you admittedly did, for no other reason then to be annoying :
by Lysander »I realise that this probably makes my post even more annoying, incidental and potentially trivial [not to mention arguably unnecessary].

====================
Lysander » moreover this is due to the large amount of unnecessary topics posted by clueless Linux users,

Indeed, and I remember it was not all that long ago when you first came here
as a "clueless windows user", obviously you are still very clueless,...

Of course there is a solution , so I do not need to see the garbage you post :
Just Click YES
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby Lysander » 2017-10-13 14:47

In the interests of clarification and in the optimistic but potentially futile hope that another post may promote further understanding:

GarryRicketson wrote:"'RTFM' has no place on this board


There is a subtle but important distinction between telling a user to RTFM and telling a user to "RTFM". The former was what I was referring to.

GarryRicketson wrote:So why did you hijack the topic to start with ?


I purely pointed out to the the poster in question that his post was overly long and unreadable, which is on-topic. The hijack started when a reply was posted [by yourself] with regard to not quoting in full. This is a point that should have been PM'd to me in order to keep the thread on-topic.

GarryRicketson wrote:for no other reason then to be annoying


Not quite, this is the difference between prospective and retrospective. I realised that my post was potentially annoying retrospectively, not prospectively.

GarryRicketson wrote:Indeed, and I remember it was not all that long ago when you first came here
as a "clueless windows user"


I said "clueless Linux users", not "clueless Windows users". The latter are commonplace as newcomers on Linux forums, and indeed, I was one once. The former should not be commonplace on a Linux forum, and if they are, it says something about the effectiveness of the help. This was my point.

GarryRicketson wrote:Of course there is a solution , so I do not need to see the garbage you post :
Just Click YES


Which is a shame, since you would have missed the important clarification of my points in my retort, which I hope confirm my position.
Last edited by Lysander on 2017-10-13 19:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby debiman » 2017-10-13 18:32

@ktolsen & op:
i must admit that for me, too, it was impossible to read your post.
all the more annoying since the topic is easy access to information.
similarly the readme on github.
i think this should be the very first step of this new project: to structure text better.

@everyone_else:
you did indeed hijack the thread. fools. go put on the shame hat and stand in a corner.
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby pylkko » 2017-10-13 18:49

debiman wrote: go put on the shame hat and stand in a corner.

Actually, in English, I think it is called a "dunce cap". Ironically, named after Duns Scotus, a sort of genius in my opinion.
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Re: Call for volunteers for a new Debian support project

Postby ktolsen » 2017-10-14 09:12

Yes well while I can see and respect your point on the paragraphs this project is only a little over 24hrs old and I'm not a fan of forums and such I much prefer irc for collaboration. I have however updated the github and it has paragraphs and headings https://kathryntolsen.github.io/diss/ and I strongly encourage interested parties to make use of #diss on chat.freenode.net to help with the noodling this out.
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