Using WIKI for Help


  • conexware

    Hi everyone,

    what do you guys think about using Wiki for help?
    Instead of current html help system, we would use online wiki.

    Advantages are:

    • 10-15 MB smaller installer for International versions
    • Easier updating by community and us
    • Easier translations enabling crowdsourcing (many people working on same system)
    • Media embedding - youtube tutorials, etc.

    Many have complained about help in the past and about sentence here or there. I personally hate how we cant embed youtube tutorials, as well as added extra size to the installer, which will only become bigger with various new translations coming.

    Truth is that chm help system is major pain to update for multiple people at the same time, and that it is biggest detractor for new translations, as we have 86 pages currently, probably with more than 100 pages worth of text… It is just too big.

    And then we end up not updating or adding to it significantly simply because it becomes even bigger pain in the **** to maintain for 20 translators.

    What do you think? Help for 22nd century? 😛


  • Banned

    It is true that the current system is out of date.
    I am sure that maintaining translations of said system as so daunting that you may well be disinclined to do what you can (Sisyphus’s rock).

    So if a wiki would do the trick, that is fine.

    The advantage of having a wiki, I thought (perhaps wrongly) was that multiple people (perhaps anyone) can change it.

    In this case that advantage could easily become a devastating disadvantage. If some well-being person (setting aside the possibility of someone’s doing this intentionally) gives horrible advice which, when followed, messes up people’s system’s, PA will see a level of anger far exceeding they might receive for having an outdated help file. [An old friend of mine had horrible lies posted about him on Wikipedia (e.g., that he was involved in the assassination of John Kennedy) – that took weeks to remove.]

    This probably is not a reason not to do it. It is a reason to have an elaborate system to diminish the chance that it happens. E.g., nothing actually gets posted without first being vetted by someone in your office.


  • conexware

    @Socrates:

    It is true that the current system is out of date.
    I am sure that maintaining translations of said system as so daunting that you may well be disinclined to do what you can (Sisyphus’s rock).

    So if a wiki would do the trick, that is fine.

    The advantage of having a wiki, I thought was that multiple people (perhaps anyone) can change it.

    In this case that advantage could easily become a devastating disadvantage. If some well-being person (setting aside the possibility of someone’s doing this intentionally) gives horrible advice which, when followed, messes up people’s system’s, PA will see a level of anger far exceeding they might receive for having an outdated help file.

    This probably is not a reason not to do it. It is a reason to have an elaborate system to diminish the chance that it happens. E.g., nothing actually gets posted without first being vetted by someone in your office.

    there would be moderation for sure.


  • Banned

    If moderation simply means somebody watching to make sure no bad advice is posted, I don’t think that is enough. A post that is up for even 6 hours before it is caught could do serious damage.

    If a wiki can require vetting before posting, that would be better.

    Either way, this will be time consuming. A different kind of time consuming than with updating help files, but very time consuming nonetheless.

    It seems clear that you all are going to do this. That may well be your best option.

    But I would appreciate it if you explain precisely how the system works before putting it online so users will be forewarned that the advice they find may not be authoritative.


  • conexware

    @Socrates:

    If moderation simply means somebody watching to make sure no bad advice is posted, I don’t think that is enough. A post that is up for even 6 hours before it is caught could do serious damage.

    If a wiki can require vetting before posting, that would be better.

    Either way, this will be time consuming. A different kind of time consuming than with updating help files, but very time consuming nonetheless.

    It seems clear that you all are going to do this. That may well be your best option.

    But I would appreciate it if you explain precisely how the system works before putting it online so users will be forewarned that the advice they find may not be authoritative.

    i dont think we would allow unknown users to do anything, at least at start.

    ie this would not be like any other wiki where anyone would be able to do whatever they want.

    it would be purpose built for maintaining help system and translating it, with access given to specific people and anything posted being moderated.



  • online help is rubbish as if the site is down then where do you get help


  • conexware

    @davidsplash:

    online help is rubbish as if the site is down then where do you get help

    PowerArchiver’s website never went down in 10 year history, and I dont see that changing.


  • Banned

    Here’s AN option. Create a help file that is (optionally) installed on the local computer. It would be in the most used language.

    I prefer local help files since the internet occasionally does go down, even if conexware’s help server never did.

    This could be updated every couple of months via patchbeam.

    Then have a wiki to handle translations and more recent developments and discussions.

    It seems you will still need something like a single help file, and this approach might give users like davidsplash what they want.


  • Alpha Testers

    What’s a help file? Just joking :p

    Wiki can be good if it is done right.
    I’ve seen a couple that I’ve tried to view and given up because they were done so badly.

    My only worry is that I know there are folk who really dislike online help files. Don’t know why but they do.

    You could maybe make the online help like the one they use in Opera. Accessible by hitting the F1 key as normal but as it’s online it is easy for Opera to keep it up to date and media could be added simply if required.

    Just a thought and maybe better than a Wiki.


  • conexware

    Well it would be context sensitive help like before, just displayed in a form of wiki as thats people use these days.

    As to the both options - it would make it twice as hard to maintain, so thats not an option socrates.

    BUT we could make PDF manual available for download for instance.



  • Hi Guys, I approve of the Wiki help! By sure this is the best idea to reduce file size, ensure international translation and upload loads of Video tutorials!

    However, there must be some form of downloadable wiki via PDF for users offline, admin, for training etc etc.

    I am more than happy to help with Video’s, administrative amendments to help tutorials etc just ask 🙂

    Time’s are changing! the old days of manuals being on paper or as a chm file are soon going.



  • Generally, I prefer local help documents over being passed to a website, but I can deal with web-based help. Just make sure search works well (for some reason web-based search often nets too many useless results) and that the navigation isn’t poor like it is on very many websites - including MSDN (at least in Firefox, maybe it’s better in IE).

    I’d also be perfectly fine with the fundamental help file being local with pointers/links to online content for videos or a continuously updated wiki for more detailed or user-driven help content. Actually, this seems pretty ideal from my point of view as an end-user.

    However, one thing I’m curious about: how is having the Help documents be a web-based Wiki any particular benefit for translations? Doesn’t the same amount of material - maybe even more - still need to be translated?

    What am I missing?


  • conexware

    @mwb1100:

    Generally, I prefer local help documents over being passed to a website, but I can deal with web-based help. Just make sure search works well (for some reason web-based search often nets too many useless results) and that the navigation isn’t poor like it is on very many websites - including MSDN (at least in Firefox, maybe it’s better in IE).

    I’d also be perfectly fine with the fundamental help file being local with pointers/links to online content for videos or a continuously updated wiki for more detailed or user-driven help content. Actually, this seems pretty ideal from my point of view as an end-user.

    However, one thing I’m curious about: how is having the Help documents be a web-based Wiki any particular benefit for translations? Doesn’t the same amount of material - maybe even more - still need to be translated?

    What am I missing?

    difference is huge - with online help, you have collaboration platform, so you can have 2-3-4 people help with for instance Romanian translation.

    With chm, its a a html file you have to edit in some editor, then you have to edit index file and then build it. It is not only technically more complicated, it is also a lot harder to get several people to work on it at the same time.

    Main reason we dont have at least 10 extra translations is that translator gets 100 pages to translate and it is really an huge task.

    As to the navigation, it wouldnt change from current help - it would be context sensitive just like current one.

    Of course, we would be the ones writing English and German translations, so quality of Help would only improve (ie random people would not be writing help).


  • conexware

    also, if we had extra 10 translations, then international version would be 30 MB large… which makes little sense in 2011, where everyone is online… Plus we could build PDF help file, which is also printable for offline use.

    Dont take me wrong - making it a online help, is a huge task, and for me personally, it would be A LOT of work. A LOT.



  • @spwolf:

    Dont take me wrong - making it a online help, is a huge task, and for me personally, it would be A LOT of work. A LOT.

    Well if you have enough time for holidays then you arnt busy enough! 😉


  • conexware

    @Sir:

    Well if you have enough time for holidays then you arnt busy enough! 😉

    just pointing out that this is an harder road to take, but in few months, it would be rewarding…



  • well what happens if someones internet connection is down and they need help .

    What libre office does is to have an online and offline help but the offline help can be downloaded and installed separetely


  • conexware

    @davidsplash:

    well what happens if someones internet connection is down and they need help .

    What libre office does is to have an online and offline help but the offline help can be downloaded and installed separetely

    as mentioned above, they would have PDF help that would also be printable.


  • conexware

    here is (just) an example of help file for ZTE:
    http://wiki.attachmentcloud.com/zip_to_email

    keep in mind that this is an alpha version and that text is just copied over from PAOP, it is not actual ZTE help.

    but it shows how easy would be for someone to translate it…literally minutes. and it kind of looks cool too 🙂



  • @spwolf:

    here is (just) an example of help file for ZTE:
    http://wiki.attachmentcloud.com/zip_to_email

    keep in mind that this is an alpha version and that text is just copied over from PAOP, it is not actual ZTE help.

    but it shows how easy would be for someone to translate it…literally minutes. and it kind of looks cool too 🙂

    Had a look and im happy! it is clear, fast and exactly what i would expect.

    when can we have the application to download then? 😉


 

7
Online

9.8k
Users

6.0k
Topics

36.8k
Posts