Keeping the forum manageable

Lately, there has been much more traffic on the forum than until only a few weeks ago. This is, of course, a good thing, as it indicates that jME is growing ever more popular. However, the sheer amount of new postings on the forum can get intimidating after just one day, which sometimes makes questions slip by unanswered.

If the number of jME users continues to increase, there should be something done to keep the new posts at a manageable level.

So this thread is all about gathering ideas on how to achieve this.



Maybe a simpified "getting started" page is in order, very promimently linked from the jmonkeyengine.com start page, with links to the tutorials on the wiki, and a few guidelines for using the forum (search before asking, don't bump every two hours, use smileys to denote humor/sarcasm, use markup to keep long postings readable, stay polite).



The 4 most FAQ seem to be


  • "how do I import models",

  • "how do I deal with quaternion  rotations",

  • "how do I get a vector pointing to my model's orientation", and what nobody really seems to ask, but IMO ppl should ask themselves more often:

  • "I just need some basic character movement and collision detection, should I use a full physics simulation?".


There could be link lists for each, and maybe new/updated wiki pages, linked directly from the newbie page.

A lot of people seem to need to brush up their understanding of basic geometry in euclidean space, maybe there could be links to tutorials on the net, does anybody know a good source?

Maybe you also know good sources to read up on basic game development techniques, such as toolchain management, art/engine integration, etc.?

What do you think? Maybe a lot of this is already in place, and I just don't know, or maybe some or all of my ideas are just plain bs, and your's are way better, so why don't you post them ? :)

a good faq style page that answers the most commonly asked questions would be great, if we could manage to keep it up to date

Maybe we should start intimidating new users by making them watch the trunk monkey commercials and saying that similar things will happen to them if they post a question without first making sure it hasn't been asked before?  :stuck_out_tongue:

I'm not familiar with those commercials, but I am pretty sure that that won't help much, unless you make it mandatory for users to specify their address when they sign up :smiley:

Anyway, are you saying you don't like the idea of a forum policy/guidelines? I could imagine people might be intimidated if it isn't phrased very carefully…

Maybe it is possible to add a searchbox for the Wiki-Search below the Forum-Search?

In the Wiki are a lot of good artikels like quaternion or rotate which would cover quite a few basic questions i think.

Also, I have been many times in the position where I see a post that I would like to keep for future reference either because it has a solution to a common problem, or because it has a neat strategy or any other reason, but the only way to bookmark it is to add it to notifications (which is not very useful is the topic does not get new posts).



I suggest, if possible, a place to add post bookmarks (I know it can be done from the browser, but if you change computers, you are toasted!), and maybe a place (wiki, forum?) where we can accumulate very helpful topics (on a voting basis?).



Hope this is not just non-sense.  :wink:

Both good ideas, Core-Dump and duenez - yet I doubt we'll be able to extend the forum capabilities very easily.

But posts could be linked from wiki pages, and maybe it is possible to embed a forum search in a wiki page, that would be the other way around from what Core-Dump suggests.

Nice to see some feedback, go on and let the ideas come! :slight_smile:

duenez said:

I suggest, if possible, a place to add post bookmarks (I know it can be done from the browser, but if you change computers, you are toasted!), and maybe a place (wiki, forum?) where we can accumulate very helpful topics (on a voting basis?).

Use bookmarking sites for this, like bibsonomy.org, they provide icons for your browser to add links there.

Another possibility would be to merge both tools, i.e. add wiki features to SMF (there's a wiki theme available, works nicely) or add forum features to Dokuwiki (I'm currently using the monobook theme which mimics Mediawiki, most notably the 'discussion' feature, and I've dropped the forum for my project).



My point is, there's a lot of redundancy, which makes it harder to find the info. IF a merge is decided, it WILL mean some work at first but I think it's worth it. There's "just" some organization to do at first, then "only" migrate the data :wink:

Maybe it is a good idea to close threads with a link to the FAQ (after settings one up) when they ask the 23498753456 question about the import of 3DS models. Closing threads and moving them into an archive subforum after 2 months could clean the forum and channel the answers into the FAQ or maybe a specialized thread.



I think people are more comfortable yet with a forum, because they know the structure for a while. They could get confused when they have a wiki with all pages editable by registered users…  :expressionless:

desertrunner said:

Maybe it is a good idea to close threads with a link to the FAQ (after settings one up) when they ask the 23498753456 question about the import of 3DS models. Closing threads and moving them into an archive subforum after 2 months could clean the forum and channel the answers into the FAQ or maybe a specialized thread.


Good idea.

And i think it is *very importend* that the FAQ are kept up to date and always show best practise. Otherwise people will loose their trust in the FAQ and ask in the forum just to be shure that the FAQ show the correct and best ways to handle things.
duenez said:

maybe a place (wiki, forum?) where we can accumulate very helpful topics (on a voting basis?).

Uh, this sounds like a digg-clone for JME! :)

I really like the idea and maybe SMF has support for voting on threads? So people can rate threads "useful" and they show up on a special search. That would be great and it will help to find the important stuff (maybe all answers of MrCoder and Da' Frog!:) ).

Just an advise about

Ender said:

Currently if I search some really requested keywords the result is such a long list that I should spend some days to read all the posts and find what I really interested in.

Yes, and IMO the main reason for that is people asking the same questions over and over...
But you are right, being nice to newbies has always been a thing that made this forum stand out.
Yet I don't like that "it's faster to just ask" part.
It's the same mistake most people seem to make (yes, including me!  :-o ) about hobby game development all the time - we want results, now, and by results we don't mean a spinning cube, but a networked multiplayer FPS/RPG with full physics simulation and next-generation effects that run super fast on integrated noname graphics cards.

It just doesn't work that way.

jME is as powerful an engine as a java dev could dream of in this world, and as a wise man once said, "with great power comes great responsibility"! In this case, that would be the responsibility to gather, read, and understand at least a part of the information available on making cubes rotate before asking how to make a character/car/spaceship rotate.

The point is: learning 3d/game development from scratch, in your free time (or any other time, really), is *not* going to be fast in any way. We all have to accept that at some point, and if we can get people to accept that early in their progress, the forum will benefit by staying a place where it only takes hours, not actually days, to browse all the possible answers to a specific search.

Again, I like this forum especially for it's habit to give newcomers a warm welcome instead of some 20 pages of rules and intimidation in grumpy sticky posts from "bastard administrators from hell", like what you can find in a lot of other places all around the net, and I wouldn't want to sacrifice that!
hevee said:
Yet I don't like that "it's faster to just ask" part.
It's the same mistake most people seem to make (yes, including me!  :-o ) about hobby game development all the time - we want results, now, and by results we don't mean a spinning cube, but a networked multiplayer FPS/RPG with full physics simulation and next-generation effects that run super fast on integrated noname graphics cards.


Yes I am agree. I did't notice this aspect untill you made me so clear in front of my eyes.
Maybe could be of some help to distinctly separate the various aspects related to the use of jME.

A part of the available forums could just resolve troubles and question strictly related to jME API functionalities.

A separate section could speak about more general informations, as like as playing around with advanced 3D game programming, how to obtain certain effects or resolve problems that are not strictly based on jME features, and that are tipical of 3D games in general.

Another section could be made of specific forums talking about the now really stable and known third partyes softwares like Monkey World, jME Phisics, JGN, BUI, Feng GUI, 3rd party model importers and alternatives to jME functionalities like Terra.

And then a section dedicated to 3rd party tools support like Blender (how to import models from blender?).

Indeed, should be done. I still don't know the answers on question 3 & 4 really good, however, maybe it's a good idea to write a simple "lets move the character over an imported terrain without physics, using forward, backward & rotate actions and StandardGame". I could do that with some coding help. (If anybody could supply some code for doing that, I can get the terrain, char & tut)

SeySayux said:

maybe it's a good idea to write a simple "lets move the character over an imported terrain without physics, using forward, backward & rotate actions and StandardGame"

Such a tutorial would no doubt be useful to users having understood the foundations of the engine and the concepts behind it, but IMO is already far too advanced for newcomers.
I think both using StandardGame and collision detection are things you shouldn't attempt in your very first steps, yet associating that tutorial with a "getting started" page would imply this.
By the time a user attempts what you describe, she should already be familiar with the basics of picking, collision detection, and for StandardGame, even some aspects of multithreading in respect to OpenGL, the sound subsystem, and whatever else comes built into StandardGame (haven't used it yet, so I don't really know).

Maybe a new section for "more advanced tutorials"?  :wink:

I still believe tutorials have their place in the wiki, where they'll be kept up to date more easily. In a forum thread, you'll have to read all the pages to be sure you take every little detail into account.

A wiki is perfect for storing content, a forum is perfect for asking questions. If you don't want to have a single tool for both uses (as I suggested earlier, and which would be easier and much more user friendly I think), at least we should use each tool for what it's best at. Of course, I'm perfectly aware that answers on the wiki would come from questions asked on the forum, so we would have to have some guidelines (and enforce them) such as marking threads as 'answered' or 'duplicate' with a link to the relevant wiki page.



Just my 2c :wink:

The Librarian said:

I still believe tutorials have their place in the wiki, where they'll be kept up to date more easily. In a forum thread, you'll have to read all the pages to be sure you take every little detail into account.
A wiki is perfect for storing content, a forum is perfect for asking questions.


I quote The Librarian. Wiki is the best place for Tutorials and FAQ.

I do not know how to resolve the problem of beginners asking already answered questions, but I think that Tutorials should stay in the wiki.