Lots of New People w/ Questions!


I’ve noticed lately that there are a lot of new people coming to jME… (It took me a lot longer than usual to go through this weekend’s posts this morning!) Understandably, they have a lot of questions, and are running into common problems, which you experts are having to spend a lot of time answering.

This is a nice problem to have, but it is kind of a problem… You guys all seem a little more stressed than usual, and I’m guessing this frustration is part of it.

What do you guys think of creating a ‘Programmer FAQ’? Or… maybe ‘Troubleshooting FAQ’? Let this be the first stop for people when they’re running into problems. You could even make this a sticky topic at the top of the ‘General’ forum… A link to the FAQ. Anyway…

  • This could direct them to update their drivers if they haven’t done it in a while…
  • Check their classpath/library-path if it’s a NoClassDefFound…
  • Update to get the latest CVS…
  • Suggest searching the forums for answers…
  • If they’re using Eclipse, direct them to a jME/Eclipse user’s guide (do we have one of those?)
  • Ask them to go through the setup guide & tutorials…
  • Then… the bulk would be: ‘How do I…?’ Question and answers… Just to point them to the correct code or tutorial and get them started (ie, pointing out a couple classes that they should start with)… Terrain block/page, collision detection, setting up a ‘*Game’ class, CLOD, whatever… Just so people can do things more easily. You could also mention any ‘gotchas’ in the question… (Like the terrain page (2^N + 1) thing…)
  • Whatever else would belong in a FAQ…

    Basically, what I’m suggesting is either a real FAQ, or a reference guide. The user’s guide is going to be a long time coming, and it still wouldn’t necessarily help get things going for people, or help them solve common problems very easily. This is more or less a ‘Troubleshooting’ section of the user’s guide.

    It’s great to have the interest in jME, but new people are all going to have the same issues. I’ve been reading the forums here for a few months now, and only barely feel like I have a grasp on things. If I were actively programming with jME, I’m sure I’d have some of the same questions.

    Anyway… thoughts on this? I could try and get it started on the wiki if you want, but I’m definitely not the guy to provide the details.

    I will not be offended at all if anybody thinks the idea is total bunk. I’m just trying to come up with a way to help newcomers and to ease some of the burden on the developers.


We have a faq page on the winky. It seams like a good start but it needs to be updated. Being that it is on the winky it would allow any one to change it. I thank that there should be a link to the faq from the navigation bar on the web page to make it simpler to fined.

We have a faq page on the winky

Gotta love badmi and his spelling mistakes XD

"Shmooh" wrote:
* This could direct them to update their drivers if they haven't done it in a while..

It is now on the faq.

Maybe make the FAQ easier to see for a new-to-the-site person? How are they suppost to know it’s in the wiki?

I’ll put a link on the front page.

hehe, an easy to find FAQ (assuming people read it and try the steps, as it is really tempting just to ask the board first) would be great. Perhaps turning off guest posting would be something to do as it would force registration and in turn give enough pause to allow them to find the FAQ first? Just a thought on a rather tired monday morning.

"renanse" wrote:
hehe, an easy to find FAQ (assuming people read it and try the steps, as it is really tempting just to ask the board first) would be great. Perhaps turning off guest posting would be something to do as it would force registration and in turn give enough pause to allow them to find the FAQ first? Just a thought on a rather tired monday morning.

I do not like the idea of turning off get posting. It would discourage people from starting to use JME. One of the best features of JME is it's helpful community; Turing off guest posts would damage the community.

Why? It only takes a few seconds to register. If you are seriously interested in posting a question you’ll take that time.

There are people that do not like restestering until they are compatible using the form. Some people feel that they are asking stupid qwetions and will get flamed. They would much rather get flamed anonymously then with a registered name.

That’s silly, when have we flamed anyone here?

What I mean is that letting users post as Guests allows them to realize that we do not flame people. If they are new to the bored they may not know it yet.

You both have points about the Guest posting… Encouraging people to check the FAQ first is a good idea… But forcing people to register might turn somebody off who doesn’t know the group well. (I know I’m always hesitant to register places because I don’t want to risk being spammed or something.)

As an alternative to completely turning off Guest posting… would it be possible to take them to a different screen when they click ‘new topic’ or ‘post reply’?

Ie, if they’re a guest, direct them to the FAQ… but allow them to click through and post anyway if that’s what they want to do.

Just trying to get the best of both worlds… Give them pause (and a mechanism) to find the FAQ before posting, but don’t scare them off because they might not want to register.


I like the basic idea of telling them about the faq before they make a post but I do not like the placement. Making them go throw the extra step would be very discouraging. I think a better idea is have a page before someone enters the form telling them to look at the faq. It can be something like this.

You really think it would be discouraging? When the Guest clicks on a new topic, the page would be something pretty simple, like (The words in []'s would be links to the appropriate pages.):

Welcome to jME! You may want to [register] before posting so you're not doing so as an anonymous 'Guest'. We don't use or release any of your private information whatsoever.

Are you sure you'd like to post? Many questions are answered in our [FAQ].

If you're sure, then [go right ahead]!

As an added bonus, this would warn people that they're not logged in when they're posting (which happens a lot around here..).

Personally.. I don't want to go through a 'Check the FAQ' page every time I head to the forums (which is where I log in.. until then, I'd still be a guest..).



I’m a Sheriff (moderator) over at Javaranch. We face similar issues everyday. New users coming in and asking the same questions over and over. And now I am over on this site, probably doing the same thing. :slight_smile:

I believe though, what seperates Javaranch from a lot of other sites is that we don’t care if you ask a quesetion that has been asked a thousand times. People that are new to your site don’t always know their way around. They might not know the forum has a search feature or a FAQ or a Wiki with a FAQ. :wink:

What I have enjoyed so much about this community thus far is it’s freindly attitude towards newbies. It’s okay to nudge people in the right direction as well as pointing out the search function and the faq. Notice the difference between these next 2 comments:

This question has been asked a lot. Please use the search feature.

You've asked a very common question. The reason you are having this problem is bla bla bla bla bla. You might find this discussion and this discussion useful as they discuss your same problem.

You might not be aware but this site also has a search function. Sometimes searching the forums will get you a quicker response than waiting for a reply.

Ok, what's the difference? Quote #2 took a little bit longer to type. But look how much nicer it sounds. The second part of that quote can even be saved in a text file so you can just copy and paste it next time you need to use it.

If you want this community to strive, these are the kinds of things you just have to put up with. It's part of being an online community. I won't even touch hibernate or go to their fourms because Gavin and Christian, not too mention a few others there, are rude most of the time if you've asked a common question. It's very discomforting.

Ok, so I have rambled on long enough. :) Sorry about that.

I agree very much with gdboling on how to respond to newbie questions… we were all newbies at some point and still are in some matters I’m sure. My original comment was not really how to respond to newbie posts, but rather that it would be helpful to require a login. Both JGO and LWJGL’s forums require login to post. It helps build community. This would also prevent accidently posting as guest when we meant to be logged in, etc.

Likewise, I didn’t mean to sound at all harsh or unwelcome with my suggestion (or with the topic!). That’s really why the intermittant page was only for Guest posters, not registered ones. The wording could be changed to be as friendly as it can possibly be. The intention is to be helpful to both the new user and the developers.

Generally… Questions and interest are very good things… great stuff comes up all the time as a result.

My point really is… as the community grows, the experts here are going to get more and more bogged down with answering the same questions. While they’re great guys and don’t seem to mind, it does take a decent chunk of their time.

As a side note… a robust FAQ can answer things more clearly (and quickly!) than a developer posting time and again. You can include a lot of detail in the FAQ that you might not get in a post that’s been made 10 times before.

I really like the community spirit here… It’s very positive and encouraging. I truly don’t want anything to jeopordize that… I just see all the questions popping up that lots of people will want answers to, now and in the future.



I think a detailed FAQ is a great idea and I was never against that. I think one of the keys here is sperating the “experts” from the “developers”. What will really help is getting enough people to participate on this board that know enough about the API to help out, thus, letting the developers focus on developing the API while popping in and out of discussions as time permits.

I doubt that jME is anyone’s permanent gig in life. I’m sure everyone has real world jobs. :wink: So it’s just a matter of balancing everything. But until that separation happens the only way to keep building is to keep participating as much as possible. :slight_smile: