Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

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dynamikspeed
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Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by dynamikspeed »

If I was a newbie i want to come to the Mint homepage and find a getting started guide or go to the Newbie section on the forum and find quick links on getting up and running from Windows as quickly as possible. 95% of users will be coming from Windows and would want to learn quickly what they need to do and the Windows equivalents in Mint.
I would want to know what to configure in Mint after install e.g Install and enable firewall, run updates in update manager, what levels mean and which ones are safe, what is XFCE, KDE Cinnamon etc.

In the Newbie forum the first post is a sticky with 644 replies. What are your top tips for a Newbie?
Is a newbie expected to read all those? Can anyone seriously tell me that they have read all those replies? Ideally someone needs to go through and grab all the useful links & tips, remove the dead links and save it as a PDF and have it linked to in the first post. The person who started that post in 2010 has not even returned to the forums so did he really learn anything from the sticky? Newbies are also introducing themselves here. There could be a link to the Introduce Yourself section instead Introduce yourself

I only recently noticed the Tutorials section on the forum. I had to scroll right down the list to see the Tutorials section. Most newbies don't go there or even notice this. This section could be linked to in the first post in Newbies section. I recently posted a link in there which most newbies probably won't even see. Tips and Tricks for Linux Mint after Installation [Mint 18 - Cinnamon Edition]
Another example how many newbies will actually come across this? : [TUTORIAL] Linux Mint Installation Guide for Beginners
Another example Tips/Tricks posted in another part of the forum: Linux: Tricks of the Trade -- tips from our members

Most newbies will come to the newbie forum to post an issue after installing Mint for the first time. They could come to a sticky locked post at the top "Getting Started for Newbies" This could have the best few links which can be continuously updated and a link to the official Mint PDF documentation. If the poster has gone then a moderator can take over the post and keep it updated. I think this would make newbies more comfortable.
I have been working in IT for 15 years but I had to search around the internet on what I needed to do when I first started, imagine a non technical person?

The Hardware Support forum could have a sticky which links to the hardware compatibility list. I came across this after a long time. Hardware Devices

The newbie section is by far the most active on the whole forum and I think it would be a great way to catch newbies attention and direct them to the most common steps/tools.
I just feel this is quite important as we are scaring away many potential Mint users or people are getting frustrated by not being able to find the information they need then going back to using Windows. In addition I think we will get many more people interacting on the Forums and not just posting a few newbie posts then going away. Also not everyone likes to register on a forum, verify their email then post a question. If they found the answer to common questions in the first post that would be less frustrating for them.

So the Newbies Sticky could look something like this: What are your thoughts? Maybe we can use this thread to agree on what content could go in the sticky or the getting started guide?
The long term Mint users should know what should go into that post and newbies could also suggest what they want to see. I don't mind contributing towards this.
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by MintBean »

I think you've made some good points, and more importantly, you're pitching in to improve things rather than just complaining about the status-quo.

The only point I would disagree with is relating all the concepts back to 'this is what it would be on Windows.' I think that would bloat and confuse the documentation rather than clarifying it. If anything, something like that should be isolated in a separate document for those who want it.

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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by MintyO »

Yes, good stuff. I think your topic is a good start for example for someone who'll happen to come across it.

I think the problem is that even though this has been no doubt done in the past with all the best intentions and effort, that things evolve and change. Replies gather, people change, etc. I don't have any ideas to add to yours and don't know which of yours would lead to best results. But I'm all for a topic/topics that then could be easily linked to when someone new asks - or better yet, they would then find on their own.
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by powerhouse »

I agree with you. However, this requires the OP to frequently update the first post.

I've written some tutorials in the virtualization section - none of them for beginners - and I try to update them to incorporate changes and new findings.

To keep a post on a forum like this up-to-date is difficult, simply because of how this software works. Only the OP or an admin can modify the original post. If, say, you wrote a nice tutorial on how to install Mint and get it up and running, once the next version becomes available, things may change. Also, through user feedback you may discover that some sections aren't clear or that some procedures don't work for everybody. Eventually it becomes a "lifetime" task to keep the tutorial up-to-date. Are you up for this commitment?

I'm not sure this forum software allows a collaborative effort, but that would really help a lot here (also with my KVM virtualization howto). Ideally the OP would be able to appoint additional users who can edit his/her posts.

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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by Citizen229 »

This topic has been a bane for forums since forums were created. It gets even worse for technical subjects. Tech progresses very quickly. As a former or still a newb, I can tell you the linux terminology is a real curveball. A user can know what they want, but not know the correct term for forum search. And as with many of the forum software packages, the search function isnt that great to begin with. I would have to venture that this is why Arch has a wiki. Wiki's have multi user input. It can be updated fairly quickly by almost anyone. The downside is that to someone like myself, the Arch wiki seems like a giant cluster. Its almost information overload with the wall of text that is presented.
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by buffest_overflow »

As a long time OSX and Win user I have to concur with the OP. Linux is a frighteningly complex maze of choices, sources and tools, and it is difficult to navigate until you get a sense of how to do it right. Unfortunately, this can come at a price. I learned how to do some things right by doing some things wrong. and it doesn't take many wrong choices or human errors to really mess things up. The same could be said of Win/OSX, but they try really hard to stop you from looking under the hood. That's why we hate them, right? So on my first linux adventure, I was hacked, not just hacked, but utterly destroyed across all the services on my LAN. I am now very slowly, very cautiously, one step at a time getting back into Linux, and having a much much better time. A great time!

I, like you, am surprised at the disjointed documentation provided by the official releases here. This is kind of a hallmark of the lovable devs who make this stuff. I work with devs and I am usually the guy that writes the guides for what the devs do so that people who don't know anything can feel confident that what they are reading is the actual truth. It is so easy to become so close to the command line that you forget that most people now living have little experience outside of a smart device, yet so many people want to learn! That Snowden effect and so on.

One "problem" with linux distros is that there are often 12 different ways of doing one thing. One newbie might find linux veterans arguing about a command line for a page or two, and this can really be a time sink and put linux back on the pile of "Maybe some day..." goals. The Mint docs that come with the 18.1 install are not adequate for the kind of transitions from major OSes the OP is talking about. I found the same to be true with my disastrous Ubuntu Gnome3 experience. I know how a window works and I can figure out how to change the colors of my desktop by myself, could you tell me 20 things I need to learn to function safely in the linux environment too, how do I need to change my way of thinking? Give me a dummy tool intro because I've been using an iMac my whole life, then a dummy level 2 intro for understanding frameworks and command line essentials, then an intermediate immersion series for really getting into the language and history of the tools... Learning linux should be a goal and reward experience, always, because it's fun.

This is a great post and I'm glad it's here.

Citizen229 wrote:This topic has been a bane for forums since forums were created. It gets even worse for technical subjects. Tech progresses very quickly. As a former or still a newb, I can tell you the linux terminology is a real curveball. A user can know what they want, but not know the correct term for forum search. And as with many of the forum software packages, the search function isnt that great to begin with. I would have to venture that this is why Arch has a wiki. Wiki's have multi user input. It can be updated fairly quickly by almost anyone. The downside is that to someone like myself, the Arch wiki seems like a giant cluster. Its almost information overload with the wall of text that is presented.
This perfectly summarizes the problem. And the previous posters challenge of maintaining guidelines. Wikis are multi-user input, but they are not necessarily more maintained or up to date any more than a forum.

Maybe commands and package guidelines should be subscribable by gurus and interested parties. People who are really into specific features and commands will be pinged when the official guides and tutorials are rewritten at a central source. I am seeing man entries with stuff like "This might not work or be buggy." at the bottom. These are UNIX commands from 1987 and stuff. There must be some way to make the teaching process shared and distributed. What do I know though :D

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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by Hoser Rob »

Citizen229 wrote:This topic has been a bane for forums since forums were created. It gets even worse for technical subjects. Tech progresses very quickly. As a former or still a newb, I can tell you the linux terminology is a real curveball. A user can know what they want, but not know the correct term for forum search. And as with many of the forum software packages, the search function isnt that great to begin with. I would have to venture that this is why Arch has a wiki. Wiki's have multi user input. It can be updated fairly quickly by almost anyone. The downside is that to someone like myself, the Arch wiki seems like a giant cluster. Its almost information overload with the wall of text that is presented.
+1.

It's not just that things get changed so often. Backwards and forwards compatibility doesn't really work in Linux, so they're also full of out of date info.

And remember, no one's being paid to do this.

IMO, bottom line, if you aren't willing to do research, Linux isn't for you. You just are not going to find one site with everything nicely organized.

I've actually rarely found useful Mint support info here. Usually the Ubuntu support sites or the Arch wikis.

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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by Lemongrass38 »

Hoser Rob wrote:IMO, bottom line, if you aren't willing to do research, Linux isn't for you. You just are not going to find one site with everything nicely organized.
True, one will need to search on their own sooner or later. The sooner they learn that, the better.

But, indeed, it would be really discouraging to begin with some dotfile configuration or such harder thing. My high school informatics teacher showed me Ubuntu back in 2006, and he did it in a funny way: we wrote a multiplayer snake game in C, downloaded a game, changed its source code, compiled it and ran the game that we just made buggy (buggy literally: it was moon-buggy). For an introduction it was quite fun.
Last edited by Lemongrass38 on Wed May 17, 2017 8:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
If your issue is solved, please be so kind and indicate that by editing the topic title in the first post. :)

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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by karlchen »

Hello, dynamikspeed.

Picking up your suggestion
Most newbies will come to the newbie forum to post an issue after installing Mint for the first time. They could come to a sticky locked post at the top "Getting Started for Newbies" ...
and the list of links which you had compiled, the sticky thread Getting Started for Newbies has been created. Really hope this is all right for you.

I am seriously considering to lock it, because else it may quickly end like the Top Tips for Newbies thread.

Cheers,
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by dynamikspeed »

Thank you all for your replies.
MintBean wrote: The only point I would disagree with is relating all the concepts back to 'this is what it would be on Windows.' I think that would bloat and confuse the documentation rather than clarifying it. If anything, something like that should be isolated in a separate document for those who want it.
I agree this would be a separate document.
MintyO wrote:even though this has been no doubt done in the past with all the best intentions and effort, that things evolve and change. Replies gather, people change, etc.
Yes I agree things do get outdated but the first sticky post is the most viewed and shouldn't be too much work to fix a dead link and most people would find this post without being referred to it as you mentioned.
powerhouse wrote: I'm not sure this forum software allows a collaborative effort, but that would really help a lot here
I agree that it would be a collaborative effort. Even if the document gets updated every few versions it still will contain most relevant information. The idea is to stick to the most common issues and how-to's initially.
Citizen229 wrote:This topic has been a bane for forums since forums were created. It gets even worse for technical subjects. Tech progresses very quickly. As a former or still a newb, I can tell you the linux terminology is a real curveball. A user can know what they want, but not know the correct term for forum search. And as with many of the forum software packages, the search function isnt that great to begin with. I would have to venture that this is why Arch has a wiki. Wiki's have multi user input. It can be updated fairly quickly by almost anyone. The downside is that to someone like myself, the Arch wiki seems like a giant cluster. Its almost information overload with the wall of text that is presented.
You hit the nail on the head here. A wiki would be ideal. I had a look at the Arch wiki and they have something similar to what I am talking about. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/In ... stallation An install guide which then follows on to a Post Install, General Recommendations, List of Applications Pages. Images/Screenshots/Videos can break up text nicely.
In this time of collaboration and sharing I think this would be the way to go.
karlchen wrote:the sticky thread Getting Started for Newbies has been created. Really hope this is all right for you.
Hey thanks a lot for setting this up that's wonderful and I think a great start to something really useful. :D

I just found a post about this same kind of discussion 5 years ago here: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=120&t=90460

I will try and pm some of those users from the above post about a wiki who have not been online to see if they are still interested or have some input.
Hoping they will get a notification of some sort but not sure? :?

I found these Mint Wiki's which are kind of what we want:
http://wiki.installgentoo.com/index.php/Linux_Mint
http://sites.google.com/site/mintwiki/home

Ok next step for me is to trawl through the 650 posts on the old newbie thread and gather all the links/tips posted, organise them then repost them as a doc or something. :shock:
Last edited by dynamikspeed on Tue May 16, 2017 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by Citizen229 »

@ dynamikspeed

Please do not only use half of my statement. You completely ignored the downside of my post about a WIKI to support your predetermined idea. You cherry picked my statement to make it seem like I agree with a WIKI/WIKIs are better. This is not the case.

Edit: The WIKI discussion has long been had and died. Down in the community projects section is where its tombstone is.
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by dynamikspeed »

Citizen229 wrote:@ dynamikspeed

Please do not only use half of my statement. You completely ignored the downside of my post about a WIKI to support your predetermined idea. You cherry picked my statement to make it seem like I agree with a WIKI/WIKIs are better. This is not the case.

Edit: The WIKI discussion has long been had and died. Down in the community projects section is where its tombstone is.
Apologies. Just didn't want the post to get too long. I have edited it now.
That's ok old discussions can be revisited.
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by sdibaja »

some good thoughts here....

I suggest a wiki is the best for noobs as well as the rest.
after years of haunting this place I kinda quit coming to the forums because of the flood of off topic responses and narrow focus. I found it easier to go to the Arch wiki, or the Debian wiki, or a Facebook group, or just google it.
Recently the LMDE Mate 1.8 update borked my system so badly I came back hoping that someone could help... still hoping for that.

constructing a wiki from scratch is a daunting project... at one time I was up to it but the various objections defeated me.

If I remember correctly there are some templates to be had, and I believe several had been created.
It does need to be hosted, and monitored. Open to edits, but those edits need to be edited by a select team before they get published... kinda like Wikipedia.

Complaints were made saying that it was already published elsewhere: why not just use links to the entries in other wikis?

anyway, sorry for rambling. Yes, that set of bookmarks is cool, but the nature of a forum does not make it a viable reference.
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by MintyO »

I don't think a wiki is a good solution for new users. Further, I don't think a Mint-wiki is needed at all.

For experienced users, or for specific problems, the information is out there and only your willingness and skill to search is needed (existing wikis or elsewhere), or you can as a question on the forums. I have found useful stuff on Debian wiki, but have always landed there through a google search. Wikis never seem like an appealing place to start for some reason. Besides, for a Mint-wiki to be useful and an appealing place for the expert user it would have to be as vast as the mentioned ones. It just seems redundant and pointless to me to put effort, much better used elsewhere, into creating one.

For new users, some simple introductory collection of suggestions for course of action and advice is needed. And it really has to be something that you can glance through in few minutes, cherry pick the parts you need at the moment, then go merrily on your way to use your new operating system for the basic stuff majority of the users (myself included) want/need. Browsing, listening, reading,.. .

If you think about some of the one post wonders who don't have the attention span to write a coherent question, spell check the title, etc. How are you expecting them to bother with researching a wiki. All that is needed is a simple (up to date) way to discover how to install and what are the basic differences you need to know before you can go and "click around all the familiar things" you do when you use a computer. We are all different and Mint (and some other distros) is ready for users like this too. Sure it irks me to read a question like I mentioned in the beginning of this paragraph and how people have lost their attention spans. But my reaction aside, that user is who he/she is and if a simple way for guiding him/her to Mint is available, it should be made and put in a place you can't miss. There is the excellent Mint guide, but seems like new users don't bother reading it. Maybe it is not advertised clearly enough or maybe reading that many pages would require too much effort. I don't know.

The sticky that has been made is good. I'd like to suggest one link: How to ask a question on the forums for the best possible results. I believe those instructions are buried somewhere.
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by dynamikspeed »

I guess your right. The simple links sticky is a good way to go.
I am going to add a few things on there and the one you have mentioned.
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by sdibaja »

I guess some of you folk are wanting stickie posts in the forum, here is another resource:
http://wiki.mate-desktop.org/






edit: spelling
Last edited by sdibaja on Wed May 17, 2017 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by jimallyn »

sdibaja wrote:I guess some of you folk are wanting sickie posts in the forum
There are a lot of sickies who post in these forums. :wink:
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by MintBean »

I do agree with MintyO to a large extent. There's an introductory user guide which gives you the basics in a reasonably concise manner. It's right there both next to the ISO downloads and front-and-centre on the Mint welcome popup so I don't know how it could reasonably be made more accessible, and yet again and again the same questions are asked on the forums which are covered in that documentation.

If new users won't read that, they won't read a wiki.

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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by sdibaja »

very true, a wiki is not for the new user.
a wiki is like a reference manual to be used for those things we don't do often and don't have memorized.

I see I am way of the topic intended for this group, thanks for listening
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Re: Newbie Forum Sticky Post (Please Read)

Post by vladtepes »

As a new user the info posted in the OP (and subsequently the locked sticky) is just the sort of thing I like to see. Thanks



WIKI

As far as wikis are concerned - they are great for things that don't really change - so how to fix a certain model of motorcycle, rebuild an engine and so on. Likewise MOST of the things on Wikipedia don't change much.

With something as fast moving as Linux (or pretty much any OS) a wiki is just a PITA to maintain.
And it's ONLY useful if it's maintained and the information is current.
And frankly I'd prefer that people spent their time on the forums answering peoples queries directly (which are also then available for search by others in future) rather than tackling a wiki...

SEARCH

And yes the search function built into phpBB (and SMF and vBulletin and pretty much all of them) is sub-optimal. Google is your friend here (if nowhere else). If there is a google-search plugin / mod for phpBB it might be worth implementing. Otherwise it's do it the old fashioned way, like this
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