Should FPA be removed from this forum?

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brian
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Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by brian » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:19 pm

> Once you post it, you usually get your FPA nit-picked over and your original issue ignored unless it actually exists in that FPA.

the FPA is a great tool but the people who respond to it almost always pick up on completely irrelevant issues. maybe its time we removed it. it causes more wasted time than good
Last edited by toivo on Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:33 am, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: mod note 1: split from another unrelated topic - mod note 2: locked topic - mod note 3: unlocked on request
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by toivo » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:05 am

@brian, you cannot seriously propose that! Just ignore the negative comment you quoted. You may not have seen the positive feedback from webmasters when they see the results from FPA and how it helps them to audit their site.

Most volunteers here in the forum have limited time available for Q&A sessions with inexperienced users and we are not mind readers either. Therefore the FPA is great help for both the users and those providing support. It may not provide direct answers 100 percent of the time but in most cases it does help the members of this forum.
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by leolam » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:44 am

Brian, I happen to agree with Toivo. I do see indeed that often the link to the FPA is used as response due to the lack of either understanding a question or not being able to answer by respondents. I rather would see people not react in such case at all. Toivo is right though that the FPA is a great tool to start an interaction with an OP to get to the real issue of her/his problems/issues/question.... You might say if it is a Joomla issue why bothering with a server issue? I think that is just a 'service' we can and should provide. If we see things in the FPA that can be improved or should be improved we should inform the Jooma user and we do with pleasure (at least I do)

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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by sozzled » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:24 am

I completely agree with @brian's opinion, that some people—not all people and, I sincerely hope that I am not among those people—over-"analyse" or (to use @brian's word) nit-pick and become obsessed with the FPA to the point whereby the point of using the FPA is lost.

Let us not forget that the FPA serves a two-fold purpose (as I explained in this forum category's sticky post):
The Forum Post Assistant (FPA) script has been developed to assist people to self-assess their websites. It is also used to provide basic information about the website environment as a pre-formatted forum post for troubleshooting purposes.
In the sense that the FPA is a constituent feature of this forum that may be removed (as @brian has suggested), it is a tool (a) inasmuch as the tool is named "Forum Post Assistant", (b) is available for download from GitHub just as are other open-source software projects, and (c) that creates BBcode that can be used on a variety of phpBB websites but, in particular, the The Joomla! Forum™ website. In other words, the FPA is not a constituent feature of this forum.

Therefore, I can neither agree nor disagree with @brian's suggestion that maybe it's time we should remove the FPA because it's not actually part of the Joomla project, it's not actually a feature of the forum, it's actually quite separate. It just so happens that the FPA tool produces basic information about someone's website environment, pre-formatted by BBcode to be used as a post on a phpBB forum, and that's just one of its uses.

I believe the problem that @brian has identified is not so much about "removing" the FPA tool as it is about overcoming some people's obsession with (a) demanding that forum users employ the FPA information, and (b) nit-picking about whether the information in the FPA report accords with someone else's opinion about whether it's right or not. I think that's the real issue here and, if I've interpreted @brian's request correctly, I agree with him.

I don't however, agree that the FPA tool should be removed from GitHub. That's a matter for the FPA development team to consider.
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by brian » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:53 am

The problem is that a user posts an issue that is clearly down to a or b
They are then asked to post the fpa
and now they get loads of comments about x,y,z

Now x,y,z might be true but they don't help the user with their problem

So yes @sozzled summarised it correctly
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by toivo » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:50 am

Forget about "obsession" or "nit-picking", let's be practical.

@brian, in spite of similarities on the surface, each support case is individual and different. Therefore why should we saw off the limb we are sitting on by removing a useful tool from users seeking help from this forum?

The FPA has proven to be useful time and again and therefore the FPA download link should and will remain easily accessible here at the Joomla! support forum. End of discussion.
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by Webdongle » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:48 am

brian wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:53 am
The problem is that a user posts an issue that is clearly down to a or b
...
So yes @sozzled summarised it correctly
But even when it is clear what is wrong there may be other things wrong as well. Do the newbies not deserve to be helped fully rather than just 'patching up' with a quick fix?

There are some forums that require posters to put system information before they will answer a post.

I the problem is obvious but obviously points to the fact that other things might be a miss ... then requesting the fpa report and giving the op as much information as possible is preferable. It is far better than not addressing the situation and then having to later help sort out the mess caused by ignoring the problems.
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by brian » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:00 pm

> But even when it is clear what is wrong there may be other things wrong as well.

That is true but solve the actual reported problem first. Far far far too many times I see a user who posts an issue and then gets a hundred answers about the results of the fpa which is not related to the reported problem. And often is completely irrelevant or even bad advice.

Example - telling a user with an acl issue that they have the apache handler wrong is not helpful at all
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by sozzled » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:35 pm

I continue to agree with @brian (but not about removing the FPA tool from GitHub or its benefit to the forum, if those are his opinions).

"Requesting" the FPA should be more nuanced. There's a difference between making a suggestion and making a demand. I agree with @brian and @mbabker that more often, after making the "request", the poor forum user (who has been beaten into submission) then has their report nit-picked over by uninvited "experts" with "helpful" suggestions, often for days or weeks after the question has been addressed. See viewtopic.php?f=48&t=967067&p=3578972#p3578972 where we have talked about this before.

Sometimes, a "problem" becomes so irresistible that it's impossible to leave it alone, tease it out, rip it open, like a horde or vultures tearing apart a dead carcass. This is not how we should treat "newbies" (or anyone for that matter).

I admit that there are occasions when I cannot understand the nature of a question and where I feel that it may be in a forum user's better interests to obtain the FPA report but I try to phrase my request for that information as a suggestion. In the end (if we were to be brutal about it) so what? It's not my problem if someone else has a problem, is it? We should not feed our ferocious appetites to "help" and I think that's what is at the heart of @brian and @mbabker calling for restrained enthusiasm about the FPA.

There may be some forums that "require [people to provide] system information before [their questions] are answered" (although I am not aware of any that do) but, thankfully, this forum is not one of them.
Last edited by sozzled on Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:51 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by Webdongle » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:37 pm

brian wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:00 pm
...
That is true but solve the actual reported problem first. Far far far too many times I see a user who posts an issue and then gets a hundred answers about the results of the fpa which is not related to the reported problem. ...
It may not be related to the reported problem but if the op is made aware of them and fixes them ...
Then it (often) prevents problems later on.

brian wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:00 pm
...
Example - telling a user with an acl issue that they have the apache handler wrong is not helpful at all
Totally disagree (depending on the setup) it can cuase them problems later on when trying to install extensions.

brian wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:00 pm
...
or even bad advice.
...
Unfortunately there will always be bad advice whether or not the results of the fpa is posted. We all make mistakes. And there are always different approaches to solving a problem because everyone has different levels of understanding and methodologies.

However I do understand what you are trying to say and am being more careful of how I ask for the fpa report and how I reply to the results. Bottom line the fpa is a useful tool but like all tools it needs to be used well.
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by waarnemer » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:55 pm

...interesting... but I see it this way... there is a chair that needs attention at the dinner table... I can see a screw that needs tightened... I say to my son; "son, my friend, get me e screwdriver..."
He returns with a "flat head". Pity as I needed a "Phillips".. I should have defined my question better...
So second attempts he returns with the "Phillips".
I get on my knees to tighten the screw... when I look under the table I discover some bolts in the table need some tightening as well..

I should have asked for the whole toolbox....

I'd say leave FPA as it is.....

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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by Webdongle » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:31 pm

@waarnemer
In your scenario
waarnemer wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:55 pm
...
I should have asked for the whole toolbox....
No!!! You should have looked closer to see what actions were needed before deciding what needed to be done.


waarnemer wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:55 pm
...
...
I'd say leave FPA as it is
Yes that's because it takes a closer look
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by brian » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:50 pm

> (but not about removing the FPA tool from GitHub or its benefit to the forum, if those are his opinions).

No I never said that
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by Webdongle » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:57 pm

Point to note
sozzled was the first to request the link in the forum should be to it's current url instead of to a forum post about it. He also was a big advocate for the fpa to have it's own board on the forum.
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by sozzled » Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:10 pm

brian wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:19 pm
maybe its time we removed it
Thinking back to the context of when this was written—it was written in another topic where the FPA report appeared—was @brian asking for the FPA report to be removed from that other thread? Is that what he meant?

"It"—pronouns in general—can create problems with communication. Maybe @brian was not asking for the FPA facility to be removed from the forum? Maybe he only meant to ask, in a public way, for the moderators to do something? There's a "report to moderator" button for that.

Have I correctly interpreted your meaning, Brian?
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by brian » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:04 pm

I was asking for the FPA sticky to be removed and at the same time pleading for forum users to stop thinking it is the cure for everything. It rarely is.
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Re: Should the "FPA sticky" be removed from this forum?

Post by sozzled » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:19 pm

brian wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:04 pm
I was asking for the FPA sticky to be removed and at the same time pleading for forum users to stop thinking it is the cure for everything.
Thank you for explaining clearly what you were asking for. 8)

I completely agree regarding the second point you've made—that the "FPA sticky" (or "stickies" in general) has been implanted with the aura of holy scripture—but I haven't yet formed my own opinion about the first point—requesting that this particular sticky should be removed.

I understand that we all have different—occasionally differing—opinions on the ongoing value of certain parts of The Joomla! Forum™ and that's OK. 8) There are many changes I would like the forum management team to implement that would simplify the forum and make it more relevant for J! users but those changes will probably not happen for several years or, at least, not by the forum manager(s) who are in control of things at the moment. C'est la vie.

Good discussion. :)
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by Webdongle » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:04 pm

brian wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:04 pm
I was asking for the FPA sticky to be removed and at the same time pleading for forum users to stop thinking it is the cure for everything. It rarely is.
Point #1 hmmmmm not a biggie ... the fpa link would still be the same whether or not the hyperlink was there.

Point #2 As I have said before ... I do see your point. It is not a cure all but if it is being used unnecessary is often a matter of opinion. There will be times when it is obvious when it is not needed but there will also be times that the necessity will be seen differently by different people.

imho removing the hyperlink will have no impact on the amount of times the fpa will be requested. But removing the link will be negative because it will make it harder (for users who would use it) to find the fpa.

If the request for the fpa is (in anyone's opinion) unnecessary there is a report button to report the post. Far better (and more effective) for the mods to judge if a request is unnecessary than to remove the hyperlink.

And far better for the mods to judge if a request is unnecessary than for one volunteer to rebuke another for requesting it. Open discussion like this is constructive but when one volunteer rebukes another for requesting it then that is negative.

The fpa (when used correctly) is an excellent tool that deserves a link in the top of the forum not just at the top of a few selected boards.
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Re: Should FPA be removed from this forum?

Post by sozzled » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:13 pm

I agree completely with @Webdongle's position.

I also think that everyone who has read this discussion has learnt something from it.

Good work! 8)
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