Daniel “Dahie” Senff has come up with several exciting ideas for new community web projects that could make the sim racing community a nicer and more productive place. Daniel is not just part of CTDP, he’s been active in our community for over ten years, enjoying the Grand Prix series and rFactor.
The ideas presented in this series of articles are free to picked up by everyone who feels like it, you´re very much welcome to leave your opinion and discuss the ideas in the comments area as well. Below is part 3 of his series, make sure to check out the first & second one as well if you haven’t yet.
By: Daniel Senff
Question and Answers
SimRacing is quite a complex and difficult hobby. Either as a driver or as modder you are confronted with lots of technology. Setting up your car is tough and takes lots of effort, practice and experience. Modding has become a lot tougher in the past 10 years, because you can and you need to do so much more to create quality mods. You have to know and work with industry-technologies and building experience and skills takes more effort than ever before.
New in town
Imagine coming into this community as a novice. There are many large community forums. You want to get active and you have questions. Where do you start?
Forums are a great place to discuss. Each forum has its very own attitude based on the people writing their. Some are very supportive, others are rather negative and if you happen to start in such a forum you are bound to step on somebody’s toes…
Questions are natural and some questions come up regularly, which can easily annoy older members in the forum. I always cringe when I see somebody just writing “use the search engine…” or “Google is your friend“. Forum search engines suck! You barely find what you are looking for and it’s not said, that you get the answers you need. And although many answers can be found with Google, this is not what has been asked for, as somebody requested a personal response to his specific problem. I consider responding with such platitudes quite rude and a perfect way to uninvite newcomers.
One answer is not enough
So what am I looking for? A place focused on the aspects of SimRacing that is specifically designed to pose questions, to answer questions in multiple ways and that encourages people to look for the best answer.
The technology already exists and is most famously applied on the Website StackOverflow. StackOverflow focuses on programmers and is a place to pose any question, no matter how stupid or grand it is. Every question is tagged and can be related to similar questions. Users can propose their “solution” to the problem and the original poster can select his favorite among the proposed answers.
The best answers gets voted up, so when you browse a question, the best answers come first. In the background is quite an intricate system of voting statistics and awards, that is the basis for a badge and reputation system. For every answer you give you are rewarded and the better your answer is rated by other users, the more reputation you gain in the community. What sounds very theoretical and complex turned out to be a very successful, striving and supportive system. Other aspects why StackOverflow is great are summarized at Cowboy Coded.
StackOverflow is part of the StackExchange-Platform that hosts Community Q&A-Sites for many different topics, StackOverflow being the most popular. A growing not-development oriented Q&A-site is Quora
It has been discussed to make the the Software behind StackOverflow Open Source, but so far there hasn’t been any decision about this either way. So the idea is free to develop for this community.
We all would gain from great place to learn and educate and make our questions more visible and findable.
Next time, we go western and see who is wanted dead or alive.