We couldn't be more excited to be launching our brand new community portal - the GNS3 Jungle - in just under a month's time. We have taken feedback from our amazing users to make sure we are bring you a community portal that makes it easier to find documentation, post and answer questions, profile the amazing work you are doing and most importantly connect with your fellow GNS3ers.
I have attached a 'sneak peek' screenshot that will give you a sense of what we have been working on behind the scenes.
GNS3 Jungle. Sounds wild - and catchy.
Over the next couple of days we will be posting a couple more screenshots to give you a sense of what the transition is going to look like.
I can't wait!
That being said I wanted to address a couple FAQs:
Q. What is going to happen to the phpBB Forum?
A. We have done our best to migrate over as much of the phpBB forum to our new community portal as possible. This forum will remain available for the foreseeable future, however will be 'read-only' - meaning you will no longer be able to post information new information but will be able to reference back to old posts.
The most important thing to migrate will be the user base/user accounts. If the old forum information is simply kept in its present form will be good enough.
Q. Why make the transfer to a new portal? I have used phpBB now for years.
A. Based on some strong feedback from our community we realized that there were some serious deficiencies in phpBB that we wanted to address to make for a better user experience.
Great. The phpBB sucks in sooo many ways
@mblackwe - what platform are you going to base the new portal on if not the phpBB?
A couple of the areas that our new community will address:
1) Search Capabilities: ever login to phpBB and not know where to start. In the new community we have implemented a great search tool that will allow you to search for experts on certain topics, relevant posts in areas so that you don't duplicate an answer
I hope you can make this work. Some places I've seen where it works well (http://www.vmware.com/support.html; https://discussions.apple.com/welcome
- even http://stackexchange.com/
- which I THINK uses google is not bad), others are not so good.
2) Groups: given the diversity of our users we are going to have dedicated groups so that users with similar interests (ex.CCIE, Security, SDN, JNCIA) can work better together and have focused Q&A
I see limited value in this. Better to use tags so that I can tag any question I ask with interest groups eg:
[ ] SDN
[ ] JNCIA
Then when browsing the forum, have the option to view/search only posts with those tags
3) Rewards: when I first joined the company six months ago I was amazed by the passion of our users and we made it our mission to reward the community for their contributions. We have implemented a system to recognize and reward our users with some seriously badass badges and points in the portal. If you collect enough of those badges and points you can even redeem them for some GNS3 goodies! (no live chameleons unfortunately)
Yippeeee. I am excited. Really I am. Can't wait to be awarded the Champion Charitable Chameleon
Actually, it's not a bad idea, but for me the most valuable reward is when someone bothers to say "Thanks - it fixed my problem"
Q.What if I need some additional support?
A.You are in luck. We have hired from our community to offer a paid support function - GNS3 Assist. We recognize that some users need a little more assistance, therefore have implemented a support ticketing system to give you on-demand assistance. We will be launching a tiered-support function of which we will be posting more about in the coming days.
I appreciate the need to make money to make this ship float, but what worries me here is this.Will the information given to users who pay for support be shared with the rest of the community?
If so, great. But is that fair to the person who paid?
If not, then potentially information that may help me solve my problem is not available to me. This is NOT helpful.
I have my reservations about this idea. Some other pay systems (eg http://www.experts-exchange.com/
) allow you to "earn" points by answering questions and then you can "spend" those points on getting help. But I'd HATE to see GNS3 Jungle turn out like Experts-Exchange where it's difficult to get good help without paying.
Perhaps a donation jar could be linked to answers that are given to questions, where people could choose to donate an amount of money that could be split between the Jungle and the contributor of the answer. However, this would mean requiring members to give PayPal (or something) account details.
Q.How are we going to submit product bugs and ideas for the software?
A.In our new community portal there will be a central repository to submit product ideas and have the community vote them up as we prioritize the future developments of the software. With this tool we will be providing much more transparency on the product roadmap. In addition to that, a similar mechanism will be put in place to submit product bugs for fixing.
This is the most important part. Here are a few of my ideas
Firstly there needs to be a Support
button on that Jungle menu - I didn't see it on the graphic you pasted. And http://gns3.com/support
should take you right there.
The support portal should open at a point where you can ask a question, (See http://www.vmware.com/support.html; https://discussions.apple.com/welcome
). This is in fact actually a search. But we don't necessarily describe it as such.
If users find there answer, they may have the option to upvote (depending on the criteria you are using for upvoting - maybe a minimum amount of "credibility" is required - like stack-exchange) or at the very least tick a box that says [x] This solved my problem or [x] This helped me solve my problem.
If users DON'T find the answer, then they can ask a question. Forget the different divisions that exist in the existing forum (General Issues, Switching etc - no one takes any notice of them anyway, and people are so confused that they usually end up putting the question in the HOWTO section which is about the ONLY place they SHOULDN'T put it!!!)
When composing the question, there needs to be two kinds of guides instantly available
- How to write a request for help (what things should be included etc - similar to topic12130.html
- How to use the features of the editor - bold text, blockquotes adding diagrams etc
Hopefully, the new BB will have MUCH better markup that the one we are using (which doesn't even support ALL the phpBB stuff - eg [sp] SHOULD be a non-breaking space. But not on this forum!) On the other hand, a good simple markup system is better than full html (I hate cisco's https://learningnetwork.cisco.com
editor - it can DESTROY a carefully formatted piece without much warning)
Best part of all is the community and software will be FREE. We at GNS3 could not thank you all enough for your support over the years and can't wait to show off the new community + gns3.com website (plus some other secrets that I can't tell you or Jeremy would kill me).
Good. Let's keep it that way.