If you have a question about using Twine, I'd like you to try posting it to a new Question2Answer setup and give your feedback in this thread.
Question2Answer is an open-source clone of Stack Overflow, specifically oriented about answering technical questions online.
Would this replace the existing forum entirely?
Yes, and that's why I'd like as much feedback as possible from everyone currently using the forum before making a decision. I think this needs to be an either/or proposition because how to get help with Twine needs to be as clear as possible. If we have one site for general discussion and a different one for technical questions, I think inevitably people will post to the "wrong" place.
The other reason why is that I'm hoping that switching to Question2Answer will mean less of an administrative burden than this forum -- see below.
Why is this change being considered?
Right now, I don't think this forum is meeting our needs as well as it could.
- The vast majority of posts here, in my opinion, are people asking for technical help.
- The plugin we were using for Q&A has become broken with recent versions of the forum software. As you may have noticed, the button to ask a question doesn't appear on every page of the forum. So we have some posts marked as Q&A and some that aren't. The plugin was last updated in 2015, so I don't have that much hope that it will be fixed.
- We don't have a way to request that people post their story format version, Twine version, etc. when asking a question. This results in a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth.
- The forum search is iffy, sometimes resulting in people posting duplicate questions because they don't realize their question has already been asked.
- Spam continues to be an issue, though the burden has shifted mostly to the moderators of the forum (myself and @Melyanna). We currently require manual approval of every user's first post, which causes frustration for new users -- sometimes they will post duplicate posts thinking that it didn't work -- and means a daily chore for administrators to approve posts, delete dupes, and so on.
Question2Answer, by its nature, is much better for facilitating Q&A than a general-purpose forum.
That said, moving to Q2A would mean that general discussion would need to find a new home. This is the real downside to the transition-- but there are several alternatives to this forum for that anyway. The two I'm aware of are the twinegames subreddit
, and I'm sure there are others that I just don't know about. I'd also be happy to link to another forum should someone in the existing community like to take on that mantle.
What would become of this forum if we moved to the new site?
It would go into a permanent read-only state, so that it could be searched going forward. There's obviously a lot of collective wisdom stored here.
What about switching to different forum software?
To be honest, I don't have a lot of appetite for shepherding another forum transition -- switching to Vanilla was hard enough -- and I'm concerned that it wouldn't mean an appreciably better experience. If you have experience with using forum software for technical Q&A and could help with a transition, though, I'm open to your assistance.
Why not just use Stack Overflow or create a Stack Exchange site for Twine?
People have tried proposing a Stack Exchange site for Twine as well as interactive fiction in general, but in all cases I know of, those proposals have been rejected.
Having a specific Q&A site, as opposed to using Stack Overflow tags, means that it's much easier to see all Twine-related questions in one place. It also means searching for existing answers is a lot easier too.
When will a decision be made about this?
I'd like to try out the Question2Answer site for at least two weeks, possibly more. If I do decide to switch to Question2Answer permanently, I will give everyone here at least 30 days' notice.