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Separate the Wheat from the Chaff in the Wiki
 
Periculi
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Total Posts:  249
Joined:  2009-02-03
 

Dear Magento Team,

The title says it all, but more importantly tack on a “How Do I” in front of that title and imagine our daily frustration.

Every day for the past 3 months or so I make an attempt to find an answer or 2 from the wiki.  It’s useless.

Not just poorly organized, out of date, and hard to distinguish a working answer from someone’s random theory - it’s purely useless.

Why would the wiki need this article? That’s simply pure chaff.  Nothing of value there, just some old advertisement better placed in the blog or the forums perhaps. 

And that is just one fine example. 

The wiki could be the primary source of documentation on community answers to common Magento problems.  But it’s not.  Who is responsible for this?  Who edits the wiki and keeps it up to date? Us?  If we are supposed to make use of this feature without some kind of official documentation to turn to for real answers, it escapes me how we can enable ourselves to step up and make a wiki worth reading.  Or would you prefer us to start placing advertisements for our “professional” services in there and post dates and times to meet up for coffee?

I would love to write up some of my experiences in getting things to work in Magento, but how can I claim to know anything when there is no way to reference if what I am doing is based on some form of Best Practices from the Magento Team.

Delete the wiki.  Stop making it appear to be a useful part of the site.  It’s nothing more than chaff.  I can’t keep track of the number of articles in there that I have followed to the letter only to discover that the methods outlined are completely broken in the current version of magento, and therefore not only useless but a complete waste of time to attempt.

Update the knowledge base or rename it to be more accurate.  It’s not really doing anyone any good as a knowledge base when it doesn’t go much beyond installation and get started fluff. 

How about organizing the knowledge base and wiki to reflect the various tasks we are going to be trying to achieve beyond installation?  Or should we congratulate ourselves once we have magento installed and never go beyond that point?  I have had to research and experiment and use community modules that actually do seem to work to gather any kind of understanding about how much of the XML and other aspects of magento operate-> even though I continually search for answers here, I rarely, if at all, find anything even slightly relevant.  It’s a joke.  I spend 4-5 hours researching for every 10 minutes of productive coding to get what should be a simple task done, and it’s all because of the information vacuum the magento team thinks we should be able to work with.

Separate the official documentation from the attempts by us hacks to make things work in the < 1.0 versions.  Put together some basics about the way magento operates now.  Your killing us with all this chaff, Magento Team, and I believe you know it.  You know we are frustrated.  You know we are getting hostile in the information vacuum.  Do something real about it.  Answer a damn question once in a while, too.

 
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demonkoryu
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Bumped for emphasis.

 
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fegizii
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Total Posts:  160
Joined:  2009-01-21
 

+1

Anybody else see a conflict of interest where an open source developers also charges $$$ to carry out development on their own software for clients?

If they would spread all their knowledge wouldn’t that also affect their business’ bottom line?

PS: the forum is also rubbish (mostly) and the search function is useless ("Magento is the eCommerce software platform for growth that promises to revolutionize the industry.” It definitely succeeds in frustrating a lot of people smile

 
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Discovery
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I think they have a good model - it will evolve like Red Hat/Fedora. Ultimately the wealth of mods and themes makes the ‘free’ edition cutting edge, people are always going to be pushing the boundaries and spreading the knowledge.

Regarding the forum/wiki, why cannot we as a community put together a blog that is collectively added to and moderated? This blog need be no more than ‘Wordpress’ and pick up all the best stuff from the forums. Readers could make submissions to the editor and the tags/categories that you get with Wordpress could make it easy to see all the best tips on - say - processing orders. People with a certain level of forum posts could be asked to be moderators to the ‘community blog’ and hosting providers and others in the Magento ecosystem be given a few Adwords to pay for it all.

I say let’s talk to Roy about getting a community blog going to bring together the best from the wiki and forums.

 
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demonkoryu
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Blogs have their own problems. The quasi-linear structure doesn’t lend itself well to complex knowledge bases, which require crosslinking etc.

What we need is more ways to work on the wiki. It is a MediaWiki, and that software has proven to work for large amounts of community content.  cool hmm

Would the Magento staff allow for more ways to sensibly maintain the wiki, I’m sure in a matter of weeks it will evolve to the knowledgebase people are looking for.
It would be great if we’re able to move, delete and rename categories and pages, and have better ways to organize pages than the half-assed “all categories/pages” way of doing things, ie. a editiable wiki landing page, topic landing pages, etc. etc.
Also the wiki/Magento admin help integration needs some debugging. Almost no Magento admin page is documented!
I assume it’s just a matter of flipping some configuration bits in the MediaWiki admin, and I very much hope it will be done soon.

 
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symmetrics CGI
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*bump*
I thought its a wiki.
Why is it not possible for me to update outdated or write new articles?
A wiki should live from the community which is updating it continuosly.

 
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paul_witherow
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Joined:  2009-03-24
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At the very least I think some effort should be made to keep the a group of installation and getting started pages uptodate and linked together. I think I only found about 3 or 4 pages there when I started and it really left me with more questions than when I started.

 
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Periculi
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Total Posts:  249
Joined:  2009-02-03
 

LoL.. It surprised me to see this post resurface!

Sadly nothing has really changed.  Except it seems people have more and more difficulty getting any straight answers in this forum.

Oh, but I did buy the Users Guide hoping there might be a little acutal in-depth material for someone like me, considering what’s been promised for so long.  Not worth buying, people.  Unless you are having a hard time operating the Admin panel.. LoL!

Mark Kimsal’s Unofficial Guide was more worth the price but out-dated now and you can see his frustration with Magento’s design building through the pages of his guide and some of us are aware of where that has led him.  hah.. Go Mark! Yay!  You’re going to be making a lot of people happy, my good man.

I bought some other guides people have come up with.  None of them really offer anything helpful beyond what is already published in the user guide.  But kudos for trying, lads, skin a little profit off all that Magento hype while it lasts! Yay for riding coat-tails!

But all that aside, I posted this originally in the hopes that something might be done to improve the availability of actual answers to Magento problems.

Because all I have seen for the past 8 months or so on these forums have been questions and frustrations and more unanswered questions and greater frustrations.

I come here three or four times a week just to check the madness.  Still the blind leading the blind as far as I can tell.

Like me, I try to help out a little when I can, but the sheer volume of problems that go with no answers is really sad. Then there’s the total lack of information support by either the Magento Team or this new fangled alleged Community Advisory Board (yeah, that’s you people who have only managed to do one thing all this time - continually blowing sunshine up our ...  and I know this because I have been watching for anything productive you might have to offer us, which to date equals NOTHING more than a few weak posts.  Why don’t you quit the tweets and clean up the wiki a little, or help someone in the forums.. anything but another blog post, kk?)

Who else can we turn to for some sort of explanation of the inner workings than the people who designed this over-engineered cart?  And when was the last time anyone from the Magento team added a quality explanation of anything in magento to the wiki, knowledge base or forums? Anyone?  Link please..

In fact, once I gave up searching for answers by reading the wiki, the forums and the Magento “knowledge base”, ignored all the Issues, especially the one’s they say are “resolved” (here at magentocommerce.com, resolved issues usually mean ignored or put into the enterprise edition only, like the newsletter issue I posted that was “resolved” for version 1.3.2.1 and disappeared immediately before 1.3.2.1 was released.. and the issue? still an issue in 1.3.2.2, of course.), and pretty much decided to brutally hack Magento as I saw fit, my problems and frustrations started to disappear. 

I realized that 80% of the frustration and stress I was feeling was coming from the expectation that I could come here for answers and explanations about Magento from Magento’s Website.

Varien and the Magento Team don’t want this community to have answers and the ability to make Magento a great community project.  They just want your money.

 
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