'Getting started' user guide

I’ve been thinking that it would be good to have an ‘official’ guide to Diaspora for prospective users and new users. Something along the lines of the excellent Diasporial tutorials. At present we rely on sites set up by community members, and the fragility of this has just been brought home by the fact that someone has just pointed out that the tutorials (and the rest of Diasporial, apart from the home page) have been taken down.

Would anyone be up for collaborating on writing a really simple ‘how-to’ guide to Diaspora, along the lines of Diasporial? If so, let’s get cracking.

If anyone is in touch with Kevin Kleinman, I’d be grateful if you’d ask him (a) will he be putting the tutorials back up, and (b) may we have his copy to work from, as this would save a lot of work. We could then just update it where necessary.

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I already asked Kevin if he has backups of the guides and if he’d be willing to dump them into the wiki and setup redirects to the wiki pages. Yet no response, but that was only a couple of hours ago.

Ah right, that would be a great start. Thanks.

Diasporial’s back up. It would be great if you could get permission from Kevin for us to use his material on the wiki.

He’s usually active in the Tent.is community. I’ll ping him about it and report back. :slight_smile:

Alright, I talked to @dennisschubert who’s hosting Diasporial. He got a “do whatever you want with it” back then from Kevin, so we can start transfering the content to the wiki and if that’s done we’re going to put the redirects in place.

That’s great. Thanks for making the contact, and thanks to Kevin. I don’t want to detract from Diasporial or anything like that, but if we can build on his excellent work to have a really simple introductory guide and ‘how-to’ on the foundation site, I think that would be a good step.

On second thoughts, if DIasporial is still being maintained, there’s probably no need to make a similar section on the foundation site. It would be better to focus energies on things for which there isn’t already a decent resource available, such as how to choose a pod, as we discussed the other day. Plus, centralising all the resources for a decentralised project is probably self-defeating!

I was just concerned when the site went down as I’m aware that Kevin is no longer involved in the project (at least, I don’t think he is), and remember when other resources, such as the Diaspora forum, got taken down.

It might be worth making a repository of the Diasporial files, just in case we need them for the future, but as long as Diasporial is going to continue to be maintained, I think we may as well leave things as they are and not attempt to duplicate Kevin’s work on the foundation site.

It’s maintained in the sense of kept hosted. The content isn’t maintained anymore.

I’ve started working on transferring the Diasporial tutorials to the new project site. I’ll update both the content and links.

I think a basic ‘getting started’ tutorial would be good on the main site rather than the wiki, so I’m planning put the information into pages using the same design as the project site. If you feel these tutorials would be better on the wiki, speak up now.

Assuming these will be part of the main site rather than the wiki, I’ll only be able to provide the pages in plain HTML/CSS rather than the Ruby-type HTML pages used in Github, as I really don’t understand that, so it’ll need someone to refactor them afterwards.

I’m about half-way through updating, editing and adding to the text of the Diasporial tutorials.

One thing we will need is updated screen-shots. Kevin provided ones based on his own account, but I think it would be better to use mock-ups with made-up names, so that no one in particular is identified.

Would someone be happy to do this for me? I don’t really have the energy or creativity to take this on as well as the text.

You can see the images that are in the old tutorials by looking at the first four pages of the getting started guide.

I’ll put a draft of my new text up as soon as possible - probably in the next 48 hours - as it may be that some additional screen-shots will also be helpful, but if someone’s happy to do this, it’ll give you a chance to start straight away.

@Goob I could set up a “John Doe” account on my localhost if you’d like. :slight_smile:

@seantilleycommunit that would be really helpful. But thinking about it it might be best to decide what graphics we actually need to save you some work. It may be that we don’t need as many graphics as there are on Diasporial. Let’s discuss.

I’ll try to get at least the first couple of parts up by this evening so you can have a look and see what you think.

I’ve placed Part I in this PiratePad document. I’ll add to it over the next 24 hours.

Please, anyone who wants to help, read it and either suggest additions, corrections, and changes, or make your own changes to the PiratePad document.

(I notice it has added multiple spaces between some words when I pasted it in there, I think we’ll just have to ignore those as removing them all will be a lot of work. I’ll remove them all when we’re finished editing.)

Thanks in advance for your help.

OK, I’ve finished the document, and the complete draft is on PiratePad. Please have a look at it and make your edits or make suggestions to me on this discussion.

One thing where there is potential confusion is that the term ‘sharing’ is used both for making connections (ie adding someone to your aspects) and for publishing content. Can you think of a good way to avoid any confusion over this?

Another question is: are there areas which are covered in too much detail in this getting started guide? If so, I could cut those down to make them more simple and place the more detailed information in a separate tutorial.

start sharing == adding to an aspect. You can put that if you want.

I’ve placed some mock-ups here with some draft images in place. See what you think, and let me know if any of it is not likely to be clear to a novice user, or if you spot any errors.

OK made some edits to the piratepad doc - mainly correcting some spelling stuff, some sentences I rewrote.

Excellent work except I have one issue maybe - it’s just too long. A normal user will not read it. They might read the first section - but I’d bet only the most patient users will ever read the whole document. I think the point of a Getting Started guide is to be very, very brief, not going into details. A user manual goes into details and I think this is excellent work towards a proper user manual that is missing from Diaspora. However, this is not a getting started guide we should point users to when they sign up. We should have something very short - maybe even a video, explaining just a few core functionalities in brief and then telling them to find more details in the manual if they are interested.

I got almost to section 3 - will try to continue tomorrow :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot, Jay. That’s really useful feedback. I did wonder about how long it was getting… and I think you’re right. It’s probably worth editing/correcting what I’ve done, and then trying to extract the minimum information needed to get someone started, and the rest in a more detailed user manual which can be referred to later.