Any interest in a blog?

Discussion in 'General' started by TonyG, Aug 13, 2020.

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Do you think a blog for ISPConfig would be helpful to you or others?

  1. What's a blog?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Nah. There are plenty of notes in these forums.

    42.9%
  3. Maybe. Depends on what gets posted, rite?

    28.6%
  4. Yes. It would be cool to monitor and comment on someone's experience.

    28.6%
  1. TonyG

    TonyG Member

    When I get started with a new app I have a lot of questions and learn a lot of new details. After this process is started I often think that it might have been helpful to others if I had created a blog to document my exeriences and impressions. Then other newcomers could look at the notes and sort of learn as I have learned. We have all benefit from other blogs and this is a way to pay-back / pay-forward in gratitude for the software and information that we get from others.

    Quick examples:
    • My interest in ISPConfig began when researching alternatives to Zimbra. That led to Mail In a Box, Modoboa, here, and few other places. I was compelled to look further when I found that (of course) ISPConfig isn't "just" an environment for maintaining an email server - but it has many more valuable features.
    • I immediately found the community here to be cordial and helpful. With ISPConfig forums hosted at HowToForge it's apparent that a lot of diversity is present here in the membership.
    • After installing I started looking at API docs. I cloned the Git repo for ISPConfig to start looking at code, and added the API-docs to my site for easy viewing.
    • Then I realized I had not setup my firewall to prevent access to the app login ... I don't even want people to see it.
    Every FOSS package starts with an experience like this. Sometimes there are mistakes and tragedies, reinstallations, and revelations the result in a completely new way to look at how things are done. Maybe blogging will help someone else to avoid wasted time. Maybe I'll save some time if someone sees that I'm doing something stupid and they comment on a post. :)

    So... is there room in this community for a new blog? I mean, anyone can easily say, "sure, do whatever the hell you want". But unless there is an actual positive interest I won't bother. To be clear, I'm not an ISP. I'm a guy with a bunch of private sites and right now I'm just focused on email and system monitoring. Over time my use of the software might expand, maybe as I support more sites for other people and clients. I dunno. We'll see.

    And more importantly, are there other current, independent blogs that focus on ISPConfig?
    https://www.ispconfig.org/blog/ is more like an announcement platform, which is fine for what it is.
    I've only found one other blog and it's very old. Where is everyone hiding? :)

    Thanks for your comments and hopefully your interest.
     
  2. ahrasis

    ahrasis Well-Known Member

    I think there is no need for blog(s) and this forum is enough where you can share in tips board if you have any tips to share. You also can contribute by writing tutorial(s) and report issue(s) or suggest any code directly to ISPConfig gitlab.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  3. nhybgtvfr

    nhybgtvfr Active Member

    like @ahrasis, i'm not really sure there is much of a requirement for a blog, at least not for the longer term ispconfig users.
    possibly something more on a knowledgebase format, so that any well-known, regularly recurring issues people run into can be kept in a more readable / searchable format, and will perhaps stop the forums clogging up with requests for how to fix requests for all sites always loading only the first site, or how to troubleshoot panel changes not propogating to the slave servers, etc.
    the downside to that is that if novice users are looking at the knowledgebase for those answers, then they're not interacting on here as much, so it may diminish the community feel somewhat.

    all that said, if you thinking of blogging about your own experiences and learning with FOSS packages, by all means go ahead. no-one here has any interest in stopping you. you could always tag your posts for different packages so people can filter it down to only posts for software they're interested in. i'm sure there's plenty of newcomers to ispconfig, or those undecided and researching alternatives that would find it useful.
     
  4. till

    till Super Moderator Staff Member ISPConfig Developer

    The problem that I see with such third party resources is that they often contain informations that are not fully correct, not because the author is doing this intentionally but just due to lack of knowledge, this then leads then to the problem that users follow these posts instead of following the official instructions, in the end, their setup fails and then they show up here in the forum and we have to help them to get things fixed. So yes, you are free to write about anything you want in your blog, but my experience with that is, let's say mixed, some posts that are out there and got never corrected by their authors caused us a lot of hassle here in the forum :)
     
    ahrasis and Th0m like this.
  5. Th0m

    Th0m ISPConfig Developer ISPConfig Developer

    Another problem is that if you write something about the site backup module about the current version (3.1.15p3), you will have to update it when it changes (which will happen in 3.2). Keeping all posts up to date is a lot of work.

    We currently have a manual which explains a lot of functions. Maybe we could move this over to a online platform and we create a separate project on the gitlab so multiple people can work on it. But we would have to restrict access to HTF supporters.
     
  6. TonyG

    TonyG Member

    Interesting responses. Thanks guys.

    I tend to think that more sites of any kind create an ecosystem that makes the core offering more alluring and valuable. Mention some FOSS and you might get "what is that" "who uses it", etc. But other FOSS that is easily found through many venues is well-recognized and thus used more. That brings more people to the forums, more people looking at the code. More extensions, more PRs, and more people to provide insight into new challenges. As a simple example, I've been working with ISP environments since the early 90's and I just found out that ISPConfig exists. Yeah, I know it's not 30 years old. But it would have been nice if I had stumbled over it on blogs, comparison articles of email server installations, or videos about system maintenance.

    Sure, anyone here can point to other sites and say "are you blind? ISPConfig is everywhere". OK, I'm just here to tell ya my experience.

    And that's exactly the kind of noob perspective that I have that you guys have lost. I'm just learning things here for the first time that you guys consider FAQs. I was wondering why there isn't a wiki and I read an old post that there is one that no one maintains - such is the wonderful world of FOSS. I actually do a Search on forums before posting but a lot of people don't. So I search and learn through forum posts what people have tried and how things were fixed. It would be nice to see that categorized/tagged as suggested. I've also looked for a manual that can give me a more top-down view of this fine software. The only manual that seems to be available is the one to be purchased. I absolutely will buy one. But it always helps to have more than one view of how things work, to have a different perspective driven by need. I have needs for software and I have no idea if ISPConfig will satisfy them, or if I should not look to this software to do something for which it wasn't designed. We're not going to find insight from that process in forums (easily) or in a manual, and not in just one blog either. That's why a broader ecosystem is valuable. Different people with different needs take different approaches to find and implement solutions - and the more diversity we see the more the software will grow.

    About blog content getting outdated: Yeah, that happens ... in forums and wiki and manuals and StackOverflow and Twitter too. That's not a valid argument against blogs, of which there are a billion. We should all have a signature that says "Do you see outdated content? Post an update!" But we don't, so we deal with the world as it is. My intent here is to blog my newcomer experience for others who have a similar perspective. Details always change but fundamental concepts often don't, like "where do I look for documentation?" and "I need more examples of API calls with REST", and "what happens if I replace SpamAssassin with Rspamd?" and "I need help to understand how to link my DNS changes with other servers" and "gosh, why doesn't anyone else blog what they know about this great software?". Sure, as time goes on, I look back to see how naive my original challenges were, and I learn new solutions, I can go back and post links to updates. That may or may not happen. But IMO it's far better to have another resource for people to go than just the one that I am aware of here.a

    About initial information and assumptions being incorrect: Yeah, that's a valid concern. For a blog (or wiki) with this intended direction the goal would be to document my experience as I go but then to swing back and refer back to corrections and better solutions. The intent is not for people to follow a blog like this "live" but for people to see the various challenges, trials, and ultimate resolutions, more like a story. I sometimes blog in a private site for my own benefit and I do exactly that. Like when WordPress plugins fall out of maintenance I'll go back and edit or comment on my own post that it's now dead, and link to something else that's now available or better. Most of us here might be able to comment on the SOAP to REST migration or maybe Certbot to acme.sh. We shouldn't avoid documenting what we are doing now with the assumption that at some point in the future we might find a better way ... hell, we wouldn't write anything if we did that.

    Again, I know I can just do this. We don't need approval. I was and still am just looking for some community feedback - and hoping someone would point to a slew of existing blogs that are exactly what I describe here. That would save me a lot of writing. :)

    I'm also not adverse to just putting organized notes in a wiki, assuming it's easy to access and people actually know to go there. I've worked with a lot of communities (software and gaming) that don't put any value in a wiki no matter how much info is there, and others that live on the wiki content for all RTM responses. Go figure. The only thing I don't like about a wiki (this has happened a couple times) is that after a couple years of effort some tin god decides not to get backups, or just to trash it, and all of that work is lost. No, I don't want to lose work like that and I think communities deserve better. This is another reason why it's better for a community when responsibility for the ecosystem is not reliant on just one or a few people with limited time and perhaps limited vision for their own creation. That happens too often. I run many forums and Slack teams and I ensure that other respected members of the communities have admin access in case I get stupid (too late?) or in case I get hit by a bus. Giving up the keys like that is another way to bring in more people who might be concerned that one person has too much control to justify business investments or other decisions. I'm absolutely not saying this is the case here - I have no clue how anything works here yet. I'm just conveying long-term experience from a lot of projects ... maybe one of these days I'll blog about it. ;)

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Th0m

    Th0m ISPConfig Developer ISPConfig Developer

    I would like to read some of your blogs, and we can always change things like this some time... But for now we are busy with the upcoming release ;)
     

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