This is an invitation to anyone interested in joining a multi-lingual, freely-licensed Ubuntu Q&A site to check http://ubuntu.shapado.com.
As a disclaimer I should mention that I work at Canonical as a senior support analyst for Ubuntu support (both desktop and server) and I also train other people to provide Ubuntu support. I am also the admin and creator of the Ubuntu group in Shapado (10 months ago). So I constantly switch my community and professional hats 🙂
I use the Answers system in Launchpad extensively (including its FAQ facility) but it lacks two big features:
- Non-English language support – also known as « l10n » or « localization« . That would be Bug #81419.
- A reputation / trust system
As you can see that bug report is in an odd deadlock. My interpretation of it is Answers and Launchpad itself were not planned from the beginning to be multilingual. It’s so big now that this can’t be done quickly or easily.
The reputation system or « making Launchpad more social » is a huge feature request too, perhaps traditionally out of scope for such technically-oriented online resources (at least in the traditional Free / Open Source communities). It’s also something I am missing from my daily interactions with customers when providing commercial support.
So when I learned about Shapado I found a nice tool that could complement my advocacy needs, and some more. How is it different than Launchpad’s Answers ? To me, it’s primarily the language support, but many other features are a bonus.
Regarding the recent proposal to have an Ubuntu community in Stack Exchange, see How does Shapado compare to StackExchange ?. I honestly don’t want to join yet another English-only site that runs on non-Free software that I can’t fix or translate myself. I can’t ask anyone around me to do that either. That proposal was forwarded to the LoCo Teams contacts mailing list, asking team contacts to forward it. I am sorry but as an Ubuntu Member and Ubuntu QC contact I won’t do that. I am sticking with my principles for now, and using any free, open source alternative I can get.
So if you’re interested in using Shapado for Q&As in English but also French, Portuguese and Spanish (for now), see http://shapado.com/pages/faq and http://ubuntu.shapado.com.
If you’re interested in setting up your own local, localized Shapado Q&A server, see the installation instructions, the question asking about Ubuntu/Debian packages, and the Shapado « needs-packaging » bug report.
Here is more information on Shapado:
In true dogfood fashion, one can report bugs or make suggestions at http://shapado.com directly, just by using the « bug » or « feature-request » tags 🙂 There is also a more traditional bug tracker.