Sunday, June 20, 2010

One Oracle forum to rule them all

Previous year I already expressed some of my thoughts on the OTN Forums and Stack Overflow here. In short my story was: I absolutely love the Q&A engine of Stack Overflow, but the best answers can be found on OTN. However, with more knowledgeable people appearing on Stack Overflow, the gap is closing. In the comments section and from conversations I came to know that there is still some resistance with Stack Overflow to some people on two other points:

- Stack Overflow is primarily aimed at the developers community, so a DBA won't feel much at home as there are only a few real DBA questions. For Oracle this is a real pity, because there is a huge amount of knowledge about Oracle databases among the DBA's. If we could only welcome them as well...

- To categorize questions, Stack Overflow uses tags. People who answer questions use tags to see all potentially interesting questions. However, you'll see lots of not relevant questions as well this way. You can't ever filter out all questions that you don't want to see, but the signal-to-noise ratio should at least be above some personal threshold. And this can be hard to achieve on Stack Overflow depending on your interests.

I ended my blog post last year with the phrase "I wish that the best of both worlds can be combined somewhere in the future.". And this wish can come true, with Stack Exchange. It's now possible to use the brilliant Q&A engine of Stack Overflow and create a forum site for only Oracle related questions. This should be very interesting for DBA's as well, and because of the Oracle-focus, it becomes much easier to express your interests. The community can tag and re-tag all questions and direct them to the world's best experts and wannabe's in Oracle land on a certain field. I have a dream, of no more hardly readable questions with lousy titles, no more inaccessible forum sites, no more trolling and no more questions without reasonable answers. I dream of one Oracle forum that unites all other Oracle forums, so we can learn from ALL experts, not just the few that happen to be present in a particular forum.

So, I support Gary Myers' idea and hope that you do as well. And if you do, please click the FOLLOW button here. The technology is ready, the proposal is there, now we only need to express our wish as a community and commit ourselves to it.

Spread the word.

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