Testing Askbot - An open source question and answer forum

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

Icon key points.gif
Key points
  • Ask is a community-based question and answer forum, based on the Open Source Askbot software.
  • Contributors earn points ("karma") and badges for useful participation in the community.
  • Community participation involves asking questions, contributing answers, voting on questions and answers, providing comments, etc.
  • As participants earn more points ("karma") and become more trusted community members, a hierarchy of features becomes available in accordance with levels of earned trust, for example, the ability to:
    • downvote a question,
    • accept answers to own questions,
    • to open and close own questions,
    • edit any answer,
    • delete any comment.

Icon objectives.jpg
Testing instructions

The purpose of this activity under the open student support initiative of the OERu logic model is to experiment and test the suitability and scalability of Askbot as a technology for students and academic volunteers to build a database of questions and answers for student support for OERu learning. Please help us test the technology and advice the OERu network on implementation recommendations.

  1. Create an account or login using an external OpenID service.
  2. Scan through the frequently asked questions page.
  3. To assist in testing the technology, we invite you to help develop questions and answers about the OER university project.
  4. Please list questions, general comments, identified software bugs and suggestions or recommendations under the respective subheadings on this wiki page below so we have a record of our testing activity. Remember to sign your name.


  • Based on initial testing and consensus poll the askbot technology will be trialed for inclusion in the OERu 2012 prototype courses.


  • The software uses tags for categorizing and searching. Would it be better to have a separate instance for each OERu course to deal with content specific Q&A and a general OERu learner support instance? --Wayne Mackintosh 05:11, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Dear Dr. Wayne, I think a single database would be better,if it is possible to insert one additional cell for capturing a principal/mandatory tag from a preset list while adding a new question and display that tag list on the home page for searching the queries Anil Prasad 09:40, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Speaking from the learners perspective, I think that a single askbot site for all courses could be confusing. As the OERu matures and grows, we could have hundreds of courses so I think that for content specific Q&A an instance for each course would be beneficial. I do agree that for generic student support in the OERu model a single database would be advisable. --Wayne Mackintosh 21:24, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
In a way I agree with Wayne that a single database could be confusing with the growing number of courses but the alternative is a growing number of separate databases added with every new course. So what about one database where a part from the generic tags each course has its own specific tag. When a new courses is added a tag is allocated to that course and all course content or relevant information is tagged with it. --Vasi Doncheva 21:56, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I've also been thinking about a points system for OERu learners to support the P2P dimension of AVI -- the idea being that students can donate time by supporting fellow learners in "payment" for their free learning opportunities provided by the OERu network. For example, the OERu could specify a minimum number of community service points required for assessment. Supporting Askbot is one way OEru learners can earn service points. If we decide to implement this idea - -an Askbot instance for each course may be easier for keeping track of the community service points. --Wayne Mackintosh 22:49, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Further testing -- I now have sufficient points to "retag" a question, which means there is another opportunity for community participation to add missing tags where contributors forget to add the course hashtag. (I also received an organizer badge for my first retag :-)) So perhaps a single database is preferable because users can search by tag. --Wayne Mackintosh 23:02, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Dear Dr. Wayne, is it possible to assign Course Name or Course Code as a Primary Key (the principal tag - as I called in the earlier comment)? If possible, we can place Course Selection as the mandatory field for starting to use Askbot by the user. Once primary key is selected all the data will be filtered based on the Primary Key and every thing would become simple in one site and one database. Warm regards Anil Prasad 01:15, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes -- Each OERu course will have a unique hashtag (code) which will be used for various technologies supporting OERu learning, eg tags for Askbot questions, the tag used to aggregate feeds from different interaction technologies (discussion forums, WENotes, identi.ca, Twitter, Blog posts etc.) --Wayne Mackintosh 03:05, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • What learner support and or community tutorials would be required to help newbies with the technology? --Wayne Mackintosh 05:13, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Is it possible to add simple instructions on each activity page? For example, when a user click the button 'Ask Your Question', the page http://ask.OERu.org/questions/ask/ should contain simple instructions with respect to adding a question. Anil Prasad 09:48, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
  • We definitely need more help/instructions in the tool. I wasn't able to find a way to vote on answer although I'm sure there's a simple way to do it. But sometimes I can't find the milk in the fridge when it's right in front of me.--Irwin DeVries 23:21, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Yep - -agreed. We will need a basic getting started tutorial. Also its not always immediately obvious what level of points are needed for different moderation functions and how users generate points. --Wayne Mackintosh 00:58, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • The OUUK pioneered the Good Study Guide a support text covering the study skills required for successful study. We could develop the OERu wiki alternative which could incorporate some of the digital literacies (eg using askbot, other social media etc) as a resource for OERu learners. --Wayne Mackintosh 03:02, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • We could, for example, use the Askbot technology itself for help related questions -- these could link to more detailed tutorials in the wiki. What do you think? --Wayne Mackintosh 21:24, 29 April 2012 (UTC
    • Yes that makes a lot of sense. It should work for its own operation as well as for other areas. I wonder also if we should have a standard answer or process for questions that it can't answer: i.e. what to do next or suggestions on how either to rephrase the question or whom to contact.--Irwin DeVries 23:21, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Software bugs

  • The bullets and numbering in the editor appear to work line by line, rather than extending the list after "enter" to the next line. Not sure if it's a software bug or not. --Alison Snieckus 22:50, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
  • When I try to upload a photo (by clicking on "Change picture" in my profile), I get the following error message: "Oops! Firefox could not find ask.OERu.orgundefinedgravatar". The same problem occurs in IE. --Gabi Witthaus Posted 1 May 2012
I can't duplicate that behavior with Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. All the Change picture link does is take you to the FAQ page that explains that the photo is pulled from the Gravatar service. Does it happen every time or is it dependent on a particular sequence of actions? --JimTittsler 01:56, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Add your point here ...

General comments

  • Add your point here ...
  • Add your point here ...

Suggestions or recommendations

  • Add your point here ...
  • Add your point here ...