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Author Topic: FAQ input and feedback request  (Read 1612 times)

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PL1

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FAQ input and feedback request
« on: June 19, 2013, 01:13:53 pm »
I know that many people don't visit the wiki forum, so I figured I'd post a request here for your input and feedback on revising and updating CitznFish's decade-old, only-available-via-the-Internet-Wayback-Machine FAQ.

Whether you are a new-guy or a long-timer, your perspective can help to round out this revision.

The idea is to compile a basic foundation of information that people need to know in order to plan a build, know keywords for searches, and ask better questions in the forums.

What is needed:
- Topics
- Questions / answers
- Pics (as needed)
- Links to related wiki entries
- Links to related threads
- Corrections to any errors you see in the rough draft

Inputs from this thread will be consolidated into the original post of the wiki forum thread here.

Once the wiki logins are restored, we can transfer the questions, links, and photos to the BYOAC wiki.   :cheers:


Scott

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2013, 01:42:53 pm »
I'd like to see a MAME guide for noobs.  If a good one already exists, I'd like to see it linked to or duplicated.

Things they struggle with that they should be made aware of before they start:

>MAMEUI is not MAME.  Hyperspin is not MAME.  Games are launched in MAME via command line.
>This is what a command line looks like.  This is how you enter it.  Here are some extra things you can add to it.
>There are different revisions of MAME and roms.  This is why.  Not all of them work together.  Sometimes you need bios or sound board roms also.
>Not all games in MAME work.  They are in various states of progress.  There should be a message telling you the emulation is incomplete.
>Due to the nature of emulation, even though your PC can run slick looking modern games, it might not be able to run old 3D arcade games.

EDIT: When posting for help, state what OS(especially if it's an unofficial stripped down version) & what revision of MAME you are running.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 01:47:22 pm by BadMouth »

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2013, 02:39:44 pm »
How's this, BadMouth?

7.a.1. - What is an emulator?
A software program that duplicates the hardware, firmware/software, and gameplay of an older game system.

7.a.2. - What is a ROM?
For the original games - Read Only Memory chip(s) on the game board/cartridge that holds the program code for a game/game system.
For emulators - .ZIP file(s) containing a dump of the game/game system code.

7.a.3. - What are the different "flavors" of MAME?
MAME - The command line program that the other variants are based on.
MAME32, MAMEUI, or MAMEUIFX - Graphic User Interface (GUI) versions of MAME.

7.a.4. - Why won't this ROM work with the newer version of that emulator?
The game may not be fully functional yet. (Encryption issues, driver problems, incomplete ROM dumps, etc.)
There may be a more accurate "dump" of that game's ROM used by the newer emulator -- emulator and ROM versions must be compatible.
You may also need other driver files or a .CHD (Compressed Hunks of Data) hard drive image.

7.a.5. - How can I tell if my ROMs and emulator are compatible?
Use your emulator's "Audit" function to check the ROMs.



8. Forum tips for asking questions that get good/faster answers:
- Search first, somebody else has probably encountered this problem before -- don't ask people to retype the same old answers to the same old questions.    :angry:

- Take your time editing the post so it is specific, clear, and easy to read.

- Whenever possible, include decent pics/screencaps/diagrams.

- Include software/OS versions if applicable.

- Include your location when asking about parts/vendors or electrical wiring. (different countries use different wire colors and/or voltages)


Scott
« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 03:13:08 pm by PL1 »

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2013, 03:31:23 pm »
I don't think that would do anything for someone who heard about MAME, googled it, and downloaded something labeled "MAME" from questionablesource.com.  All they know is that they have "MAME" and the roms they got from pageofads.net, but it's not working.

The reason game selection was added to the official MAME was to end the complaints that nothing happened when they clicked on the exe.

Telling the person there are different "flavors" isn't going to help.  They downloaded "MAME" so that's what they believe they have, even if it's not.
It would be better to have pics.  i.e. this is what MAME looks like when you click the exe.  If yours doesn't look like this, you don't have MAME.
You have something else, maybe one of the user interface versions.

The reasons given for why a rom won't work seem to address issues pertaining to them actually not being playable. 
But this noob wants to play a game everyone else has working and they have seen it working on youtube.  It works, so why won't it work for them?


Perhaps it's asking too much, especially since I'm not offering to do the work of writing it myself. 
(It's on my "someday" list that I'll probably never get to).
I see noobs having the same issues over and over again and feel less like answering the same questions again as time goes on.
A general overview isn't really going to be much help to them.

Maybe this isn't something for an FAQ, but to be explained as part of a tutorial.


404

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2013, 03:40:29 pm »
Writing a FAQ is pretty easy IMO and i don't mean that as any disrespect to anyone that writes one.

I do however firmly believe that any FAQ won't be easily readable, findable and sustainable with the current segregation of the main page, forums and wiki.

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2013, 04:42:40 pm »
I don't think that would do anything for someone who heard about MAME, googled it, and downloaded something labeled "MAME" from questionablesource.com.  All they know is that they have "MAME" and the roms they got from pageofads.net, but it's not working.
To quote Ron White, "You can't fix stupid."

Telling the person there are different "flavors" isn't going to help.  They downloaded "MAME" so that's what they believe they have, even if it's not.
I'll be adding links to the "flavors" and maybe a few screenshots.  See Ron White quote above.

The reasons given for why a rom won't work seem to address issues pertaining to them actually not being playable. 
But this noob wants to play a game everyone else has working and they have seen it working on youtube.  It works, so why won't it work for them?
That is what the 7.a.5. "audit" part is for.

Perhaps it's asking too much, especially since I'm not offering to do the work of writing it myself. 
(It's on my "someday" list that I'll probably never get to).
I see noobs having the same issues over and over again and feel less like answering the same questions again as time goes on.
A general overview isn't really going to be much help to them.
The idea is that the FAQ will also have links to other wiki entries and threads for more in-depth info.

Once the wiki is working, you can answer the same old questions once in the wiki and the next time it comes up, you can answer "Read the wiki entry" instead of searching through dozens of threads looking for the one that has the relevant diagram and explaination.

As you find more info on the subject or better ways to express the concepts, it's easier to keep the wiki consolidated and updated than to do it with threads/posts.

Maybe this isn't something for an FAQ, but to be explained as part of a tutorial.
Basics in the FAQ, links to the tutorials.

Writing a FAQ is pretty easy IMO and i don't mean that as any disrespect to anyone that writes one.
Writing a FAQ is easy -- doing it well isn't.

I do however firmly believe that any FAQ won't be easily readable, findable and sustainable with the current segregation of the main page, forums and wiki.
Readability has no relation to the issue of segregation.   :dizzy:

Seems like the info on the front page would be better either pulled into the wiki or forums or update the entries to point at the wiki or forums.   :dunno

Bringing the FAQ into the wiki will make it easier to sustain and maintain.

Part of the problem with the FAQ and wiki is that they are badly outdated so people avoid them -- once they are updated, it will be easier to point people to the relevant parts.


Scott

404

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2013, 08:54:00 pm »
I do however firmly believe that any FAQ won't be easily readable, findable and sustainable with the current segregation of the main page, forums and wiki.
Readability has no relation to the issue of segregation.   :dizzy:

Seems like the info on the front page would be better either pulled into the wiki or forums or update the entries to point at the wiki or forums.   :dunno

Bringing the FAQ into the wiki will make it easier to sustain and maintain.

Part of the problem with the FAQ and wiki is that they are badly outdated so people avoid them -- once they are updated, it will be easier to point people to the relevant parts.

Scott


Unfortunately, The forums has a much higher search rank than the rest of the pages on BYOAC. A quick SERP analysis shows that people just don't breeze by the main page and wiki, they never see them compared to the forums index alone.  :(

I really think this is part of the reason why so many questions are being asked over and over again.

Nephasth

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2013, 09:22:56 pm »
Where does this wire go?

spoot

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2013, 01:24:00 am »
Where does this wire go?

Here's your wire.... :whap

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2013, 02:05:58 am »
I cant help but think that one of the inherent problems with writing an FAQ is that it is written by the guys who really know their stuff, have been into it for years, and forget that your average noob is approaching it from way outside it all somewhere.

So an answer like "MAME32, MAMEUI, or MAMEUIFX - Graphic User Interface (GUI) versions of MAME" may make perfect sense to someone who already knows about that stuff, but is a confusing list of wierd letters and numbers to a newbie looking to get his first MAME setup, and is in danger of just making the subject even more confusing than it already is.

Ron White may have said "You can't fix stupid". But that's a pretty stupid thing to say sometimes, cos everyone starts out "stupid" to some extent. The newbie side of this hobby is populated by people who enjoy tackling something they previously knew nothing about and didn't think was possible. Its one of the attractions of the project.

As a relative newbie myself, the impression i got was that MAME seems overtly and perhaps unnecessarily complicated, and that there is a club of geeky guys out there who "get it" but don't want to let me in by sharing it in a way I could easily understand.

I don't quite understand the annoyance factor of being asked the same question by noobs - I would have thought that helping people out is part of what forums are about, and I would be happy (and proud) to be able to help someone out with a seemingly dumb question. But since it does appear to be an annoyance, I think the way to avoid the same question cropping up would be to ensure there is an FAQ where the answers really take people by the hand and guide them through stuff, using "stupid" as the starting point.

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2013, 02:28:04 am »
@404 - I understand that, but look at the last sticky in Main.

It points people to various starting points for information.

I'm not suggesting we reinvent the wheel, just refurbish the one we've already got.

The sad part is that the linked FAQ thread had a number of broken and replacement links, including the previous Google cache link that was reported broken for almost a year with no reply before I noticed and dug up a replacement.   :soapbox:
http://www.xmarks.com/site/www.ecst.csuchico.edu/~darrelld/newbie.html

...Darn... fini... done... gone.... dead.

Who is the moderator on this site????    ???

Here's a link to the Internet Wayback Machine archive of the FAQ.

This should be good for a long time, but we really should consider updating and hosting the FAQ on-site -- once the wiki logins are fixed.   ::)   [/broken record mode]


Scott

Where does this wire go?

:bat  I'll tell you where you can put it and what ratchet crimper jaws you should use to secure it there.  :P   >:D


Scott

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2013, 04:04:16 am »
Thanks for your input, Thefox.

I cant help but think that one of the inherent problems with writing an FAQ is that it is written by the guys who really know their stuff, have been into it for years, and forget that your average noob is approaching it from way outside it all somewhere.

So an answer like "MAME32, MAMEUI, or MAMEUIFX - Graphic User Interface (GUI) versions of MAME" may make perfect sense to someone who already knows about that stuff, but is a confusing list of wierd letters and numbers to a newbie looking to get his first MAME setup, and is in danger of just making the subject even more confusing than it already is.

Right now I'm using some "inside baseball" shorthand on some of these as a placeholder before expanding the text, adding some screen-shots, and whipping it into final shape.

Once it is on the wiki, it will be easy for anyone with a clearer/better way to express the ideas to improve the FAQ.

That's also why I'm asking for everyone's input.

By the time we get the FAQ whipped into decent shape, it should be as easy to follow as my help threads.  ;D

Ron White may have said "You can't fix stupid". But that's a pretty stupid thing to say sometimes, cos everyone starts out "stupid" to some extent.
Minor revision: Everyone starts out ignorant to some extent -- and that's OK.

Ignorance can be fixed by the individual learning what they didn't know before.

That's why we all keep reading and learning.   :cheers:

My point with the Ron White quote was that no matter how much you try to idiot-proof something, someone will always build a bigger, better idiot.   :laugh2:

For now, we'll work on the ignorant-proofing the FAQ until the law of diminishing returns kicks in or it exceeds the size of the Encyclopedia Galactica.

Eventually, we'll get the FAQ where it should be, but right now, it's just the beginnings of a skeleton that we need to flesh out.

As a relative newbie myself, the impression i got was that MAME seems overtly and perhaps unnecessarily complicated, and that there is a club of geeky guys out there who "get it" but don't want to let me in by sharing it in a way I could easily understand.
It's not that anyone is trying to deliberately shut anyone out -- other than maybe one guy . . . but you're not him.   >:D

I don't quite understand the annoyance factor of being asked the same question by noobs - I would have thought that helping people out is part of what forums are about, and I would be happy (and proud) to be able to help someone out with a seemingly dumb question.
I think it's a bit rude when someone posts a question without even trying a search, but it's usually not worth making an issue out of it.

I'm not annoyed by the repetitious questions, just seeking a more organized and efficient way to convey the material.

Case in point.

23 of my posts mention MagnaSave.

21 of those posts mention how to tie MagnaSave and Upper Flipper inputs together for Visual Pinball because no pinball tables use both.

Some of the posts took a really long time to write, it also took a while to find a post that had several related wiring + diode diagrams, and a few of the newer posts left out some details included in earlier posts.

This is the kind of thing that is perfect for the wiki -- once it is written up and consolidated there, future replies on the subject can point to the wiki.

From there, it's much easier to proceed since they'll have a solid foundation for any further questions.

But since it does appear to be an annoyance, I think the way to avoid the same question cropping up would be to ensure there is an FAQ where the answers really take people by the hand and guide them through stuff, using "stupid" as the starting point.
Change "stupid" to "ignorant" and we're pretty much on the same page.


Scott
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 05:00:14 am by PL1 »

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2013, 05:12:50 am »
Who else has something they think belongs in the revised FAQ?

What is needed:
- Topics
- Questions (plus answers if you have them)
- Pics (as needed)
- Links to related wiki entries
- Links to related threads
- Corrections to any errors you see in the rough draft


Scott

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2013, 09:06:31 am »
I don't quite understand the annoyance factor of being asked the same question by noobs - I would have thought that helping people out is part of what forums are about, and I would be happy (and proud) to be able to help someone out with a seemingly dumb question. But since it does appear to be an annoyance, I think the way to avoid the same question cropping up would be to ensure there is an FAQ where the answers really take people by the hand and guide them through stuff, using "stupid" as the starting point.

It's really nothing against the noob.  It's a process where someone who has been around a long time and doesn't bother answering the questions anymore is replaced by someone else who hasn't been on the scene as long and is still excited to share their knowledge (which most likely was passed to them by the old timer).  A lot of the people who posted regularly when I first joined now only post in threads that are extremely unique and not a rehash of conversations already had many times before.

Quote
As a relative newbie myself, the impression i got was that MAME seems overtly and perhaps unnecessarily complicated, and that there is a club of geeky guys out there who "get it" but don't want to let me in by sharing it in a way I could easily understand.

You are not the only one who has come away with that perspective.  That is why I think it is important to explain the known stumbling blocks upfront in a way that they will understand at their current level. 

Unfortunately, just as they start to wrap their head around there being different revision numbers for MAME and the roms, they are usually directed to clrmamepro and auditing roms which is pretty heavy stuff for someone who only has MAME halfway working at this point.  It would be much easier for them to find a shady rom site that states what version the roms are and then download the official MAME build for that version (or preferably a torrent of the complete current set).  Then after they have things working and know their way around MAME settings, they can move on to ROM management.


PL1

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2013, 06:47:15 pm »
Update on the FAQ.

While we continue to wait (. . . and wait, and wait . . .  >:D) for the BYOAC Wiki logins to be repaired, Spoot has set up an alternate PinWiki:applaud:  :notworthy:  :applaud:  :notworthy:

With his permission, I created a New BYOAC FAQ page.

Please check it out and throw in your $.02.

I also imported the text from the Wiring and SW Yoke Rebuild pages as well in case Le Chuck or Nephasth wanted to continue work on them.


Scott

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Re: FAQ input and feedback request
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2013, 02:48:49 am »
Saint has the new and improved BYOAC Wiki up and running. (Now with working logins!!!1!   :laugh2:)

Thanks in advance for any improvements you'd like to add to the new FAQ entry.   ;D


Scott