Douglas Livingstone wrote:
>>Trust tends to come from a network effect.  If I determine one site to
>>be trustworthy (say, ruby-lang.org), and it links to another site
>>(rubyforge.org), I can infer that that other site is probably worthwhile.
> 
> 
> True, branding and linking are both things which are important. The
> network effect is reduced when it feels like you are moving from one
> network to another - there is no link on the ruby-lang.org front page
> to ruby-doc.org. Instead, ruby-doc is listed on the "Downloadable
> documents" page. The network effect is active here too: above
> ruby-doc, there is a link to Ruby 1.4.6 documentation, and a notice
> that the "reference manual for Ruby 1.6 is not yet prepared", while on
> the front page there is a download link for Ruby 1.8.2! Does this mean
> that ruby-doc is more out of date than either of those two?

Good points, though nothing that will be solved by re-styling a page.

Should the link to ruby-doc be on the main page?  I can't say, because
the main page could probably be better organized overall, and that
organization depends on identifying what goals the site means to serve,
and then it can be determined what links go where.

(Offhand, I think the ruby-lang main page needs a prominent link to a
"Documentation" page, and that page should directly host the core and
stand lib API docs.  And there should be link to ruby-doc, where one can
go for more documentation on a broader range of Ruby topics.)

> 
> 
>>I don't see any shortcuts for people to figure out what sites are
>>reliable sources and which aren't. A stamp of approval won't do it.
> 
> 
> You are right, naturally, putting a stamp on something doesn't make
> the contents more correct. OTOH, the new user doesn't know what
> "correct" is - the only way they can tell is by perception of value.
> To increase the perceived value, you need the positive networking and
> visual harmony.

The networking, yes, but the visual harmony is a red herring.  If the
ruby-lang site says, "Go here to see active Ruby projects", then it's
pretty clear it's related and valuable.


> 
> Removing dead links on the ruby-lang site would be a good first step.
> 
> On: http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/20020103.html

<snip/>

I big problem I've run into trying to keep ruby-doc up to date is the
steady increase in Ruby resources.  I've given up trying to manually
track and add them, and have some beta ruby-doc code to do it for me.

But before anyone sets out to update the links on ruby-lang, it may be 
worth asking if a) this sort of content even belongs there, and b) if 
so, how  can it be arranged so that keeping up doesn't become a 
full-time job?

A really big advantage to making it easier for people to create Ruby
sites (and part of this is not discouraging interest because a site may
be considered "unofficial") is that you can offload the work.  Why
manually update a set of "In the news" links on ruby-lang when you can
just grab and cache RSS feeds from trusted sources?  Let others write
the content, on their time, on their machines, in a manner that works
for them.

An a side note, perhaps I'm misreading things, but this thread seems 
strongly focused on new users.  The discussion on how to re-do various 
Web sites seem to argue that the sites need to focus on the needs of 
newbies.

Certainly newcomers should be afforded every convenience, but they are 
not the majority audience, and newbies won't stay newbies for long.

There is a certain style of usability design that makes things really 
easy to do something the first time, but becomes increasingly annoying 
as one acquires more experience and all the newbie features just get in 
the way.

It is not easy to find the right balance, and people ought not be thrust 
into "expert mode" right off the bat, but I suspect that many things 
that may one thinks of as valuable to a newcomer will quickly strike 
them as just more stuff taking up screen space as they soon get more 
familiar with a site.

James