I think young learners should be directed towards a specific branch of ask.libreoffice.org
This thread orginates in the following case study : “How do you take the nth-rooth in the finnish version of your software ?”
I agree with your opinion that “writing guidelines” are part of software education, along many other abstract notions such as “templates”, “style sheets”, “index browsing” and so on.
Yet, the point I wanted to make in my comment is that youg learners would benefit from an environment where their language is welcomed first rather than buried in admonestations. I also think that teachers should make an effort to reply as users and not as teachers : imagine that someone teaching economics might be looking for the answer to this question. Is he required to know that x^(1/2) = \sqrt(x) ?
Let’s summarize the efficient part of the Q/A process :
Q : “How do you take the nth-rooth in the finnish version of your software”
A : “For taking an n-th root there is not a specific function in spreadsheets […] You can use the operator ^ for exponentiation : it works in every case, finnish, english or whatever language. For instance, if you want to take a square root of 2, type 2^(1/2) and you will get 1,4142. If you want to compute an 10th root of 2 type 2^(1/10) and you will get 1,07177”
This would be my guess at a direct reply, without admonestation. Actually, if you think about it, downvoting and upvoting are sufficient to deal with ill-formed contributions : it’s actually quite harsh, and sometimes comments are better when understood in the scope of a p2p interaction, but too many comments produce cluttering and that’s a harm for the collectivity. So in the end, upvoting and downvoting are the way to go, and they produce great results : everybody writes, but good writers are brought in front, and bad writers are brought back.
Handling more than a hundred languages in certainly a daunting task, but as far as french is concerned, libreoffice is now the default desktop suite on every school’s computer, so that translates into the following user statistics :
- approximately 800 000 teachers
- probably at least as many young learners, but not 40 times 800 000 : for better or for worse, software education is shunned by most teachers as “not part of their job”
A young learner’s forum might be backed up by the teacher community, just by down/up voting. Also mind that good students will be eager to comment and produce nice-looking answers. But that should happen naturally.
Through what device would this forum exist is still a hard question, and entails another question : “would that young learner’s forum have to be instantiated in every language or just English ?”.
For the ODF and the administration of AskLibo, maintaining an English forum is already enough pain, so probably just using a “high school” or “junior high school” tag would be more practical.
However, creating a French forum would probably also attract much attention and raise awareness, as well as additional human backup in the form of teachers and ambitious students. Software education is now part of the high school curriculum (it’s called “Sciences numériques et technologie”, which translates to “Digital sciences and technology”), and I observe that more and more students upload their homework in LO format, especially LO Write.
Sorry my time is running out.
About me : Math teacher, and father of one