Several of you have asked about the Disclaimer text that displays at the bottom of everything we post at Cool Solutions. It is particularly puzzling when it appears on articles written by product engineers, who presumably are the ultimate experts on the product. What, you ask, could be more official than that?
The answer does not lie in the accuracy or effectiveness of Cool Solutions content. We have tons of content and free tools created by product experts from both inside and outside the company. We even have some tools that were built and supported by Novell for a long time, but have not been kept current with the newest product versions. So quality is not the issue.
The answer, and the key differentiator between the stuff in Cool Solutions and the stuff in the product docs and TIDs, is supportability. Meaning, NTS will help you if you run into trouble after following instructions in the documentation or in TIDs. But not in Cool Solutions. Here’s why.
Product documentation is written by technical writers and thoroughly tested and verified before it is published. The TIDs are written by Support engineers based on their experiences solving problems for customers. Those TIDs are thus initially tested by the very process of working to resolution with a customer. TIDs may also come from back-line support (or any support engineer) testing based on their ability to reproduce and resolve a reported issue. Once in the Knowledgebase, the TIDs are accessed by other support staff and customers, and are updated when new information becomes available. Since Support has a hand in testing and verifying content in those repositories, they will stand behind it.
Cool Solutions is a whole different story. We do not require our authors to work for Novell or SUSE. In our world, good ideas are good ideas, no matter who has them. Our content comes from community members with varying backgrounds and roles. We have articles and tools from veteran product users, new users, certified instructors, marketing managers and product engineers. But no matter who authors our content, Support will not support it, because they have no hand in testing it.
Our testing model is actually kind of a slow-motion peer-review. It wasn’t always that way. In our earliest years, when we were focused only on GroupWise and ZENworks, we had product engineers review all submissions before we posted them. However, they usually found very little to correct, and the volume of submissions soon outpaced their capacity to conduct reviews.
We decided to rely on community feedback to reveal gaps or errors in the information. Over the years we have had to pull a few articles based on community feedback, but for the most part the authors revise their articles based on the input from the community and the content is improved.
This is a true information meritocracy — anyone can post anything that falls without the scope of our site, but likewise anyone can point out the flaws via comments, private messages to the author, negative ratings, or email to the editors.
Cool Solutions is a great place to find information that is useful, relevant, and sometimes incredibly time-saving. We invite anyone to share tricks they learned the hard way, workarounds, installation notes, gotchas, pain points, and little tools or scripts that simplify a specific task. And we invite anyone to use the tools and information freely.
But just remember…” this content is definitely not supported by Novell (so don’t even think of calling Support if you try something and it blows up). It was contributed by a community member and is published “as is.” It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.”