Create a Storj School for new SNO and Tardigrade clients

Hi,

Storj, as all other Decentralized (storage) platforms, is relying on community involvement. Even if this community is techno enthusiast, some of its members may be more or less technically qualified.
So we can say that onboarding and involving this diversity of members is one of the key success factors.

To meet this challenge, Storj Labs is constantly updating and improving its documentation. And I have to say that, having seen other projects’ documentation (incl. for decentralized storage platforms), Storj one is quite good.
But it’s still little bit complicated for some of new comers. I remember that I helped some new members to get into that game.

What do you think about creating a kind of interactive training, a “Storj School”?
I know it could be time-consuming but this is just a thought I wanted to share with you.

This Storj school would be a paththat would go through main steps or ways to be part of the Storj adventures, including:

  • How to set up a new node?
  • How to buy storage on Tardigrade?
  • How to get my earnings? How to convert them into fiat currencies?
    Basically, everything we could think on the official documentation but in a more “interactive” way.
    I thought it could be done like cryptozombies.io, with a emulated environment.

What do you think?

I have no opinion whether this is important or not, as I’m probably one of those who don’t really need much help—and the parts I do ask questions about are advanced topics anyway, topics which would not be covered by an introductory-level trainings. Moreover, I just do not have the data about what are the most common problems that new people encounter.

However, if anyone wants to do it, I’d recommend to start from improving plain old written documentation. This is much cheaper than preparing a whole interactive environment or recording videos, and makes it easy to search for information on-demand. The current documentation is unfortunately still lacking. Even simply linking some best-practice forum threads in the documentation would improve it a lot with almost zero effort.

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I love this idea. Let me pull some thoughts together…I’ll make a longer reply when I’m back in the office, dont let that cramp this conversation though! It is very interesting to read… Thanks folks this community is the best <3.

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In a way, on one hand, you are right: this may not be the first priority to attract new community members ^^

On the other hand, I think we should pull all the chances on our sides to make the community grow. And this may be a way to make people talk about Storj and to make it “accessible” and understable by the most.

By the way, is there any specific strategy to attract professionals / enterprises, which may have skills and resources to act as SNO and make the Storj network grow even faster?

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Are we talking about improving the existing documentation to make it more thorough?
Or is it about changing the way pieces of info are conveyed to users, with tutorials/videos maybe (for instance)?

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My original suggestion was to talk about the way to make Storj technology more easy to adopt by new community members.
The “Storj school” is my main idea to address this. I think it’s a cool, pedagogic and original way to do it. But that’s only my opinion.

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I am not a proper sysadmin either—I do have some little experience with being a sysadmin for some student organizations ~10 years ago; and currently at work I manage a small development cluster, spending few hours monthly on maintenance. Nothing serious though. Therefore I don’t know what actual professionals would be attracted by.

What I personally miss is a proper operations manual that would explain in detail how the node works—not just how to initially set it up. For example, more detailed requirements (like a note on SMR drives), what do specific error entries in the log mean and how to react to these entries, how to integrate storage nodes with monitoring/alerting software, what KPIs to observe, what are the levels of these KPIs that signify problems, what are best practices for setting up nodes (like setting ext4 reserve to 0, having the identity files on the same drive as data files, defending against operating when the data directory gets unmounted, how to automate node setup, etc.), what overheads to plan for (e.g. expected size of the trash directory), what are the APIs available (http, command line, database contents), what are the typical I/O and network traffic patterns, what are the latencies expected, what are the practices for setting up multiple nodes (ports, bandwidth, etc.), what are the typical maintenance tasks and how to perform them (both automatic, like node updates, and semi-manual, like moving a node), how to solve common problems during node operation (e.g. corrupted database, refreshing web dashboard after node upgrade), how to detect and diagnose problems that come from outside the node (e.g. when a drive is failing, or problems with firewalls), what are the typical channels for communication between Storj and SNOs for general announcements and more personal notifications, and in what cases they are used.

A good operations manual would describe these items to a sufficient detail that an experienced sysadmin can deduce the answers to unknown problems on their own. Currently most, if not all, of this knowledge can be scavenged from the forum. Scavenging is fine for enthusiasts, but this is not exactly what a professional sysadmin likes to do, especially when managing nodes is not a priority task for them.

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I like your feedback.
I think all the things you are pointing should be addressed in a way or another.

Whed you readed manuals last time? It is last thing what people do. Most people just go ask help and even not opened any manual or search here in history.

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I don’t totally agree.
When you are looking for a specific information, it is often faster to check the official documentation (if it’s well written) or Knowledge database. And I must say I prefer to check in a clear documentation rather than in a forum. Plus, asking a question on a forum may be more time-consuming (you have to explain what you are trying to do and wait for answers).

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I think Vadim has a point though more times people come to the forums cause they want other people to figure out there problem, 90% of the time you can search an issue on the forums and you can easily find the answer. Having longer documents isn’t going to make it any easier to do even if you put exactly the command to put for ever single useful command for your node. People will not read though past the first page, They will see the link to come to the Forums and try to get answers without searching for them.
There has been plenty of support for almost everything but it gets burried over time. Even if you tell someone how to do something they don’t always understand, Because everyone learns differently and some are willing to learn some are not. Some want a how to videos some want to read some want to get someone to do all the work for them.

Storj isn’t really for the non technical people less they have friend in the technical field. Maybe in time everything will be automated an then anyone can do it just by running an EXE file and it does everything for them.

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I globally agree with you.
But even if Storj isn’t really for the non technical people, it’s worth having a single place to find clear and formalized information.
Big Cloud companies like AWS, Azure or Google onboard new users (developers and IT guys) by providing trainings, videos and (good?) documentation. I’m not saying that we have to make the same amount of documentation, but we can be inspired by what competitors do to make their community grow: training courses, videos, certifications and so on.

I think when comparing something to really large companys, The thing is they don’t have a forum where you can talk directly to the developers, Mostly my point is you don’t see how many write tickets or go on chat to get someone to do everything for them. Cause yes they can remotely do everything for the customers.

Im willing to bet no one reads the documents on AWS or Microsoft or Google. They go straight to tickets and chat. When they can’t figure something out.

But they first learn through documentation and training

Whom are we talking about the customers or the people who run it?

AWS Customers are generally IT guys who run an infrastructure.

So your saying they went to school and was pre trained before using AWS though? So I don’t understand the argument.

I’m saying that AWS customers (profiles with IT or dev skills) need documentation and training before using the platform efficiently. Indeed, even if these people have IT skills, AWS platform is complex (because there are a lot of different services for several types of different profiles ; because it changes a lot the way we build and run an infrastructure and other Cloud services ; etc.) and they need to help people to understand how to use their services.
These people learn how to use AWS in different ways: they read documentation, they watch videos, they use “labs” (an AWS environment for test purposes, generally provided by training platforms or by their school or by their employer), they follow trainings from training companies (and they get a certification), etc.

I’m saying that we could be inspired by what these big companies do to help people understand their services (whether these people are IT guys or not) and to make their community grow (including customers).
Of course, services offered by Storj Labs are less complex / diverse. Though, onboarding new comers is still a key success factor.

I get what your saying but Amazon is a muli billion dollar company with alot of services that they provide. Storj is offering cloud storage which is much less complex, in early stages this is more pointed at people who are developing for software that can even handle running the services on. You can’t really compare it to AWS which has dedicated people to actually teach each service they offer but again who actually does that when they can just talk to them directly to get them to do most of it cause they are paying for the services.
There is enough documentation already to get you to where you need to be already I don’t know how much more then can do then doing everything for you. In time there will be updated documentation the further Storj evolves though, I think its a learning process for everyone who is involved in this project nothing is 100% set in stone yet.

FYI:

KB Storj:


Documentation Storj: https://documentation.storj.io/
Storj FAQ: https://documentation.storj.io/resources/faq
Forum FAQ: https://forum.storj.io/c/sno-category/sno-faq/16

KB Tardigrade:


Tardigrade Documentation: https://documentation.tardigrade.io/
Forum FAQ: https://forum.storj.io/c/engineer-amas/dev-faq/17
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