I am a Drupal novice, so hopefully I can give you some useful input on this topic.
Firstly, I'd agree that the drupal.org forum is a bit unfriendly - not just the attitude you sometimes encounter, but the layout of the site and the fact that questions often get ignored.
To give you an idea of my level, I don't know that I use the correct terminology, but I have installed several modules and am getting the hang of Views, but I haven't even started looking at templating.
I couldn't work out how to achieve something I required, so decided to post on the drupal.org forum. I got a reply and it really helped, but it only partially solved my problem - and even then, there was an error with it. I replied detailing the error. Several days on, I haven't had a reply and my post is now on page 16. I posted for help on Twitter's #drupal tag. Whilst I didn't get a reply, someone followed me and, looking at their posts, had linked to this site. It seemed to be just what I had been looking for! A site where you can close questions and point to an accepted answer - great!
It would seem that the site is in beta, and populated by Drupal experts. That's both a blessing and a curse for me. I posted my question, mentioning I'm a newbie, and waited patiently. I got I think 15 views without a reply (a little disappointing!), but eventually got a reply.
I don't want to sound ungrateful to the user who replied, but the reply was very brief and seemed to assume that I have a greater knowledge of Drupal. I explained that I didn't understand, and the user replied very politely, but unfortunately the reply was again rather vague! The thread has been continuing in a similar vein.
Whilst I'm most appreciative that the user took the time to help me, and has indeed been very patient, I would have rather had a step-by-step or a code example than a "use this module to put the data you're after into views" reply!
So, I would request that you remember that those asking questions may well be still at a basic stage of learning, and give them as much information as possible - particularly if they reply to your reply saying they don't understand!
On another note, there are a few things that I find slightly unfriendly/daunting about the site. I am not familiar with stackexchange, but have a feeling they may be more its features than anything to do with you. They are:
- Being told you need 20 reputation to use chat.
- Being told you need 150 reputation to create new tags.
- Being told you can offer a bounty, but need at least 75 reputation.
- The reply field (where I replied to a reply to my question) doesn't appear to allow formatting, which makes it look cramped and difficult to read.
- As a result, when you try to press Enter to start a new paragraph, your reply is automatically posted! This wasn't mentioned next to the reply box at all.
- A reply is limited to a set number of characters. Whilst I appreciate that probably makes sense, for a novice user who needs to expand on something, that's quite restrictive.
- You only get 5 minutes to edit a post (at least, that's the case with a reply).
- It would seem that, if for example a novice users requires clarification of a reply (perhaps some code), the OP won't be able to format their reply (and code will therefore look messy).
As I often do on forums, I look at the other questions whilst I'm waiting for a response, as I'm happy to offer help if I can. However, these questions are all WAY too advanced for me! How am I going to get my reputation high enough to use the chat, let alone offer a bounty, if I can't participate in questions?
I appreciate that there's a reason for needing a good reputation to create tags, but it seemed to me that the tags were rather limited and I couldn't find any that really related to my specific question - although I guess tagging it drupal-6 is still helpful!
From reading meta (which I didn't notice until a message told me I had access to it - or maybe I just didn't understand what meta meant!), it seems you might still be in a semi-closed beta stage? This wasn't really obvious to me when I joined, and so being told I couldn't use the chat and getting short answers from experts who seemed to assume I had their level of knowledge made me feel rather alienated and out of my depth. With no disrespect, I appreciate you guys are busy, but having to wait several hours for an answer only to have to ask the poster to elaborate and then wait hours again was quite frustrating. This, combined with the somewhat poor response (although the one reply did help a lot) from the drupal.org forum, made me feel rather depressed that I had achieved very little and perhaps I should just delete Drupal and find a better solution!
Please don't take offence to my post - I respect you guys and think you're doing a great thing here. I certainly hope this takes off for you, as I think it will be a valuable resource. I hope my comments may be of some use to you, though.