Segmenting a help site into categories is common and 'should' help guests - in both selecting where to post and possible help offered. If guests are confused by categories then they are very new to the site and FamilySearch. Yes, the categories should be - and I think are pretty intuitive. I don't have a problem with categories or separation of q&a from ideas ... I probably wouldn't have a problem with it being 'a free-for-all' as @Julia Szent-Györgyi seems to suggest either - but that would just make a moderators job more difficult I suspect.
@genthusiast, I've written about this somewhere on this forum before: segmenting (I call it fragmenting) a forum into many similar-but-different pieces is highly confusing and thus cannot serve a useful purpose.
Q and A versus Ideas should not be separate because users cannot tell a missing feature (Idea) from a program or user error (Q&A). All that users can tell is that they tried to do something and were unsuccessful.
Some categorization is needed, but a dozen categories in each of two similar sections is Too Many. This is why the vast majority of new posts end up in the first category of the first section, which is currently the Q and A (or is that Help Center?) version of the category named "FamilySearch Community". Q and A also has a category called "Temple", and yet "FS Community" always has at least half a dozen LDS questions. Both Ideas and Q and A have a "Family Tree" category, and yet people ask how to merge or why they can't find their wife's profile in, you guessed it, "FS Community". When there are too many parts, the specifics of those parts make absolutely no difference.
FamilySearch's Help Center should have two sections: Tech Support and Genealogy Help. The Tech Support section should have a grand total of two categories: General and LDS. Yes, really. It boils down to not expecting people to know the answer to their question when they're asking it.
The Genealogy Help section unfortunately needs more pieces than that, because, well, location, location, and location, but I'm not sure that the current Groups section is the best way to handle it. Other forums use tags instead of groups, which can work if there is a fairly large group of people who can add tags to other people's posts. The current subscription-like setup (you have to join a group to ask a question) is unintuitive and kind of scary (or at least off-putting), and I think it's certainly part of the reason that so many research questions end up in Q and A's "FS Community" category.
I agree with you - mostly... But not knowing the question/answer and knowing where to ask it (Category) are two different things - most people aren't going to take the time to ask an answer. My perspective - along with yours is that the categorization selected by users is not great. So yes anything to help users - make it simple but effective - the best way to route and get the question/issue answered with the appropriate level of help (Community or FamilySearch representative). I also agree perhaps some of the 'groups' need rethinking ... maybe ...
Unfortunately I think this means restrictively requiring user interaction - to get them to agree to where the issue should be routed. If they pick the location - this gives FamilySearch the opportunity to suggest Help Center documents from the category they picked for the current common issues - if they pick the wrong category this could lead to frustration with the routing procedure. Either way the process could have frustration. Hopefully something that is helpful will result...
Either way - buy-in from the user is a good thing - they need to have some responsibility for what they are choosing. Equally - Community responses need to 1) address the specific issue 2) educate the user for more broad understanding. For this reason - sometimes I give a short answer or a longer one if I feel that would be helpful - sometimes I get it wrong but mean to help either way.
Without any Community 'lanes to stay in' responses can vary widely ... some helpful, some not, some a matter of interpretation. If a user wants an 'official response from FamilySearch' they should have the option to select that when asking the issue.
As far as Tech Support - as evidenced by recent Search changes - the Feedback button is typically best. I don't need complaints filling a category - when there is already a constructive way to give Feedback. I don't want to necessarily 'put people off' with a short response to the Feedback button either. This is a FamilySearch Community ...
As far as Tech Support - as evidenced by recent Search changes - the Feedback button is typically best.
Yes, with qualifiers:
Feedback here on Community has the potential to be far more illuminating, because it includes some aspects of peer-review. We can illustrate with screen shots, discuss, do tests, clarify the problem and desired solution(s).
For Community to work, clearly there needs to be a lot of triage. Clearly there already is a lot of triage, most of it invisible to most of us.