There are many ways to get help when you need it, to get feedback on an idea, or just to hang out with likeminded folks. The Internet facilitates several ways of communicating. There are real-time discussions via instant messenger or chat, delayed conversations via forums or e-mail, broadcast media such as video or blogs, and other emerging forms, such as wiki, that combine the best elements of many different forms.
Mailing lists offer an avenue for group discussion via e-mail. Quantum GIS and the Open Source Geospatial Foundation offer several mailing lists for discussing various topics related to Community GIS:
Forums offer another means for delayed conversations. Forums also provide insight into previous conversations as well as solutions to common problems. The Quantum GIS discussion forum is located at http://forum.qgis.org
Internet Relay Chat is a common method for real-time communications. Software developers and users often congregate in chat rooms dedicated to their favorite tools. The Quantum GIS chat room is on irc.freenode.net in the#qgis room. You can quickly connect to the Freenode IRC network, without any special downloads, via the following steps:
- Visit http://webchat.freenode.net/
Enter a unique nickname (although many nicknames are already registered, you do not need to register to chat :-)
- If you do register a nickname, click the "Auth to services" checkbox"
- Enter "#qgis" in the Channels field.
- Fill out the reCAPTCHA field to prove that you are human.
You will soon be ushered into the Quantum GIS IRC chatroom! Say hello to everyone and ask your question. Do not ask if you can ask as that would be redundant. :-)
Modern collaborative tools such as wiki exist to allow multiple authors to contribute to community documentation. Visit the Quantum GIS wiki to find the official user documentation and other information about the QGIS development cycle.