There have been requests over the years for an online forum for Wireshark. I’m not too crazy about traditional forums, particularly for support. You often end up digging through a lot of not-so-useful content to get to the information you’re looking for.

(If you can see where this is going and are impatient, you can go straight to the new support Q&A site now. Otherwise read on.)

Last year Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky started Stack Exchange, a collection of question & answer sites including Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Super User. SE fixes everything that’s wrong with traditional form software. Useful answers can be voted up by the community, and “hot” questions are listed first.

Stack Exchange is wonderful but they require you to host your content on their servers. This is goes against my control freak sensibilities, so I had to look elsewhere for a solution. I found OSQA. The software is still beta, but it’s quite functional and becoming quite popular.

Here are some of the things you can do with OSQA:

Vote questions and answers up and down

This means that the good stuff floats to the top. Additionally the person who posted the question can select one answer as the best.

Comment on questions and answers

This lets you have a traditional forum-style linear discussion when you need it.

Tag questions

Tags let you categorize questions. For instance the python tag on Stack Overflow will give you all of the Python programming questions.

Earn karma

As you ask questions and provide helpful answers you gain karma points. This lets you do things like…

Edit content

Power users can correct, clarify, or otherwise make helpful changes to things others have posted.

Q&A sites aren’t for everyone. They tend to work best when you have a bunch of helpful, active, and knowledgeable people willing to exchange ideas in a particular field. As luck would have it this describes the Wireshark community to a tee.

Go try it for yourself at

5 thoughts on “Announcing

  1. Gerald Combs Post author

    Their purposes certainly overlap. wireshark-users, wireshark-dev, and “ask” all let Wireshark’s user and developer communities interact and help each other.

    The mailing lists get a lot of “drive-by” questions — someone asks a question, (hopefully) gets an answer, and is never heard from again. If the person asking the question subscribes to the list he ends up getting a lot of messages from other threads that may not have anything to do with his problem. If he doesn’t subscribe he may not see any responses to his question. A Q&A site is much more suited to this than a mailing list.

    However Q&A sites aren’t discussion forums. Long discussions are much more suited to mailing lists (IMHO at least).

    Last but not least, some users prefer mailing lists and other prefer the web.

  2. Brian Bewick

    Hi, How do I find someone if all I have their email address
    and a phone number. Please advise, Brian.

  3. Bob

    A couple of questions:
    I want to monitor wireless traffic from an iphone going to my home linksys router. The only computer I have at home is my windows laptop, so I would be loading wireshark on that?

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