Start a forum - continued

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Start a forum - continued

Nathan Harvey
Once again I would like to bring up the idea of starting a forum using Discourse. In particular, I would like to highlight some of the features Discourse offers that are relevant to the mailing list, for those concerned about making the switch:

- Supports replying to conversations and PMs via email out of the box
- Can be configured to allow starting conversations and private messages via email
- Support SSO via numerous providers, so no need to create a separate account

Discourse inherits all of the functionality of the mailing list (some assembly required), and on top of that offers all the modern features you would expect from a forum. It's free and it's open source. The Discourse team will even offer free hosting and setup for open source projects like Groovy. Many other projects like Kotlin utilize this system.

As for the problem of having "too many channels to manage" it would be feasible to set up the forums to alert mailing list users that a new topic has been started. This would help bridge the gap between the two platforms.

Many community members I have talked to would like a forum. If you agree, please make your voice heard by responding. There is one problem left to tackle with a forum, and that is Apache policy. According to Paul King, "apache mandates the use of their own mailing lists for all official discussions" although having a forum is of course allowed. To have an official forum, we'd need "Apache approval" which presents "significant obstacles."

In my mind, this makes the path forward obvious: we need a public forum, but it NEEDS support from higher-ups on the Groovy team as well. It needs to be advertised and linked to from the groovy site and things of that nature. It should be pushed as much as possible. Otherwise, it seems nearly pointless. Once again I think this can only happen with a large amount of support from the community, so please chime in.

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Re: Start a forum - continued

Daniel Sun
Hi  Nathan,

       It's easy to discuss via a forum, so I vote +1 here. According to
Apache policy, we should discuss via mailing lists, so the forum integrate
with the mailing lists to exchange messages between the two system.

       Whether the forum is official or not, the forum will attract more and
more Groovy users and developers if the forum can integrate with the mailing
lists IMO.

Cheers,
Daniel.Sun



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Re: Start a forum - continued

Guillaume Laforge
Administrator
To be honest, I won't be monitoring the forum, as 1) there's enough to read and interact with here, and 2) it's not what Apache recommends.
So if ever someone wants to setup an unofficial forum (I'm not against it), it should send emails to the lists somehow and receive emails too, if you want us to see them.

On Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 4:11 AM, Daniel Sun <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi  Nathan,

       It's easy to discuss via a forum, so I vote +1 here. According to
Apache policy, we should discuss via mailing lists, so the forum integrate
with the mailing lists to exchange messages between the two system.

       Whether the forum is official or not, the forum will attract more and
more Groovy users and developers if the forum can integrate with the mailing
lists IMO.

Cheers,
Daniel.Sun



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Guillaume Laforge
Apache Groovy committer & PMC Vice-President
Developer Advocate @ Google Cloud Platform

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Re: Start a forum - continued

Jochen Theodorou
In reply to this post by Nathan Harvey
On 02.01.2018 04:45, Nathan Harvey wrote:

> Once again I would like to bring up the idea of starting a forum using
> Discourse. In particular, I would like to highlight some of the features
> Discourse offers that are relevant to the mailing list, for those
> concerned about making the switch:
>
> - Supports replying to conversations and PMs via email out of the box
> - Can be configured to allow starting conversations and private messages
> via email
> - Support SSO via numerous providers, so no need to create a separate
> account
>
> Discourse inherits all of the functionality of the mailing list (some
> assembly required), and on top of that offers all the modern features
> you would expect from a forum. It's free and it's open source. The
> Discourse team will even offer free hosting and setup for open source
> projects like Groovy. Many other projects like Kotlin utilize this system.

Being at apache with have the requirement to document all of the
development relevant decisions and their discussions. The only accepted
way for this I do know right now is the developers mailing list.

I don´t think it would be a hard requirement to be able to actually post
to groovy-dev, but since notifications are posts, there is not much
point in making a difference here imho. But to be able to really work as
an archive we require the message id logic working, to allow the apache
archive to see the whole thread.

And then there is the cost factor. You talk of free hosting and setup.
Does such a setup enable the features we require? Finally there is the
hosting problem. It is unclear to me if hosting the forum outside apache
lands is ok. At least the domain must be under apache control.

For me that is the minimum requirement that has to be met to work with
apache.

Then let us talk about groovy-user, because in case of groovy-user we do
not really have these restriction. So I do see the possibility for
groovy-user.

My personal experience though is not speaking for a forum. If I have a
waiting time of 5 minutes I can very well read through same mails and
mark important ones I my want to reply later to, once I have more time.
Filtering and sorting by my mail client really helps me here. Plus,even
if I have no internet I can read my mails, write answers and then send
them once I have internet again. The later one can be done only with a
client of course. But even ignoring that and only looking at sorting and
marking I do not know of any forum with that capability to the extend
that I need. Obviously a forum requires a different approach.

But frankly... If I take that old groovy forum, or SO or any other
approach I have seen so far... I never became an active participant for
long. Either it was so low volume, that I did not want to spend time
there just to find nothing or it was so high volume, that I had trouble
finding the posts of interest. The gradle forum is an example for this.
And that forum is not bad... you just need to approach things different
and with more time.

On the other hand I am on more than a dozen mailing lists and it does
not matter to me if they are low or high volume. Sure I am not reading
all of the messages and to some I should probably unsubscribe as well,
but it is not bothering me at all. Without a proper email client for
this kind of stuff I can of course very well understand that they cannot
handle mailing lists.

> As for the problem of having "too many channels to manage" it would be
> feasible to set up the forums to alert mailing list users that a new
> topic has been started.

Just for you to maybe understand the extend... I get a mail for every
pull request, every comment on github, every jira entry for groovy.
Which means my mail client is the entry point to jira, to github, to our
normal mailing lists and many other things. Sure, if I want to reply to
a github comment I do so by going to github, but still I am getting
informed about them at a single point. And now have that for 3 more
projects and you get a real feeling of what "one channel to manage"
means for me. Even if you did bring all that to discourse I would still
use my mail client widely for other projects and mailing lists.

> This would help bridge the gap between the two
> platforms.

just informing about a new topic is not enough, but already helps for
low volume lists. The problem is you will not get informed about
followup mails though. And if people need days for a reply, you may
never read it.

My conclusion is that even if we had a forum my first entry point would
still have to be mail, or I would automatically reduce my reading time
in Groovy and thus reducing my answering time, because now answering
time will have to be reading time as well. Not on purpose of course.
Maybe it works for groovy-user better. But then it would still mean I
would be less on groovy-user.

bye Jochen

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Re: Start a forum - continued

Guillaume Laforge
Administrator
By the way, let's not forget we already have a forum that works with our mailing-lists: ie. the Nabble forum!
See at the bottom of the page the integration:

On Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 2:35 PM, Jochen Theodorou <[hidden email]> wrote:
On <a href="tel:02.01.2018%2004" value="+33201201804" target="_blank">02.01.2018 04:45, Nathan Harvey wrote:
Once again I would like to bring up the idea of starting a forum using Discourse. In particular, I would like to highlight some of the features Discourse offers that are relevant to the mailing list, for those concerned about making the switch:

- Supports replying to conversations and PMs via email out of the box
- Can be configured to allow starting conversations and private messages via email
- Support SSO via numerous providers, so no need to create a separate account

Discourse inherits all of the functionality of the mailing list (some assembly required), and on top of that offers all the modern features you would expect from a forum. It's free and it's open source. The Discourse team will even offer free hosting and setup for open source projects like Groovy. Many other projects like Kotlin utilize this system.

Being at apache with have the requirement to document all of the development relevant decisions and their discussions. The only accepted way for this I do know right now is the developers mailing list.

I don´t think it would be a hard requirement to be able to actually post to groovy-dev, but since notifications are posts, there is not much point in making a difference here imho. But to be able to really work as an archive we require the message id logic working, to allow the apache archive to see the whole thread.

And then there is the cost factor. You talk of free hosting and setup. Does such a setup enable the features we require? Finally there is the hosting problem. It is unclear to me if hosting the forum outside apache lands is ok. At least the domain must be under apache control.

For me that is the minimum requirement that has to be met to work with apache.

Then let us talk about groovy-user, because in case of groovy-user we do not really have these restriction. So I do see the possibility for groovy-user.

My personal experience though is not speaking for a forum. If I have a waiting time of 5 minutes I can very well read through same mails and mark important ones I my want to reply later to, once I have more time. Filtering and sorting by my mail client really helps me here. Plus,even if I have no internet I can read my mails, write answers and then send them once I have internet again. The later one can be done only with a client of course. But even ignoring that and only looking at sorting and marking I do not know of any forum with that capability to the extend that I need. Obviously a forum requires a different approach.

But frankly... If I take that old groovy forum, or SO or any other approach I have seen so far... I never became an active participant for long. Either it was so low volume, that I did not want to spend time there just to find nothing or it was so high volume, that I had trouble finding the posts of interest. The gradle forum is an example for this. And that forum is not bad... you just need to approach things different and with more time.

On the other hand I am on more than a dozen mailing lists and it does not matter to me if they are low or high volume. Sure I am not reading all of the messages and to some I should probably unsubscribe as well, but it is not bothering me at all. Without a proper email client for this kind of stuff I can of course very well understand that they cannot handle mailing lists.

As for the problem of having "too many channels to manage" it would be feasible to set up the forums to alert mailing list users that a new topic has been started.

Just for you to maybe understand the extend... I get a mail for every pull request, every comment on github, every jira entry for groovy. Which means my mail client is the entry point to jira, to github, to our normal mailing lists and many other things. Sure, if I want to reply to a github comment I do so by going to github, but still I am getting informed about them at a single point. And now have that for 3 more projects and you get a real feeling of what "one channel to manage" means for me. Even if you did bring all that to discourse I would still use my mail client widely for other projects and mailing lists.

This would help bridge the gap between the two platforms.

just informing about a new topic is not enough, but already helps for low volume lists. The problem is you will not get informed about followup mails though. And if people need days for a reply, you may never read it.

My conclusion is that even if we had a forum my first entry point would still have to be mail, or I would automatically reduce my reading time in Groovy and thus reducing my answering time, because now answering time will have to be reading time as well. Not on purpose of course. Maybe it works for groovy-user better. But then it would still mean I would be less on groovy-user.

bye Jochen




--
Guillaume Laforge
Apache Groovy committer & PMC Vice-President
Developer Advocate @ Google Cloud Platform

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Re: Start a forum - continued

Nathan Harvey
In reply to this post by Jochen Theodorou
Hi Jochen, I would like to once again stress the flow you can expect with
Discourse. You sign up one time, and check a box that you want to receive
emails. You will receive emails for every new post, and you can reply
straight from email. In this it is exactly like a mailing list and would
integrate with your workflow perfectly, while offering the option to use a
feature rich forum for those who want it. Conversations can take place
entirely within emails. Remember, this forum software was developed by
people who are used to mailing lists, and they take this behavior into
account.

Having the forum send something to the mailing list would just help promote
the forum, it is not meant for users to be able to interact with. I think
actually a weekly digest sent to the mailing list would be better.

You can read more about Discourse's policies on free hosting for open source
projects here:
https://blog.discourse.org/2016/03/free-discourse-forum-hosting-for-community-friendly-github-projects/



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Re: Start a forum - continued

Nathan Harvey
In reply to this post by Guillaume Laforge
I personally use Nabble. It does not compare to a real forum system. The
formatting constantly breaks, you can't mention users, embed media, embed
code... the list goes on and on.



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Re: Start a forum - continued

Jochen Theodorou
In reply to this post by Nathan Harvey
On 02.01.2018 04:45, Nathan Harvey wrote:
> Once again I would like to bring up the idea of starting a forum using
> Discourse. In particular, I would like to highlight some of the features
> Discourse offers that are relevant to the mailing list [...]

Is there somewhere an example for this? And mailing lists I can look at
and a discourse forum that is synced with it? I think seeing that in
action would give a much better picture than all the description you
could possibly provide

bye Jochen
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Re: Start a forum - continued - Discourse forum example

Roger Pfister
On 2018-01-06 11:57, Jochen Theodorou wrote:
Is there somewhere an example for this? And mailing lists I can look at and a discourse forum that is synced with it?

http://discuss.dramatica.com/       (a software package site 'dramatica' - concetrating on Screen Writers)

Is a discourse powered forum which you as a user can configure to be email list like - I am a passive user so am not that qualified to judge.

It does show the forum side of "discourse" to good effect.

--
Roger