Discourse

Andrew Crouthamel andrew at crouthamel.us
Tue Oct 30 03:50:24 GMT 2018


Thank you for that link, that was an interesting read.

I am heartily in favor of migrating discussion to Discourse. The features page has a good breakdown of why one would use it over phpBB, so there is no need to reiterate that here. But I would like to offer my observations as a relatively new contributor.

As much as it pains me to say so, IRC is dying. Even Freenode, which used to buck that trend. New, younger contributors don't want to load IRC clients (or go through the hassle of installing Telegram and trolling our wiki to find an invite link). They want to use discussion sites like reddit, and stackoverflow, where they can make a post, maybe with Markdown formatting, and get notifications when someone responds. Not monitor a real-time chat, waiting for the discussion to proceed. Even with clients that offer username notification, you then have to be connected to the IRC server constantly. Even using Riot, with a-sync connections and chat history, is a slow, nuisance to use. You also can't easily have separate discussions at one time, and end up with a big list of @user: in your message to keep notifying people you are responding to them. It's messy. Great for real-time issues (help, I'm in a boot loop!), but I don't think it fits well in modern communication needs for other purposes.

As for mailing lists, I'm not a fan. It also appears from the statistics out there, not many others are fans either. Personally, I use email like sending a letter. I only write one when it is important, as I know that my email will appear directly in your inbox, without consenting to it. Even though I know this is a purpose-built mailing list, for discussion. There's something more invasive to it in my opinion. I might have ideas and smaller thoughts that might be worth discussing in a forum, where people can go look and discuss if they deem it worthy, but not necessary to blast to hundreds of people on a mailing list. Just look at reddit's /r/kde. It receives lots of discussion on all sorts of small topics, yet this mailing list, which is supposed to be the entire KDE community, is very quiet. I certainly believe the data from Foreman regarding an increase in discussion threads. I know I would.

Additionally, lots of emails are annoying. As a new contributor, I dreaded having to subscribe to mailing lists to be involved. I might only want to be involved in certain topics. Ones I could set up a filter and notification for. Not everything. Using a mailing list forces me to receive lots of discussions that are of no interest to me. Rather than skipping over a topic name in a forum, I now have to receive every post in that thread, whether I want to or not. Switching to a forum system puts the power in the users hands, to decide what to receive.

This would be a good opportunity to update our infrastructure we use for community discussion, and standardize on a smaller, more modern set of systems.

Andrew Crouthamel

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
On Monday, October 29, 2018 6:28 PM, Jonathan Riddell <jr at jriddell.org> wrote:

> More information on Fedora use experience, the graphs are impressive
> for those who think it's important to keep people in KDE
>
> https://theforeman.org/2018/07/discourse-6-months-on-impact-assesment.html
>
> Jonathan
>
> On Mon, 29 Oct 2018 at 18:32, Jonathan Riddell jr at jriddell.org wrote:
>
> > Discourse is modern forum and mailing list software. Examples at https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/ or https://discourse.ubuntu.com/
> > I went to a talk at the Embedded Linux Summit about how Fedora moved to use Discourse. Similar to the discussion of moving away from IRC we had last year I see people moving away from mailing lists and new contributors not wanting to get into them. Our KDE Forums also look quite old school. In Fedora they moved to Discourse and mailing lists and forums and saw a marked increase in engagement.
> > I think KDE should consider moving away from mailman and onto Discourse and at the same time forum.kde.org could move to this more modern software. It might also help cover Boud's use case of a user support method for people with queries before the report a bug.
> > More coverage on last week's LWN
> > https://lwn.net/Articles/768483/
> > Discussing it in person it was pointed out that we do already use
> > Phabricator Workboards for much discussion and it might well overlap
> > there, although I don't think that would be any more of an issue than
> > mailing lists overlapping.
> > Jonathan




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