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Re: Documentation wiki? Re: Better tools for community cohesion?
- Subject: Re: Documentation wiki? Re: Better tools for community cohesion?
- From: Mikkel Høgh <..hidden..>
- Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2013 09:54:16 +0200
On 22/07/2013, at 19.34, Chris Bennett <..hidden..> wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 05:35:15PM +0200, Iserv-appbox wrote:
>> Hi Chris,
>> I agree with you that mailing lists are probably the best platform for discussion at the moment.
>> May be mailing lists are a bit old-fashioned, but IMHO they have some benefits over forums:
>> - Mailing lists invite the user more into thorough discussion
>> - The user is less distracted by the Bells and Whistles of the forum site
>> - Mailing lists invite less into short (negative, inproductive) comments.
>> (May be it's too easy to press on the commment button in a forum.)
>> However mailing lists (as well as forums) have one weak point: They are volatile.
>> Usefull tips, workarounds, etc. are "lost" in the archives:
> I would like to point out something about my forums volatility.
> I keep a daily dump of the entire forum's data daily.
> I take home a daily copy and have the forum software on my laptop and
> two desktops.
> If I see a topic that interests me, but I am busy, I can read it later
> at my convenience and see the whole topic.
> I actually have no internet at home, so this is great for me.
> I guess I should provide a copy with the users passwords cleared out and
> a local copy of the particular version of the forum software I am using.
> This would only require a webserver and PostgeSQL.
> If anyone is interested in this, just let me know.
Great as that might be for you, Discourse actually allows you to use the forum much like a mailing list. Get a mail with each post, reply on the e-mail add your reply to the thread. That would allow almost anyone to do the same as you, without having to actually have their own copy of the forum software running.
>> - You will have to search through the archives to get an item
>> - Items can't be improved or extended
>> As a solution I would suggest a wiki.
>> A LSMB wiki would enable cooperation regarding to LSMB documentation.
>> The LSMB Wiki could be a gathering place for all kinds of documentation:
>> the Book, Howtos, Tips, etc.
>> The great Book project of Erik Huelsmann could be a nice starting point.
>> Kind regards,
>> Marjan Waldorp,
>> On 2013-07-19 15:46, Chris Travers wrote:
>>> Hi Mikkel;
>>> Thanks for your comments and offer for help. The forums are actually run by a contributor named
>>> Chris Bennett who I am CCing for your convenience. The two of you might be able to talk about how
>>> best to manage things. Even if you don't move to Discourse, perhaps a good first step would be look
>>> at how to market the forums to attract new users. I would be happy to collaborate on such.
>>> I do agree that some users will prefer some mailing lists and some will prefer forums. I think
>>> there are a lot of reasons however why forums don't get the traction one might expect. In a lot of
>>> cases, collaboration feels more natural on an email list than a forum. So I don't see forums ever
>>> replacing email lists for core collaboration. What they can do is provide help for new markets we
>>> are not serving well, and as such they provide an opportunity for folks such as Chris and yourself
>>> to try to expand our community offerings and build presence in the community generally.
>>> If the forums are targetting new users, this really is an opportunity for consultants and would-be
>>> consultants to push them and thus improve their own presence in the community. I don't really see
>>> us moving core functions off email lists any time soon. I don't think this should stop you, though
>>> and if it is successful enough I could see gradual integration into more things in which we do, and
>>> such would certainly bring more visibility to those involved.
>>> Best Wishes,
>>> Chris Travers
>>> On Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 4:40 AM, Mikkel Høgh <..hidden.. <mailto:..hidden..>> wrote:
>>> Hi LedgerSMB people,
>>> I'm mostly a lurker here, but I'd like to see LedgerSMB get more traction.
>>> I think one of the great barriers to building a larger community is the tools currently in use.
>>> The main channel of communication is the mailing lists. However, mailing lists are a bit
>>> usability challenged. It's hard to keep track of what's going on, and harder still to chime in.
>>> It depends a lot on the user being able to configure filters in his e-mail client, enable
>>> treading, etc.
>>> In addition to that, there are the forums at http://forums.ledgersmb.org/ which seem to be used
>>> very sparingly.
>>> In short, I'd like to suggest replacing both with Discourse: http://www.discourse.org/
>>> A few salient points:
>>> 1. It's much more friendly to new users (single click login, helpful tips when posting, etc.)
>>> 2. It can be used much like a mailing list (subscription, replying via e-mail)
>>> 3. It can be configured to send out digests to users who have not been logged in for a while,
>>> giving them a quick overview of what happened since they checked the last time.
>>> 4. Much better handling of images, code samples, and multimedia. Makes it much easier to support
>>> 5. It has a great search, and it is very search engine friendly, making it much easier to find
>>> earlier answers.
>>> 6. A healthy open source project with a large community. Widely (and successfully) deployed.
>>> Take a gander at http://discuss.howtogeek.com/ http://meta.discourse.org/ or
>>> http://meta.discourse.org/t/please-visit-our-discourse-forum-directory/3102 for examples of
>>> existing communities.
>>> I could go on, I think Discourse is one of the most interesting open source projects and an
>>> awesome tool for building communities. If you want to know more, check out
>>> http://www.discourse.org/about/ or Jeff Atwood's keynote from ForumCon:
>>> For the practical side, I'm willing to handle hosting, sysadmin'ing, etc, as well as conversion
>>> of the existing forums.
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Mikkel Høgh <..hidden.. <mailto:..hidden..>>
>>> Best Wishes,
>>> Chris Travers
> As far as the rest of this topic, what I am seeing is that everyone
> wants everything.
> I sure don't want to lose the mailing list.
> I use a text only mail app, mutt.
> I access my mail directly with ssh. Very happy. No need to start X if I
> am in a rush.
> I also keep accessible a tar.gz file with my whole mail folder.
> I can download it and read at home.
> As far as the forum goes, it's there.
> I have to do essentially no maintenance.
> Use it if you want. Or don't.
> Want a new topic board, just let me know.
> I also get some questions through the contact form and answer them as
> best as I can and always suggest they get a subscription to a mailing
> list also.
> I use OpenBSD, so I share that same mindset :)
> "Shut up and send a diff!"
Well, I don't think that's an entirely apt comparison here. I can easily set up my own LedgerSMB forum with Discourse, but that's diff'ing, that forking, and if there's anything this community needs less of, it's fragmentation.
> If you believe that one of these other methods is a good idea, then you
> should go do it and see if anyone likes it and wants to use it.
> We all have different preferences.
> Offer someone a refreshing beverage and one person will say milk, another
> will ask for hot chocolate and the third will ask for whiskey!
> I did not get a very positive response to the forum idea originally.
> But I wanted it, so I did it.
> Enjoy using LSMB!
> It's free, you don't have to pay for tech support and you can change and
> customize to your hearts content. Heck, you could even send a diff!
All that is true. But the technology we currently use is a large barrier to contribution. SourceForge, CVS and mailing lists were all state of the art in 2001, but the world has moved on since then. If the LedgerSMB community hopes to attract new blood, I think we should strongly consider looking into more modern alternatives, like Github.
> Chris Bennett
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