[impdev] What to do with the forums?

Boroondas Gupte sllists at boroon.dasgupta.ch
Mon Apr 11 16:59:42 PDT 2011

On 04/11/2011 10:48 PM, Jacek Antonelli wrote:
> Consider that right now we have 5 forum sections (not counting "Off
> Topic"), and 4 of them are pretty much obsolete:
> * Viewer: This is where people would post ideas, feature requests,
> etc. But we're now using only the issue tracker for feature requests.
What about vague ideas that aren't fleshed out feature requests, yet? It
might be useful for user to be able to discuss those informally until
they've come up with something they actually want to request. If such
discussion should happen on the issue tracker itself, archive this
section, else leave it.

> * Problems & Troubleshooting (previously "Bug Reports &
> Troubleshooting"): This is where people would post bug reports,
> problems they are having, and provide feedback about releases. But
> we're now using only the issue tracker for bug reports, and blog posts
> for general feedback about releases.
Suggestion: *Rename* to just "Troubleshooting" and have a sticky note
saying that "troubleshooting" does not include proper bugs in the viewer
itself but only problems that are caused by using the software wrongly,
or having a misconfigured system, or just having trouble to find an UI
element due to looking in the wrong place etc. Off course, this would
also allow users to discuss /whether/ an issue is a bug, before filing
one, so keeping this section might help to reduce the number of invalid
bug reports down. The Q&A site could be used for that, too, but I feel a
conventional forum is a more natural medium for it ... "Q: I observed X.
Is that a bug?" "A: No!!!!11 [rate this answer]" "A: Yes!!!!1111 [rate
this answer]" "A: Maybe? [best answer]"

> * Development: This is where people would discuss development-related
> stuff, technical discussions of features, get help compiling the
> viewer, etc. But we're now encouraging use of the mailing list and IRC
> for those things.
People genuinely interested in development usually aren't afraid to
subscribe to a mailing list, so *archive* this section.

> * Project: This is where people would discuss project organization
> issues and report problems with the website. But we're now using the
> issue tracker for website issues, and project organization discussion
> is done via the mailing list and meetups.

> * General: All other discussion. The only reason this isn't obsolete
> too is because its purpose is so vague.
Might be useful to *keep* this, maybe with a sticky note that developers
might not read all or any of it. One never knows what useful uses users
come up with. (Can you say this sentence 10 times very fast? :-P) So
having this around as a catch-all might be valuable.

> My instinct is to archive (lock to prevent new posts) all the current
> forum sections and create new sections with new purposes. But, I'm
> having a hard time thinking of what those purposes would be.
Want to know what forum sections are needed? Best ask the forum users.
On the forum. (Probably in the 'General' section.) Or just wait until
they request new forum sections via the issue tracker.

> In the past, I've argued that the forums are useful as a social hub
> for the community (see e.g. http://www.plurk.com/p/amzlet ). If that's
> true, then the new sections would be social-oriented. But aside from a
> section for general Kokua/Imp-related discussion, the only things I
> can think of are a place for people to introduce themselves,
I have to admit I haven't read a lot of the impru/kokua forum posts. But
if the forum community there is anything like the community on the old
SL forums was, it might consider a single super-long
everyone-introduce-yourself thread in the 'General' section much cooler
than a dedicated 'Introduce Yourself in this Section' section. In fact,
they might think the latter is utterly lame. Or maybe not. Who knows? I
think best is to not create any new forum sections before seeing what
the community comes up with and requests.

> and possibly a place to ask for help from other users. (But for the
> latter, we already have inworld groups and a Q&A site
> <http://support.kokuaviewer.org/qa/>.)
Q&A sites are good for clear-cut questions. But often, users will face
problems they don't understand to a point that they don't even know what
questions to ask about them. Freeform discussion is probably best for
other users that want to help them figure out what the problem even is.
Thus why I'd keep the "Troubleshoot" section.

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