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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Modernizing the Libreplanet Community Infrastr

From: Aaron Wolf
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Modernizing the Libreplanet Community Infrastructure
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2017 11:40:59 -0700

On 06/21/2017 05:42 AM, Hellekin O. Wolf wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 11:31:56PM +0200, John Sullivan wrote:
>> A couple quick things:
>> 1) have you looked at Mailman 3? Has web forum features.
> Mailman3 remains a mailing list software with a Web interface.
> What you can gain with Discourse is a lot more interesting:
> - you can split and merge threads
> - you can turn posts into wikis
> - you can use fine-grained and dynamic notifications to follow threads
> - you can use groups, especially working groups
> - you can edit and recompose threads for collaborative editing
> - you can limit threads to a working group to work on contents, then make it 
> public
> - you can upload photos to a thread straight from your mobile phone 
> (Discourse will rewrite it, make a thumbnail, etc.)
> - you can automatically turn Web links into previews (including video 
> players) without affecting the email experience
> - etc.
>> 2) mission of wiki is not just geographic groups. Maybe we need to make that 
>> clearer. It's also intended, and has been used for, a space to collaborate 
>> around issues and actions.
> I hope the above sample list of features highlights strengths of Discourse 
> for preparing actions and collaborating on issues.
> I want to add that for free software promotion, which is often a task done by 
> non-hackers, having a suitable tool for a larger public helps.
> More importantly, Discourse is being adopted across the board, from distros 
> (e.g., Manjaro), to interest groups (e.g., OpenSourceDesign), to 'citizen 
> engagement platforms' setup by institutions (e.g., the European Union). That 
> means it's a tool that's increasingly popular with users, and thus a good one 
> to have in your toolbox if you want them to support you.
> There's not reason why a Discourse for LP would prevent us, mailing list + 
> IRC aficionados, from participating normally. OTOH it's really an opportunity 
> to bring in more people, especially younger ones.  Actually I had a similar 
> discussion with Matthias Kirchner (from FSFE) this morning as I thought to 
> reuse in a larger context the category split I made for Devuan two years ago 
> based on the 4 freedoms: USE, STUDY, SHARE, HACK.  I find it's a great way to 
> segment users according to their engagement and interests, and having this 
> scheme for the free software community in general would prove more useful 
> than for a single distro.
> Therefore I support the idea put forth by Connor.
> ==
> hk

I'm largely with Hellekin. I am grateful for and appreciate all the
points about the advantages of email-centric discussion.

I'd argue that email just feels less centralized. It gives each user the
ability to sort each email as they wish. They can use their client to
add notes and tags to each email that nobody else sees or needs to see.
It's really nice for each person to sort the posts as fits their own
approach. There's no way to do that with a forum.

A forum is more centralized. It allows posts to be moved in a way that
affects everyone and affects the thread going forward. It lets things be
tagged after-the-fact in ways that everyone sees.

Overall, I feel that the forum-first email-second is often better for
project management and focused communities while *also* working well
enough for open-ended discussion. Email-first works better for anyone
who just wants to approach things in a different fashion than the
forum-managers would be using.

There's no reason email-focused program can't offer tools like
per-thread subscription options, but they tend not to for some reason.

Of Hellekin's points, the moving and editing in a forum (in Discourse)
are the things I find most valuable. Editing is the basis for wiki
(multi-user editing). We can also moderate messages so that anything
violating a code-of-conduct can be just a request to edit, and the only
permanent focus on the original problem post would be if it goes out
immediately to people by email. The group stuff is great.

I'm less excited about the mere flashy conveniences like previews,
integrated video etc

My ideal system would be pretty much Discourse if had a stronger focus
on threaded format for discussions and all the operations were written
to not rely on JavaScript at all.

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