[dojo-contributors] Google Groups management

Peter Svensson psvensson at gmail.com
Fri May 22 15:59:08 EDT 2009


+.02 (contrib :)

Cheers,
PS

On Fri, May 22, 2009 at 9:55 PM, Eugene Lazutkin <eugene at lazutkin.com>wrote:

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> Wow, you can read my mind! :-) +1
>
> Eugene Lazutkin
> Dojo Toolkit, Committer
> http://lazutkin.com/
>
> On 05/22/2009 12:23 PM, Nikolai Onken wrote:
> > I don't think that setting up another in-house solution actually will
> > address the issues we are having.
> > Besides the maintenance nightmare (setup, storage, traffic, design,
> > etc. etc.) we have to concider a few other things:
> >
> > 1. One point entry
> >
> > I'd like to draw a parallel to commercial support applications.
> >
> > When a user has a question, usually he/she doesn't like to spend a lot
> > of time on finding out where to ask his question and would like to get
> > an answer as fast as possible.
> > This is obvious to most of us but we can't stress it enough.
> > Most support applications have one central point of entry and do the
> > redistribution internally to give the client one simple to use
> > interface.
> > Taking this as a first inspiration is a good step in my oppinion.
> >
> > 2. Flexible interface
> >
> > I personally really don't like to be bound to a certain interface and
> > I know many people aren't either.
> > If we can we should give people as many ways to customize their
> > "support" experience as possible.
> > The most obvois ways are email and a web interface but we can go even
> > further.
> >
> > At uxebu we have made a very simple prototype of a dashboard (
> http://dojango.org
> > ) for our projects pulling in all external information from RSS or
> > Atom feeds.
> > The cool thing is that I can totally customize the way I see my
> > information and still only have one point of entry for the user
> > posting the request.
> >
> > So taking that approach I strongly vote for using a simple solution
> > such as google groups. For following reasons:
> >
> > - 0 maintenance
> > - One point entry user interface (or more if you want to)
> > - Many point tracking interface (email, web, rss, aggregates, search,
> > etc.)
> > - instant indexing
> > - _very high_ flexibility though public apis, yahoo pipes and other
> > services
> > - ...
> >
> > --
> >
> > We should not fall back to old systems, forums are great but the web
> > gives us way more than that.
> >
> > How about experimenting with tagging posts in google groups? e.g.
> http://groups.google.com/groups/search?q=%23dojango.forms
> > We could setup a styleguide for forum posts - e.g. if you have a
> > question about dijit.layout, make sure you have #dijit.layout in your
> > post.
> > This would enable us to subscribe to very specific feeds of interest
> > and at the same time it won't force the user to select the proper
> > point of first entry.
> >
> > Lets look at twitter - there is a reason why there are so many apps
> > making use of the twitter api for instance, we should do the same and
> > use the power of applications in the cloud.
> >
> > I will experiment some more with tagging in google groups and
> > displaying posts only matching a certain tag on something like
> http://www.dojango.org
> >
> > Nikolai
> >
> > On May 22, 2009, at 8:08 AM, Eugene Lazutkin wrote:
> >
> > I am the guy who routinely moves questions from one forum to another
> > ---
> > remember "[editor: moving to the appropriate forum]"? So I have a
> > mini-statistics on this topic. Most mis-posts could be grouped into
> > two
> > big categories:
> >
> > 1) Posting to the Dojo forum questions on Dijit and DojoX.
> >
> > 2) Posting support questions to a developer forum.
> >
> > Both mistakes can be easily explained.
> >
> > #1 was mostly due to the fact that users associate Dojo with
> > everything
> > else: "Problem with a dialog, a grid or a chart? Sounds like it is a
> > Dojo problem => use the Dojo forum. Yeah, I see it now, nice Dojo guys
> > made it the very first one."
> >
> > #2 was due to our bad planning. Developer forums were equally
> > accessible
> > as support forums and badly named: "I am a developer. I develop stuff
> > with Dojo. There is a problem. I'll ask other developers in the
> > developer forum."
> >
> > With existing mailing lists we do not have the problem #2. The only
> > exception I remember was the question about our github policy in
> > dojo-interest just a day ago, which was more appropriate for
> > dojo-contributors. I don't know if it is the naming, or the moderated
> > access, or the relative obscurity, but it works. Let's keep/preserve
> > it
> > that way.
> >
> > And we don't have #1 because we don't differentiate between support
> > questions. I can imagine that with 3 mailing lists or groups we will
> > have the same problem. With one difference: it would be impossible to
> > move posts. Another potential problem specific to mailing lists:
> > cross-posting, which can be a problem when we have several of them.
> >
> > The big question is: do we really need to segment the user support
> > channel?
> >
> > Our forum demonstrated another huge problem: it was next to impossible
> > for users to post code snippets correctly. I understand that UI didn't
> > provide any obvious convenient way to do it. But I refused to read big
> > chunks of badly formatted code asking authors to mail me them directly
> > as attachments or open a ticket and attach snippets there. I literally
> > can't understand mangled code. In some cases it was beyond mangled ---
> > some stuff was not shown at all. Mailing lists and groups would not
> > solve this problem too --- it would be easier to post because
> > everything
> > is a text, but inappropriate line wraps can be just as bad, especially
> > if a maximal line width is enforced like in google groups.
> >
> > We are a programmers community. We just have to communicate pieces of
> > code to each other. And this problem has to be solved. We use some
> > sort
> > of "paste" variation on our IRC channel. Probably we should promote
> > something like that for mailing lists/groups/forums too. It would be
> > nice if it supported syntax highlighting and optional line numbering
> > for
> > most important languages: JavaScript, HTML, CSS. It would be super
> > nice
> > if it was integrated in/easily accessible from UI. Bonus points for
> > the
> > ability to execute the code like we on Dojo Campus.
> >
> > Obviously it is not an option with 3rd-party solutions and mailing
> > lists. The best I can come up with is to enforce a mandatory footer
> > with
> > all relevant information for mailing list posts, and a clear
> > explanation
> > of all these details in group rules/the wiki/the front page.
> >
> > Again I can look at the Django community to see how they cope with
> > this
> > problem. I am just more familiar with it, I am sure you can find other
> > examples. Django uses an IRC channel like we do (#django @ freenode)
> > and
> > several mailing lists, with two most used: django-developers (==
> > dojo-contributors) and django-users (== dojo-interest), both hosted by
> > google groups and available through news servers like gmane (that's
> > how
> > I read them). Amazingly they didn't segment django-users by topics
> > like
> > we do --- probably they decided to go with the flow, not against it.
> > Trac is used for tickets and it serves as general wiki actively
> > populated by the community. http://dpaste.com (by Paul Bissex) is used
> > for code snippets (originally developed to use on IRC) --- open for
> > everybody, and there is even a RESTful API for it. For more
> > permanent/useful snippets there is http://www.djangosnippets.org/ (by
> > Simon Willison, open source) with a rating system introduced way
> > before
> > StackOverflow. Bloggers writing about Django are consolidated with RSS
> > feeds. And did I mention that Django has a gorgeous documentation?
> >
> > Let's compare Django with Dojo. We have good stuff too. IRC ---
> > check (I
> > don't like our paste solution, should be replaced/improved). Dojo
> > Campus
> > covers a lot of ground: it has a decent documentation system, which
> > can
> > dub for a wiki too, the content is mostly there, and it provides a
> > place
> > for tutorials. We consolidate Dojo bloggers --- I have no idea who
> > selects them, but it is there. Trac --- check. Dojo Snippets? Not
> > there
> > yet, but it sounds like a future addition to Dojo Campus. A mailing
> > list
> > for contributors --- check.
> >
> > It looks like the biggest difference is in the way two communities
> > conduct two-way offline communications with users. Django has one
> > email
> > address and one official web interface (on google groups) + news
> > servers
> > like gmane, Dojo has 5 user-oriented forums at
> > http://dojotoolkit.org/forum, 4 "developer" forums in the same place,
> > which are mostly misused, and a mostly dormant mailing list without
> > any
> > kind of web interface. It looks like we are spreading thin instead of
> > concentrating.
> >
> > How do they do it? django-developers averages 300-500 messages a
> > month,
> > django-users --- ~2500 a month => almost 100 per day. Nobody
> > complained
> > yet that it is difficult to fish out relevant messages. Hmm. Food for
> > thought.
> >
> > BTW, The Dojo Toolkit is already present in Google Groups (WARNING:
> > NSFW): http://groups.google.com/group/the-dojo-toolkit
> >
> > Eugene Lazutkin
> > Dojo Toolkit, Committer
> > http://lazutkin.com/
> >
> > On 05/21/2009 09:04 PM, Bill Keese wrote:
> >>>> Dustin Machi wrote:
> >>>>> Given that google groups fails to meet the original
> >>>>> purpose of using forums in the first place (splitting up forums into
> >>>>> more manageable chunks)
> >>>> I don't think that was the original purpose of switching to forums;
> >>>> you
> >>>> can easily create multiple mailing lists to split things up.
> >>>>
> >>>> And, google groups allows you to create as many groups as you want.
> >>>> Six months ago we tentatively agreed to have three groups:
> >>>>
> >>>>   - http://groups.google.com/group/dojotoolkit-core
> >>>>   - http://groups.google.com/group/dojotoolkit-dijit
> >>>>   - http://groups.google.com/group/dojotoolkit-dojox
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> This was the compromise between having a single group (dojo-
> >>>> interest),
> >>>> which contributors hated because they couldn't monitor a certain
> >>>> subject
> >>>> like dijit or charting, versus having many groups (see
> >>>> http://dojotoolkit.org/forum although our website is down now), which
> >>>> contributers hated because users kept posting to the wrong groups.
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>> its not clear to me why we don't just close
> >>>>> the forums and use the existing mailing lists.  People can go back
> >>>>> to
> >>>>> using nabble or gmane or whatever external tool to submit from the
> >>>>> web.
> >>>> Well, anything would be better than the current situation with
> >>>> competing
> >>>> mailing lists and forums.
> >>>>
> >>>> I guess dropping the forums and just supporting mailing lists
> >>>> (maybe not
> >>>> dojo-interest but three mailing lists) would be OK, although I'm not
> >>>> sure what that achieves over completely outsourcing.
> >>>>
> >>>> I'm against supporting any forums in-house because of our long
> >>>> history
> >>>> of IT issues, and also because (like the web site) it gives
> >>>> contributors
> >>>> an excuse to endlessly debate about customization / site design /
> >>>> etc.
> >>>> rather than actually working on dojo or answering support questions.
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> PS: I'm having problems with dojo's SMTP server again and I can't
> >>>> send
> >>>> this message; will try using yahoo's server instead.
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