Plan to move swift-evolution and swift-users mailing lists to Discourse


(Ted Kremenek) #1

Hi everyone,

There was a long thread on swift-evolution about whether we should use modern forum software — like Discourse — as an alternative to the mailing lists we have now. After a long discussion, the Core Team has decided to move swift-evolution and swift-users to Discourse.

There are tradeoffs to moving to a forum. The main advantages are:

- Easy for people to participate without subscribing to the entire mailing list, as well as no need to provide email address to participate. A lot of people have voiced concern that they feel resistance to participate because of needing to subscribe to a mailing list.

- Consistent affordances and rendering of content, including Markdown support. This is really useful for having technical discussions.

- Better searching of topics, archiving, etc.

- More tools for moderation.

- Topic cross-referencing, and consistent organization of topics instead of whatever threading support a mail client provides (which is inconsistent).

I also want to consider moving the -dev lists to the same forum setup as well; but that will be a separate conversation on those lists.

A rollout plan has not been figured out. People are busy and there are logistics to figure out. I will be engaging a handful of members from the community to help with the transition. Specifically, there are those who really value using email for participation on swift-evolution and swift-users, and the goal is to get the forum setup to allow those people to continue to feel effective when using email for discussions on these "lists".

More details will be announced as they get figured out, but I felt it was important to let the community know about this direction.

Ted


(Joshua Alvarado) #2

:tada::confetti_ball::tada::confetti_ball::tada::confetti_ball::confetti_ball:
This is an awesome decision and a huge enhancement for the Swift community. Thanks (Core Team) for taking the time to entertain the discussion and move forward with what many community members have wanted.

Alvarado, Joshua

···

On Feb 8, 2017, at 5:03 PM, Ted kremenek via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

Hi everyone,

There was a long thread on swift-evolution about whether we should use modern forum software — like Discourse — as an alternative to the mailing lists we have now. After a long discussion, the Core Team has decided to move swift-evolution and swift-users to Discourse.

There are tradeoffs to moving to a forum. The main advantages are:

- Easy for people to participate without subscribing to the entire mailing list, as well as no need to provide email address to participate. A lot of people have voiced concern that they feel resistance to participate because of needing to subscribe to a mailing list.

- Consistent affordances and rendering of content, including Markdown support. This is really useful for having technical discussions.

- Better searching of topics, archiving, etc.

- More tools for moderation.

- Topic cross-referencing, and consistent organization of topics instead of whatever threading support a mail client provides (which is inconsistent).

I also want to consider moving the -dev lists to the same forum setup as well; but that will be a separate conversation on those lists.

A rollout plan has not been figured out. People are busy and there are logistics to figure out. I will be engaging a handful of members from the community to help with the transition. Specifically, there are those who really value using email for participation on swift-evolution and swift-users, and the goal is to get the forum setup to allow those people to continue to feel effective when using email for discussions on these "lists".

More details will be announced as they get figured out, but I felt it was important to let the community know about this direction.

Ted

_______________________________________________
swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution


#3

May I ask why with so many great open source forums that junk Discourse got chosen? I'm very perplexed by this decision...

Jan


(David Hart) #4

Hi Ted,

Thanks so much for taking time to discuss this with the team. I feel very confident this is going to be a big plus for the community :slight_smile:

David

···

On 9 Feb 2017, at 01:03, Ted kremenek via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

Hi everyone,

There was a long thread on swift-evolution about whether we should use modern forum software — like Discourse — as an alternative to the mailing lists we have now. After a long discussion, the Core Team has decided to move swift-evolution and swift-users to Discourse.

There are tradeoffs to moving to a forum. The main advantages are:

- Easy for people to participate without subscribing to the entire mailing list, as well as no need to provide email address to participate. A lot of people have voiced concern that they feel resistance to participate because of needing to subscribe to a mailing list.

- Consistent affordances and rendering of content, including Markdown support. This is really useful for having technical discussions.

- Better searching of topics, archiving, etc.

- More tools for moderation.

- Topic cross-referencing, and consistent organization of topics instead of whatever threading support a mail client provides (which is inconsistent).

I also want to consider moving the -dev lists to the same forum setup as well; but that will be a separate conversation on those lists.

A rollout plan has not been figured out. People are busy and there are logistics to figure out. I will be engaging a handful of members from the community to help with the transition. Specifically, there are those who really value using email for participation on swift-evolution and swift-users, and the goal is to get the forum setup to allow those people to continue to feel effective when using email for discussions on these "lists".

More details will be announced as they get figured out, but I felt it was important to let the community know about this direction.

Ted

_______________________________________________
swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution


(Tino) #5

Great news — and I guess it's a plus that Discourse isn't PHP but Ruby, as I expect there are quite a lot Rubyists around here.
So, hopefully the issues that might exist (especially with the mail interface) can be addressed to make everyone happy.

Although Discourse looks like a really good fit, I would be interested to hear about other forum solutions as well: It would be a pity if we choose based on popularity only, ignoring alternatives completely just because they aren't that trendy.

- Tino

Anyone interested in starting to write a (possible) long-term solution using server-side Swift? Imho the challenge doesn't look that hard, and I've already been thinking about starting such a toy project to dive into the topic...


(Karl) #6

Happy dance! :tada::man_dancing::tada:
  
I've said before that I think this a good move. Hopefully it encourages more ad-hoc contributions - e.g. Unicode experts who have suggestions for the String model, Perl developers with suggestions for pattern-matching, systems architects with suggestions for the memory model, etc. That's what open-source is all about, IMO. Maybe somebody they know notices the discussion - with this they'll have a convenient interface to get up to speed, follow the discussion and chime in with their experience. I don't know if that will _actually_ happen or how many such developers there are, but by lowering the barrier to participation we're doing as much as we can do to encourage them.
  
So yeah, thanks a lot!
  
- Karl

···

  
On Feb 9, 2017 at 12:03 am, <Ted kremenek via swift-users (mailto:swift-users@swift.org)> wrote:
  
Hi everyone,

There was a long thread on swift-evolution about whether we should use modern forum software — like Discourse — as an alternative to the mailing lists we have now. After a long discussion, the Core Team has decided to move swift-evolution and swift-users to Discourse.

There are tradeoffs to moving to a forum. The main advantages are:

- Easy for people to participate without subscribing to the entire mailing list, as well as no need to provide email address to participate. A lot of people have voiced concern that they feel resistance to participate because of needing to subscribe to a mailing list.

- Consistent affordances and rendering of content, including Markdown support. This is really useful for having technical discussions.

- Better searching of topics, archiving, etc.

- More tools for moderation.

- Topic cross-referencing, and consistent organization of topics instead of whatever threading support a mail client provides (which is inconsistent).

I also want to consider moving the -dev lists to the same forum setup as well; but that will be a separate conversation on those lists.

A rollout plan has not been figured out. People are busy and there are logistics to figure out. I will be engaging a handful of members from the community to help with the transition. Specifically, there are those who really value using email for participation on swift-evolution and swift-users, and the goal is to get the forum setup to allow those people to continue to feel effective when using email for discussions on these "lists".

More details will be announced as they get figured out, but I felt it was important to let the community know about this direction.

Ted

_______________________________________________
swift-users mailing list
swift-users@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-users


(David Young) #7

Can you show us what the mailing list integration looks like?

Dave

···

On Wed, Feb 08, 2017 at 04:03:39PM -0800, Ted kremenek via swift-users wrote:

Hi everyone,

There was a long thread on swift-evolution about whether we should use modern forum software — like Discourse — as an alternative to the mailing lists we have now. After a long discussion, the Core Team has decided to move swift-evolution and swift-users to Discourse.

--
David Young
dyoung@pobox.com Urbana, IL (217) 721-9981


(Andreas Mayer) #8

Are you hosting your own Discourse server? (Is that even possible?) Because I block discourse.com globally.

Also, I can follow along with a mailing list without having to actively click around some web sites. It's all centrally managed by my mail client. Web forums are a PITA.

I'm sure you won't miss me; but I will miss reading about Swift.
I guess it's back to just Stackoverflow for specific questions. :frowning:

···

Am 09.02.2017 um 01:03 schrieb Ted kremenek via swift-users <swift-users@swift.org>:

After a long discussion, the Core Team has decided to move swift-evolution and swift-users to Discourse.


#9

A big +1 for Discourse from me as well. I don't want to sign up to the mailing list and have mailbox overflow. I did have rules put in place to move the messages in a separate folder, but still the amount wasn't manageable. Furthermore reading the threads in Mail.app is a major pain as a result of different quotation styles used by various authors.

Currently I use gmane.org's nntp servers and the outdated Unison.app. However that app also doesn't support the various quotation styles, which doesn't help with following topics. I'd be very happy to use Discourse, as it allows me to opt-in to any discussion I'd like and start/stop e-mail notifications as I see fit. Also Github Issues would allow me to do that, but I can see the benefits Discourse would provide; e.g. better moderation, pinning topics for recurring topics and ownership of the forum's data (threads).

-Bouke


(Lane Schwartz) #10

Hi all,

I'm sure there are good reasons for this switch. Personally, I strongly
prefer email lists to forums.

This move will make it harder for me to participate in future discussions
and I will be less inclined to take the effort to sign into a forum do so.

Is there a plan to enable an integrated mailing list functionality so that
those of us who prefer that modality can continue to participate via email?
Other forum software that I've been asked to use in the past (sorry, I
can't remember the name) had this functionality, and it made a huge
difference for me.

Thanks,
Lane

···

On Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 6:03 PM, Ted kremenek via swift-users < swift-users@swift.org> wrote:

Hi everyone,

There was a long thread on swift-evolution about whether we should use
modern forum software — like Discourse — as an alternative to the mailing
lists we have now. After a long discussion, the Core Team has decided to
move swift-evolution and swift-users to Discourse.

There are tradeoffs to moving to a forum. The main advantages are:

- Easy for people to participate without subscribing to the entire mailing
list, as well as no need to provide email address to participate. A lot of
people have voiced concern that they feel resistance to participate because
of needing to subscribe to a mailing list.

- Consistent affordances and rendering of content, including Markdown
support. This is really useful for having technical discussions.

- Better searching of topics, archiving, etc.

- More tools for moderation.

- Topic cross-referencing, and consistent organization of topics instead
of whatever threading support a mail client provides (which is
inconsistent).

I also want to consider moving the -dev lists to the same forum setup as
well; but that will be a separate conversation on those lists.

A rollout plan has not been figured out. People are busy and there are
logistics to figure out. I will be engaging a handful of members from the
community to help with the transition. Specifically, there are those who
really value using email for participation on swift-evolution and
swift-users, and the goal is to get the forum setup to allow those people
to continue to feel effective when using email for discussions on these
"lists".

More details will be announced as they get figured out, but I felt it was
important to let the community know about this direction.

Ted

_______________________________________________
swift-users mailing list
swift-users@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-users

--
When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not
far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel
is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.
                -- R.A. Heinlein, "Time Enough For Love"


(Ted Kremenek) #11

Hi Jan,

There was a lot of discussion — albeit not on swift-users — and Discourse was the one put forward that those that were pro-forum were most advocating. I actually didn't hear alternative forum software get strongly advocated.

Specific things about Discourse (which may be offered by other solutions):

- Good archiving and searching.
- Markdown support.
- Email bridging to those who still want to have a "mailing list" experience.
- Easy participation without needing to subscribe to a high-volume mailing list.

Not all of these benefits are specific to Discourse.

I'm happy to hear your thoughts, but I'd need more precise feedback than adjectives like "junk" to weigh in your concerns. Specific suggestions for something better, and why they are better, would be great.

The key decision here is to move away from mailing lists. Discourse so far seems like the best candidate put forth.

Ted

···

On Feb 8, 2017, at 4:48 PM, Jan Neumüller via swift-users <swift-users@swift.org> wrote:

May I ask why with so many great open source forums that junk Discourse got chosen? I'm very perplexed by this decision...

Jan
_______________________________________________
swift-users mailing list
swift-users@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-users


(Rick M) #12

I second this praise. FWIW, I recently installed Discourse using a DigitalOcean droplet, and it couldn't have been easier. Upgrades are surprisingly easy, too.

I have yet to figure out the email integration; I hope you can get that working.

I also hope you give some effort to improving on the default Discourse look. It's not bad, but I feel like it doesn't do a good job of delineating functional areas on the page. Having said that, I'm more than happy to wait indefinitely for such an improvement; it's not worth holding up the roll-out.

Thanks again!

···

On Feb 8, 2017, at 19:34 , Joshua Alvarado via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

:tada::confetti_ball::tada::confetti_ball::tada::confetti_ball::confetti_ball:
This is an awesome decision and a huge enhancement for the Swift community. Thanks (Core Team) for taking the time to entertain the discussion and move forward with what many community members have wanted.

Alvarado, Joshua

On Feb 8, 2017, at 5:03 PM, Ted kremenek via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

Hi everyone,

There was a long thread on swift-evolution about whether we should use modern forum software — like Discourse — as an alternative to the mailing lists we have now. After a long discussion, the Core Team has decided to move swift-evolution and swift-users to Discourse.

There are tradeoffs to moving to a forum. The main advantages are:

- Easy for people to participate without subscribing to the entire mailing list, as well as no need to provide email address to participate. A lot of people have voiced concern that they feel resistance to participate because of needing to subscribe to a mailing list.

- Consistent affordances and rendering of content, including Markdown support. This is really useful for having technical discussions.

- Better searching of topics, archiving, etc.

- More tools for moderation.

- Topic cross-referencing, and consistent organization of topics instead of whatever threading support a mail client provides (which is inconsistent).

I also want to consider moving the -dev lists to the same forum setup as well; but that will be a separate conversation on those lists.

A rollout plan has not been figured out. People are busy and there are logistics to figure out. I will be engaging a handful of members from the community to help with the transition. Specifically, there are those who really value using email for participation on swift-evolution and swift-users, and the goal is to get the forum setup to allow those people to continue to feel effective when using email for discussions on these "lists".

More details will be announced as they get figured out, but I felt it was important to let the community know about this direction.

Ted

_______________________________________________
swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution

_______________________________________________
swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution

--
Rick Mann
rmann@latencyzero.com


(Jim Hillhouse) #13

I'll echo Nick and Joshua–thanks Swift Core team for taking the time to decide on this change.

Jim

···

On Feb 8, 2017, at 9:37 PM, Rick Mann via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

I second this praise. FWIW, I recently installed Discourse using a DigitalOcean droplet, and it couldn't have been easier. Upgrades are surprisingly easy, too.

I have yet to figure out the email integration; I hope you can get that working.

I also hope you give some effort to improving on the default Discourse look. It's not bad, but I feel like it doesn't do a good job of delineating functional areas on the page. Having said that, I'm more than happy to wait indefinitely for such an improvement; it's not worth holding up the roll-out.

Thanks again!

On Feb 8, 2017, at 19:34 , Joshua Alvarado via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

:tada::confetti_ball::tada::confetti_ball::tada::confetti_ball::confetti_ball:
This is an awesome decision and a huge enhancement for the Swift community. Thanks (Core Team) for taking the time to entertain the discussion and move forward with what many community members have wanted.

Alvarado, Joshua

On Feb 8, 2017, at 5:03 PM, Ted kremenek via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

Hi everyone,

There was a long thread on swift-evolution about whether we should use modern forum software — like Discourse — as an alternative to the mailing lists we have now. After a long discussion, the Core Team has decided to move swift-evolution and swift-users to Discourse.

There are tradeoffs to moving to a forum. The main advantages are:

- Easy for people to participate without subscribing to the entire mailing list, as well as no need to provide email address to participate. A lot of people have voiced concern that they feel resistance to participate because of needing to subscribe to a mailing list.

- Consistent affordances and rendering of content, including Markdown support. This is really useful for having technical discussions.

- Better searching of topics, archiving, etc.

- More tools for moderation.

- Topic cross-referencing, and consistent organization of topics instead of whatever threading support a mail client provides (which is inconsistent).

I also want to consider moving the -dev lists to the same forum setup as well; but that will be a separate conversation on those lists.

A rollout plan has not been figured out. People are busy and there are logistics to figure out. I will be engaging a handful of members from the community to help with the transition. Specifically, there are those who really value using email for participation on swift-evolution and swift-users, and the goal is to get the forum setup to allow those people to continue to feel effective when using email for discussions on these "lists".

More details will be announced as they get figured out, but I felt it was important to let the community know about this direction.

Ted

_______________________________________________
swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution

_______________________________________________
swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution

--
Rick Mann
rmann@latencyzero.com

_______________________________________________
swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution


(Jens Alfke) #14

I’ve looked at a lot of forum software, and most of the open-source ones are pretty poor* in terms of UI and usability.
Discourse is very good as a web app, although its email integration doesn’t work that well IMHO, so it’s not really a direct replacement for a mailing list.
If I were proposing something, I’d propose groups.io <http://groups.io/>. (Which is also not open source, sorry.)

—Jens

* I’m being diplomatic. Many of them are worse than poor. The word “wretched” comes to mind.

···

On Feb 8, 2017, at 4:48 PM, Jan Neumüller via swift-users <swift-users@swift.org> wrote:

May I ask why with so many great open source forums that junk Discourse got chosen? I'm very perplexed by this decision...


(Martin Man) #15

Is there any reason why there needs to be a separate tool for this?

If mailing lists are no go why not just stay on GitHub and use GitHub issues for proposals?

Thanks,
Martin

···

On 9 Feb 2017, at 08:51, Jens Alfke via swift-users <swift-users@swift.org> wrote:

On Feb 8, 2017, at 4:48 PM, Jan Neumüller via swift-users <swift-users@swift.org <mailto:swift-users@swift.org>> wrote:

May I ask why with so many great open source forums that junk Discourse got chosen? I'm very perplexed by this decision...

I’ve looked at a lot of forum software, and most of the open-source ones are pretty poor* in terms of UI and usability.
Discourse is very good as a web app, although its email integration doesn’t work that well IMHO, so it’s not really a direct replacement for a mailing list.
If I were proposing something, I’d propose groups.io <http://groups.io/>. (Which is also not open source, sorry.)

—Jens

* I’m being diplomatic. Many of them are worse than poor. The word “wretched” comes to mind.
_______________________________________________
swift-users mailing list
swift-users@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-users


#16

My problem with Discourse lies in its terrible ui. It is like most modern social media: totally useless to find stuff and stay organized in it. It reminds my heavy on the terrible ui of Facebook and the redone developer forums at Apple that have gone from fine to utterly useless chaos. Perhaps I’m to old for modern web, but what are other finding great at this?

I would prefer http://www.fudforum.org/ that has good mailing list support, too.

Jan


(David Sweeris) #17

Hi all,

I'm sure there are good reasons for this switch. Personally, I strongly prefer email lists to forums.

This move will make it harder for me to participate in future discussions and I will be less inclined to take the effort to sign into a forum do so.

Is there a plan to enable an integrated mailing list functionality so that those of us who prefer that modality can continue to participate via email? Other forum software that I've been asked to use in the past (sorry, I can't remember the name) had this functionality, and it made a huge difference for me.

AFAIK, the plan is to not switch unless the mailing list functionality can be kept.

(I'm not an official source or anything, that's just the impression I got)

- Dave Sweeris

···

Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 19, 2017, at 13:41, Lane Schwartz via swift-users <swift-users@swift.org> wrote:


(Gavin Eadie) #18

I've been participating on email lists and forums for forty-ish years and
this dichotomy has been an ever present cloud hanging over that activity,
sometimes, sadly, to the extent that the list-v-forum debate has swamped
the desired topic of conversation .. I've seen it reach language-war
proportions.

I'll express my ignorance before I go further .. I have not tracked the
progress of recent (typically web-based) computer aided communications
products so don't bite my head off .. what follows is a position I've held
for a long time, a plea for a product that may well exist now.

I'm a big 'delayed binding' fan which, in this context, could mean
separating the storage of the content from the display of the content.
Surely there are stores that can be accessed by IMAP (for those that want
the 'mailing list' experience and the Eudora interface), and by other
methods SQL, REST, JSON (for those who want a more expressive web-app
experience)?

This would seem to be in the same spirit of Markdown .. expressive when
rendered, but quite readable in its raw form.

I'm sure you get the idea .. doesn't any such thing exist?

···

On Sun, Feb 19, 2017 at 4:41 PM, Lane Schwartz via swift-users < swift-users@swift.org> wrote:

Is there a plan to enable an integrated mailing list functionality so that
those of us who prefer that modality can continue to participate via email?
Other forum software that I've been asked to use in the past (sorry, I
can't remember the name) had this functionality, and it made a huge
difference for me.

On Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 6:03 PM, Ted kremenek via swift-users < > swift-users@swift.org> wrote:

[...] Specifically, there are those who really value using email for
participation on swift-evolution and swift-users, and the goal is to get
the forum setup to allow those people to continue to feel effective when
using email for discussions on these "lists".


(Adrian Zubarev) #19

Any update to this? I was hoping for a global announcement at WWDC to attract more folks to join the discussions, but this didn’t happen.

···

--
Adrian Zubarev
Sent with Airmail

Am 10. Februar 2017 um 07:11:34, Bouke Haarsma via swift-evolution (swift-evolution@swift.org) schrieb:

A big +1 for Discourse from me as well. I don't want to sign up to the
mailing list and have mailbox overflow. I did have rules put in place
to move the messages in a separate folder, but still the amount wasn't
manageable. Furthermore reading the threads in Mail.app is a major pain
as a result of different quotation styles used by various authors.

Currently I use gmane.org's nntp servers and the outdated Unison.app.
However that app also doesn't support the various quotation styles,
which doesn't help with following topics. I'd be very happy to use
Discourse, as it allows me to opt-in to any discussion I'd like and
start/stop e-mail notifications as I see fit. Also Github Issues would
allow me to do that, but I can see the benefits Discourse would
provide; e.g. better moderation, pinning topics for recurring topics
and ownership of the forum's data (threads).

-Bouke

_______________________________________________
swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution


(Jens Alfke) #20

Well, we appear to have completely opposite opinions on UI/usability. I took a look at fudforum and yeah, to my eyes it exemplifies the awful clutter that’s been a hallmark of web forums since before PHPBB. There’s so much visual noise it’s very hard to parse or to find anything. Clearly designed by a coder with a big hammer named “<table>”. I’m not a UI designer, but I’ve worked extensively with UI designers (I spent 15 years at Apple working on stuff like iChat and AppleScript) so I think I have some grounding in the field.

I do believe, though, that whatever solution swift.org <http://swift.org/> switches to needs to have good email support. That way the people who hate the web UI, or who just don’t prefer to use the web for discussions, can keep using email as we do today. This is perfectly feasible to do; again, groups.io <http://groups.io/> is a good example.

Here my concern is that I have not found a way to configure Discourse to make its email notifications work well as a substitute for a mailing list. I have admin privileges on a Discourse installation run by my employer, so I’ve looked through the entire admin UI for ways to improve the emails, and some of the problems don’t seem fixable by tweaking settings.

At this point I’m going to shut up because it sounds like the decision has been made, and I don’t want to contribute to further bike-shedding.

—Jens

···

On Feb 9, 2017, at 3:41 AM, Jan Neumüller via swift-users <swift-users@swift.org> wrote:

I would prefer http://www.fudforum.org/ that has good mailing list support, too.