RFC: structuring forums for best use for swift-evolution

A while back a decision was reached to move from using mailing lists for swift-evolution to using a forum, specifically Discourse. At the time that decision was made, efforts had been already well committed for supporting the development of Swift 4 — including efforts supporting important infrastructure efforts such as the source compatibility suite. I apologize for not providing more transparency in why moving to a forum was being delayed. Some things took longer than expected.

To be clear, the plan is to still move to Discourse, and with Swift 4 winding down there is now bandwidth to focus on making the transition from mailing lists to a forum. As part of that transition, I’d like to get some feedback from the community.

There has been some good conversations on this mailing list on how swift-evolution can possibly evolve to better serve the needs of the community. I’m not talking about whether or not we use a mailing list or a forum — that decision has been made. Specifically, I’m talking about how a forum could best be structured to organize discussions and allow everyone to optimally participate. In the move to Discourse, we have the opportunity here to possibly do things a bit differently than we have been so far.

For example, here are some of the questions I’m thinking about how we should be use a forum:

- We currently have swift-evolution and swift-evolution-announce. Should we use a specific “category” in the forum for "proposals that are in active review" — and possibly remove the need to have something like swift-evolution-announce?

- Should we have other topical areas to organize discussions? If so, at what granularity?

We can certainly figure out a lot of this over time, but I’d like some feedback from the community now on things they’d like to see in how we organize the swift-evolution forum based on experiences we’ve had with swift-evolution since it was created.

Please chime in on this thread if you have feedback, and focus on keeping this constructive.

Thanks,
Ted

My inclination is to start with two broad-level categories: Evolution and User (this presumes both the evolution and user lists are moving to Discourse).

To the degree that there are separate parts of evolution or user that never cross over, it would make sense to have more categories, but I think it would be best to wait to add them.

A topic can be moved from one category to another, so perhaps after a pitch in Evolution gets enough traction, it could be moved to a "Swift 5" category (e.g.).

···

On Aug 1, 2017, at 22:13 , Ted Kremenek via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

A while back a decision was reached to move from using mailing lists for swift-evolution to using a forum, specifically Discourse. At the time that decision was made, efforts had been already well committed for supporting the development of Swift 4 — including efforts supporting important infrastructure efforts such as the source compatibility suite. I apologize for not providing more transparency in why moving to a forum was being delayed. Some things took longer than expected.

To be clear, the plan is to still move to Discourse, and with Swift 4 winding down there is now bandwidth to focus on making the transition from mailing lists to a forum. As part of that transition, I’d like to get some feedback from the community.

There has been some good conversations on this mailing list on how swift-evolution can possibly evolve to better serve the needs of the community. I’m not talking about whether or not we use a mailing list or a forum — that decision has been made. Specifically, I’m talking about how a forum could best be structured to organize discussions and allow everyone to optimally participate. In the move to Discourse, we have the opportunity here to possibly do things a bit differently than we have been so far.

For example, here are some of the questions I’m thinking about how we should be use a forum:

- We currently have swift-evolution and swift-evolution-announce. Should we use a specific “category” in the forum for "proposals that are in active review" — and possibly remove the need to have something like swift-evolution-announce?

- Should we have other topical areas to organize discussions? If so, at what granularity?

We can certainly figure out a lot of this over time, but I’d like some feedback from the community now on things they’d like to see in how we organize the swift-evolution forum based on experiences we’ve had with swift-evolution since it was created.

Please chime in on this thread if you have feedback, and focus on keeping this constructive.

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

--
Rick Mann
rmann@latencyzero.com

Thanks for the update!

- We currently have swift-evolution and swift-evolution-announce. Should we use a specific “category” in the forum for "proposals that are in active review" — and possibly remove the need to have something like swift-evolution-announce?

Guess swift-evolution-announce is the right place to ask this question… but I don't know where the answers should go :wink:

Just to help frame the rest of the discussion on this thread, the intention is to move all of the lists to Discourse.

All lists, and a single instance of Discourse?
I don't remember if there was a discussion about Discourse in swift-dev… imho that list doesn't suffer from the problems that evolution has.
Also, it will be very easy to cross-post from users to evolution (without switching from Mailclient to browser and search for a post in the archives), so imho a strong separation has no downsides.

- Should we have other topical areas to organize discussions? If so, at what granularity?

There are some topics (multithreading, metaprogramming, reflection, generics, ownership…) that imho couldn't be pushed forward on the mailing list because of their size.
I hope Discourse will help to manage concepts that don't fit in a single proposal (there's a wiki posts feature that sounds promising) and allows talking about features that can't be implemented soon, but might be affected by short-term changes.
There are already some manifestos written, so I guess there might be Core members with special interest in certain topics who could act as patron for "their" subject.

I'm quite sure that moving to a forum will increase the number of posts dramatically — but it also offers help to manage higher throughput:
- We could have one or more focus-topics for each release ("X is up next, other topics won't receive much attention from Core")
- With likes, there's an easy way to signal agreement to an opinion without flooding the ML. This could help Core to to find relevant input.

Looking forward to login :wink:
- Tino

When moving to a forum, the problem becomes a thread splintering to an overwhelming tree. I'd prefer to see a single primary thread (as in the mailing lists) with breakout threads for working groups. These could be built either around already identified areas (see manifestos) or future directions (such as mathematics, fp, merging features from other languages).
I think announce should announce. One thread, one purpose.
I think evolution should have a review forum: one thread for each proposal.
Pitches and RFC should have their own forum, with individual threads. The dangers here are (1) losing good ideas, (2) good ideas that are timed poorly, (3) redundant ideas from not having found previous discussions, (4) well intentioned but inappropriate ideas. Having a way to filter types 3 and 4 out to a subforum to raise the S:N should be possible but will require some kind of moderation (such as Xiodi Wu has put such effort into supporting)
Working groups need their own development area. There needs to be some sort of top-level organization to make this usable ("Generics", "Dispatch", "Calendar/Clocks/Time", "Mathematics", "Strings", "Collections", whatever), but there should also be a level of flexiblity. I'd recommend giving manifesto topics initial priority at the top level but I'd also suggest that there have to be some kind of effort to open a new discussion area, to limit the number of "ghost forums".
A SE version of a FAQ, be it "Commonly Proposed"/"Commonly Rejected" and some kind of Quinn-like Eskimo support for directing and moderating.

The measures of success are:

* Can track news ("announce")
* Can participate in active reviews
* Can read archived reviews
* Can pitch and develop proposals as part of a working group
* Can search for previous discussions
* Can look up whether common topics have already been hit
* Can support a small and well-populated forum hierarchy with few orphans and ghosts
* Communicates that the forum is a non-social working area and a public record of language development.

-- E

···

On Aug 1, 2017, at 11:13 PM, Ted Kremenek via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

A while back a decision was reached to move from using mailing lists for swift-evolution to using a forum, specifically Discourse. At the time that decision was made, efforts had been already well committed for supporting the development of Swift 4 — including efforts supporting important infrastructure efforts such as the source compatibility suite. I apologize for not providing more transparency in why moving to a forum was being delayed. Some things took longer than expected.

To be clear, the plan is to still move to Discourse, and with Swift 4 winding down there is now bandwidth to focus on making the transition from mailing lists to a forum. As part of that transition, I’d like to get some feedback from the community.

There has been some good conversations on this mailing list on how swift-evolution can possibly evolve to better serve the needs of the community. I’m not talking about whether or not we use a mailing list or a forum — that decision has been made. Specifically, I’m talking about how a forum could best be structured to organize discussions and allow everyone to optimally participate. In the move to Discourse, we have the opportunity here to possibly do things a bit differently than we have been so far.

For example, here are some of the questions I’m thinking about how we should be use a forum:

- We currently have swift-evolution and swift-evolution-announce. Should we use a specific “category” in the forum for "proposals that are in active review" — and possibly remove the need to have something like swift-evolution-announce?

- Should we have other topical areas to organize discussions? If so, at what granularity?

We can certainly figure out a lot of this over time, but I’d like some feedback from the community now on things they’d like to see in how we organize the swift-evolution forum based on experiences we’ve had with swift-evolution since it was created.

Please chime in on this thread if you have feedback, and focus on keeping this constructive.

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

Just to help frame the rest of the discussion on this thread, the intention is to move all of the lists to Discourse.

···

On Aug 1, 2017, at 10:30 PM, Rick Mann <rmann@latencyzero.com> wrote:

My inclination is to start with two broad-level categories: Evolution and User (this presumes both the evolution and user lists are moving to Discourse).

Thanks for the update!

- We currently have swift-evolution and swift-evolution-announce. Should we use a specific “category” in the forum for "proposals that are in active review" — and possibly remove the need to have something like swift-evolution-announce?

Guess swift-evolution-announce is the right place to ask this question… but I don't know where the answers should go :wink:

Whatever we do concerning swift-evolution-announce, I think it would be worth pinning the review threads to the top of swift-evolution during the review period.

Just to help frame the rest of the discussion on this thread, the intention is to move all of the lists to Discourse.

All lists, and a single instance of Discourse?
I don't remember if there was a discussion about Discourse in swift-dev… imho that list doesn't suffer from the problems that evolution has.
Also, it will be very easy to cross-post from users to evolution (without switching from Mailclient to browser and search for a post in the archives), so imho a strong separation has no downsides.

I think swift-users, swift-evolution and swift-evolution-announce would all benefit a lot from Discourse because they are high volume and is more approchable for newcomers. I don’t have a strong opinion about the -dev lists, but its true it would be simpler if everything was on the same platform.

- Should we have other topical areas to organize discussions? If so, at what granularity?

There are some topics (multithreading, metaprogramming, reflection, generics, ownership…) that imho couldn't be pushed forward on the mailing list because of their size.
I hope Discourse will help to manage concepts that don't fit in a single proposal (there's a wiki posts feature that sounds promising) and allows talking about features that can't be implemented soon, but might be affected by short-term changes.
There are already some manifestos written, so I guess there might be Core members with special interest in certain topics who could act as patron for "their" subject.

I think it would be very beneficial to organise discussions by topics. That would allow pinning the relevant manifestos at the top for everyone to keep in mind :slight_smile:

···

On 2 Aug 2017, at 09:44, Tino Heth via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

I'm quite sure that moving to a forum will increase the number of posts dramatically — but it also offers help to manage higher throughput:
- We could have one or more focus-topics for each release ("X is up next, other topics won't receive much attention from Core")
- With likes, there's an easy way to signal agreement to an opinion without flooding the ML. This could help Core to to find relevant input.

Looking forward to login :wink:
- Tino
_______________________________________________
swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution@swift.org
https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution

Was there any progress made on this? It almost feels like were not going to move to a forum until Swift 6-7. Would be interesting to see a sign of progress here. :slight_smile:

···

Am 3. August 2017 um 23:14:16, Erica Sadun via swift-evolution (swift-evolution@swift.org) schrieb:

When moving to a forum, the problem becomes a thread splintering to an overwhelming tree. I'd prefer to see a single primary thread (as in the mailing lists) with breakout threads for working groups. These could be built either around already identified areas (see manifestos) or future directions (such as mathematics, fp, merging features from other languages).
I think announce should announce. One thread, one purpose.
I think evolution should have a review forum: one thread for each proposal.
Pitches and RFC should have their own forum, with individual threads. The dangers here are (1) losing good ideas, (2) good ideas that are timed poorly, (3) redundant ideas from not having found previous discussions, (4) well intentioned but inappropriate ideas. Having a way to filter types 3 and 4 out to a subforum to raise the S:N should be possible but will require some kind of moderation (such as Xiodi Wu has put such effort into supporting)
Working groups need their own development area. There needs to be some sort of top-level organization to make this usable ("Generics", "Dispatch", "Calendar/Clocks/Time", "Mathematics", "Strings", "Collections", whatever), but there should also be a level of flexiblity. I'd recommend giving manifesto topics initial priority at the top level but I'd also suggest that there have to be some kind of effort to open a new discussion area, to limit the number of "ghost forums".
A SE version of a FAQ, be it "Commonly Proposed"/"Commonly Rejected" and some kind of Quinn-like Eskimo support for directing and moderating.

The measures of success are:

* Can track news ("announce")
* Can participate in active reviews
* Can read archived reviews
* Can pitch and develop proposals as part of a working group
* Can search for previous discussions
* Can look up whether common topics have already been hit
* Can support a small and well-populated forum hierarchy with few orphans and ghosts
* Communicates that the forum is a non-social working area and a public record of language development.

-- E

On Aug 1, 2017, at 11:13 PM, Ted Kremenek via swift-evolution <swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

A while back a decision was reached to move from using mailing lists for swift-evolution to using a forum, specifically Discourse. At the time that decision was made, efforts had been already well committed for supporting the development of Swift 4 — including efforts supporting important infrastructure efforts such as the source compatibility suite. I apologize for not providing more transparency in why moving to a forum was being delayed. Some things took longer than expected.

To be clear, the plan is to still move to Discourse, and with Swift 4 winding down there is now bandwidth to focus on making the transition from mailing lists to a forum. As part of that transition, I’d like to get some feedback from the community.

There has been some good conversations on this mailing list on how swift-evolution can possibly evolve to better serve the needs of the community. I’m not talking about whether or not we use a mailing list or a forum — that decision has been made. Specifically, I’m talking about how a forum could best be structured to organize discussions and allow everyone to optimally participate. In the move to Discourse, we have the opportunity here to possibly do things a bit differently than we have been so far.

For example, here are some of the questions I’m thinking about how we should be use a forum:

- We currently have swift-evolution and swift-evolution-announce. Should we use a specific “category” in the forum for "proposals that are in active review" — and possibly remove the need to have something like swift-evolution-announce?

- Should we have other topical areas to organize discussions? If so, at what granularity?

We can certainly figure out a lot of this over time, but I’d like some feedback from the community now on things they’d like to see in how we organize the swift-evolution forum based on experiences we’ve had with swift-evolution since it was created.

Please chime in on this thread if you have feedback, and focus on keeping this constructive.

Thanks,
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

For Swift 4, the core team identified a set of priorities. Provided the
same will be done for Swift 5, these are natural categories for the
evolution part of the forum, to my mind. It should have the positive effect
of encouraging discussion to be focused, and would allow even new
participants to see in what ways they can contribute.

···

On Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 03:46 David Hart via swift-evolution < swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

On 2 Aug 2017, at 09:44, Tino Heth via swift-evolution < > swift-evolution@swift.org> wrote:

Thanks for the update!

- We currently have swift-evolution and swift-evolution-announce. Should
we use a specific “category” in the forum for "proposals that are in active
review" — and possibly remove the need to have something like
swift-evolution-announce?

Guess swift-evolution-announce is the right place to ask this question…
but I don't know where the answers should go :wink:

Whatever we do concerning swift-evolution-announce, I think it would be
worth pinning the review threads to the top of swift-evolution during the
review period.

Just to help frame the rest of the discussion on this thread, the
intention is to move all of the lists to Discourse.

All lists, and a single instance of Discourse?
I don't remember if there was a discussion about Discourse in swift-dev…
imho that list doesn't suffer from the problems that evolution has.
Also, it will be very easy to cross-post from users to evolution (without
switching from Mailclient to browser and search for a post in the
archives), so imho a strong separation has no downsides.

I think swift-users, swift-evolution and swift-evolution-announce would
all benefit a lot from Discourse because they are high volume and is more
approchable for newcomers. I don’t have a strong opinion about the -dev
lists, but its true it would be simpler if everything was on the same
platform.

- Should we have other topical areas to organize discussions? If so, at
what granularity?

There are some topics (multithreading, metaprogramming, reflection,
generics, ownership…) that imho couldn't be pushed forward on the mailing
list because of their size.
I hope Discourse will help to manage concepts that don't fit in a single
proposal (there's a wiki posts feature that sounds promising) and allows
talking about features that can't be implemented soon, but might be
affected by short-term changes.
There are already some manifestos written, so I guess there might be Core
members with special interest in certain topics who could act as patron for
"their" subject.

I think it would be very beneficial to organise discussions by topics.
That would allow pinning the relevant manifestos at the top for everyone to
keep in mind :slight_smile:

I'm quite sure that moving to a forum will increase the number of posts
dramatically — but it also offers help to manage higher throughput:
- We could have one or more focus-topics for each release ("X is up next,
other topics won't receive much attention from Core")
- With likes, there's an easy way to signal agreement to an opinion
without flooding the ML. This could help Core to to find relevant input.

Looking forward to login :wink:
- Tino
_______________________________________________
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

For Swift 4, the core team identified a set of priorities. Provided the same will be done for Swift 5, these are natural categories for the evolution part of the forum, to my mind.

We fully agree on this point.

It should have the positive effect of encouraging discussion to be focused, and would allow even new participants to see in what ways they can contribute.

… but I'm actually not so sure about the benefit of focussing:
I've heard from several people that they want to participate in the discussions, but are repelled by the ML.
Don't understand me wrong, I think that is a big argument for the switch — but if it starts a second hype, we might be happy if each one of us concentrates on the areas he's interested in, instead of having hundreds of answers for the topic of the day :wink:

For Swift 4, the core team identified a set of priorities. Provided the
same will be done for Swift 5, these are natural categories for the
evolution part of the forum, to my mind.

We fully agree on this point.

It should have the positive effect of encouraging discussion to be
focused, and would allow even new participants to see in what ways they can
contribute.

… but I'm actually not so sure about the benefit of focussing:
I've heard from several people that they want to participate in the
discussions, but are repelled by the ML.
Don't understand me wrong, I think that is a big argument for the switch —
but if it starts a second hype, we might be happy if each one of us
concentrates on the areas he's interested in, instead of having hundreds of
answers for the topic of the day :wink:

Wait, but that _is_ what we want—the argument for moving to a different
format is to attract more participation so that we get deeper feedback
reflecting a broader swath of the community for the topic of the day. It’s
_not_ been about getting hundreds of topics going, and in fact IMO that’s
an anti-goal!

···

On Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 10:58 Tino Heth <2th@gmx.de> wrote: