Hi Máirín, thanks for sharing this feedback. I appreciate the
perspective you bring and I agree that for the bigger-picture problems
of engagement and participation, it is a people-scale issue, not
I am still in favor of switching to a Discourse forum for three reasons:
1. Existing core contributors are not seeing these discussions
2. Pagure is more task-driven and is difficult to have big-picture
conversations in tickets for existing Badges workflow
3. CommOps had good success in our month-long experiment in using
Discourse to improve engagement (higher avg. of replies per thread)
The most significant issue is that core contributors are missing
discussions and threads on the existing list. I believe our
effectiveness is limited if core contributors are not seeing
conversations and discussion. We need engagement from core contributors
to address engagement from new participants. My original context for
proposing the switch is mostly for this reason above all others.
Second, the Badges team is ticket-driven, but these tickets are for
individual badges. Using tickets for bigger-picture discussions is
difficult and it gets mixed in with other Badges activity, like an
urgent request for an event badge. For someone who wishes to follow
along with Badges activity now, they watch the Pagure activity and
receive an email for every activity, which can be a high signal-to-noise
ratio. I personally feel holding a discussion on the sustainability of
the Badges project in a Pagure ticket is difficult and risks being
overlooked by those who could add to the discussion. If it is hard for
me already as a core contributor, I imagine it is doubly so for someone
Finally, we took the plunge in CommOps to switch from our mailing list
to Discourse. Like the Design Team, CommOps is mostly volunteer-driven.
The qualitative feedback on the Discourse switch from our team was
positive, including ease of access (for people who have email blocked on
work networks), older conversations (>2 weeks) were more likely to be
replied to, and we also noted more participation in conversations from
people who are not in our team:
The quantitative feedback from September 2018 (mailing list) to October
2018 (Discourse) is below:
* [Sep.] # of threads: 33 [¹]
* [Sep.] # of unique participants: 9
* [Sep.] Avg. replies per thread: 1.12
* [Oct.] # of threads: 10
* [Oct.] # of unique participants: 14
* [Oct.] Avg. replies per thread: 3.1
[¹] 10 threads were Fedocal reminders. Also, if a thread was started
outside of September and there was a single reply in September,
Hyperkitty counted the original thread and all replies as part of its
count regardless of date. Timestamps for original threads weren't easily
displayed so I didn't separate them out.
Combined, these reasons lead me to prefer Discourse for bigger-picture
discussion and abstracting things outside of Pagure tickets. This is my
view. If you still feel negatively about Discourse, then I won't pursue
this thread further. But it does make it difficult for me, and I also
believe others, to participate in bigger-picture discussions about
On 10/13/18 12:10 AM, Máirín Duffy wrote:
I have a lot of concerns about Discourse that I've shared
My biggest concern here - I am open to everyones input on the team here,
but I do not have any intention to switch the design-team list to
Discourse which might make it difficult for new design recruits (who
tend to participate in both as badges are a great design task to get
started with) to follow along in two different places and I am concerned
it would fracture our team.
The Badges team is ticket driven. Discussions happen in Pagure. Newbies
are oriented via the Design team new member process and are often
pointed to the Badges Pagure queue to find an initial task to work on.
Your observations about activity on the badge list, Justin, evidence this.
To move Badges to Discourse without dividing the teams would necessarily
mean forcing design-team@ to Discourse.
I personally am *not* ok with that.
I understand we have a mindshare ticket about helping recruit new
designers and I'm assuming this is the context in which this
well-meaning suggestion is being raised. Shuffling the chairs around on
the communications infrastructure deck isn't going to solve those
problems, though. They are people problems and as such require people,
not technology. It's not a technology scale issue, it's a people scale
terezahl just recently started as a design intern working on Fedora
design team tickets. I have an upcoming UX design position I just got
approval for this summer that I will be recruiting for soon. Bringing
people to the team by *literally* bringing people to the team is how we
push through our issues IMHO. We cannot exceed our capacity for
mentorship via technology, the same way you can't throw laptops at a
classroom and expect to somehow push 50 students to 1 teacher through
with as meaningful and impactful an experience as 30 to 1 with no laptops.
Our team has been hit a few ways recently in terms of folks being able
to have the time to show up. I can think of 5 distinct situations. Not a
single one is due to mailing lists, IRC, etc. Nor do I think, having
mentored a college or high school aged intern pretty much every summer
for as long as I can remember, is there anything inherently wrong with
MLs or IRC that means we are cutting ourselves off "from the next
generation." Today young adults are growing up with a plethora of
platforms and negotiate communication across and between them natively.
I like to quote Marshall McLuhan a lot esp wrt these specific types of
issues. "The medium is the message."
MLs, Discourse, whatever forums, are cool (require interactive
engagement) media, asynchronous, primarily text-based, in our case of an
international niche audience. A shift from one to another would not be a
revolutionary shift, just more of the same in a different package with
the inconvenience of migration and docs updating and archices conversion
and hassle for little gain on top. (A revolutionary shift would be
moving to a medium closer to the synchronous end of the spectrum, or
something more primarily visual, or a hotter medium - less interaction,
more curation maybe like Fedora Magazine.) So I don't see some kind of
fantastic positive shift in communication happening.
Note we're talking about communication mediums, *not* apps. We primarily
deal, in Fedora, in the currency of features and tech and platforms etc
etc. Communication channels are different environments. Don't conflate
Discourse or Mailman the apps with Discourse or Mailman the
communication media. I am not interested in the app-level issues, that
shifts far too often to be worth trying to plan around.
Switching from ML to Discourse, the only difference that matters from a
communication medium standpoint is that Discourse is primarily a polling
based media (as are Twitter, FB, instagram, most timeline based social
media) and MLs are a push based medium (the comms come to you where you
are generally.) MLs approach poll w Hyperkitty for those who prefer
that; Discourse approaches push for those who prefer that. But natively
Discourse is poll and MLs are push.
For a volunteer based organization, poll doesn't cut it. Volunteers can
have large gaps in time between attempts / the perfect alignment of
energy and time and intention to participate. Push is more suited to
volunteer engagement bc there are more opptys to remind you engage that
don't rely on internal intention alone.
This team is primarily a volunteer-based team, unlike other teams. This
is why my concern about Discourse for Fedora generally applies doubly so
I am happy to talk to anyone who will listen about my concerns but am
increasingly worried they won't matter.
On October 11, 2018 11:06:40 PM EDT, "Justin W. Flory"
Tonight, Marie and I had an in-person Badges sprint today and one of the
things we discussed was migrating the badges(a)lists.fp.o mailing list to
a new Discourse category on discussion.fedoraproject.org
CommOps and a few other sub-projects have switched, and others like the
Fedora Council are weighing the possibility too. We hope it might make
discussions around Fedora Badges more visible and hopefully encourage
more people to participate (it wasn't until Marie posted to this list
that I realized it existed, or that I was subscribed to it).
What do you all say? Is anyone interested in trying this out?
Sent from my Android device with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.
Justin W. Flory