Create Discourse Setup
Open, Needs TriagePublic

Description

Discourse is a lovely new forum/mailing list software which is proving popular elsewhere.

At Akademy 2019 it was said that it would be good to set it up for KDE to move over forum.kde.org and, when projects are ready, mailman lists.

We had some queries which I sent to the devs and which are answered here
https://meta.discourse.org/t/discourse-setup-for-kde/128193/1

I set up a testing instance here which works fine
http://discuss.kde.org.uk/
but it still needs some of the plugins and settings discussed in the post above to be decided.

List of issues we had before Akademy here
https://community.kde.org/Infrastructure/Evaluation/Discourse#TODO

I suspect identity will be the blocker for now.

I'm happy to do the setup if given access to machines to do it on.

Restricted Application added a subscriber: sysadmin. · View Herald TranscriptSep 17 2019, 11:53 AM
sitter added a subscriber: sitter.Sep 18 2019, 12:41 PM

(in lieu of a new oauth-enabled identity, if someone shows me code how to use current identity ldap shebang and/or give me some info needed for that I can try to throw together an auth plugin ... not quite sure how to test that reliably without access to anything though?)

Did anyone test the mail interface yet? That would be very useful to reduce friction: in openSUSE, the - proprietary - forum used has a mail interface and this allows people to ask for and offer support according to their medium of choice.

Yeah, we used Jonathan's test instance basically like a mailing list. It works very well.

Discussed issues with upstream who seem responsive and happy to help with them

+1 on the general idea.

Thanks for confirming Upstream seemed responsive.

Given that the categorisation/grouping issue was the biggest hard showstopper, do we know how easy that one is for them to resolve?
(Without that being resolved or a solution promised in a given timeframe, we really cannot proceed as we won't be able to roll this out at all)

Some Krita contributors (@kamathraghavendra) are hosting their own discourse instance at krita-artist.org now. I think it would be interesting to see how well it work for their needs (less help request on irc, better user to user support, better community engagement, ...) .

https://krita-artists.org/ looks lovely and shows how previews are possible for more arty forums.

As I understand Ben your issue with categorisation was having three level hierarchy. Discourse can only do 2 levels of hierarchy, but on the current forum the top level of hierarchy is just a label for sorting you can't post into it and it doesn't help much when searching for a particular forum, Discourse has better search feature for those looking for a forum.

I'd need to check, but I believe Krita Artists has been modified with custom code to support things that such a forum needs.

In terms of categorisation, some of our applications (Amarok & Krita are two that immediately come to mind) do have categorisation within their forum, which brings it to three levels in some cases. This can possibly be worked around though in some cases I suspect.

Worst case we could just name categories to simulate this "Amarok - General" "Amarok - Special" "Amarok - Devel". I expect actually changing upstream would be non-trivial because infinite nesting does have a huge impact on the UI requirements and is also distinctly unfriendly for mobile browsing. That being said, I would revisit the nesting anyway. A lot of it actually can be addressed by utilizing tags instead and have a flatter category structure in general. Which would also be more conducive to community building; subforums act like walled gardens.
I'd really like to get a technical demo off the ground. That is to say: have a test setup we can test-import into, so we can actually identify specific problems to talk to upstream about.

A technical demo would be inaccessible to everyone except those assessing it I assume?

My main concern at the moment is limiting the number of requests we get for setting things up / please give us access to / etc, as i'd really like to focus on the last bits and pieces so we can deliver repository hosting and code review on Gitlab.

merritt added a subscriber: merritt.Mar 4 2020, 6:46 PM

+1 for the idea of Discourse

The current KDE forums feel a bit clunky by today's standards.

I have noticed personally that for projects that use Discourse, engaging with the community feels easier, less barrier to entry, great search tools, post formatting, subscribe via RSS, etc.

For the Docker problem, LCP from openSUSE wants to package discourse for openSUSE. This would probably make it easier for us to host on a server without Docker.

Also, an alternative to Discourse would be updating our mailman 2 installation to mailman 3 and use the hyperkitty archiver to display and interact with the archives. This creates a modern way (forum like) to interact with mailing lists while still being mail based. See for example how this is done in Fedora: https://lists.fedorahosted.org/archives/.

kamathraghavendra added a comment.EditedJul 26 2020, 4:26 AM

I'd need to check, but I believe Krita Artists has been modified with custom code to support things that such a forum needs.

We use a plugin called "Topic List Previews" to enable masonry layout in the artwork category and tags. It is also used to have a top row of featured artworks. Another plugin is for marking an answer as a solution for support request. Both plugins are well maintained and are open source. We don't change the upstream code and try to use minimal plugin as we can so that it is easy for maintenance during upgrades. The only thing to keep in mind is that discourse development moves very fast and timely upgrades are encouraged so if you have more plugins sometimes it becomes a hassle balancing the compatibility and discourse upgrades.

In my experience and observation, having discourse as a forum has really helped us getting good feedback and interaction with our users. Developers find it easier to interact with useds and provide nightly build packages to get quick feedback from the users. Feature requests, bugs are first discussed among users so it reduces a bit of load from bugzilla (i don't know ho much ). It also has enabled us to create a community of users who will provide community support to other users, slowly taking away the burden from developers.

Yeah hyperkitty is pretty nice too.