I’m wondering whether we need a separate forum for developers or we can integrate the content here in the main forum’s development category. I know that this has cropped up a few times in the past (see my first comment below this topic for a small list if you are keen) but personally, I feel that the time is right to raise the topic again.
We discussed this in the office and it was a pretty convincing swing towards a single forum so now I’d love to get a broader opinion.
- 1 - Move to a single forum
- 2 - Stay as two separate forums
From what I can gather we originally had a single forum (this one) and it was split into two in order to take developer specific chat out to a new space. This would remove the ‘noise’ of general chat from developers and would stop development specific chat clogging up the main forum for people who weren’t interested in that level of detail.
Pros & Cons
To my mind, and I’m not suggesting that this is an exhaustive list, the following are the positives and negatives I see in migrating to a single forum.
- Only need a single forum login (devforum needs seperate signup)
- One place for all conversations to be based (no need to check 2 forums)
- Remove needing to duplicate or cross-link topics on forums
- Non-developers can get an increased appreciation of development activity (if interested)
- Without filtering topics there could be a lot of technical posts for non-devs to skim past
- Without filtering we could see a good bit of market/general chat for devs to ignore.
A note on filtering …
I found out while looking into this that a user can filter what categories are
muted in their account preferences so it should be easy to avoid topics that are not of interest. I’m thinking about posting about this in the beginners section.
Okay, I guess it’s up to you to give your preference…
It’s surely two very different classes of interest?.. users and developers.
One big pool of both, would just make navigation harder.
A link at the top of this forum perhaps could state a [Developer Forum] as a direct link?
The alt would be to combine but later size might call for a split again??
My take on it is that it is far more impressive and entertaining walking into a buzzing packed bar with all kinds of interesting people and conversations going on than walking into two seperate à la carte restaurants.
I am not entirely sure that is a great analogy but it makes sense to me!
Go to the bar after work… but those at work, need to find what they are looking for.
If [Development] subforum here can support its own subforums, with the variety of the other forum, then what difference…
I can understand the reason for wanting to move everything under one roof and agree with it. It would be nice if we could make the design of the Dev area subtly (or non-subtly) different so as to keep it slightly separate from the general chit-chat. May not be possible in Discourse though.
Combining would seem like a good idea, but filtering may be required. I suspect ‘are we there yet’ posts would proliferate into technical threads.
I think we should prioritise the needs and views of developers in any decision about the Dev forum, so any poll should be in the Dev forum rather than here.
I voted against the merge because I think what we have works well for developers, certainly for me. I would be interested to hear if anyone who has been doing development for SAFE disagrees.
I find it easy to visit the Dev forum and keep up to date with and engage in focused discussion without clutter and non devs jumping in to ask about stuff. I love the discussions on the community forum and still read most of the posts, I just don’t post as much because I’m busy developing.
I hardly ever have to log in, so that’s not an issue, and I have two bookmarks so I visit both forums several times every day. Plus each forum links to the other in the header.
Pros & Cons
I don’t agree with any of the Pros, though I see why non devs might prefer one forum.
From my point of vote as a Dev, it is helpful for me to have some control over when to expose what I’m working on to the wider community, whether announcing, updating, asking for feedback, ideas, help etc. There is some scope for duplication and overhead involved, but for me the benefits have been well worth it.
Being able to find things quickly is important during development, and while categories and tags help forum searches in theory, in practice I will usually know which forum I need to search, but am unlikely to remember whether something was in a Dev category or not. So I think when searching a single much larger forum it will be harder to locate what I’m after.
I suggest we have a poll on the Dev forum as well, otherwise its like the UK having a vote to decide whether to merge with Iceland.
Brilliant, and a good idea too.
@happybeing (et al)
I thought hosting it here would be the best thing because I assumed, perhaps naively, that most members of the dev forum would also have an account on this forum but the reverse might not necesarily be the case. Might not be true though. so… I’ll update the post I made on the dev forum to have a poll as well and hopefully that’ll cover all bases.
Couldn’t have worded it better than this.
Especially since things have become more quiet, and appear like they will for at least a very long time, then moving them together is great and gives us time to organise the forum software to make it easy to manage.
Would also encourage more people to code and help! I remember when I first started dabbling into code myself.
My Pre-Update Thread seems to be the most used thread on this whole forum, and being closer with the code activity could help all these people who clearly want to be better in touch with what’s on the horizon. Win win win
I’ve always been of the opinion that we can’t achieve as much when we’re divided in 2 forums
While I personally like the idea of it all being in one forum I agree with @happybeing and think that this should just be an decision on the part of the devs – IMO this should be a poll on the dev forum not this forum.
But otherwise, would be easier to participate in the dev process for sure.
IMO the current system is ideal and combining the two would be a mistake. a) Too much noise would get injected into actual code related topics/questions in the dev forum. b) any casual reader who isn’t interested enough to get a dev forum account probably won’t read those topics anyway here. c) the current scheme offers a nice separation of interface vs implementation. Pure brainstorming is easier here, whereas discussion about nitty gritty details is easier on the dev forum.
Recall that there is also a third forum, ie github. That’s where the real core interaction is at and the two outer levels of user forums complement it nicely.
p.s. echo everything @happybeing said
@DGeddes I think you missed my point wrt to holding the poll on the Dev forum. I’m saying polling the whole community about something that I think should be decided by developers is wrong.
For example, it would not be right for the people of the UK and Iceland to have a single vote to merge with Iceland with the UK, rather than Icelanders alone deciding their fate.
To add to my earlier concerns, we need to try to imagine how much developer discussions might be affected, not just now, but when numbers grow dramatically and we have a lot of enthusiastic newcomers, and no doubt much more interest from trolls and disrupters of various kinds.
It will I expect be easier to moderate a smaller forum to ensure development discussion and support can survive that as part of a much larger forum, because I think there will be much less disruption to deal with if we keep the Dev forum separate.
To reiterate, I don’t see any benefits from a developer’s point of view for a single forum, though I can see how it might seem better from those in the larger community.
I’ve not seen any developers comment in favour of the change yet, so if there are any in favour please speak up!
Oops, noticed I missed @whiteoutmashups’ post and I think this is a fair point to consider:
I don’t think this will be a big factor though, and not worth the cost to those of us wanting the support of a Dev focused space.
As a Dev you are either interested in helping others when you can or not. I’m someone who enjoys doing that and I don’t find the split forums get in the way - I post to both, and and what I post reflects who I’m posting to.
There are developers that just agree with the OP pros without any further comments.
PersonnaIly I would add:
- Technical discussions can interest anybody because behind technicalities there are implications that impact all network users.
- Sometimes it’s not obvious in which forum a topic should be created
- There are many cross references between the two forums
- I don’t find them, but I am almost sure there are duplicate posts between the 2 forums (I mean done voluntarily for a larger audience). Edit: There is this example created 10 days ago.
I do not disagree about it working, but a single forum could work equally well. I see no difference between a front-page-hidden category and a separate forum. safenetforum.org/c/development and forum.safedev.org can be used exactly in the same way. If so, then I opt for a single forum.
Categories exist for this use-case.
I think you missed my point wrt to holding the poll on the Dev forum. I’m saying polling the whole community about something that I think should be decided by developers is wrong.
Yeah I get that motivation and I certainly considered it as an option. Perhaps I should explain my thinking about posting to the main forum. I was a little concerned that there could be:
- Devs that only monitor the development category on the main forum (perhaps not currently working on active projects)
- Devs that do not know about the devforum and only have a main forum account (I realise that’s not very likely but it is possible)
- Non-devs who didn’t realise that the could get involved in coding for the network that might well get inspired to do so when they see the dev-chat.
Rightly or wrongly, that was my thinking.
It’s not as much devs clogging up the main chat
but the regular folks distracting devs with chatter,
effectively clogging up their minds more than not.
Devs are humans; keep their minds undistracted
for they will find all by themselves a way to do it.
@bzee one thing I think will be harder is search.
I also think it is easier to compartmentalise my activity. Some days I’m just on the Dev forum, and I’m not convinced about categories. I have hardly every used them to browse or find stuff even though I generally try to post in the most appropriate category.
I’m am pretty sure there will be significantly more clutter and distraction in Dev topics if we combine though, and that is a big concern. At the moment we only get posts from people who have enough interest in contributing to sign up, and that’s a really effective filter. The quality of contributions on the Dev forum uniformly of a good and helpful standard. We hardly ever get chit chat there and things very rarely go off topic. It’s a very different experience, and I’m concerned we would lose that with a single forum.
True, but navigating to a category on this forum might have a similar barrier effect. With the right category I don’t think a topic would go off-topic any quicker.
Searching should be as easy as you can filter your search by category. About compartmentalising: I agree, but I think I could get used to it.
Anyway, because it works well as it is right now, I don’t think we should change ‘just because we can’. No one can guarantee it will work at least equally well. All in all I share your worries; I’m a bit split about it, to be honest.
What about using https://stackoverflow.com/ for detailed development questions? So we can grow a knowledge db there as well, it may help in adoption. I saw already 1 SAFE Network question there
Highlevel bigger tech discussions then on the main forum?