let me state two opinion frontup for this discussion:
- A user forum is important, and something we need to care about in the current
state of the project
- however, it is not a trivial task at all -- and launching a forum is pretty
much a hit or miss, so we would need to get it right the first time.
Following from this, I think we should approach this in the following way:
== We shouldnt haste it ==
This is a huge task -- not so much from the technical side (which has its
challenges, but nothing too hard), but esp. from the social and communication
side. We should take a slow and steady approach until we are really ready to do
a "launch" that kicks off successfully. I would assume a launch in 3-6 month to
be the earliest realistic timeframe.
== We need a squad ==
We need a team of minimum ~10 people commiting themselves on this topic for the
initial kick-off. If we had full-time employees commiting themselves to this
project, half of that would do, but with volunteers there are a lot of valid
reasons to drop out (family, job) that have to be respected.
We should see that we find moderators being able to cover at least these topics:
- TDF Infra (including the forum itself)
- TDF Orga (that is BoD etc.)
- Windows, OSX, Linux (each)
The 10 volunteers from the "forum squad" should be able to commit themselves to
take care of ~two of those topics, so that we have ~two people available for
== Where do we find people ==
We should look for active members on our infra (that is: nabble,
ask.libreoffice.org) and related infras (distrobution bugtrackers, ask.ubuntu).
Most forums have some 'karma value', e.g. number of posts. If possible
technically we should consider giving interested parties some 'startup bonus
karma' for their work on other forums and media. As a sideeffect, that is an
incentive to join the effort early.
We should also consider (I bet this is controversal) to shut down the
duplication with mailing list for those areas, where forums are the more
suitable medium for most: email@example.com and
firstname.lastname@example.org. We should consider to do the same if one
community (e.g. design or marketing) moves most (~90%) of its communication to
forums to prevent fragmentation. Development will not move to the forums as
mailing list are better suited for it (I find it highly unlikely that the dev
topics on the forum ever reach the activity of the mailing list).
== Dont overextend ==
We shouldnt overextend ourselves with the number of forums, that will
fragmentize the userbase. Instead we should start off with the minimum number
of forums and join topics at the start, e.g. with only these subforums:
- News, Events and Announcements (aka Marketing)
- Users (Setup and Troubleshooting, StarBasic, Extensions, Configuration, Customization)
- Documentation (HowTos, FAQs), Localization and Design
- LibreOffice QA and Development (Building LibreOffice, Debugging,
- TDF Infra and Orga
- Off the wall (which is a place for socializing unrelated to LibreOffice or TDF)
Possibly even Users and Documentation... should be joined in the beginning.
Only once a subforum became a buzzing hub, we should consider splitting up. We
should _not_ offer subforum for languages other than english, unless there is a
trusted team of at least three trusted moderators committing themselves on it.
== Who wants to champion this? ==
So right now we need someone to push this topic forward -- that is: collects
the team, and runs some regular meetings on IRC or elsewhere with it to keep
them on track and keeps everyone motivated and onboard. I can help out with
this, but I dont think I can lead this, so the question is: Who will?
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