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Hi Jean,

On Sat, Sep 01, 2012 at 10:37:06AM +1000, Jean Weber wrote:
Your view of forums is much broader and quite different from what I
was thinking about, which was specifically for user support, similar
to what was set up for OOo (now AOO):

I find that forum actually rather dangerous in its setup -- although typical of
the old Sun/Oracle. By explicitly being "users-only", it is actually
discriminating against producers and contributors to the project. Indeed I think
a forum should contain all subprojects to allow a curious user to be come a
contributor by wandering off into the other subforums (and to keep contributors
connected to the userbase).

The openoffice forum is doing that totally wrong by creating a high barrier
between consumer (in the forum) and contributors (elsewhere but rarely on the

Perhaps first we should discuss how broad the topics areas covered
should be: the whole project or just user support or something in

The forum should provide options for contributors and for pure consumer
(endusers) of the project. The aim of that is to make be transparent and make
the transistion from consumer to producer as smooth as possible. In fact, it
should feel so natural that it isnt even noticed.

You have mentioned in a later note some reasons for having forums for
the whole project, but it seems to me that might be a really big
change that should perhaps be tackled in smaller steps.

Not quite. I think the primary traffic on the forum will be enduser to enduser

However, I also think all teams should have a presence there to pick up
interested enduser and smoothly transition them from pure consumers to
contributors on any of the subprojects.

I dont think that will make the scope of the task bigger really: E.g. for
development, I think even if we offer a forum for that, we wont suddenly be run
over by millions of additional people who want to build and hack on LibreOffice
(although that would be awesome) -- but we might pick up an interested guy now
and then.  The closer to the enduser the topic gets, the more that subforum
will see traffic, of course -- but also: the more it will allow to recruit
consumers to become contributors.
Also, could you explain what you see as the purpose of a forum for
Documentation? Do you see it as a place for producers of docs to
discuss what's needed, what's being done, etc? Or something else? 

I would leave that to the documentation team (as for other teams) to decide, as
long as the team picks up endusers interested to contribute. If the majority of
the documentation team prefers to communicate on a mailing list thats fine for
me too: My suggestion about "closing mailing lists" is only about those
subprojects were most of the traffic ends up happening on the forum anyway (for
example, I assume design could wind up that way).

Specific for documentation, I see a common case that:
- in the user forum someone has a problem
- discussion between users results in a HowTo document being created
- that HowTo gets copied over to the Documentation forum, where is gets edited
- the HowTo ends up in official documentation, the enduser writing it ends up
  being a contributor in the documentation team

If for producers, IMO it should definitely NOT be combined with a forum for
users, which I see as covering more than the topics you have listed above.

Well, additionally to what I said above: I already separated the User and
Document subforum even in the first proposal. As for "covering more than the
topics": which ones? The suggested start forum covers everything LibreOffice
and even not LibreOffice ("Off the wall").

I suspect that what you really want is "more finegrained topics" and while I
think that would be awesome, I dont think it is a good start as people will
feel lost in the emptiness of the subforum if we have too many for too few
users. Also: Splitting forum into subtopic once they become overloaded isnt too
hard, can be quickly done and is a motivating sign of success.

Hoping you can help me get a better idea of what your ideas are...

If you want a blueprint of how I imagine a forum to look like, take a look at: (*)

which I think was one of the keys to gentoos success as a late and noncorporate
linux distro. All I described above can be seen there: E.g. most of the
subforums are user-centric, but "Kernel & Hardware" and "Portage & Programming"
are nicely embedded allowing users to migrate to contributors. HowTos often
started in one user forum, then become an unofficial HowTo in "Documentation,
Tips & Tricks" and finally where integrated into official documentation.



(*) but note it not always looked like such a big 5.5 million post forum. Take
    a look at to get an idea of how it
    all started.

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