On Fri, 01 Jun 2007 10:36:11 +0200, Jean-Marc Molina wrote:
I'm sorry but I disagree. I think open source is a lot about
Building a community doesn't mean building a monolithic-one-forum-only
community. The more the projects, the better. And it doesn't matter if
it divides the community as only the "strongest will survive". New
projects increase an open source project activity and improve the
creativity of its contributors. If a new forum is created and its "value
added" is not strong enough, then it will just vanish into fin air. Its
disappearance doesn't matter, the important thing is what it brought to
the community : new ideas, new users... As mentionned in an other
message it's also possible to bind communities : RSS feeds, NTTP
That's what I'd be in favor of (hopefully obviously. ;-) )
There's difference between specializing a forum/list/newsgroup and
duplicating an existing one as well. For example, on one set of forums
that I follow rather closely, there are something around 100 different
products and each has different components - I subscribe to about 100
different newsgroups there. That kind of specialization is *good* - but
it's also coherent - I don't have to visit 100 different websites to see
the different groups, I go to one place. That's the type of
centralization that is useful, IMHO.
So, for example, this list is useful for a certain thing; inkscape-
developers is useful for those working on development issues. An art/how-
to/Inkscape+Blender group would be a specialized group that would cover
topics perhaps not covered here.
But in order for that type of group to be successful, it needs to be (a)
accessible, (b) easy for people to use, and (c) easy to find.
To sum things up I get the idea behind your reply because it's
to have a solid community, an official forum, so users quickly get help.
But not encouring other users to contribute and create their own forums
would mean the death of Inkscape.
I disagree quite strongly with this sentiment - not creating other forums
isn't the "death of Inkscape" - if it's not thought out, fragmenting the
community in disjoined forums that duplicate efforts could, though.
Concentration of expertise is very good for the health of a community -
just like centralizing the code in a CVS or SVN repository is good for
the project. Sure, you can fork the project if you want. But you just
need to look at the Compiz and Beryl projects to see that ultimately
taking the changes from one and bringing them into the other is
inefficient - a better community synergy was recognized when the two
projects merged because the changes weren't divided.
It would be just an other dead
Inkscape, it could even be compared to all these "great" proprietary
projects where users are invited to serve and use but not to contribute.
Don't get me wrong, in fact I believe projects like Adobe Illustrator
are even more "opened" than Inkscape. History I suppose, but Adobe
understood that it's all about the community, the more it grows, the
better. Everything else is pure garbage.
Yes, the more the community grows, the better, but growth of the
community needs to be done in an organised fashion. If it's because a
group here or there formed with no connection back to a point of
commonality, it's the growth of a customer base, and not a community. A
community that's strong interacts with other parts of the community
rather than building islands of expertise that don't know about each
other. Even various LUGs around the world are interconnected in a way
that makes them a very cohesive community.
You forgot phpBB :). Seriously I'm not sure "not
community is a good thing. As a French user I can tell I'm very pleased
by the French forum we have. This group, our small French community...
So I see InkscapeFrench, InkscapeEspaña, InkscapeMoshiMoshi,
InkscapeFrenchInParis, InkscapeFrenchInLyon, InkscapeGalaxy... And if
users from Paris and Lyon don't get any answers, well the communities
will just "close" and the users will "migrate" to the French one...
Messages will be archived and users will be able to search them from
communities if needed...
Like I said (and maybe should have clarified) - a monolithic catch-all
discussion group/list/forum is bad, I agree with that. It's that there
needs to be some thought put into the process of building the community,
rather than anyone with a 'net connection, a server, and a piece of
software deciding to create a forum *because they can*. Just because you
*can* doesn't mean you *should*, and IMHO certainly not without planning
on how to fit things into the larger picture so that there is cohesion.
The danger with duplicating existing efforts is that some expertise stays
in one place, some goes to another. Now if I have a question about how
to use the Perspective effects filter, I ask here, I don't get an answer,
now I ask the question in InkscapeGalaxy because there's someone there
who might know the answer; I don't get an answer there, so now I go to
InkscapeUniverse and ask again - it's very inefficient (to the point of
user-hostile) for the person asking the question. Experts generally
aren't going to visit multiple different websites to share their wisdom
because it's inefficient for them.
Eric Raymond, in his article on asking effective questions, states:
'Be sensitive in choosing where you ask your question. You are likely to
be ignored, or written off as a loser, if you:
* post your question to a forum where it's off topic
* post a very elementary question to a forum where advanced technical
questions are expected, or vice-versa
* cross-post to too many different newsgroups
* post a personal e-mail to somebody who is neither an acquaintance
of yours nor personally responsible for solving your problem
Hackers blow off questions that are inappropriately targeted in order to
try to protect their communications channels from being drowned in
irrelevance. You don't want this to happen to you.
*The first step, therefore, is to find the right forum.*'
(Taken from http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
I think we can all agree that ESR has something of a vested interest in
he OSS movement. ;-)
Finding the right forum to ask the question in is difficult to impossible
to do if there's too much duplication within the community. In order to
be effective, the community *needs* to be organized in is approach to
I may have said this before, so excuse me if I have - I've been doing
online forums professionally for nearly 20 years now; I was a SysOp on
Compuserve forums (and that wasn't my first experience) and have followed
the evolution of forums held on CompuServe into newsgroups on the web.
I've worked with proprietary web-based forum software that integrates
with an NNTP backend as well as OSS web "forum" software. I've helped
design successful online communities for groups ranging from a few
hundred users (which is one I manage professionally right now) to
millions of users. I've also observed online communities longer than
that, having participated (as many have) in online BBS' back when things
like Citadel were popular. I don't approach the topic of online
communities from a position of ignorance, but have a pretty large amount
of experience in managing online communities.
I've seen some succeed and some fail, and I think we all have similar
goals - we want the community to be successful (who doesn't? Let's
identify that now <G>). I think we should have some consensus about
strategy to move forward so there is cohesion in the community and it's
easy for the new user to come in and figure out where to ask their
question. If we don't make it easy for the new user, while making it
flexible enough for the experienced users, then the community won't grow
because new users will get frustrated and go find something else to do.
Can we agree to this?