[GRASS-dev] Should we use GitHub Discussions?

Moritz Lennert mlennert at club.worldonline.be
Sun Jan 17 04:50:47 PST 2021

Am 17. Januar 2021 06:31:22 MEZ schrieb Vaclav Petras <wenzeslaus at gmail.com>:
>Dear all,
>What about enabling GitHub Discussions [1] on grass repo? Enabling is easy
>[2], so the question really is, do we want them? They are for open ended
>discussions, questions, etc. Right, like mailing list, but on GitHub. We do
>get asked periodically for a web-based (as opposed to email-based) forum
>which is what GitHub Discussions can fulfill. I'm not saying we should
>abandon the mailing list, but GitHub Discussions may be easier for some
>users, so it would open another avenue for people to ask or get engaged on
>a platform we are already using anyway.

I have never used GitHub discussions, so I have no opinion as such on its usefulness for us.

I do have a more fundamental issue, however: ever since we've moved to GitHub, discussions about important feature decisions seem to me to be more and more dispersed across PRs and less centrally visible. Currently, there are discussions about starting GRASS GIS by default without a terminal window [1], how to handle GUI startup when the last used mapset is not available, whether GRASS GIS can be considered as an "app" and if yes, whether this should be reflected in the name of the startup script [3], and probably others I forgot or that I am not aware of.

All of these are interesting discussions with solid points made, but I have the feeling that they are really confidential, involving only a very limited number of developers because others do not think that they the PR as such is relevant to them, and so they miss the fact that there are discussions going on that will have an impact on how GRASS GIS runs and/or is perceived.

If we create yet another forum I'm afraid that things will get even worse.

Maybe this is just a sign that our community is growing so rapidly and activity has increased so much that no one can follow every important discussion, but I do think this is also linked to the multiplication of tools used. Maybe it's also due to my bad personal organization if the information flows.

I would be happy to hear other opinions about this (and possibly some best practices on how others handle this problem). Depending on the answers to this, I think we might have to have a fundamental discussion on development decision making that ensures a somewhat larger group, while not stifling the enthousiasm behind the different initiatives and proposals.


[1] https://github.com/OSGeo/grass/pull/1221

[2] https://github.com/OSGeo/grass/issues/1251

[3] https://github.com/OSGeo/grass/pull/1208

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