[GRASS-dev] Should we use GitHub Discussions?

Zoltan zoltans at geograph.co.za
Thu Jan 21 00:51:11 PST 2021

Whatever platform we keep or migrate to, please just remember the 
unknown number of GRASS-interested people out there, like myself, who 
will not make the time to regularly login to a website to see if there 
happens to be anything interesting.
Likewise as bad as having to login "to see" , is to have to click a link 
from a push email, get redirected and maybe still have to login,  and 
then only see that the message was uninteresting to the person (me).

Weekly (periodic) digests that are 'pushed' lack the "now" factor so 
minimise one's ability to get involved.

I hope you all find and agree a solution that also caters for 
mailing-list style correspondence.

Regards and thanks for discussing this before "just changing things".

On 2021-01-21 09:48, massimo di stefano wrote:
> ‘’’
>  I think emails (and mailing lists) are awesome, but mailing lists are 
> increasingly seen as archaic and not accessible
> ‘’’
> What about migrating our mailing list to mailman3?
> The postorius interface looks modern and when integrated with hyper 
> kitty, allows an easy access to the list archives (including search 
> and post statistics).
> My 2cents.
> Il giorno gio 21 gen 2021 alle 4:32 AM Vaclav Petras 
> <wenzeslaus at gmail.com <mailto:wenzeslaus at gmail.com>> ha scritto:
>     Let me finally write some arguments for GitHub Discussions.
>     First of all, I think it is a tradeoff, so I agree that the issues
>     here are valid, at least to a point. My question now is if it is
>     worth enabling GitHub Discussions anyway.
>     As I mentioned earlier, people are asking for a web-based solution
>     (see e.g. post from November on grass-user [1]). I think emails
>     (and mailing lists) are awesome, but mailing lists are
>     increasingly seen as archaic and not accessible. Nabble does not
>     seem to cut it and it was even demoted on the mailing list for its
>     link instability (which I think is a concern). It seems that if
>     the Nabble situation would be fixable, it would be fixed already.
>     Signup to receive all emails for a specific mailing list before
>     posting a question is a big commitment, especially when people are
>     using multiple software packages or are just trying out GRASS GIS.
>     Is it clear to everybody they need to sign up before posting
>     anyway? When you are already committed to GRASS GIS, they might
>     not show stoppers, but when you are not, they certainly can be.
>     Conclusion: If we want even the uncommitted users to ask
>     questions, we need something which feels light, you already have
>     an account there, and it does not require you to manage email
>     filtering.
>     There are already web-based forums, namely GIS StackExchange and
>     StackOverflow proper where GRASS-related questions are being
>     asked. This demonstrates the interest in the web-based Q&A
>     platform, however when you look at the posts there, you see that
>     it does not work that great. First, many of the original posts and
>     consequently answers are actually not a good fit for that kind of
>     platform - often a back and forth discussion is required. And
>     perhaps more importantly, there are only a few GRASS power users
>     answering there compared to mailing lists and comparing to how
>     many people from the GRASS community have an account on GitHub.
>     Conclusion: Even if we don't direct users to a platform and
>     support that platform, people will use it anyway resulting in harm
>     as questions are not properly answered.
>     GitHub Discussions is a good web-based forum for three reasons, 1)
>     GitHub is a platform we are already committed to, 2) devs,
>     core+addon contributors, and bug-reporting users all have an
>     account there, 3) a lot of potential users already have account
>     there. The last point is especially interesting because not only
>     that a lot of code-aware GIS users or scientists have an account
>     there, but a lot of developers have an account there and we are
>     very very interested in attracting developers.
>     Developers/programmers need to combine multiple projects to create
>     whatever they are creating. Asking them to subscribe to a mailing
>     list in order to ask a question is exactly the reason why they
>     will try their luck with another project. Conclusion: To attract
>     more users, especially those who are developers, a GitHub-related
>     service, such as GitHub Discussions, is needed and we are already
>     on GitHub.
>     As I mentioned in the initial post, I don't think enabling GitHub
>     Discussions means closing mailing lists. I think it is important
>     we have there is an option to ask a question, or even report a
>     problem, without signing up for a proprietary third party service
>     (it is bad enough we more or less require that for contributions).
>     However, as there are people who see GitHub Terms and Conditions
>     or a web interface as a barrier to post a question, there are
>     people who see mailing list sign up for more inbox traffic,
>     emailing, or attachment limitations as a barrier. The commitment
>     needed for a mailing list, includes, perhaps surprisingly, an
>     important group to reach that is the developers.
>     Best,
>     Vaclav
>     [1]
>     https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/grass-user/2020-November/081842.html
>     <https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/grass-user/2020-November/081842.html>
>     On Mon, Jan 18, 2021 at 8:41 AM Markus Neteler <neteler at osgeo.org
>     <mailto:neteler at osgeo.org>> wrote:
>         On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 6:35 PM Brendan
>         <brendan.harmon at gmail.com <mailto:brendan.harmon at gmail.com>>
>         wrote:
>         >
>         > Could posts on the mailing list automatically be posted on
>         GitHub Discussions and vice versa?  That's how the GRASS
>         Nabble forums work right? Those look great.
>         If that would work, perhaps yes.
>         Otherwise I'm with Moritz and the others who see the risk of
>         fragmentation etc.
>         Markus
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Zoltan Szecsei GPrGISc 0031
Geograph (Pty) Ltd.
GIS and Photogrammetric Services

Cape Town, South Africa.

Mobile: +27-83-6004028

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