[Bf-committers] Blender Development Forum Proposal

Campbell Barton ideasman42 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 21 08:21:17 CET 2017

Recently the possibility of using a forum was suggested
as a way we can help on-board new developers.

A quick summary of the issues with current communication channels:

- Realtime chat is too timezone sensitive *.
- Bf-committers mailing lists aren't setup for Q&A.
  while responding to some questions from interested dev's is OK,
noisy discussions are discouraged.

I suspect some people might be too shy to ask questions on our
official mailing list too.
My impression is IRC is getting a reputation as having a higher barrier of entry
with alternatives like Slack, Mattermost, RocketChat .. etc. gaining popularity.

In a discussion with the other admins we considered doing a trial run
of a blender-developer forum.
Unlike the old blender.org forums, which had too much overlap with
this would focus on people working with Blender's code, developer
tools and anything related to becoming a committer.

User questions, feature requests - would be off topic, there are
better places that handle this.

It's hard to know if this is really needed or how much it would be
used, there have been a handful of times
new developers have asked questions in bug reports, but further I cant
say for sure.

When talking with Bastien Dalai & Sergey, our main concern is the time
needed to respond to posts,
that we end up in a similar situation to what we already have with patch review.


- Create a forum using discourse:
  see rust-lang's forum as an example:

- Appoint someone to be responsible for triage, they can contact
maintainers if it's needed.
  The intent here is to take some pressure off maintainers for
handling day to day posts.
  It's possible it ends up being an unnecessary role, it's just to
avoid diffusion of responsibility

- Maintainers who already spend time helping others should not need to
spend more time doing this.
  As a rule of thumb - time helping others on the forum can replace
some time helping out in IRC.

- This is to help people who are serious about getting into Blender development
  anything else can be redirected to the appropriate site or closed if
it's really off topic.

- Trial run for a fixed time-frame (3-6 months for eg).
  if it's not working well after we've made a reasonable effort, close it.

Thoughts and suggestions welcome.


* Newer online chat systems support stored scroll-back,
  making real-time chat work better across time-zones, even so,
  switching away from IRC is a different topic and not part of this proposal.

- Campbell

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