[Bf-committers] Blender Development Forum Proposal

Jonathan Williamson jonathan at cgcookie.com
Tue Nov 21 20:13:36 CET 2017

To ensure nobody gets confused, let’s be clear that Campbell’s proposal is to use Discourse <https://discourse.org/>, the forum software, not Discord <https://discordapp.com/> the chat service.

I think a developer forum would help ease the barrier to entry dramatically. IRC and Mailing Lists simply aren’t optimal in my opinion and are hurting new developer on boarding. 

> On Nov 21, 2017, at 11:14 AM, Danrae Pray <blink.ornitier at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks Campbell.  I think this is a really great idea.  While I don't have
> any suggestions as to what specific tool (Discord or Phabricator/Ponder,
> etc.) is best for the job, I think it's really important for this forum to
> be a "searchable" Q&A format and not simply a persistent "chat" or "ongoing
> discussion" format.
> Having something where people can search through previously asked questions
> *before* asking their own question saves them time (if it's already been
> asked and answered) and also the time of experienced blender devs who are
> generously taking time away from their own work to help others.
> Moreover, being able to tag questions and answers with relevant blender
> versions also saves ppl time, so people aren't looking for code in 2.7 that
> only exists in 2.8, for example.
> In the end, I completely agree that the goal should be to help people use
> time as efficiently as possible when doing blender dev (considering the
> limited time of experienced blender coders too).  That's why i think a
> persistent IRC-like "clone" would not be helpful in the longer term.
> Thanks again for all you guys are doing to help get the community more
> involved!  You guys are awesome :)
> Cheers,
> Danrae
> On Nov 21, 2017 1:21 AM, "Campbell Barton" <ideasman42 at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> blenderartists.org
> 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.
> Proposal
> --------
> - Create a forum using discourse:
>  https://www.discourse.org
>  see rust-lang's forum as an example:
>  https://users.rust-lang.org
> - 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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