Discourse testing period feedback

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Discourse testing period feedback

Hi all,

Here is some feedback on the testing period we had. From there, if the
community agrees, we could discuss and set forth the next steps.

*Why this test*
Discourse appeared as a good tool even if not the best appropriate for a
Q&A forum.It has a large base of contributions and could be adapted with
settings, plug-ins and css changes.
Seeking for a closer tool, we didn’t find any relevant one or only very
young alternatives (like Talkyard.io, Flarum, phpBB and Vanilla).

*How did we proceed*
Guilhem installed the instance with the basic settings. Then I
personally invited all the forum moderators and main contributors to
participate to the test. After that, the whole community was invited too.
There are currently 60 subscribers on the instance.
Then we tweaked the instance upon the provided feedback. Each time a
problem was met we tried to solve it buy adding plug-ins or changes in
the settings. Tests have been conducted in several langages including CJK.
There is more that can be done, but I don't want to invest more time if
it's not the chosen solution.

*What we did*
- Installed plug-ins:
 * Discourse-openid-connect
 * Discourse-question-answer
 * Discourse-solved
- Settings:
 * One category per language (17 languages currently)
 * Q&A plugin activated on demand per category
 * upload of documents
 * more actions allowed for new users (more posts, likes, etc.)
 * allow tags creation at level 2
 * minimum length of a post is 5 chars
 * fixed category position (prevent to sort them by topic)
 * allow to filter by solve/unsolved questions–allow to filter by tags
 * Summary posts required 5 posts instead of 10
see also https://redmine.documentfoundation.org/issues/2952

*Going further*
If the decision to migrate to Discourse is took, first, the infra team
has to test the migration of Askbot database which needs time and efforts.

More can be done on the presentation of the forum, for example, decide
the type of presentation/use we want: more like Fedora or Mozilla or
Gnome or?

This will be second part of the discussion with the community.
Also, based on their activity on the forum, heavy contributors should
have more rights than new comers (top level for example) since the
beginning. We can also design special badges or personalize them.

*Testers’ feedback*
We proposed to collect feedback on the forum, but it was very low. So we
pinged each participant and we received each time very positive remarks.
See here for the thread on the forum:

Other feedback on another thread:
« I envision using Discourse for documentation and as a replacement for
mailing lists, not as a 1:1 AskBot substitute, but it could be used for
all three =). In the end we should be looking to deprecate AskBot as its
confusing UI hinders its value as a community-support venue. »

*Further thoughts*
We should plane enough in advance to have something to present at the
next LibOCon 2021, at least the decision should be taken *6 months* in
Discourse can be used also as a replacement for Nabble, it can be set as
mailing list mode (per profile basis), it has RSS feeds, it can use
Matrix notifications in the chat integration plug-in. It has also a
Bugzilla plug-in. So there are multiple usages beyond the replacement of
the forum that we can explore.

Sophie Gautier [hidden email]
GSM: +33683901545
IRC: sophi
Foundation coordinator
The Document Foundation

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