[tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

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Wheatbix Wheatbix
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[tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

*** I have cross posted this mail to the website mailing list, for
discussions about web infrastructre ***

The feedback that I have already got from users interested in the
discussions around the Drupal project is that forums are a very
important mechanism in sourcing and providing help to end users.

One discussion that I had outside of the mailing list regarding the
support structure of arguably one of the more successful open source
projects, Ubuntu.

The structure for end users to source expert support for all aspects
of the product hinges off the Wiki and the forums. There is a little
more formal structure within these forums due to the breadth of the
software that is supported, and usually when you can't work out
something the wiki or forum is the first search result, containing
detailed troubleshooting and problem solving for almost any issue an
end user is likely to encounter.

IMO The provision of product specific support structures that is
dedicated to the product, in our case LibreOffice, is not only
essential for non-technical end users, it is one of the best marketing
tools available for an open source community. Your average end user
will likely never search through mailing list threads, even if they
contain exactly the information they are looking for. A well presented
forum running from a dedicated forum system such as vBulletin or phpBB
provides the end user with interface familiarity and branding which
builds trust in the brand and community.

Both phpBB and vBulletin are able to be fully integrated with all
major CMS systems to include single sign on, profile and session
sharing.
For Example:
Drupal: http://drupal.org/node/32879  http://drupal.org/project/phpbb
Joomla: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/communication/forum-bridges
Plone :https://help.ubuntu.com/community/forum/server/Plone

As I understand it, Silverstripe is a long way behind all the major
CMS systems in terms of 3rd party integration, but looking through the
forums I have seen that there are a few people who have hacked
Silverstripe in order to allow some basic functionality:
http://www.silverstripe.org/archive/show/2593

If we did provide a user forum, which I believe we should, using a
dedicated forum system will provide far more functionality and
usability, as well as regular security updates than we could ever hope
to code and maintain ourselves without drawing on resources that could
be used for development of LibreOffice.

What do others think? Is the forum support option important for trust
building and familiarity? What system would we use?

Thanks,
Michael Wheatland

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Narayan Aras Narayan Aras
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RE: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?


Hi Michael,

In general, I full hare your views.

> Your average end user will likely never search through mailing list threads, even if they
> contain exactly the information they are looking for.

Exactly!

> A well presented forum running from a dedicated forum system such as vBulletin or phpBB
> provides the end user with interface familiarity and branding which
> builds trust in the brand and community.

A BB is much more user-friendly than a mail-list.

The following features do not exist in a mail list at all:
1. Conduct precise searches (with search parameters).
2. Split the domain into hierarchical forums, which prevents a mixup of issues.
   This in turn avoids repeat discussion of the same topic endlessly.
3. It establishes credentials of any user so that a casual visitor instantly knows how much to trust him.
    (is he a SC member or any other office-holder? How many posts are to his credit?)
4. We can check out a particular user by looking at his posts (genuine helper or trouble-maker?)

On the other hand, please check if the selected tool has the facility to read/respond the posts while offline, and then do a rapid sync operation when the internet is available.

> As I understand it, Silverstripe is a long way behind all the major
> CMS systems in terms of 3rd party integration, but looking through the
> forums I have seen that there are a few people who have hacked
> Silverstripe in order to allow some basic functionality:
> http://www.silverstripe.org/archive/show/2593
>
> If we did provide a user forum, which I believe we should, using a
> dedicated forum system will provide far more functionality and
> usability, as well as regular security updates than we could ever hope
> to code and maintain ourselves without drawing on resources that could
> be used for development of LibreOffice.

And THAT in turn means we should be using a readymade plugin for Drupal, which will ensure availability of regular updates and well-tested security, as compared to home-grown hacks. Even if the solution is solid today, the same resources may not be available in future; or may lose interest in maintaining this project.
 
> What do others think? Is the forum support option important for trust
> building and familiarity? What system would we use?

Since vBulletin is commercial, we should opt for phpBB as Drupal plugin.

While I think the forum should be established, I am against setting it up for SilverStripe as well. The reason is simple: It will not be possible to migrate the threads from SilverStripe to Drupal. We should not waste efforts on two fronts.

I believe Drupal website should start functioning NOW on production-grade servers in some functional areas which do not need to be closely integrated with other functional areas. For example, BB does not need to be linked to any other area, where as all production-related areas are interrelated). Specifically, we need to think whether any hyperlinks will break later due to migration.

-Narayan
     
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Christian Lohmaier (klammer) Christian Lohmaier (klammer)
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Re: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

Hi Narayan, *,

On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 11:41 AM, Narayan Aras <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The following features do not exist in a mail list at all:
> 1. Conduct precise searches (with search parameters).

Oh man, you're so mistaken. mail-archive.com provides far more
powerful search than any forum I've seen so far.

> 2. Split the domain into hierarchical forums, which prevents a mixup of issues.
>   This in turn avoids repeat discussion of the same topic endlessly.

Ha, that's a good one, most forums are full of repeating issues
because people are too lazy to switch to the second page or try one of
the "precise searches" etc.

The only solution to this would be a strict moderation that kills such
duplicates immediately, but there hardly are enough moderators to
close down such messages and move them into the "too lazy to search"
forum...

> 3. It establishes credentials of any user so that a casual visitor instantly knows how much to trust him.

Sorry, but if there is no self control (i.e. other people immediately
writing "This is nonsense", then the system is a failure/it is not
used by enough knowledgeable people and thus useless to those seeking
help.

Besides that rating is useless when you're seeking for help.
<sigh>There was a time, when linux was for geeks only. Users had much
more trouble setting it up, but when you were lucky enough to have
internet access already, it was easy to find a solution by just
entering your searchterms into the altavista webserach engine  or
dejavu (newsgroup search) (yes, that was before the google-era) - any
you almost certainly did find a solution to your problem within the
first results.
Nowadays, while many problems might have that specific problems, all
you find is posts about "I also have this problem" or "push up", "hey,
nobody knows the answer",  or my favorite "solved the problem" -
.oO(nice for  you a*hole, just don't tell others how you solved it)...
Especially annoying are those results you get in a technical forum
that deals with multiple versions or editions, that return results
because people like to list their equipment in the footer and search
happily matches the footer that has nothing to do with the
content..</sigh>

>    (is he a SC member or any other office-holder? How many posts are to his credit?)
> 4. We can check out a particular user by looking at his posts (genuine helper or trouble-maker?)

You can do all that in a mailnglist as well. After all there are
forum-interfaces to mailinglists where you got all that. (although I
find those highly inferior to real mailinglists)

Newsgroups were best, but unfortunately even fewer people would use that...

> [...]
> While I think the forum should be established, I am against setting it up for SilverStripe as well. The reason is simple: It will not be possible to migrate the threads from SilverStripe to Drupal. We should not waste efforts on two fronts.

I'm puzzles where you get the idea that it is wanted to set it up
within silverstripe. I mean I have been reiterating right from the
start, before even working on looking at silverstripe, drupal, etc,
i.e. when writing the requirements that forums, wiki, etc should be
seperate.

And everytime someone wrote "forum" on the list, I was writing the same stuff.

Again: *there will be no forum within silverstripe for end-users* (and
also again: I don't consider the nabble ml-interface a forum in this
regard)

While not speaking on behalf the SC (not even member of the SC) - I
don't think there will ever be a forum hosted on the tdf
infrastructure. Mainly because there are existing forums already, and
also because the mailinglists are the primary way of communication.

ciao
Christian

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Christian Lohmaier (klammer) Christian Lohmaier (klammer)
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Re: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

In reply to this post by Wheatbix
Hi Michael, *,

On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 10:36 AM, Michael Wheatland
<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Your average end user
> will likely never search through mailing list threads,

The average end user will not search web-forums either.

My personal experience with forums is that they are useless for
technical, more complex questions, as most of the times it is clueless
people giving advice to other clueless people. Unless you're looking
for something obvious, most of the time a thread just lingers around
unanswered at all, or the one with the problem writes something like
"Oh, solved my problem, can be closed" and never bothered to state how
that person actually solved the problem. Or they are full of useless
suggestions that are not even covering the topic.
Again, my typical searches may be more "challenging" than those from
the average user, but I just hate all the noise that is in forums. I
only use one forum - for a well-seperated hobby. But those forums are
dedicated and exceptional in its quality (mainly to the few users it
has) - I used another one, but as the product is covered ran out of
production, it is idling along.
But I never use forums for software to to the lack of quality of the
answers therein.

> If we did provide a user forum, which I believe we should, using a
> dedicated forum system will provide far more functionality and
> usability,

That's what I've been saying from the very start..

> What do others think? Is the forum support option important for trust
> building and familiarity? What system would we use?

The ones that already exist. I absolutely don't see a reason for
creating yet another one. I think people agree on that one at least.

(and to avoid confusion: No, I don't consider nabble as a forum. Why I
personally don't like its's interface, I have no problem with
integrating it to the site as it seems technically easy to do)

ciao
Christian

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Wheatbix Wheatbix
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Re: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

On Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 11:59 PM, Charles Marcus
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Case in point - Michael's work on Drupal would have provided integrated
> mail list <> forums <> nabble so that any user could use their tool of
> choice, and all would be interconnected, not isolated, making these
> silly chest-thumping arguments about which tool is better totally moot.

Charles,
The work on the Drupal development has halted as per the Steering
Committee statement.
There seems to be a disconnect between what the community/mailing list
groups want and what the Steering Committee is willing to support.

From my discussions with the individuals involved with the Drupal
development there seems to be a consensus that until the Steering
Committee allows the individual community groups some autonomy to make
their own decisions and avoids overruling the groups it is unlikely
that the development will continue. The vast majority of the website
team has been supporting and contributing to this development as it is
seen as the 'way forward' but the SC and some founding members have
made it clear that this development will not continue.

Personally I would like to see 'website team lead(s)' elected within
the website team, by the website team and decisions made at a
community level upheld without the SC stepping in.
If you or others wish to see this development continue, I would
suggest that you rally one or more of the SC members to overturn the
decisions made at the most recent meeting and allow autonomy within
the functional teams.

Thanks,
Michael Wheatland

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davidnelson davidnelson
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Re: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

Hi, :-)

On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 15:42, Michael Wheatland
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Personally I would like to see 'website team lead(s)' elected within
> the website team, by the website team

Problem: who are the members of the website team then? That's not
something one can even actually properly establish at the moment...

> decisions [should be] made at a
> community level upheld without the SC stepping in

IMHO, not a good idea. The TDF/LibO Web infrastructure is a strategic
resource that should definitely be under SC management...

David Nelson

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Narayan Aras Narayan Aras
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RE: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

In reply to this post by Wheatbix

Hi Michael and Christoph,

> Charles,
> The work on the Drupal development has halted as per the Steering Committee statement.
> There seems to be a disconnect between what the community/mailing list
> groups want and what the Steering Committee is willing to support.
>
> From my discussions with the individuals involved with the Drupal
> development there seems to be a consensus that until the Steering
> Committee allows the individual community groups some autonomy to make
> their own decisions and avoids overruling the groups it is unlikely
> that the development will continue. The vast majority of the website
> team has been supporting and contributing to this development as it is
> seen as the 'way forward' but the SC and some founding members have
> made it clear that this development will not continue.
>
> Personally I would like to see 'website team lead(s)' elected within
> the website team, by the website team and decisions made at a
> community level upheld without the SC stepping in.
> If you or others wish to see this development continue, I would
> suggest that you rally one or more of the SC members to overturn the
> decisions made at the most recent meeting and allow autonomy within
> the functional teams.

I am truly lost in this maze.

So far, we had made good progress, as follows:

We identified 23 roles in the LibO ecosystem.
The idea was to create an integrated workflow that caters to their needs all.
A given team can assume multiple roles. Some roles may be re-assigned later.
The website was supposed to have a workflow that allows all roles to work collaboratively.
It was also supposed to help any contributor in taking up any role of his choice.

The website was also going to integrate internet-based tools for the entire SDLC.
In this, we were going to consult the people who are currently playing one or more of the 23 roles.

AFAIK, the current "SilverStripe" website is not being designed with these goals at all.
That is why we were talking about developing another website with strategically planned AI.

Why is that goal ditched all of a sudden?

And what on earth is going on??

Note that the "second" website has nothing to do with what CMS we should use.

Just put aside the perennial arguments about SilverStripe and Drupal for a moment.


Regards,
Narayan
     
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italovignoli italovignoli
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Re: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

In reply to this post by Wheatbix
On 1/18/11 8:42 AM, Michael Wheatland wrote:

> If you or others wish to see this development continue, I would
> suggest that you rally one or more of the SC members to overturn the
> decisions made at the most recent meeting and allow autonomy within
> the functional teams.

I hope you have gone through my previous email to the website mailing
list. Rallying does not work now, and it will not work in the future. I
hope to have explained why the process adopted has not worked, and at
the end has generated a decision that some people do not like.

Although being perfectly qualified as a corporate marketing director, I
do not act as a marketing director within the community. Although being
trusted by many, I prefer to get consensus for most decisions I take or
I suggest.

Please understand that working in a cubicle at the very best solution,
without getting consensus before, does not belong to this community and
in general to free software communities. You cannot say "once you see it
you will love it", because volunteers - and here we are all volunteers -
prefer to have a say in decisions, even if this is just an "ok, you are
the master here".

Please refrain from going on in the wrong direction. I hope I have
provided enough hints (and Michael has added some English prose to this
in another message) for you to understand which might be the road to
follow to be listened. I have provided five questions which I hope will
find an answer.

If my English is bad to the point that it is impossible to understand
what I am writing, please ping me and I am sure we can find the time to
discuss on the phone.

Ciao, Italo

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davidnelson davidnelson
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Re: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

Hi Narayan, Michael :-)

If you read the various SC meeting minutes objectively, there was
never any firm commitment to going over to Drupal. It was, in fact, an
openness to re-consider the issue at a later date, and to evaluate a
working site alongside specific statements and proof of the advantages
that Drupal would bring.

The most recent SC meeting re-stated the same openess to that *in the
mid-term future*. But it was clearly desired to put an end to what has
become a disruptive argument backed up by what has been, IMHO,
disruptive disinformation about the SC's stance, in a quest to
"bulldoze" the adoption through.

In my own perception, it seemed to be less based on any possible
advantages that Drupal could bring to the Web infrastructure, and more
a question of forcing a Drupal adoption without any real consideration
of technical merits/demerits and TDF's more-urgent needs.

In reality, there is a lot of higher priority work to be done.

There has been *so* much written in the lists about all this - I think
many people are fed up of the subject, and I think it has caused a lot
of disharmony that is damaging to the project.

Progress will soon be made towards implementing the Community Bylaws
and steadily establishing a stable, community-driven governance for
the project. Charles Schulz drafted those bylaws, with public
discussion during the process on the SC discussion list. IMHO, they
are a good model of FOSS project governance, and a sincere effort to
apply high ideals of democratic community government within the
project.

If you guys can show some patience and forebearing in your desires, I
think you will have every fair opportunity to fulfill your goal of
Drupal adoption at a future date - if you can concretely demonstrate
that it is a better choice and truly advantageous for the community,
and if you follow the procedures and channels that will be implemented
for such purposes. But now is not the right time.

Meanwhile, if you are truly interested in getting involved in the
project's Web communications, I invite you both to work with me on the
subject, and to actually constructively contribute ideas, time and
written material as part of a team that has been placed, *as an
interim thing*, under my coordination and management.

If you can prove that you truly have the project's real interests at
heart, and that there is a genuine meritocratic justification, you
(and anyone else) have every chance of becoming the website content
lead in my stead, with my full support and cooperation, if there is an
official decision in that respect by the SC.

But you have to win that role by merit and real work that furthers the
project's immediate interests and needs.

So, I'm laying down a challenge to you: let's stop this damaging,
conflictual and time-wasting discussion on the mailing lists, and
let's get to work together building superb web content on the
SilverStripe site.

You will find me an objective, constructive, consensual and
cooperative person to work with. My only desire is to see real results
as quickly as possible.

We can arrange a website content team confcall at an early date and start work.

The only condition are that:

- We have to stop talking about Drupal at this time, and only think of
content and information for the LibreOffice and TDF community on
libreoffice.org.

- We have to commit to the governance laid down in the Community
Bylaws, and be supportive of the SC in *progressively* working towards
their implementation within a reasonable timeframe. In the design of
the bylaws, there are mechanisms for bringing about change in a fair
and viable manner. So, if there are things in them that displease you
now, you *will* have the opportunity to work towards change in them in
the future.

Please, guys, put Drupal out of your mind for the CMS for *at least*
6-9 months - indeed, there are perfectly rational reasons for deciding
to stay with SilverStripe as CMS quite far into the future. Maybe it
would be a good idea to think laterally and broach the subject of
Drupal-powered *forums* with the SC, instead?

Meanwhile, remember that there is an opportunity to take part in
exciting and interesting mass media communications work.

What do you say? :-) I am very keen to work with you, hear your
imaginative ideas, and see fruitful results on our
SilverStripe-powered CMS, libreoffice.org. :-)

David Nelson

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Re: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 11:38 PM, David Nelson <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi Narayan, Michael :-)
> The most recent SC meeting re-stated the same openess to that *in the
> mid-term future*. But it was clearly desired to put an end to what has
> become a disruptive argument backed up by what has been, IMHO,
> disruptive disinformation about the SC's stance, in a quest to
> "bulldoze" the adoption through.

You are incorrect. The development and discussions were as a result of
the official SC statement to the website mailing list:
http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.documentfoundation.libreoffice.website/592

There is no "bulldozing", simply the community trying to build a better future.

> In reality, there is a lot of higher priority work to be done.

I totally agree. The only reason people are (were) working on Drupal
was that Christian stated that people were already organised to
implement Silverstripe very quickly, which turned out to be not
factual.
Once we realised that Christian's team was non-existant we offered to
help but were turned down:
http://nabble.documentfoundation.org/Regroup-and-further-development-of-the-website-s-td2191011.html

> If you guys can show some patience and forebearing in your desires, I
> think you will have every fair opportunity to fulfill your goal of
> Drupal adoption at a future date - if you can concretely demonstrate
> that it is a better choice and truly advantageous for the community,
> and if you follow the procedures and channels that will be implemented
> for such purposes. But now is not the right time.
>
> Meanwhile, if you are truly interested in getting involved in the
> project's Web communications, I invite you both to work with me on the
> subject, and to actually constructively contribute ideas, time and
> written material as part of a team that has been placed, *as an
> interim thing*, under my coordination and management.

This is a very different message than you were sending the website
team last week. I respect the work you have put into the Silverstripe
site after Christian dropped the ball, however without discussion,
consultation and coordination within the mailing list as the initial
driver for community leadership and coordination, I believe you
will/have alienated many of the existing members who have been putting
their time into the project already.

The SC assigning "Leaders" rather than a grass roots effort is no way
to inspire the community to reach new heights.

> If you can prove that you truly have the project's real interests at
> heart, and that there is a genuine meritocratic justification, you
> (and anyone else) have every chance of becoming the website content
> lead in my stead, with my full support and cooperation, if there is an
> official decision in that respect by the SC.

Case and point. Why does the SC decide our leaders, this is an open
community, we should decide.

> We can arrange a website content team confcall at an early date and start work.
>
> The only condition are that:

Why would you put conditions on what an open community can talk about!?!

> - We have to stop talking about Drupal at this time, and only think of
> content and information for the LibreOffice and TDF community on
> libreoffice.org.
>
> - We have to commit to the governance laid down in the Community
> Bylaws, and be supportive of the SC in *progressively* working towards
> their implementation within a reasonable timeframe. In the design of
> the bylaws, there are mechanisms for bringing about change in a fair
> and viable manner. So, if there are things in them that displease you
> now, you *will* have the opportunity to work towards change in them in
> the future.
>
> Please, guys, put Drupal out of your mind for the CMS for *at least*
> 6-9 months - indeed, there are perfectly rational reasons for deciding
> to stay with SilverStripe as CMS quite far into the future. Maybe it
> would be a good idea to think laterally and broach the subject of
> Drupal-powered *forums* with the SC, instead?

The website team is responsible for website infrastructure, not the
SC. Decisions within the website team must be respected by the SC if
they are adequately discussed, negotiated and agreed upon.
Why would we visit the SC for permission to improve our area of
responsibility and expertise?

> Meanwhile, remember that there is an opportunity to take part in
> exciting and interesting mass media communications work.
>
> What do you say? :-) I am very keen to work with you, hear your
> imaginative ideas, and see fruitful results on our
> SilverStripe-powered CMS, libreoffice.org. :-)

We have offered, and I am sure the offer will remain open. However a
discussion about leadership structure and responsibilities needs to
occur within the website mailing list. Not at the SC.

I personally reject the leadership structure that the SC has dictated
to us until a discussion has occurred with the website mailing list
members and community legitimacy is given to the leaders and the
project.

Michael Wheatland

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Re: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

On 2011-01-19 1:16 AM, Michael Wheatland wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 11:38 PM, David Nelson wrote:
>> Hi Narayan, Michael :-)
>> The most recent SC meeting re-stated the same openess to that *in the
>> mid-term future*. But it was clearly desired to put an end to what has
>> become a disruptive argument backed up by what has been, IMHO,
>> disruptive disinformation about the SC's stance, in a quest to
>> "bulldoze" the adoption through.

> You are incorrect. The development and discussions were as a result of
> the official SC statement to the website mailing list:
> http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.documentfoundation.libreoffice.website/592

Wow. Kind of demolishes the claims of how 'clear' everything was.

On 2011-01-19 5:42 AM, Cor Nouws wrote:
> I thought I had read apologies from Charles on the list.

Charles' 'apology' was nothing of the sort... in fact I consider it an
even bigger insult to Michael and the Drupal team than everything else
that happened... sorry, Charles', but I don't think that the problem was
a lack of 'barking orders' from you.

Anyway, I'm done (again) with this thread... hopefully the new
initiative that David and Michael are working on will enable the
community to outlive these growing pains.

--

Best regards,

Charles

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Christian Lohmaier (klammer) Christian Lohmaier (klammer)
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Re: [tdf-discuss] [libreoffice-website] [Forum] How will the forum be organized?

In reply to this post by Wheatbix
Hi Michael,

On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 7:16 AM, Michael Wheatland
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 11:38 PM, David Nelson <[hidden email]> wrote:
> [...]
> I totally agree. The only reason people are (were) working on Drupal
> was that Christian stated that people were already organised to
> implement Silverstripe very quickly, which turned out to be not
> factual.

You still don't get it. And you're completely turning the facts.

Silverstripe /was/ ready from the very beginning.

> Once we realised that Christian's team was non-existant we offered to
> help but were turned down:

There was no need to work on silverstripe, as silverstripe was working
from the very beginning. What was lacking were people willing to work
on the content and on the theme.

> http://nabble.documentfoundation.org/Regroup-and-further-development-of-the-website-s-td2191011.html

Yeah, and when you react two months after people were asking for help,
then it's too late. in this concrete situation, help was not turned
down either, but it was:

> This is a very different message than you were sending the website
> team last week. I respect the work you have put into the Silverstripe
> site after Christian dropped the ball,

Stop this FUD!
There was no work put into silverstripe. David did a great job with
providing content and later with Ivan and Nikash on the theme as well,
but this has nothing to do with silverstripe maintainance.

ciao
Christian

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