Is There Interest in Moving This Discussion Forum Away From Google Groups?


(Wes Brown) #1

Greetings All,

Is there any interest in moving this forum (and other OpenLMIS discussion forums) to another provider? While Google Groups is fine, there are other options that have additional features and are just easier to use. I would suggest Discourse as I have liked using it with other Open Source projects but I am sure that there are other good options.

If you would like to switch to something else, please also suggest a possible option of what you would like to use instead.

Cheers,

-Wes Brown


(Kaleb Brownlow) #2

Hello Wes,

Welcome to VillageReach. I’m happy to test a new system and agree Google Groups can be a bit wonky to use. Checked out Discourse and looked interesting. Should we test with one of the communities before switching over everyone?

Kaleb

···

From: openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com on behalf of wes.brown wes.brown@villagereach.org

Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:05:39 PM

To: OpenLMIS Governance

Subject: Is There Interest in Moving This Discussion Forum Away From Google Groups?

Greetings All,

Is there any interest in moving this forum (and other OpenLMIS discussion forums) to another provider? While Google Groups is fine, there are other options that have additional features and are just easier to use. I would suggest
Discourse
as I have liked using it with other Open Source projects but I am sure that there are other good options.

If you would like to switch to something else, please also suggest a possible option of what you would like to use instead.

Cheers,

-Wes Brown

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(Leitner, Carl) #3

Some of the DIAL folks (e.g. Michael) have a fair amount of experience with Discourse . I would suggest we invite them to share their experience on an upcoming call.
Cheers,

-carl

···

From: openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com <openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com > on behalf of wes.brown wes.brown@villagereach.org

Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:05:39 PM

To: OpenLMIS Governance

Subject: Is There Interest in Moving This Discussion Forum Away From Google Groups?

Greetings All,

Is there any interest in moving this forum (and other OpenLMIS discussion forums) to another provider? While Google Groups is fine, there are other options that have additional features and are just easier to use. I would suggest Discourse as I have liked using it with other Open Source projects but I am sure that there are other good options.

If you would like to switch to something else, please also suggest a possible option of what you would like to use instead.

Cheers,

-Wes Brown

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “OpenLMIS Governance” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to openlmis-governance+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.

To post to this group, send email to openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com.

To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/openlmis-governance/8f9496c5-0ba4-452c-ae62-f165926cfcc0%40googlegroups.com.

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.


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(Wes Brown) #4

Kaleb,

Thanks for the feedback. Testing with a single community seems like a good idea; once the initial heavy lifting of getting a new Discourse instance up and running is done the amount of work to add additional categories is pretty easy. Given the response by this community, do you think this would be a good place to start?

-Wes

···

On Jul 24, 2018, 9:37 PM -0700, Kaleb Brownlow <Kaleb.Brownlow@gatesfoundation.org>, wrote:

Hello Wes,

Welcome to VillageReach. I'm happy to test a new system and agree Google Groups can be a bit wonky to use. Checked out Discourse and looked interesting. Should we test with one of the communities before switching over everyone?

Kaleb

________________________________
From: openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com <openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com> on behalf of wes.brown <wes.brown@villagereach.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:05:39 PM
To: OpenLMIS Governance
Subject: Is There Interest in Moving This Discussion Forum Away From Google Groups?

Greetings All,

Is there any interest in moving this forum (and other OpenLMIS discussion forums) to another provider? While Google Groups is fine, there are other options that have additional features and are just easier to use. I would suggest Discourse<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.discourse.org%2F&data=02|01|kaleb.brownlow%40gatesfoundation.org|fb3b55a7968042cce30a08d5f1c25c33|296b38384bd5496cbd4bf456ea743b74|0|1|636680739440592244&sdata=speSitZeagdOQav9%2Fixmldcce%2BxX%2BUNNJ3mldYSKD%2Bk%3D&reserved=0> as I have liked using it with other Open Source projects but I am sure that there are other good options.

If you would like to switch to something else, please also suggest a possible option of what you would like to use instead.

Cheers,
-Wes Brown

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(Wes Brown) #5

Carl,

That is a great idea. My suggestion of switching to Discourse actually came from my experience with OpenMRS and I think that Michael was the person behind their switch from Google Groups to Discourse. I am not familiar with all the calls we have (there appear to be a lot, heh); do you have a suggestion as to which one would be appropriate to invite him to?

Thanks,
-Wes

···

On Jul 27, 2018, 9:56 AM -0700, Leitner, Carl <cleitner@path.org>, wrote:
Some of the DIAL folks (e.g. Michael) have a fair amount of experience with Discourse . I would suggest we invite them to share their experience on an upcoming call.
Cheers,
-carl

On Jul 25, 2018, at 12:37 AM, Kaleb Brownlow <Kaleb.Brownlow@gatesfoundation.org<mailto:Kaleb.Brownlow@gatesfoundation.org>> wrote:

Hello Wes,

Welcome to VillageReach. I'm happy to test a new system and agree Google Groups can be a bit wonky to use. Checked out Discourse and looked interesting. Should we test with one of the communities before switching over everyone?

Kaleb
________________________________
From: openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com<mailto:openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com> <openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com<mailto:openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com>> on behalf of wes.brown <wes.brown@villagereach.org<mailto:wes.brown@villagereach.org>>
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:05:39 PM
To: OpenLMIS Governance
Subject: Is There Interest in Moving This Discussion Forum Away From Google Groups?

Greetings All,

Is there any interest in moving this forum (and other OpenLMIS discussion forums) to another provider? While Google Groups is fine, there are other options that have additional features and are just easier to use. I would suggest Discourse<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.discourse.org%2F&data=02|01|kaleb.brownlow%40gatesfoundation.org|fb3b55a7968042cce30a08d5f1c25c33|296b38384bd5496cbd4bf456ea743b74|0|1|636680739440592244&sdata=speSitZeagdOQav9%2Fixmldcce%2BxX%2BUNNJ3mldYSKD%2Bk%3D&reserved=0> as I have liked using it with other Open Source projects but I am sure that there are other good options.

If you would like to switch to something else, please also suggest a possible option of what you would like to use instead.

Cheers,
-Wes Brown

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(Leitner, Carl) #6

The main governance call should be fine.
Cheers,
-carl

···

On Jul 27, 2018, at 5:52 PM, Wes Brown <wes.brown@villagereach.org<mailto:wes.brown@villagereach.org>> wrote:

Carl,

That is a great idea. My suggestion of switching to Discourse actually came from my experience with OpenMRS and I think that Michael was the person behind their switch from Google Groups to Discourse. I am not familiar with all the calls we have (there appear to be a lot, heh); do you have a suggestion as to which one would be appropriate to invite him to?

Thanks,
-Wes
On Jul 27, 2018, 9:56 AM -0700, Leitner, Carl <cleitner@path.org<mailto:cleitner@path.org>>, wrote:
Some of the DIAL folks (e.g. Michael) have a fair amount of experience with Discourse . I would suggest we invite them to share their experience on an upcoming call.
Cheers,
-carl

On Jul 25, 2018, at 12:37 AM, Kaleb Brownlow <Kaleb.Brownlow@gatesfoundation.org<mailto:Kaleb.Brownlow@gatesfoundation.org>> wrote:

Hello Wes,

Welcome to VillageReach. I'm happy to test a new system and agree Google Groups can be a bit wonky to use. Checked out Discourse and looked interesting. Should we test with one of the communities before switching over everyone?

Kaleb
________________________________
From: openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com<mailto:openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com> <openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com<mailto:openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com>> on behalf of wes.brown <wes.brown@villagereach.org<mailto:wes.brown@villagereach.org>>
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:05:39 PM
To: OpenLMIS Governance
Subject: Is There Interest in Moving This Discussion Forum Away From Google Groups?

Greetings All,

Is there any interest in moving this forum (and other OpenLMIS discussion forums) to another provider? While Google Groups is fine, there are other options that have additional features and are just easier to use. I would suggest Discourse<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.discourse.org%2F&data=02|01|kaleb.brownlow%40gatesfoundation.org|fb3b55a7968042cce30a08d5f1c25c33|296b38384bd5496cbd4bf456ea743b74|0|1|636680739440592244&sdata=speSitZeagdOQav9%2Fixmldcce%2BxX%2BUNNJ3mldYSKD%2Bk%3D&reserved=0> as I have liked using it with other Open Source projects but I am sure that there are other good options.

If you would like to switch to something else, please also suggest a possible option of what you would like to use instead.

Cheers,
-Wes Brown

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(Craig Appl) #7

Hi Wes,

There are four or five communication systems used by the community:

  • Google Groups

  • Slack - Real time short term communication (History isn’t saved)

  • Confluence Wiki pages - Comments in the bottom of pages as well as in document review, @mentions and meeting notes.

  • Jira tickets - Ticket specific communication

  • Email - All official things need to go through Email instead of Slack because the Slack history isn’t being saved.

The value of Google Groups is that the barrier to entry is low. It allows anyone to join and post nearly immediately, assuming they have some type of Google account. All other platforms require an account request, creation and approval process by a community member.

Here are some questions:

  • Someone has a technical question and is not a community member. Where do they go to ask their question? Does it require an account? Is that account creation automatic?

  • Will discourse be able to replace other channels of communication?

Craig

···

On Sun, Jul 29, 2018 at 7:26 AM, Leitner, Carl cleitner@path.org wrote:

The main governance call should be fine.
Cheers,

-carl

On Jul 27, 2018, at 5:52 PM, Wes Brown wes.brown@villagereach.org wrote:

Carl,

That is a great idea. My suggestion of switching to Discourse actually came from my experience with OpenMRS and I think that Michael was the person behind their switch from Google Groups to Discourse. I am not familiar with all the calls we have (there appear to be a lot, heh); do you have a suggestion as to which one would be appropriate to invite him to?

Thanks,

-Wes

On Jul 27, 2018, 9:56 AM -0700, Leitner, Carl cleitner@path.org, wrote:

Some of the DIAL folks (e.g. Michael) have a fair amount of experience with Discourse . I would suggest we invite them to share their experience on an upcoming call.
Cheers,

-carl

On Jul 25, 2018, at 12:37 AM, Kaleb Brownlow Kaleb.Brownlow@gatesfoundation.org wrote:

Hello Wes,

Welcome to VillageReach. I’m happy to test a new system and agree Google Groups can be a bit wonky to use. Checked out Discourse and looked interesting. Should we test with one of the communities before switching over everyone?

Kaleb


From: openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com <openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com > on behalf of wes.brown wes.brown@villagereach.org

Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:05:39 PM

To: OpenLMIS Governance

Subject: Is There Interest in Moving This Discussion Forum Away From Google Groups?

Greetings All,

Is there any interest in moving this forum (and other OpenLMIS discussion forums) to another provider? While Google Groups is fine, there are other options that have additional features and are just easier to use. I would suggest Discourse as I have liked using it with other Open Source projects but I am sure that there are other good options.

If you would like to switch to something else, please also suggest a possible option of what you would like to use instead.

Cheers,

-Wes Brown

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Craig Appl

Health Technical Lead


(Wes Brown) #8

Hello Craig,

Thanks for the thoughtful post! I really liked the way you organized the
communication systems used by the OpenLMIS community, I think it helps to
more easily plan where Discourse (or similar) could fit into the stack. My
hope would be that Discourse will replace both Google Groups and most
emails; with the email replacement being something particularly useful.
Emails tend to be difficult for discussions, are inherently exclusive, and
oftentimes unwelcome (we all get much more email than we would prefer) but
a system like Discourse fits in well between email and the realtime-ish
communication of Slack.

To answer your questions specifically:

   1. Discourse (or similar) would be the main entry point into the
   OpenLMIS community for new members
   2. The system should require an account but one that can be freely made
   by the user. User categorization can be used to denote users with more
   experience within the community (see OpenMRS Developer Stages
   <https://wiki.openmrs.org/display/RES/OpenMRS+Developer+Stages>).
      1. As a side-note, I wish that Slack allowed for self-registration
      and the lack of it is why I prefer similar solutions like Rocket.Chat
      (which is nicely open-source as well)
   3. I think that Discourse would replace google groups, much of the
   project-related email, and maybe a little of what goes into Slack

Cheers,
-Wes

···

On Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 10:23:14 AM UTC-4, cappl wrote:

Hi Wes,

There are four or five communication systems used by the community:

- Google Groups
- Slack - Real time short term communication (History isn't saved)
- Confluence Wiki pages - Comments in the bottom of pages as well as in
document review, @mentions and meeting notes.
- Jira tickets - Ticket specific communication
- Email - All official things need to go through Email instead of Slack
because the Slack history isn't being saved.

The value of Google Groups is that the barrier to entry is low. It allows
anyone to join and post nearly immediately, assuming they have some type of
Google account. All other platforms require an account request, creation
and approval process by a community member.

Here are some questions:
- Someone has a technical question and is not a community member. Where do
they go to ask their question? Does it require an account? Is that account
creation automatic?
- Will discourse be able to replace other channels of communication?

Craig

On Sun, Jul 29, 2018 at 7:26 AM, Leitner, Carl <cleitner@path.org> wrote:

The main governance call should be fine.
Cheers,
-carl

On Jul 27, 2018, at 5:52 PM, Wes Brown <wes.brown@villagereach.org> >> wrote:

Carl,

That is a great idea. My suggestion of switching to Discourse actually
came from my experience with OpenMRS and I think that Michael was the
person behind their switch from Google Groups to Discourse. I am not
familiar with all the calls we have (there appear to be a lot, heh); do you
have a suggestion as to which one would be appropriate to invite him to?

Thanks,
-Wes
On Jul 27, 2018, 9:56 AM -0700, Leitner, Carl <cleitner@path.org>, wrote:

Some of the DIAL folks (e.g. Michael) have a fair amount of experience
with Discourse . I would suggest we invite them to share their experience
on an upcoming call.
Cheers,
-carl

On Jul 25, 2018, at 12:37 AM, Kaleb Brownlow < >> Kaleb.Brownlow@gatesfoundation.org> wrote:

Hello Wes,

Welcome to VillageReach. I'm happy to test a new system and agree Google
Groups can be a bit wonky to use. Checked out Discourse and looked
interesting. Should we test with one of the communities before switching
over everyone?

Kaleb
------------------------------
*From:* openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com <
openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com> on behalf of wes.brown <
wes.brown@villagereach.org>
*Sent:* Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:05:39 PM
*To:* OpenLMIS Governance
*Subject:* Is There Interest in Moving This Discussion Forum Away From
Google Groups?

Greetings All,

Is there any interest in moving this forum (and other OpenLMIS discussion
forums) to another provider? While Google Groups is fine, there are other
options that have additional features and are just easier to use. I would
suggest Discourse
<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.discourse.org%2F&data=02|01|kaleb.brownlow%40gatesfoundation.org|fb3b55a7968042cce30a08d5f1c25c33|296b38384bd5496cbd4bf456ea743b74|0|1|636680739440592244&sdata=speSitZeagdOQav9%2Fixmldcce%2BxX%2BUNNJ3mldYSKD%2Bk%3D&reserved=0> as
I have liked using it with other Open Source projects but I am sure that
there are other good options.

If you would like to switch to something else, please also suggest a
possible option of what you would like to use instead.

Cheers,
-Wes Brown

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<http://bit.ly/2aeOueY>

<http://bit.ly/2ckhfuf> <http://bit.ly/2csSdWW> <http://bit.ly/2bYdtWl>


(Wes Brown) #9

Hello All,

I wanted to update this topic in preparation for the next Governance
Committee meeting so that we can hopefully make a decision about whether or
not to move forward with Discourse. Please note that I have not heard of
any other alternative to Google Groups aside from Discourse and am
therefore only including those two options in the comments below.

While Discourse is an open-source project, it is not free to host and the
options to do so are varied:

   1. Self-Hosting: $20/month
      - We would likely want to use the existing Digital Ocean droplet
      <https://www.digitalocean.com/products/one-click-apps/discourse/>
      which would cost roughly $20 a month, or more if our usage increases
      - Because we are hosting it ourselves there are no limits on page
      views or storage, we just have to pay more if the basic DO Droplet cannot
      handle the load
   2. Discourse Hosting <https://payments.discourse.org/pricing> -
   Standard: $100/month
      - 100k page views, 10GB storage, unlimited members, 5 admin accounts,
      "basic" plugins
   3. Unison Hosting: $250/month (plus $1,000 Google Groups import and
   setup fee)
      - 1m page views, 40GB storage, unlimited members, unlimited admin
      accounts, unlimited plugins
      - Unison will import all Google Groups users and history (for all
      three OpenLMIS GG forums)
   4. Discourse Hosting - Business: $300/month
      - 500k page views, 50GB storage, unlimited members, 15 admin
      accounts, "advanced" plugins
   
Unison is a company run by Yaw Anokwa (the co-founder of the Open Data Kit
<https://opendatakit.org/>) which came out of the work that he did in
converting the ODK forum from Google Groups to Discourse. Google Groups
does not provide an API to get user information or the historical topic
information which makes getting that data imported into Discourse a
significant challenge. If we think that there is value in being able to
keep our Google Groups history and automatically create Discourse accounts
then the Unison option is a very good one consider as we likely won't be
able to put the time into doing this ourselves.

Yaw was also kind enough to review some of the questions that came out of
our previous discussions regarding Discourse and I am including his
thoughts below (with his permission):

   - Will a non-community member be able to benefit from this?

Yes! The forum is very SEO friendly, so if the site is public (you choose
how public), you'll get a good amount of search engine traffic which will
benefit non-community members. Naturally if someone wants to ask a
question, they will need to create an account, but that takes basically no
time and you can also login with your Gmail/Facebook/Twitter/Github/etc
account.

Also, the bar is pretty low to account creation, but not too low. The
forum has a notion of user levels that automatically gives more permissions
to users as they interact with other users. Drive by users
can't cause a lot of problems so moderators don't spend a lot of time
fighting spammers.
   
   - Will Discourse replace other channels of communication?

Probably. For conversations that you need to find again, Discourse is
great (e.g., compared to Slack). This is really important for
distributed projects where time zones are a problem. On ODK, we default to
Discourse then spin off to other platforms when needed. So
for example, we discuss what a feature should be and when we get something
closeable by a GitHub issue, then we file an issue. Y'all will have to find
a balance that works for you.
You may get some pushback about how easy a mailing list is compared to a
forum. I think every community has had this pushback when Discourse has
been proposed, but it's never been a problem post switch because the
diehards can Discourse purely as a mailing list. The vast majority will use
it as a forum and love it. You'll see a big drop in repeat questions and a
big spike in fruitful discussions.
   
   - Why Unison Hosting

Most hosting services won't touch Google Groups because it's
very painful. We wrote and maintain the guide to Google Groups migration
that the Discourse community uses. Additionally, we've moved some of the
largest open-source communities in global development to Discourse so we do
know how to communicate the migration to your community and configure
Discourse so it works great for you on day one. We handle everything. You
tell us the date and that's it!

   - Helpful Information

I've also got a quick write up at
https://meta.discourse.org/t/how-did-you-know-you-could-be-successful-with-a-forum/92074/8
that might also be helpful.
And some of my favorite things to do with the forum that you can't do
easily elsewhere
   
   - Learn about the community from people introducing themselves:
      https://forum.opendatakit.org/t/introduce-yourself-here/6671
   
   - Incentivizing contributions by automatically giving out badges:
      https://forum.opendatakit.org/badges/107/first-solution
   
   - Tagging relevant people, splitting topics, embedding content all in
      the service of a beta:
      https://forum.opendatakit.org/t/odk-collect-v1-16-beta/13690
   
   - Support questions have templates and can be marked as solved with
      the solution right at the top:
      https://forum.opendatakit.org/t/odk-collect-v1-16-x-problem-with-geopoint-placement-map/14418
   

As part of this decision making progress I also created a very basic
decision matrix. I am not sure how valuable this data is as I came up with
the values myself and they are quite qualitative but I will include it
below in case it is helpful as a discussion point:
Community Involvement Feature Set Historical Posts Hosting Costs Ongoing
Administration Total
Value
(Higher is better) 10 10 5 5 5
Google Groups 3 2 5 5 2 17
Self-Hosting 7 8 0 3 3 21
Discourse Hosting 7 8 0 1 4 20
Unison Hosting 7 8 5 0 5 25

Overall, my feeling is that utilizing Discourse in place of Google Groups
would give us a better alternative for non-realtime, community-based
communication and would naturally attract some types of communication that
is currently occurring within Slack or Email but not a good fit within
those services.

Please let me know if there are any other questions that I should look into
before the next Governance Committee meeting on Sept 18th.

Thanks,
-Wes

···

On Monday, July 30, 2018 at 9:32:07 AM UTC-4, Wes Brown wrote:

Hello Craig,

Thanks for the thoughtful post! I really liked the way you organized the
communication systems used by the OpenLMIS community, I think it helps to
more easily plan where Discourse (or similar) could fit into the stack. My
hope would be that Discourse will replace both Google Groups and most
emails; with the email replacement being something particularly useful.
Emails tend to be difficult for discussions, are inherently exclusive, and
oftentimes unwelcome (we all get much more email than we would prefer) but
a system like Discourse fits in well between email and the realtime-ish
communication of Slack.

To answer your questions specifically:

   1. Discourse (or similar) would be the main entry point into the
   OpenLMIS community for new members
   2. The system should require an account but one that can be freely
   made by the user. User categorization can be used to denote users with more
   experience within the community (see OpenMRS Developer Stages
   <https://wiki.openmrs.org/display/RES/OpenMRS+Developer+Stages>).
      1. As a side-note, I wish that Slack allowed for self-registration
      and the lack of it is why I prefer similar solutions like Rocket.Chat
      (which is nicely open-source as well)
   3. I think that Discourse would replace google groups, much of the
   project-related email, and maybe a little of what goes into Slack

Cheers,
-Wes

On Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 10:23:14 AM UTC-4, cappl wrote:

Hi Wes,

There are four or five communication systems used by the community:

- Google Groups
- Slack - Real time short term communication (History isn't saved)
- Confluence Wiki pages - Comments in the bottom of pages as well as in
document review, @mentions and meeting notes.
- Jira tickets - Ticket specific communication
- Email - All official things need to go through Email instead of Slack
because the Slack history isn't being saved.

The value of Google Groups is that the barrier to entry is low. It allows
anyone to join and post nearly immediately, assuming they have some type of
Google account. All other platforms require an account request, creation
and approval process by a community member.

Here are some questions:
- Someone has a technical question and is not a community member. Where
do they go to ask their question? Does it require an account? Is that
account creation automatic?
- Will discourse be able to replace other channels of communication?

Craig

On Sun, Jul 29, 2018 at 7:26 AM, Leitner, Carl <cleitner@path.org> wrote:

The main governance call should be fine.
Cheers,
-carl

On Jul 27, 2018, at 5:52 PM, Wes Brown <wes.brown@villagereach.org> >>> wrote:

Carl,

That is a great idea. My suggestion of switching to Discourse actually
came from my experience with OpenMRS and I think that Michael was the
person behind their switch from Google Groups to Discourse. I am not
familiar with all the calls we have (there appear to be a lot, heh); do you
have a suggestion as to which one would be appropriate to invite him to?

Thanks,
-Wes
On Jul 27, 2018, 9:56 AM -0700, Leitner, Carl <cleitner@path.org>, >>> wrote:

Some of the DIAL folks (e.g. Michael) have a fair amount of experience
with Discourse . I would suggest we invite them to share their experience
on an upcoming call.
Cheers,
-carl

On Jul 25, 2018, at 12:37 AM, Kaleb Brownlow < >>> Kaleb.Brownlow@gatesfoundation.org> wrote:

Hello Wes,

Welcome to VillageReach. I'm happy to test a new system and agree Google
Groups can be a bit wonky to use. Checked out Discourse and looked
interesting. Should we test with one of the communities before switching
over everyone?

Kaleb
------------------------------
*From:* openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com <
openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com> on behalf of wes.brown <
wes.brown@villagereach.org>
*Sent:* Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:05:39 PM
*To:* OpenLMIS Governance
*Subject:* Is There Interest in Moving This Discussion Forum Away From
Google Groups?

Greetings All,

Is there any interest in moving this forum (and other OpenLMIS
discussion forums) to another provider? While Google Groups is fine, there
are other options that have additional features and are just easier to use.
I would suggest Discourse
<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.discourse.org%2F&data=02|01|kaleb.brownlow%40gatesfoundation.org|fb3b55a7968042cce30a08d5f1c25c33|296b38384bd5496cbd4bf456ea743b74|0|1|636680739440592244&sdata=speSitZeagdOQav9%2Fixmldcce%2BxX%2BUNNJ3mldYSKD%2Bk%3D&reserved=0> as
I have liked using it with other Open Source projects but I am sure that
there are other good options.

If you would like to switch to something else, please also suggest a
possible option of what you would like to use instead.

Cheers,
-Wes Brown

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(Wes Brown) #10

The question about moving away from Google Groups for our discussion forums
to something like Discourse has remained open for a while now and at this
point we, on the core team, are ready to proceed and make the transition.
Our anticipated plan is to pay for the setup and hosting of Discourse with
Unison Hosting rather than manage the instance ourselves; this service also
has the additional benefit of importing the historical data and users from
the various OpenLMIS Google Groups.

*Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this
transition.* If we do not hear any objections in the next week we will plan
on starting the transition by the end of the month or in early October.

We are also very interested in hearing from the community about how they
want this new service to be utilized. Our hope is that this service will
not only replace Google Groups but also act as a natural repository for
interactions that fall between the realtime communication of Slack and the
more delayed/formal communication of an email. If you have any thoughts on
how we can best do that, we would love to hear them!

Thanks,
Wes Brown (on behalf of the core OpenLMIS team)

···

On Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 3:17:19 PM UTC-4, Wes Brown wrote:

Hello All,

I wanted to update this topic in preparation for the next Governance
Committee meeting so that we can hopefully make a decision about whether or
not to move forward with Discourse. Please note that I have not heard of
any other alternative to Google Groups aside from Discourse and am
therefore only including those two options in the comments below.

While Discourse is an open-source project, it is not free to host and the
options to do so are varied:

   1. Self-Hosting: $20/month
      - We would likely want to use the existing Digital Ocean droplet
      <https://www.digitalocean.com/products/one-click-apps/discourse/>
      which would cost roughly $20 a month, or more if our usage increases
      - Because we are hosting it ourselves there are no limits on page
      views or storage, we just have to pay more if the basic DO Droplet cannot
      handle the load
   2. Discourse Hosting <https://payments.discourse.org/pricing> -
   Standard: $100/month
      - 100k page views, 10GB storage, unlimited members, 5 admin
      accounts, "basic" plugins
   3. Unison Hosting: $250/month (plus $1,000 Google Groups import and
   setup fee)
      - 1m page views, 40GB storage, unlimited members, unlimited admin
      accounts, unlimited plugins
      - Unison will import all Google Groups users and history (for all
      three OpenLMIS GG forums)
   4. Discourse Hosting - Business: $300/month
      - 500k page views, 50GB storage, unlimited members, 15 admin
      accounts, "advanced" plugins
   
Unison is a company run by Yaw Anokwa (the co-founder of the Open Data Kit
<https://opendatakit.org/>) which came out of the work that he did in
converting the ODK forum from Google Groups to Discourse. Google Groups
does not provide an API to get user information or the historical topic
information which makes getting that data imported into Discourse a
significant challenge. If we think that there is value in being able to
keep our Google Groups history and automatically create Discourse accounts
then the Unison option is a very good one consider as we likely won't be
able to put the time into doing this ourselves.

Yaw was also kind enough to review some of the questions that came out of
our previous discussions regarding Discourse and I am including his
thoughts below (with his permission):

   - Will a non-community member be able to benefit from this?

Yes! The forum is very SEO friendly, so if the site is public (you choose
how public), you'll get a good amount of search engine traffic which will
benefit non-community members. Naturally if someone wants to ask a
question, they will need to create an account, but that takes basically no
time and you can also login with your Gmail/Facebook/Twitter/Github/etc
account.

Also, the bar is pretty low to account creation, but not too low. The
forum has a notion of user levels that automatically gives more permissions
to users as they interact with other users. Drive by users
can't cause a lot of problems so moderators don't spend a lot of time
fighting spammers.
   
   - Will Discourse replace other channels of communication?

Probably. For conversations that you need to find again, Discourse is
great (e.g., compared to Slack). This is really important for
distributed projects where time zones are a problem. On ODK, we default
to Discourse then spin off to other platforms when needed. So
for example, we discuss what a feature should be and when we get
something closeable by a GitHub issue, then we file an issue. Y'all will
have to find a balance that works for you.
You may get some pushback about how easy a mailing list is compared to a
forum. I think every community has had this pushback when Discourse has
been proposed, but it's never been a problem post switch because the
diehards can Discourse purely as a mailing list. The vast majority will use
it as a forum and love it. You'll see a big drop in repeat questions and a
big spike in fruitful discussions.
   
   - Why Unison Hosting

Most hosting services won't touch Google Groups because it's
very painful. We wrote and maintain the guide to Google Groups migration
that the Discourse community uses. Additionally, we've moved some of the
largest open-source communities in global development to Discourse so we do
know how to communicate the migration to your community and configure
Discourse so it works great for you on day one. We handle everything. You
tell us the date and that's it!

   - Helpful Information

I've also got a quick write up at
https://meta.discourse.org/t/how-did-you-know-you-could-be-successful-with-a-forum/92074/8
that might also be helpful.
And some of my favorite things to do with the forum that you can't do
easily elsewhere
   
   - Learn about the community from people introducing themselves:
      https://forum.opendatakit.org/t/introduce-yourself-here/6671
   
   - Incentivizing contributions by automatically giving out badges:
      https://forum.opendatakit.org/badges/107/first-solution
   
   - Tagging relevant people, splitting topics, embedding content all in
      the service of a beta:
      https://forum.opendatakit.org/t/odk-collect-v1-16-beta/13690
   
   - Support questions have templates and can be marked as solved with
      the solution right at the top:
      https://forum.opendatakit.org/t/odk-collect-v1-16-x-problem-with-geopoint-placement-map/14418
   

As part of this decision making progress I also created a very basic
decision matrix. I am not sure how valuable this data is as I came up with
the values myself and they are quite qualitative but I will include it
below in case it is helpful as a discussion point:
Community Involvement Feature Set Historical Posts Hosting Costs Ongoing
Administration Total
Value
(Higher is better) 10 10 5 5 5
Google Groups 3 2 5 5 2 17
Self-Hosting 7 8 0 3 3 21
Discourse Hosting 7 8 0 1 4 20
Unison Hosting 7 8 5 0 5 25

Overall, my feeling is that utilizing Discourse in place of Google Groups
would give us a better alternative for non-realtime, community-based
communication and would naturally attract some types of communication that
is currently occurring within Slack or Email but not a good fit within
those services.

Please let me know if there are any other questions that I should look
into before the next Governance Committee meeting on Sept 18th.

Thanks,
-Wes

On Monday, July 30, 2018 at 9:32:07 AM UTC-4, Wes Brown wrote:

Hello Craig,

Thanks for the thoughtful post! I really liked the way you organized the
communication systems used by the OpenLMIS community, I think it helps to
more easily plan where Discourse (or similar) could fit into the stack. My
hope would be that Discourse will replace both Google Groups and most
emails; with the email replacement being something particularly useful.
Emails tend to be difficult for discussions, are inherently exclusive, and
oftentimes unwelcome (we all get much more email than we would prefer) but
a system like Discourse fits in well between email and the realtime-ish
communication of Slack.

To answer your questions specifically:

   1. Discourse (or similar) would be the main entry point into the
   OpenLMIS community for new members
   2. The system should require an account but one that can be freely
   made by the user. User categorization can be used to denote users with more
   experience within the community (see OpenMRS Developer Stages
   <https://wiki.openmrs.org/display/RES/OpenMRS+Developer+Stages>).
      1. As a side-note, I wish that Slack allowed for self-registration
      and the lack of it is why I prefer similar solutions like Rocket.Chat
      (which is nicely open-source as well)
   3. I think that Discourse would replace google groups, much of the
   project-related email, and maybe a little of what goes into Slack

Cheers,
-Wes

On Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 10:23:14 AM UTC-4, cappl wrote:

Hi Wes,

There are four or five communication systems used by the community:

- Google Groups
- Slack - Real time short term communication (History isn't saved)
- Confluence Wiki pages - Comments in the bottom of pages as well as in
document review, @mentions and meeting notes.
- Jira tickets - Ticket specific communication
- Email - All official things need to go through Email instead of Slack
because the Slack history isn't being saved.

The value of Google Groups is that the barrier to entry is low. It
allows anyone to join and post nearly immediately, assuming they have some
type of Google account. All other platforms require an account request,
creation and approval process by a community member.

Here are some questions:
- Someone has a technical question and is not a community member. Where
do they go to ask their question? Does it require an account? Is that
account creation automatic?
- Will discourse be able to replace other channels of communication?

Craig

On Sun, Jul 29, 2018 at 7:26 AM, Leitner, Carl <cleitner@path.org> >>> wrote:

The main governance call should be fine.
Cheers,
-carl

On Jul 27, 2018, at 5:52 PM, Wes Brown <wes.brown@villagereach.org> >>>> wrote:

Carl,

That is a great idea. My suggestion of switching to Discourse actually
came from my experience with OpenMRS and I think that Michael was the
person behind their switch from Google Groups to Discourse. I am not
familiar with all the calls we have (there appear to be a lot, heh); do you
have a suggestion as to which one would be appropriate to invite him to?

Thanks,
-Wes
On Jul 27, 2018, 9:56 AM -0700, Leitner, Carl <cleitner@path.org>, >>>> wrote:

Some of the DIAL folks (e.g. Michael) have a fair amount of experience
with Discourse . I would suggest we invite them to share their experience
on an upcoming call.
Cheers,
-carl

On Jul 25, 2018, at 12:37 AM, Kaleb Brownlow < >>>> Kaleb.Brownlow@gatesfoundation.org> wrote:

Hello Wes,

Welcome to VillageReach. I'm happy to test a new system and agree
Google Groups can be a bit wonky to use. Checked out Discourse and looked
interesting. Should we test with one of the communities before switching
over everyone?

Kaleb
------------------------------
*From:* openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com <
openlmis-governance@googlegroups.com> on behalf of wes.brown <
wes.brown@villagereach.org>
*Sent:* Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:05:39 PM
*To:* OpenLMIS Governance
*Subject:* Is There Interest in Moving This Discussion Forum Away From
Google Groups?

Greetings All,

Is there any interest in moving this forum (and other OpenLMIS
discussion forums) to another provider? While Google Groups is fine, there
are other options that have additional features and are just easier to use.
I would suggest Discourse
<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.discourse.org%2F&data=02|01|kaleb.brownlow%40gatesfoundation.org|fb3b55a7968042cce30a08d5f1c25c33|296b38384bd5496cbd4bf456ea743b74|0|1|636680739440592244&sdata=speSitZeagdOQav9%2Fixmldcce%2BxX%2BUNNJ3mldYSKD%2Bk%3D&reserved=0> as
I have liked using it with other Open Source projects but I am sure that
there are other good options.

If you would like to switch to something else, please also suggest a
possible option of what you would like to use instead.

Cheers,
-Wes Brown

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