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From Brett Porter <br...@apache.org>
Subject Re: IRC: #commons ?
Date Fri, 10 Feb 2006 17:09:41 GMT
Henri Yandell wrote:
> I've been using IRC more recently for various apache channels. It's
> quite a fun thing to do. Any thoughts on connecting to a #commons at
> irc.freenode.net?

This discussion could also be put to general@jakarta. How about
#asf-jakarta instead?

> The obvious negative to be listed is the worry that it'll pull
> important information off of the -dev list and bugs will get answered
> that won't go onto the -user list's history. The first is easy to fix;
> we just bear in mind that IRC is just a place to chat for us
> committers. The second is harder, but I think we can deal with it if
> it starts to feel like its happening.

2) will happen. If the discussion came from the list, people often take
the solution back there (not always, of course, even if asked), but many
questions originate there too. A lot of the time, these go into greater
detail about a problem.

You can have a logger bot that makes the questions available in a
searchable form. The main limitation is that a lot of people use
temporary paste sites for code (and are encouraged to to reduce noise on
the channel). The only solution I can think of here is a pick a
recommended paste site and have the logger grab it and inline it.

BTW, 1) happens too, and I don't think its a bad thing if treated
properly. Basically you need to summarise the discussion and send it
back to the list, or you could link across to the raw chat log if that
helps. eg.
http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/maven-dev/200602.mbox/%3C43E96733.5070309@apache.org%3E
I find that it has benefits of filtering out a lot of noise and half
baked ideas so it should actually be easier to follow the dev list (as
long as there aren't gaps - you'd need to ask other people on the dev
list if that's actually the case :) It also just lets you kick things
around a lot more than you might otherwise.

> 
> Another negative is that a minority may be strictly firewalled and
> unable to contribute.

I don't know if Freenode is open to the idea or if we can run it
somewhere else, but CGI::IRC works quite well at htt://irc.codehaus.org/

But there is also the fact that some people just don't want to use it.
It can be very distracting.

> 
> What are the pluses?
> 
> * #apache is a very active irc channel where lots of httpd questions
> get answered. I doubt they're even being answered by committers; just
> knowledgable contributors.

+1, that happens

> 
> * It's superb for the general socialization. Really pulls people
> together as a community, improving individual and group ties - we can
> chat, joke, discuss without spamming the hell out of the -dev/-user
> list.

+1

> 
> * It brings us into more contact with the user community. This'll help
> with being aware that we want to offer people committership etc.
> 

+1, it's much easier to figure out what someone is like and whether they
"get it" in that forum. I can think of recent examples where someone was
very quiet on all the lists, but became very active on IRC and could be
pointed at areas to help there, and helped more on the lists after that.
On the other hand, I held off inviting a committer because all the
questions I received were from private mail, yahoo, and IRC. Once those
started going back to the dev list instead / as well, I was more
comfortable offering it to them.


Cheers,
Brett

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