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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: Stackoverflow
Date Thu, 12 May 2011 19:36:45 GMT
On 12/05/2011 19:34, Mohammad Nour El-Din wrote:
> On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 4:46 PM, Ross Gardler<>  wrote:
>> On 12/05/2011 15:09, Nick Burch wrote:


>>> Next up is probably visibility. Could we get the feather logo shown?
>>> Is that worth having? Can we get an aggregation point of all our
>>> tags?
>> If SO becomes an official channel then these points become very important.
>> If it is an unnofficial channel for some projects, who cares?
>> The only way I would want to see it becoming an official channel is if we
>> can tightly integrate it with our current channels. For example, a daily
>> mail to the user list saying "these questions were asked on SO" and, after a
>> week of inactivity, the question and highest scored answer are mailed to our
>> list.
>> The problem is can we do that (does SO have an API) and will someone write
>> and maintain the necessary code?
> I was exactly looking into the same idea, but in a simpler way as a
> start and assuming that SO is not an official channel but it is
> something that it is nice to have and exposes what is going on on SO
> inside Apache projects' mailing lists.
> The idea is we can have configurable bot(s)/service which can be
> configured to monitor questions asked on certain tags and their
> related answers, and this bot can then send these questions, either
> one question per e-mail or a digest of questions and answers,
> committers then can login with their own SO account and answer the
> question of interest which also will be sent to the mailing list as an
> answer.

I'm not sure this is a good idea. It invisibly merges activity in one 
place with activity in another. The reason I suggested a digest and a 
summary answer was to:

a) differentiate the source
b) avoid flooding user lists
c) avoid triggering a discussion on the official channel that is not 
received on SO

> This is only as an initial integration, which has an advantage of
> being listed and archived in the mailing list like any other e-mail
> that can be sent directly to the ML.

There's the problem (at least for me) it is not "any other e-mail". The 
communication was not sent to the mail list. We can't treat it the same 
without causing confusion.

> For the tags used when asking a question each Apache project can add
> some information about that on their own site like they do when adding
> information about ML(s) and IRC channels, so users can know about
> these tags. And this is going to be optional as the service will be
> available and configurable by committers who have access to it, just
> like what is done now with CI services, like Hudson/Jenkins for
> example.

I thought you said this was unofficial? What you describe above is "a 
service configurable by committers... just like what is done with CI 
services". Who is running this service? Who is maintaining it?

The moment this "service" is maintained by the ASF on ASF infrastructure 
it becomes official and we need to maintain it. I'm not saying that is 
impossible but infra@ will, quite rightly, resist anything that is not 
fully supported and demanded by a significant number of projects.

Now, if you want to provide this as a codebase (perhaps on 
apache-extras?) that projects can opt to install on their zone or some 
third party server that's fine. This would be an unofficial service that 
does not require infra@ to expend resources maintaining. If it's taken 
up by many projects and a community emerges maybe it can become official.

[NOTE: I'm ignoring the question of whether we can do this legally for 
now. This will need to be answered before anyone used such a solution]

> I found a place where they describe how to use the Stack Exchange API
> [1], which I can play with on my machine and I can comeback with a
> feedback by the end of next week.

Sounds great.

> Also I found this [2] which I am not sure what it is yet, but it seems
> that you can build queries which we can publish some statistics using
> it, I am not sure yet but I have to make sure of that.

Like Nick I'm interested in the "unknown community" that exists in SO. 
I'm particularly interested in bringing that community into our own 
communities. One way is to adopt their tools in some way, as you 
describe. Another is to figure out who these people are and point our 
communities at their good work.

If [2] can help in doing this then I'd be very interested in anything 
you can do with it. It seems, on the surface, to be much easier, legally 
sound and provides a quicker "win".


> Thoughts ?
>>> The content itself on our tags would need backing up. That way, if
>>> SO ever went under, we wouldn't loose the content. (Even if we
>>> couldn't immediately read it...). Can we use the API to do that? Can
>>> we make it work in a way that infra can easily support?
>> I think my suggestion above covers this (although it only gives a partial
>> backup of highest rated answers)
>>> What about cross polination between the mailing list and SO? Do we
>>> post the list of questions to the mailing list, or simply require
>>> that interested people sign up to both? Pros, cons?
>> Covered by my answer above.
>>> How about existing committers coming to SO. How can we ensure they
>>> have enough rep to quickly take part in the tag for their project?
>>> And what about moderation of the tag, should we push for extra
>>> access?
>> I'd want committers to be recognised with an automatic rep making them stand
>> out. They've earned their merit here, if SO were an official channel then
>> that merit should count. If it is an unofficial channel then this is less of
>> a problem.
>> As for moderation - no idea since I don't know how this works at present. I
>> have noticed very little bad content on SO so it sounds good.
>>> Anything else?
>>> Nick
> [1] -
> [2] -

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