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From Mohammad Nour El-Din <>
Subject Re: Stackoverflow
Date Thu, 12 May 2011 18:34:13 GMT
On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 4:46 PM, Ross Gardler <> wrote:
> On 12/05/2011 15:09, Nick Burch wrote:
>> On Thu, 12 May 2011, Benson Margulies wrote:
>>> No discussion at the ASF is complete until we have had it twice.
>> Or maybe three times, looks like our emails were sent at the same
>> time, doh!
> Can we merge these two threads. I'm going to respond here for both
> threads. Please keep all responses here.
>>> 1) Some of us observe that many people are posting questions about
>>>  Apache projects on Some of them are getting
>>> good answers, some less so. Some TLPs have taken note of this and
>>> made some effort to provide support there. Some haven't.
>> And some TLPs are enjoying the good answers being supplied by people
>> not in their existing community :)
> A *very* important point. As far as possible we need to limit the
> dilution of our projects support efforts, but we can't (and shouldn't)
> control the world. Things will happen outside, we should seek to be
> inclusive.
>>> 4) Talk to the SEI management about their choice of license.
>> We'd probably be asking them to dual license code (but probably not
>> text) in answers to our tags. Not sure how they'd take that, but it
>> presumably isn't too big a deal. In the mean time, some people
>> recommend just asking people posting code that they want to push
>> upstream to agree to re-license.
> I don't believe we (ComDev) should be addressing this issue, this one
> belongs to legal@ We can ask them to look into it if we have a proposal
> to move forwards.
>>> 5) Propose an ASF site for SEI at their area51 site.
>> Again we miss out on the existing community of people answering
>> questions for us. For me, the big value to SO is that existing
>> community of smart people answering questions. Personally I find the
>> SO interface better for some question types, and a mailing list
>> better for others, it's the community that interests me!
> I agree, but most people will not relish the idea of monitoring yet
> another channel. Furthermore making another channel "official" in this
> way means that we are diluting our support solutions.
> Like Nick I'm interested in the community StackOverflow surfaces. How do
> we get them more engaged with official support channels? What should
> those official support channels be?
> [I'm bringing over points from the overlapping thread below]
> On 12/05/2011 15:03, Nick Burch wrote:
>> Before a project might list its stackoverflow tag as something to
>> use from its website (as we currently do for our mailing lists, and
>> in some cases things like nabble), what's needed?
> PMC approval. That's it.
> This is not an ASF wide decision, a PMC can adopt Stack Overflow now if they
> want to. User support need not be governed by our IP policies.
> However, what I don't want to see is developer support moving off ASF lists.
>> One thing that springs to mind is the licensing. Can we get SO to
>> dual license content on our tags?
> As I say above, not our concern. This is a legal@ issue. There's no point in
> asking legal@ to explore it unless we have a plan to make StackOverflow a
> useful part of one or more Apache projects.
>> 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

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.

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

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.

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.

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] -

- Mohammad Nour
  Author of (WebSphere Application Server Community Edition 2.0 User Guide)
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