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From TerryE <...@ellisons.org.uk>
Subject An introduction and a discussion about the OpenOffice User Forums
Date Sun, 31 Jul 2011 13:49:20 GMT
Hello all,

My name is Terry Ellison and I am the lead community administrator and 
maintainer for the OOo user forums (user.services.openoffice.org).  I 
was one of the core of community members which set up the forums in 
October 2007, and before that I was active on the alternative (English) 
oooforums.org.  I am also a moderator on the VirtualBox.org forums and a 
member of the QA team on phpBB (the forum application used to implement 
the forums).  My contributions to the OOo development itself are small 
(I fixed a couple of memory leaks in the Basic RTS and understand the 
code base of this subsystem). I had 30 years service with EDS (now part 
of HP) rising through system development, technical mangement to 
eventually operations CTO for Europe, before retiring early because of 
illness (ME/CFS which I am slowly recovering from)

What I would like to discuss here is what we do with the forums.  In the 
four years since their creation, we have added another 8 language forums 
to the original English one: French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Hungarian, 
Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese.  Across all forums we have some 75,000 
registered members, who have created 300,000 posts on 78,000 topics. We 
have also gone through 5 phpBB version upgrades.

However, the main use of the forums is not by the posting members, but 
by guest users who browse these topics to find answers to their OOo 
problems and the search engines which index the forum content.  We get 
roughly 200,000 page requests / day (that is web pages -- the images, 
CSS, etc. add ~4 x in terms of Apache requests).

I and the rest of the OOo community activists believe that this content 
and facility provides a valuable service to the wider OOo user 
community, so we are keen to see its continuity and seamless transfer to 
part of the Apache.org project.

The technical aspects are a little detailed, but this was my 
professional area, so these aren't a risk if I am allowed to support 
this.  I'll leave these to further discussion and the appropriate cwiki 
page.  The main issues seem to be of approvals, support, infrastructure 
resource allocation, since the technology set used by the forums is 
phpBB + OOo-specific customisation, and this is a new service for the 
current infrastructure team even though it runs on a standard LAMP stack.

The purpose of the note is to raise this issue with the wider community 
and to provide a vehicle for discussing any related queries.

Regards
Terry Ellison

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