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From TerryE <...@ellisons.org.uk>
Subject Re: An introduction and a discussion about the OpenOffice User Forums
Date Sun, 31 Jul 2011 20:52:16 GMT
On 31/07/11 20:05, Rob Weir wrote:
>> 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).
My reason for providing this volumetrics is to put the forums' usage 
into context: quite possibly higher than all of the Apache incubator 
projects combined.
> Right.  This was discussed on this list in the early days of the
> project.  The typical Apache way to handle user support is via a user
> mailing list.  But I think it was generally acknowledged that this
> would not be sufficient for Apache OpenOffice.  The traffic would be
> very high and that in itself would deter both users from subscribing
> to ask questions as well as experts from subscribing to answer them.
> Forums handle that kind of usage pattern better.
>
> It was also brought up that we might want to try a specialized Q&A
> service, like StackExchange, for support.  Systems like these have
> mechanisms for rating questions and answers, and earning points for
> giving good answers, etc.  So there is an aspect of crowd moderation
> to it.
>
> But so far no one has stepped up to migrate the forums or start something new.
Not quite correct.  I have previously discussed my supporting the 
rehoming both the forums and the wiki on Apache infrastructure with you 
and other project members off DL

Migrating this knowledge to another application which does not preserve 
logical data models (viz any other application) would be a project 
beyond the capability of this team.

> On the customizations, are they purely UI, or do we have functional
> patches as well?

See 
http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/User:TerryE/phpBB3.0.7_Upgrade/Closed_Issues_and_Actions#Forum_Customisation

> Apache has a "menu" of services it makes available to projects,
> including wikis, mailings lists, Subversion repositories, etc. If we
> want to get something added to that "menu", like phpBB, then we need
> volunteers to work with Apache Infrastructure to get it supported.
> This would require a critical mass of admin volunteers able and
> willing to support phpBB.
I agree.  The alternative to getting this support within Apache.org is 
to discard the knowledge in 300,000 posts across the 9 forums.  The user 
community forums would probably explore alternatives if this looked 
likely to happen.  The OOo wiki contains 10,521 content pages and  
11.338 uploaded files.  These form a critical service to the end-user 
community.  Note that the cwiki markup format doesn't support many of 
the MediaWiki specific markups in this content.

Regards
Terry


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