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From RGB ES <>
Subject Re: What is needed for Support Forums to be fully integrated into the Apache project
Date Mon, 05 Sep 2011 15:03:36 GMT
2011/9/4 Rob Weir <>:


> ==Approval of Forum roles==
> My understanding is that forums have essentially three roles:
> a) Users
> b) Moderators, who delete, edit and move all posts, ban users, etc.
> c) Admins who can also create new forums and assign moderator rights

At lest on the English, Spanish and Italian forums there are /four/ levels:


volunteers are as normal users but they are "highlighted" (user name
in different colour) as someone to whom you can give your trust, and
they have the right to vote on forum related issues. They are also
eligible for higher roles: i.e., to be selected as moderator you need
to be volunteer first.
Volunteers are selected by agreement between moderators, admins and
existing volunteers.

> 5) Users require no special treatment.  They are like subscribers to a
> users list.
> 6) Being listed as an "admin" or "moderator" on a public-facing Apache
> website suggests endorsement by the project, and aside from any
> enhanced Forum capabilities enhances your ability to keep order on the
> Forums.  In other words, it is the star that makes the sheriff, not
> the gun.  But this endorsement, to be meaningful, should be made
> authentic.   So Admins and Moderators should be approved by the PPMC.

While in theory this sounds OK, there is a problem, specially on NL
forums: how PPMC members can be sure they choose the right person if
not by just trusting existing forum members? and in that case, which
is the difference between PPMC members accepting someone they do not
know at all and just let the forum to organize by itself?

> This kind of routine approval is given all the time for those who want
> to be list moderators.  I see no reason why we cannot, initially at
> least, simply receive a list of current volunteers to ooo-private and
> approve them all.
> 7) Future grants of admin/moderator rights would require a proposal to
> ooo-dev seeking lazy consensus.  Such a proposal could originate from
> a forum volunteer or could originate from anyone on ooo-dev. This is
> no different than someone asking to be a moderator for a mailing list.
> 8) Any project committer, on request, will be made a forum admin or
> moderator.  This is how it works with every other project resource --
> mailing lists, source code, website, etc.   Committers have rights to
> pretty much everything on the project.  We trust our committers. We
> don't segregate the project into exclusive zones of ownership.
> ==Transparency==
> 9) We need all private forum discussions to be echoed to a log or
> mailing list where PPMC and Apache Members can view them.  One way of
> doing this is to echo posts to ooo-private.  Another way is to
> periodically commit logs to the PPMC's private directory.  There may
> be other ways as well.
> 10) The use of private forums must be used for only discussions of
> specific moderation cases.  It must not be used for discussion of
> routine board operations.

"Private" (I prefer to use "not public") forums already work this way,
plus occasional "I'll be off-line" messages from staff members,
sub-forum organization discussions (very rare) and automatic
notifications from mails sent to the "contact" mail address that could
need some action (log-in problems, etc.). Basically, there are three
"non public" sub-forums, one working as previously mentioned (with a
really low post rate: just few posts per *month*), the other two
working as trash-bin for spam, duplicated posts or (very, very, very
rare) "quarantined" posts awaiting moderator and volunteer consensus.

> ==Integration into the larger AOOo community==
> Although the forum volunteers appear to have been previously isolated,
> not involved in larger project discussions and decision making, this
> is not optimal for providing support, and it is not optimal for the
> project overall.  We need to encourage cross-pollination and sharing
> of information.  Forums operating in isolation from the rest of the
> project will limit our future success.

Again, another "nice on theory, hard on practice" situation. User
support and coding are two completely different tasks, /both of them
time consuming/. While a developer answering question from users seems
optimal in my experience it's a quite rare experience, and for a
reason: there is only one life, and free time is a rare commodity
these days.
As a matter of fact, I've only see developers answering questions on
Krita forums...

> 11) One admin or moderator from each of the 10 language-specific
> boards should be signed up on the ooo-dev list and ooo-users list.
> This could also be done by requiring that Forum Admins also be
> Committers, but that is not something we are starting with, though it
> could be an eventual goal.

That means that at least one from each of the 10 language-specific
boards have a good level of English. While this is possible, I think
it is also an artificial barrier.

> 12) We should also encourage existing committers to participate
> directly in answering questions on the support forum.  It is valuable
> to see how ordinary users use the product and the difficulties they
> encounter.  It puts our coding decisions in perspective.  This is a
> two-way street.  It is not just to encourage support volunteers to be
> more aware of other parts of the project, but also to make other parts
> of the project more involved with support, or at least more aware.
> We're all on the same project.  Our actions and decisions impact each
> other.
> 13) The PPMC should give serious consideration to forum
> admins/moderators who help with the above tasks, for approval as
> Committers and PPMC members.   It is important that the PPMC always be
> looking out for merit that should be recognized.  It does not matter
> that the forum volunteers did not previously participate in overall
> discussions of the project's direction.  That was then, this is now.
> We will all benefit from having support volunteers as part of the
> decision making process, including the important decision of approving
> a release.
> Regards,
> -Rob


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