Slightly less than one week, but I wanted to update you all ahead of the
TLDR - still positive, users incoming, a few features added, mixed
reports on list-mode, some comments from the Chef community at the end.
I now see about ~20 people who've been onto the UI for a look around.
One new comment from Marek after last week's summary. So that's 3 in
favour, 4 cautious, 1 against, and 12 who presumably don't mind too
much. I do have 3 more "in favour" from people privately, but I can't
count them yet, obviously (come on ppl, just post the vote already!).
No further concern has been raised, but it does look like people may
favour a potential users/dev split. Since we have to ask the users
community at some point anyway, and we've been testing for a few weeks,
I plan to open this up to the users community for testing during
tomorrows demo. This is still part of the "should we do this?"
discussion, before we have the "how will we do this?" discussion, and
I'll be making that very clear to -users.
Changes this week:
- Wrote a bunch of docs on FAQ, email mode etc, for new testers
- Added some proper categories
- Added a "topic template" to the Support category, give it a try
- Added the Events plugin and enabled an Events category
- check out the Agenda view on that category, date sorted, nice
- Also try adding .rss to that category for a feed
- Proper MX record & Postfix handler
This last point is nice, makes inbound email instant in the UI (and only
5mins till it's in your inbox, down from 15 last week). Also means we
can add inbound addresses for any category without altering DNS
mailforwards. I will update the direct-category and reply-to addresses
(the foreman.discourse+(token)@gmail.com one) to be correct later today,
but be aware it will break reply-to addresses in existing mails - sorry,
unavoidable but entirely worthwhile.
On mailing list mode
More mailing list mode testing has been done this week, thanks to those
involved. I think we have enough data to say that most of the
functionality of a list is there:
- Email inbound & outbound (much faster now, not polling Gmail)
- Proper threading (as per last week, no change)
- Attachments (only tried a JPEG, seems fine in both UI and HTML email)
A few things are less good though:
- GPG signatures (but that doesn't work in Groups either)
- Following highly-branched discussions
- Reply quoting / style
We did discuss the quantity of quoted text in the outbound mails for
some time, with lots of opinions on the ideal amount of quoted text.
Whether this is a dealbreaker is down to individual preference, I think
- I prefer small quotes in my mail, others prefer larger amounts.
We also discussed following complex threads in the UI, but it seems that
these are not frequent (less < 5 highly branched discussions on -dev in
the last few months). I posted some analysis in .
Overall I think it's clear that it's never going to be a 1:1 replacement
for a list - but then, that was always the point. The question is
whether people feel the tradeoff is worthwhile and/or the impact is minimal.
Researching other migrations of this type
Since we spoke a bit about user/dev split, migration, trials etc, I
thought I'd do a little research. I reached out to the Chef
community, who migrated to Discourse about 2 years ago for their
thoughts. My assumption is that we have a similar userbase (we're both
in the cfgmgmt space after all). Here's what they said:
Nathen Harvey wrote:
> I’d say we are generally happy with Discourse. We were on a really
> old platform, sympa, before migrating. Discourse has served us much
> There is always resistance to change and the change to discourse was
> certainly not immune to that change.
> Discourse is really meant to be an online discussion forum which
> makes it quite different from a mailing list. Many people still want
> full mailing list capabilities and can be somewhat frustrated or
> overwhelmed by the options available in discourse.
> Would we do the migration again knowing what we know now? I say
Noah Kantrowitz wrote (he wrote a huge reply, so forgive the editing):
> … I think the majority of that population has come around to
> liking it as it is more discoverable than the old list/process and
> feels more immediate.
> To reiterate Nathen’s point, Discourse is definitely not a mailing
> list … The moderation tools are simultaneously worlds better than a
> normal mailing list (thanks to the heritage as forum software) but
> also a lot more opaque. Overall it’s net positive, but very much not
> exclusively positive.
> I’ve not seen anything better out there so for now I would agree that
> if given the option again, it would still be the thing to pick
This is in line with my own views - we won't make everyone happy with
this, but it is worthwhile. Interestingly, they also kept a chef-dev
mailing list alongside Discourse. I will investigate this a little more.
Thanks for reading. As ever, more testing, thoughts and votes are very