Forum OpenACS Q&A: Response to Can we have a new web/db forum?

Posted by Jerry Asher on
My reasons for requesting a web/db forum at the OpenACS site have very little to do with ArsDigita.

As a poster, I want my posts to be read by a wide audience.  These days I believe that that wide audience is over here at the OpenACS site.  I feel the OpenACS momentum growing, and I want to take advantage of that.  In contrast, when I ask a question in the ArsDigita web/db forums, I wonder these days who will actually see it.  It feels like that community is dying.

These days when I ask a question or make an announcement, I have to fight the desire to post at both sites.  And there are a sizable number of posts which have been posted at both sites.  So why do folks feel the need to post in both places?  With no disrespect intended to aD, I suggest many folks are confused about where to post.  Like it or not, the aD forums have a much more corporate feel to them.  (It may be that eye on the home page.)

I definitely feel that the crowd has been driven away from the web/db forum.  It may be RIFs, it may be that may be because web/db grew out of a individual/community effort and became hosted by a company (and credibility wise, that hasn't been too good historically for any piece of media).  It may be that with the shift to Java and the understandable emphasis on big dollar clients, aD has moved away from the community and forum posters can sense that there is just a diversion of interests.  An OpenACS website will bring some of that crowd back, and it may make it easier for former aD employees to participate.

But anyway, as a member of the OpenACS community, I want to make the OpenACS community stronger.

You mention that aD gets the credit for hosting web/db.  I have answered many many questions on the aD websites, and aD has certainly benefited from my efforts.  But aD doesn't need my help, or rather, I'd prefer to give my help to a group that's organized more as peers.  As a member of the OpenACS community, I'd rather give my efforts to getting OpenACS that credit.

Recently we've heard how the numbers of php groupware downloads swamp both acs and openacs downloads.  I believe having a web/db and/or non technical forum at the OpenACS site will be positive for the community.  It will make OpenACS more a destination.  It will enhance the OpenACS reputation and brand name.  As folks come to visit to ask about style sheets, FLASH, MySQL, real audio or what have you, they will stop by and take a drink of the OpenACS kool-aid.  And soon, we will see the OpenACS being discussed and distributed with the big kids.

Look, I'm not saying that aD should take the web/db down, I'm saying it has nothing to do with aD.  I'm saying that the forum topics at the OpenACS are too limiting for the OpenACS community.  OpenACS Q&A, OpenACS 4.0 Design Q&A, OpenACS CMS Q&A.  It's not enough.  Aren't there enough web/db questions and answers out there that we can have our own forum?