Forum OpenACS Q&A: Consolidation of New Forums discussions

Which new forums should be created seems to be a recurring, unresolved theme:
  • April 2003 which proposes "OpenACS End-users Support forum for (nontechnical) end-users." and "Implementation Forum/Deployment Forum"
  • July 2002 Thread 1 and Thread 2 which propose "OpenACS Evangelism," "admin," and "new users"
  • June 2001
Personally I'd like to see "OpenACS and DotLRN Installation Problems" because I think that would be very clear, would be distinct from other forums, and would make it easier to ask and answer install questions and find old answers. I'd also like to see a distinction between developing on top of OpenACS and developing OpenACS itself.

So I'm going to beat this horse with my own two cents. I've deliberately eliminated details of charters etc because I think that if the purpose of the forum can't be explained in the title and one sentence, people won't use it correctly. Here is my proposal for new forums and adjusted descriptions of some existing forums:

  • OpenACS Q&A. OpenACS technical discussion.
  • OpenACS Non-technical discussion (new). For managers, business analysts, professionals, etc.
  • OpenACS and dotLRN Installation Problems (new)
  • Building OpenACS Sites (new) Configuring, managing, modifying, and developing on top of OpenACS.
  • OpenACS Development Development of OpenACS Platform and core packages
  • OpenACS CMS. Content Management System.
  • OpenACS Testing. OpenACS testing process
  • dotLRN Development Development dotLRN core packages.
  • dotLRN Testing dotLRN testing process
  • CVS Commits The automated CVS commit log.
Posted by Alfred Essa on
Joel, I like your categorization and support it.
Posted by Dave Bauer on
What if we had categorization working in forums? That way, all of the messages are in fewer forums, but threads could also be presented by category.
Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
Actually, I second Dave's opinion and propose a sleeker forum structure. That is, if we can display by category within the forums :). The second level are proposed categories.
  • OpenACS Q&A: Everything which does not fit somewhere
    • Marketing OpenACS
    • Governance
    • ...
  • OpenACS Deployment
    • Installation of OpenACS
    • Permissions
    • Graphics
    • ....
  • OpenACS Howto: Questions about the use of OpenACS and it's packages. Not specific to deployment.
    • OpenACS
    • OpenACS CMS
    • dotWRK
    • dotKNW
    • dotLRN
    • ....
  • OpenACS Testing
    • OpenACS
    • dotLRN
  • OpenACS Developement: Everything related to the development of OpenACS and it's packages
    • OpenACS core
    • dotLRN
    • CVS commits
Posted by Caroline Meeks on
I agree with Dave and Malte, lets get categorization working on forums first, then evaluate whether we need to split (or consolidate) forums further.

Malte, I belive we can actually have more then one category tree available per forum.  Thus, if we wish, in addition to the categories you mentioned a posting user could also optionally categorize his post by package, database, etc.

I'll post a separate thread on implementing categories on

Posted by Torben Brosten on
Okay, I can see trying categorization on forums before re-evaluating (again) whether we need to split (or consolidate) forums further.

...only if

1. The categorization allows for assigning multiple categories per message (as many message topics cross categories)

2. There will be a way to use MUA filters to filter by message category.

3. Separate categories will exist according to documenation organization, essentially end-use, administration, and development topics.

4. We don't have to wait for the categorization package to be developed further.

Posted by Andrew Piskorski on
One word of caution: Those who remember the ArsDigita BBoards probably remember when some bright bulb at aD went nuts adding more and more top level forums. There were easily more than 50. The vast majority went utterly unused, and many otherwise very useful forms (e.g., "CVS for Web Development") were more or less lost in the clutter. And the website stayed that way until for a long time, until aD finally shut down.

So, Carloline's call to get categorization working before or instead of spawning more forums strikes a real chord with me.

That said, Joel's and Malte's suggestions for top level and within forum categories do seem basically sound to me.

Malte, I bet your "Deployment" and "Howto" distinction will be ignored (or not understod) by many posters. If we're going to have distinctions like that we'd better have a cadre of folks with the ability to easily move a thread from one forum to another.

Ideally, we should also be able to rename, split, and merge top level forums and categories at will, as some forums will undoubtedly go unused, etc. - the forums and categories we want will certainly change over time.

Categorization should be very useful, but only if the categorization info is accurate and reasonably complete. Often the original poster gets it wrong, or new info in the thread merits an additional category. So we'd better have a good UI to let that same volunteer cadre (presumably the long time experienced users like all of us, basically) edit the categorizatation metadata for each post as they read it.

Posted by Dave Bauer on
Splitting the information into too many small forums will make it more difficult to find the information.
Yes, we can improve the way things are now. One thing that would be great is automatic categorization mentioned in this thread:
Posted by xx xx on
Which new forums should be created seems to be a recurring, unresolved theme:
Don, why weren't the forums created that we decided upon? I definitely don't want to argue about it, but I would like to know how it works and who is in charge.

Rafael, can automatic categorization distinguish between technical/nontechnical, manager/designer and other USER-oriented tags or categories ?

Posted by Lars Pind on
Okay, so when will categorization for forums be done and up on

It's now been 6 weeks since the new bug-tracker was released, and that still hasn't made it to

So instead of waiting for this or that new piece of software, I'd advocate that we follow Joel's suggestion above. Because this is something that we can do *today* that would improve our lives *now*.

I really agree with Joel that we need an "install problems" forum. That would improve the signal/noise ratio for everybody, whether installing or not installing.

And the current "OpenACS development" forum, as Joel also points out, isn't clear. We need one forum for developing OpenACS (core), and one for developing on top of OpenACS (core).

Finally, having a non-technical forum seems like a really good idea.

So come on, let's just add those forums today. Please?

If that's too many forums, let's get rid of the ones that aren't used:

- OpenACS CMS should just be rolled into the normal OpenACS development forum. No reason for a special forum for CMS.

- .LRN testing is so small low-volume that we should probably just roll it into either .LRN development or OpenACS testing.


Posted by Danielle Hickie on
Hello everyone,

I was wondering if we should re-activate the CMS forum? It's strange but we might have closed it down moments before it really became useful!

I was thinking that its probably not appropriate to have a product specific forums, and definitely more eyes would see CMS related posts in the bigger forums, but the the plus side would be that we could keep alot of CMS related threads together.

For example, we could start a thread called "User experiences - the design interface", which could basically link to good suggestions of design. (Not codey design - pretty colours design) We could have one thread called "What should a CMS generally do", and another one about times and dates relating to other packages. As it builds up it could chronical the development of a CMS package. Which would be good as an example of a community working and building together.

Having threads like this all in one place would really help build a nucleus of people all working on the one thing. Whereas separated threads in a greater forum wouldn't be helpful. I have a feeling that there will be lots of CMS related stuff happening over the next few months... (can't guarantee it but I think so.) So what do you think about reactivating it for a few more months?

Posted by Peter Marklund on
your wish has been granted (I'm in a generous mood today :-)).