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Subject: Re: [boost] [proposal] The Maintenance Effort
From: Dean Michael Berris (mikhailberis_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-05-26 22:30:11

On Wed, May 26, 2010 at 9:19 PM, Stewart, Robert <Robert.Stewart_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> Dean Michael Berris wrote:
>> Participation
>>   * Let's encourage participation in the form of comments to blog
>> posts, feedback on documentation pages, and discussions on specific
>> topics/threads.
> It is already painful to keep up with all of the different places where people choose to post information.  Do we really need more?  I'm wary of the fragmentation that this could engender, but perhaps the user side of Boost would benefit most from this change.

I think the word "fragmentation" unnecessarily denotes a negative
meaning. I don't think fragmentation is necessarily bad -- the idea
that the Boost community would grow does not preclude the idea of
having little sub-communities within the larger Boost community. If
you think about it, Boost.Spirit already has a thriving community
which I personally think is still part of the Boost community. I don't
think it's a bad idea to have more of these communities coming up and
furthering the Boost "brand". I just think it should really be easy
for communities to form around a certain library and putting it all on
the web is one of the easiest ways of doing it.

One thing that has been discussed and that has been proposed is to
de-couple the boost libraries and let each one thrive on its own,
getting the seal of Boost Approval in the form of inclusion in the
main Boost distribution. I don't see why individual library
maintainers shouldn't strive for building communities around their own
libraries in an easy manner.

>> Collaboration
>>   * Let's add the website as an additional channel through
>> which collaboration can occur as a complement to the boost-developers
>> and boost-users mailing lists.
> This sounds like fragmentation and, therefore, is worrisome.  Is it truly helping to add yet more places one must search to find information relevant to an issue or question?  If boost-users were replaced by this mechanism, it might be practicable.

I'm not going to propose the removal of the mailing lists. This is the
reason why:

Technically, the wealth of content we can generate for the web will
largely come from discussions that happen on the mailing lists. We can
hash out ideas, float solutions, pose questions, etc. on the mailing
lists (both user and developer lists) and then have someone recap and
bring the discussion to the attention of the larger web (i.e. Google,
Bing, Yahoo) so that it can be indexed properly, slashdotted, dugg,
linked to on, reddit'ed, facebooked, twittered, and
<insert viral distribution channel here>. That someone can be me or
some other administrator or library maintainer or even a volunteer who
would write it up and be willing to submit it to the website.

There is no fragmentation there, and the discussion that happens on
the website can be a different nature too, which can be continued in
the developers list and the users list, and then later updated when a
resolution is found. If it comes up enough often an update to the FAQ
can be done on the individual library or issue being discussed.

>>   * Let's foster a more community-driven way of solving problems
>> without having to require everyone to be part of a central list.
> The lists can be off-putting, to be sure.  Greater segregation is useful but it leads to information silos.

Unfortunately, in the end, whatever silo you put it to but as long as
Google can get to it, it's the one silo that really matters. Well for
bing fans, that's another silo too. ;)

>> Step 1: Move static and not-so-static content over to Wordpress MU [0]
> Like Beman, I really don't know what that means in terms of appearance, layout, navigation, or management.

Fair enough, I invite you to to take a look-see on what
is possible and what is already being done with wordpress. (I'm
starting to sound like a Wordpress evangelist! :D).

>>   2. Incorporating a DisQus [2] discussion system to manage comments
>> on pages. There is already a Wordpress plugin for this and comment
>> moderation would mostly be handled initially by me and other
>> administrators interested in helping out in this effort.
> Comments for blog posts, doc pages, etc., could be useful.  Does DisQus handle the spam issue?

Yes, and they also allow users to use their Facebook, Twitter, or
Google id's (including other OpenID providers) to comment. No need to
sign up for a special DisQus account to make it happen.

DisQus also has a great administration interface which allows
administrators to mark posts as spam to improve DisQus' spam filtering

>>   3. Integrating and publishing regularly the Google Analytics and
>> Wordpress MU stats on the whole site. Regularly can mean either
>> monthly or weekly depending on who often the community wants
>> information about the site.
> I suppose this is to gauge popularity of libraries or specific pages?

Not really, but just for general information. Anybody can read
whatever they want into analytics reports, but that's really largely
just a matter of interpretation. Having the reports is key though so
people can make informed decisions on whether to write something up,
start promoting more (of if they promoted something, whether that
promotion actually did something), etc.

>>   * Online documentation -- as an absolute minimum there should be a
>> page on documentation for each library in Boost accessible from the
>> website. It would be a good thing to integrate the generated
>> library documentation into the wordpress system itself, but at the
>> minimum links to the generated library docs that are statically served
>> (just like now) would be acceptable.
> This is certainly necessary.  If each documentation page were served separately with a comments section, then documentation comments could be managed away from the developer's list.

This can actually be done with DisQus.

>> Ultimately I would personally want to see be able to handle
>> the growth of the Boost C++ Library, and allow for more communities
>> (not just one community) to through the site. I don't want it to
>> replace the mailing list for Internet old timers like me who like this
>> feel of email conversation, but for things like announcements and
>> communicating to the wider audience I think the website should do that
>> job superbly.
> A number of your suggestions seem contrary to this affirmation of the list(s).

Maybe so if you look at fragmentation as a bad thing. If there's more
communities for the Boost umbrella to cover, then I'd say that's
growth of the Boost community -- instead of being just one big
monolithic community, be comprised of a lot of smaller communities. To
me, that is a more scalable way of growing Boost than what currently
is happening.


Dean Michael Berris

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