Moving to the new forum for proposals and voting

I responded to the two proposals on their talk pages.

I agree that the user experience of the proposal process leaves much to be desired. However I don’t think that migrating the proposal process to Discourse is a good idea. Discussions here cannot be structured as well as discussions on wiki talk pages can be. Discourse’s voting system doesn’t allow you to add a comment to your vote, which is very much essential to the proposal process and as @Mateusz_Konieczny has said on the respective mailing list thread: having the voting on a different page than the proposal is certainly not a good idea.

I still think that it’s very good that you’re pushing for better UX and less barriers. I think we can all agree on both being very much important … so we should certainly work on improving the UX and removing such barriers. I just don’t think that simply migrating the process to Discourse would yield any net benefit.

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I am new in the tagging mailing list and only took part to one voting until now, so I will not express myself on proposals and voting.
Regarding discussion, however, I am in favor of moving it to the forums.
I’ll list a couple reasons:

  1. As pointed out, subscribing to the mailing list is a barrier to enter. It is not a large barrier, but still requires that you understand there’s a mailing list and that you have to subscribe to it in order to know what is going on. With the forum you can simply browse the forum or find a link to a particular discussion and easily read everything that is going on.
  2. It’s not easy to follow a long discussion in the mailing list. You may lose some emails or forget something that was said a few days before and definitely it’s not easy to reference something that has been said a lot of time ago.
  3. Emails are a mess: if you decide to receive all the emails you will have your inbox daily filled with a lot of messages; many of which you may not care about. If you use the daily/weekly digest you get one single email which is poorly formatted and in which is difficult to understand where a message starts and ends, who wrote it and who he’s replying to.

Because of these reasons I would consider the forum a superior place where to conduct all discussion, provided that:

  1. It is possible to subscribe by email/rss feed to the new threads opened under one tag (e.g. every time someone opens a new discussion tagged tagging I will receive one email or one digest with all the ones opened in one day)
  2. It is possible to subscribe to a single thread, thus every time someone replies to a discussion I’m interested in I receive an email or a daily digest that tells me in which threads there are new messages.
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It is possible to follow tags. Click a tag and you get on a page like this. On the right you can click the bell icon to subscribe to this tags. SO if all RFC and vote topics get this tag, you will be notified.

For a rss feed, click a tag again and add .rss like https://community.openstreetmap.org/tag/proposal.rss

davidoskky
September 24

I am new in the tagging mailing list and only took part to one voting until now, so I will not express myself on proposals and voting.
Regarding discussion, however, I am in favor of moving it to the forums.
I’ll list a couple reasons:

  1. As pointed out, subscribing to the mailing list is a barrier to enter. It is not a large barrier, but still requires that you understand there’s a mailing list and that you have to subscribe to it in order to know what is going on. With the forum you can simply browse the forum or find a link to a particular discussion and easily read everything that is going on.

you can read the mailing lists also as a visitor
Here are all the lists: https://lists.openstreetmap.org
this is the overview for the tagging ml archives:
The Tagging Archives
this is a thread:
[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - Move proposal voting from wiki to the new forum
you can go to the next message with the link at the bottom Next message (by thread)

  1. It’s not easy to follow a long discussion in the mailing list. You may lose some emails or forget something that was said a few days before and definitely it’s not easy to reference something that has been said a lot of time ago.

you can have the archive grouped by thread, so you will not miss any mail that was sent, in chronological order.

  1. Emails are a mess: if you decide to receive all the emails you will have your inbox daily filled with a lot of messages; many of which you may not care about. If you use the daily/weekly digest you get one single email which is poorly formatted and in which is difficult to understand where a message starts and ends, who wrote it and who he’s replying to.

one of the solutions to this topic is filtering. You may for example skip the inbox for some kind of messages, or use a dedicated email account for the osm mailing list. The digest is not recommendable, unless you know how to extract the messages (they are multipart messages that can be split into the individual messages, you need an email client who offers this feature), but still most people prefer to not have the delay.

(btw., these points above should be 1, 2, 3)

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Yes you can, but for me the mailing list archive is a cumbersome interface to navigate. I know many others will feel the same way. Discourse has it’s problems as well, but it is overall much more welcoming, efficient, and easier to use than the mailing list archive.

This is only true for messages sent after you subscribe to the list. If you’ve just joined and are trying to reference messages from two days ago you are out of luck.

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I was refering to the public archives. Locally you can do any search and ordering you like, but only of those messages that are available. with services like gmane you can access via NNTP

http://news.gmane.io/ and probably also download everything back to 2009 (tagging), 2005 (dev) or 2004 (talk). Somehow, talk has become low traffic since tagging was introduced, before Oct 2009 the tagging discussions are in talk :wink:

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You are right.
As @ezekielf said however, the interface to navigate through messages is rather clunky and requires several clicks to read through a conversation.
I feel that scrolling through the forum webpage is a much easier way to read the full thread and to go back to a particular message that interested you.

This introduces the necessity of external tools to correctly navigate the discussions, which isn’t ideal.
As far as I can see, the forum looks a nice resource for talking and discussing ideas and it should not require any external tool or technical expertise to navigate.
I do most of my work on Linux and most of it is comprised of developing software, thus understanding NNTP and how to use it to retrieve messages could be feasible for me, but it probably isn’t for a lot of other people who know nothing about these things.

The only problem I see with the forum itself is that, as far as I understand, you cannot reply with an email.
If that could be possible, there would substantially be no difference between using the forum and the mailing list, except that the forum has an easier to use interface.

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Aah, my mistake. Yes the public archives can be grouped by thread.

I’ve never heard of this service before. Probably because it’s not recommended or linked to on the mailing list info page. It says:

To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the Tagging Archives.

So that’s what most people are going to do.

Just running a proposal, I learned:

The community discussion of great help in coming up with a first rough line of what should be the core of the proposal.

All of the mailing list, the community discourse and the wiki talk page great sources of guidance in refining and even changing aspects of the proposal.

Yet, I do not see any other reason to unite discussion under one single medium, except for my convenience as proponent, to have everything in one place.

I rather not have the discourse forum this one-stop-shop. The lack of threading makes this very cumbersome to follow in an organised manner. I expect this interjection of mine to soon get drowned in a flood of other ideas.

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If you select “Watching” you will receive every new topic and reply as an email, each topic will be each own email thread and you can reply by email.

Also, create new topics by email is something being gradually enabled now, for example on #general

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there is some mention of it in the wiki
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Mailing_lists

There is some threading. You will, for example, find this answer after clicking on the “1 answer” link below your post. It’s not quite comparable to mailing list threading (or the one in older forum software) but I think it is a good feature that you might have overlooked.

I thought of my proposal a “single aspect proposal”. Of course it turned out, that there are several aspects in this proposal. In a threading environment, they could be treated as threads. Here, a possible solution might be to split the topic, but that would be contrary to the intended use-case. I could not answer to your post, that got displayed, after picking “show answers”. I had no problem finding it in the following brainstorming roll though, just two posts to skip - Curious how the answer to the answer displays :wink:

I bet I answered to the post, not the topic?

Update: I guess, if the follow-up comes directly after the one it follows up, the system will not show, that it is a follow-up.

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The threading problem highlighted by @Hungerburg is actually quite an important point.
The “1 reply” function doesn’t appear to address it at all since it only lists direct replies to the post and not the subsequent ones: if I click on the button on the post by @Hungerburg above, I see your reply but I do not see the subsequent ones he made to your reply, thus to read the full thread you would have to go post by post and show all the replies each time.
This is, in fact, quite clunky if we assume that threads are an important feature while discussing large proposals that have many individual points to discuss.

I feel this might actually render the forum quite an useless resource to discuss extensively about a topic.
You could create a new topic each time you wish to talk about a specific topic, but this fragments the conversation even more.
I would imagine something like what Reddit does to work better, thus to show just the first few replies to a post and hide the subsequent ones if the thread goes too deep and then give the option to focus that particular thread by opening the full list of replies.

This feature only looks useful in a very long discussion where a lot of people reply to the same post and thus you might want to have a full list of all the replies that have been made to it.
For example: someone proposes one particular idea and a lot of people reply to it agreeing or disagreeing on some point while other people in the topic also discuss about other things.
At this point this feature becomes useful because you can filter specifically all replies to that particular post without having to look at the whole conversation.

When a post receives 2/3 replies the feature is virtually useless, because you can just scroll down and find them.

Apparently though threading is not available on Discourse by choice (Threaded discussion is ultimately too complex to survive on the public Internet? - feature - Discourse Meta) at this point it would be good to discuss whether threading is actually useful or if discussions can work without it by using some alternative methodology.
If it is decided that threading is important for these kinds of discussions, then the forum is useless.

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Although you can’t reply to a “Reply” inline, you can click the down arrow :arrow_down: in the upper right hand corner to jump to its location the main list where you are able to reply.

I’m not in love with how Discourse handles replies, but I can see their reasoning for avoiding nested threading. Despite the potential for it to organize a topic, more often than not it just becomes a deeply nested mess that even harder to follow.

One good feature I’ve just learned about in this post is Reply as linked topic. This is a way to split the conversation off into a separate topic with a link back to the original. This might be a good way to have multiple separate sub-topics about a given proposal, but all linked together as well.

image

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As explained in the proposal, i do not seek to use the forum as a single plcae of discussion. I only want to replace the mailing list with the forum for announcements. The talk page remains as an important place to discuss, just as other communications channels like this forum.

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Thank you for clarification. Indeed, my wrong impression based more on discussion in this topic here, than in your proposal.

I also had to sign up to the Mailing list. It was worth it. Some very insightful replies there. Reading the list in the gmail web interface, I do not get threading there either.

The only place for structured discussion remaining is the Wiki: If an issue comes up, a section gets created, discussion on this issue happens under that section, if it reaches a happy end, the issue can be marked resolved. The closest seems to be:

I even went so far, to create an issue myself from a mailing list post, that I deemed worth the effort. The Wiki allowed me to split a section/issue, where the poster changed topic midstream, something moderators can do here too.

I guess though, such is probably more about keeping track of discussion, documenting issues and solutions, accounting, so to say, than it is about sharing ideas. As the person behind the proposal, I consider that essential. It might even help others to read up on the subject matter.

So, IMO, the sentence Please discuss this proposal on its Wiki Talk page. should remain as is, and not specify alternative channels, which get used anyway. Instead, the proposal author shall be recommended to collect the bits there.

I updated the proposal with this. It makes sense indeed to have 1 recommended discussion platform (wiki).

I indeed also like the structure view on the wiki talk page. Every communication medium has their pros and cons or we have to develop one our self but that is not really an option.

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Although I used to be a defender of threaded conversations in the past because that was what some sites implemented by default, I started to question myself when I was never able to follow a “discussion” on reddit and its multi-level threaded view.

This reaffirmation and question from Jeff Artwood again about if there are really discussions happening on these sites or not, brings an insightful reponse from someone who has been studying and creating discussion software for decades (stack overflow, stack exchange… and now discourse)

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