[llvm-dev] RFC: Moving toward Discord and Discourse for LLVM's discussions

David Chisnall via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Nov 18 01:48:29 PST 2019

Hi Chandler,

One of the things that came up in our discussion at the WiCT workshop as 
a barrier for new members of the community was the fact that key 
decisions are often made at round tables at developer meetings without 
involvement of the wider community, particularly the large fraction that 
is not able to travel to the West Coast.  More broadly, the opacity of 
the LLVM Project decision making was raised as something that is 
problematic when attempting to build a wider and more diverse community.

I therefore find it slightly ironic that this is being announced after a 
10-person discussion at an ancillary workshop that was attached to the 
main DevMeeting.  This seems like a trend in the wrong direction.

While I am in general in favour of creating new channels to extend the 
reach of the community, I don't believe that something like this that 
requires existing community members to participate to be useful should 
be launched without a wider discussion.  This paragraph in your 
announcement stood out:

 > We talked to a bunch of people and looked at the options out there and
 > the most promising ones were Discord for chatting and Discourse for
 > longer-form discussions.

Who are these 'bunch of people'?  Why were they selected to make this 
decision (and by whom)?

Note that I don't object to the creation of a Discord server (though the 
'YOUR CONTENT' section of the T&Cs contains clauses that I'm unwilling 
to agree to and so I won't be participating), only to the process 
through which it was set up.


On 18/11/2019 07:48, Chandler Carruth via llvm-dev wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> *Short version:
> *I've set up an LLVM Discord server for real time chat (similar to IRC) 
> and an LLVM Discourse server for forums (similar to email lists):
> https://discord.gg/xS7Z362
> https://llvm.discourse.group/
> Please join and use these new services. They are only partially set up 
> and still very new, so don't hesitate to improve them and/or reach out 
> to this thread with any issues you see or things you want to fix. Also, 
> both services have dedicated feedback channels.
> Do feel free to use Discourse for technical discussions, although try 
> not to create duplicate discussions (any more than you would between the 
> lists and Bugzilla) and make sure the people you're having the 
> discussion with are fine using Discourse instead of the email list. In 
> case Discourse doesn't work out, we'll collect and archive everything so 
> it isn't lost.
> *Longer version & more details:
> *During this year's Women in Compilers and Tools meeting, folks 
> expressed very clearly that our communication systems cause a 
> non-trivial amount of friction for new people trying to find out about, 
> learn, or contribute to LLVM. Both IRC for chatting and mailing lists 
> for longer-form discussions are unfamiliar, difficult, and often 
> intimidating for newcomers. While I have long been a fan and resistant 
> to change in these areas, the feedback from folks at WiCT was compelling 
> and important for us as a community to address. Even if it means I have 
> to let go of my precious IRC. ;]
> We talked to a bunch of people and looked at the options out there and 
> the most promising ones were Discord for chatting and Discourse for 
> longer-form discussions. Meike and I have set up both an initial Discord 
> and Discourse server. You can find them here:
> https://discord.gg/xS7Z362
> https://llvm.discourse.group/
> There is still a lot of work to be done. Notably, it'd be great for 
> folks to clean up and improve the summaries for each of the groups in 
> Discourse, and I'll be asking various people to help moderate on both 
> Discourse and Discord. If you'd like to help out with a specific set of 
> improvements to these, don't hesitate to reach out to me or Meike and we 
> can get you set up. Some specific things we're already working on:
>   * Getting Discord verified with a nice URL.
>   * Archives of mailing lists on Discourse so you can search in one
>     place, etc.
>       o See the plan here:
>         https://llvm.discourse.group/t/mirroring-and-archiving-llvm-mailing-lists-on-discourse/61
>   * Moving Discourse to forums.llvm.org <http://forums.llvm.org>.
>   * Documenting the best way to move to Discourse while preserving a
>     similarly email-focused workflow.
> We're just adding these for now, but I'd like people to seriously try 
> using them. While IRC has served us fairly well, I think it is one of 
> the bigger barriers to entry. Our email lists are more effective, but 
> also have had serious infrastructure challenges over the years: a 
> constant flow of spam, bouncing for several major email providers, etc. 
> Discourse has very powerful email-based workflows available and I think 
> we should seriously consider moving to Discourse long-term instead of 
> the email lists.
> I also want to say thanks to all the folks at the WiCT workshop for 
> giving me and others feedback. I was pretty set in my ways around these 
> kind of things, but hearing the kinds of challenges this has posed to 
> people less established in the community was a real eye opener. It takes 
> a lot to speak up like this, and I really appreciate it. I hope this 
> also helps start to address these long-standing issues. Also a huge 
> thanks to Tanya for organizing the WICT workshop and Meike for helping 
> drive this message home to me and doing a bunch of the work getting 
> these things set up. I wouldn't have been able to do it without her 
> help, especially around Discord bots.
> -Chandler
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