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

Kristina Brooks via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Nov 18 07:29:12 PST 2019

While I understand the difficulty regarding mailing lists especially
if one isn't used to setting up mailboxes and filters to classify and
label emails and do think a web forum may be easier to use, I would
have concerns over Discord. Unlike IRC which has a fairly open
protocol and many clients and open source server implementations,
Discord is fairly hostile towards 3rd party clients, and has a
concerning history with regards to privacy. While that may not be a
concern for public channels, private messages are another matter
entirely. The protocol isn't entirely friendly and is relatively new,
which makes it inflexible to use compared to IRC. IRC clients are easy
to leave in tmux sessions and reconnect, as opposed to Discord where
something akin to a web browser is required for a somewhat stable
client and 3rd party clients, aside from stability issues, are flat
out against the terms of service (even if this aspect isn't actively
enforced). On top of that there are too many out of scope features
related to software project development, with Discord being far more
than a transit provider, unlike what a lot of IRC networks are classed
under. So as far as Discord goes, very strong -1 in my opinion.

On Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 7:48 AM Chandler Carruth via llvm-dev
<llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> 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.
> See the plan here: https://llvm.discourse.group/t/mirroring-and-archiving-llvm-mailing-lists-on-discourse/61
> Moving Discourse to 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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