[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 09:18:34 PST 2019

On 18/11/2019 17:04, Stefan Teleman via llvm-dev wrote:
> In other words, the friction coefficient is directly proportional to
> the verbosity of the mailing list.

No, that is not what I said.  To get a one-off question answered on a 
mailing list, I have to:

0. Find the correct mailing list, which is not right next to the code.
1. Sign up.
2. Set up a filter for the mail that I don't care about.
3. Go and find the responses (hopefully my mail client does a good job 
of threading discussions - that varies a lot and most mobile ones are 
pretty bad)
4. Unsubscribe once my question is answered.

How many mailing lists are you subscribed to?  How many open source 
libraries do you use in day-to-day development?  For me, at least, the 
first is <10% of the second and I don't think I'm particularly 
unrepresentative there.

Compare this to a similar flow with something like GitHub issues.  I 
already have a GitHub account and it isn't tied to a single project.  If 
a project encourages questions via their issues tracker (a lot do, and 
have a 'question' tag for them, so they build up a body of questions 
that are easy to search), then I just write the question with no login 
and get a notification via email or one of a handful of other mechanims 
if anyone replies.

The second of these is a far lower investment of my time, but if that 
interaction goes well then it's the kind of thing that helps build a 
longer-term relationship with a project.  I don't know if Discord or 
GitHub issues are the correct things, but I'd recommend at least the 
following requirements:

  - An easily searchable archive of past questions, ideally integrated 
with the UI for asking questions so that people asking a question get 
prompted with prior responses.

  - No requirement to create an account, or at least the ability to log 
in with an account that most people already have (e.g. a GitHub account).

  - An embedded notification mechanism if it takes a while for a 
response (e.g. emails for when threads that you're watching are notified).


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