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

Philip Reames via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Nov 18 10:05:16 PST 2019

On 11/18/19 8:11 AM, Neil Henning via llvm-dev wrote:
> The lists are working well for the people who are already invested in 
> the community though - as was identified by Chandler they aren't 
> working as well for new people.
> I'm an insanely confident Scotsman with just about zero fear of 
> any/all social situations, and I've always found this mailing list to 
> be utterly terrifying (thus I've been a 10 year mostly-lurker).
> My fear (unfounded as it probably is) is that I'll make a complete 
> fool out of myself asking a dumb question / proposing a stupid idea, 
> tarishing what little reputation I might have had. I know from others 
> I've talked to over the years this isn't a sentiment that I alone feel!

I definitely remember this fear from when I was just getting started.  
By now, I've made a fool of myself publicly enough times to not worry 
about it any more, but initially, this was really intimidating.

I do hear a lot of discussion in person and see some email that doesn't 
show up on lists specifically because of the public record aspect.  I 
don't know that the current tools proposal address this, but a 
specifically transitive channel which *isn't* archived might be worth 
thinking about.

> So +1 from me for anything we can do to help broaden the community.
> On Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 4:03 PM Hans Wennborg via llvm-dev 
> <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org <mailto:llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>> wrote:
>     Since it's an RFC, I'll comment :-)
>     I don't have strong opinions about IRC vs Discord vs something else.
>     But the idea of abandoning the mailing lists is concerning to me. The
>     way I see it, the lists are core to the LLVM project, second in
>     importance only to the source code repository. Web forums tend to come
>     and go, but the lists have been around a long time and seem to be
>     working well.
>     Perhaps we could do other things to make the mailing lists more
>     accessible? When I meet university students, they're often familiar
>     with how to find our code and build it, but much less aware of the
>     mailing lists, and that one can use them to ask questions. Maybe we
>     should promote them in README.md, which is probably the first thing
>     new users would see these days?
>     On Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 8:48 AM Chandler Carruth via llvm-dev
>     <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org <mailto: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 <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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> -- 
> Neil Henning
> Senior Software Engineer Compiler
> unity.com <http://unity.com>
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