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

Stephen Crane via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Nov 18 17:27:53 PST 2019

On Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 8:23 AM Ryan Taylor via llvm-dev
<llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
> > 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!

First, I wanted to echo what Ryan and others have mentioned. I've been
subscribed to llvm-dev for ~8 years, and have posted a handful of
times, primarily because of similar fears and not wanting to bother
the whole list for something that is small (or at least might be). I
don't want to add to the flood of email that I myself have no hope of
keeping up with. I used to chat a bit more on IRC, but when I had
questions there would rarely be someone willing to help. Lately I'm
rarely on IRC either.

> How are the new tools going to help this problem?

A real-time communication channel is only as good as the number of
participants. IRC is dying and getting new folks into IRC is not
really going to happen. I personally loved IRC, but I'm just not there
much anymore as most discussions I care about have moved on. Discord
(or other similar alternatives) have channels so I don't have to
follow every topic, just the ones I care about. Simply put, I strongly
support some modern, real-time communication server, whether or not
that's Discord (I understand the issues with ToS that people have, and
while I don't personally care, I sympathize).

Discourse also seems like it would reduce friction for newcomers. I
think most would view it as a pull model rather than a push model, and
so feel significantly more comfortable posting a message or starting a
new topic, as you're not pushing a message into people's inbox. As
others have elaborated on, the friction and investment to post a quick
question as a newcomer is much lower, so it would undoubtedly attract
a larger and more vibrant community.

All said, I'm someone who has worked on LLVM code downstream for 8
years, attended the dev summit, and based most of my PhD work on LLVM,
I never have felt like a member of the community. I think the
directions the project is going re: Github, and potentially
modernizing comms is great and will definitely encourage me and others
like me to participate more.

- stephen

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