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

Krzysztof Parzyszek via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Nov 19 06:39:29 PST 2019

As Mehdi mentioned in his email, Discourse archives are searchable via Google.

I think we should definitely talk about replacing llvm-dev (and other development discussion lists).  The contents of email lists for commits and bugs are in large part automatically generated, and I’m not sure if there would be much value in switching those (aside from any technical complications).

I’m much in favor of using a web-based forum (such as Discourse) for the mailing lists that are used for discussions, and here are some reasons:

  1.  Browsing mailing list archives is not user-friendly.  It’s possible, but if we’re trying to be accommodating to new users, this is not the way to go.  A web forum is, by design, much friendlier.
  2.  When you subscribe to a mailing list, you only get emails from the time you subscribed.  To see prior discussions, you need to browse the archives.  Web forums do not have this issue.
  3.  When you subscribe to a mailing list, you get lots of emails.  Lots.  Sorting it out falls on the email client.
  4.  Most email clients fail at at least one critical task, and each one of them does something differently from all others.  The result is a mixture of quoting style, top-posting, bottom-posting, HTML, plain text and whatnot.

Krzysztof Parzyszek  kparzysz at quicinc.com<mailto:kparzysz at quicinc.com>   AI tools development

From: llvm-dev <llvm-dev-bounces at lists.llvm.org> On Behalf Of Zachary Turner via llvm-dev
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2019 2:44 PM
To: Mehdi AMINI <joker.eph at gmail.com>
Cc: llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>
Subject: [EXT] Re: [llvm-dev] RFC: Moving toward Discord and Discourse for LLVM's discussions

Discourse archives are not searchable on the web.

Unsurprisingly, this discussion thread is evolving almost exactly like the Chromium thread where Slack was introduced a few years ago.  Half the people are concerned about losing the mailing list, missing conversations that don't occur in their time zone, and fragmentation.  The other half are saying "it's just like what IRC is today only more modern".

And I think, much like what happened during the Chromium proposal, we should make it clear that replacing mailing lists is a non-starter and not open for discussion.  It should be clear that this is basically just a more modern IRC.  Framed that way, it almost doesn't even seem worth discussing *whether* it should happen, because I can't think of a good reason for it *not* to.  Instead, we should just switch to focusing on the how.  Is it Discord, Discourse, Slack, or something else?

If someone has a concern that is unique to Discord/Discourse/Slack that doesn't exist in today's IRC world, we can certainly discuss that, but so far I haven't seen anything along those lines in this thread.

On Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 11:48 AM Mehdi AMINI via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org<mailto:llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>> wrote:

On Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 11:32 AM David Tellenbach via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org<mailto:llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>> wrote:
 Hi all,

+1 from my side for using "faster" or "more direct" communication channels such
as Discord (no strong opinion on the choice of any particular tool here) for
informal chats and discussions on a "support level". This is includes user
questions but also questions that can be easily answered using community
knowledge. I think of things like "How to I build clang for option abc" or
"How do I access all instructions in a basic block?"

Strong -1 for any attempts to replace the mailing list (but no strong opinion on
providing additional possibilities to interact with it, such as mirrored forums
etc.) as primary and definitive communication channel.

It should be absolutely enough to follow llvm-dev to be completely informed
about any major RFC, discussion or design decisions.

If your concern is to be able to stay informed by email, then subscribing to the right "category" on Discourse should provide exactly this (everyone can select their notification preferences on Discourse).
Is there something more you need that I missed?




On 18. Nov 2019, at 08:48, 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):

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:

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.

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