This forum should be central to Solid community, and not Gitter

This might be worth trying.

I agree with Tim that’s it’s both rather than one or the other, but there’s definitely a problem with gitter dominating and as a result this forum has not got off the ground. So we don’t really have both in practice. A few cross post, but understandably most don’t, and plenty of people are I suspect not aware of the forum because of this.

I think the problem is one of leadership. I think Mitzy made a good start with this, and did a lot to bridge the gap, and at the time more people from Inrupt and the core were popping in here, but that has subsided and the forum has been very quiet as a result. There are a handful of regular posters, and we get new arrivals from time to time but there is not enough to attract them to stay.

I’m sure there are quite a lot of lurkers, so I don’t underestimate the value of the forum. I do think that value could be many times more though, so I think this is important.

I think @aschrijver explains it very well in the post he links below. We are missing the wider reach and different disciplines, we miss out on the building knowledge base, and all those people for whom gitter is a strange uninviting place. I remember when I first arrived there, and people will know I’m not shy online, but it was quite an intimidating process for someone new including me.

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It would only be worth it if there was some buy-in from Inrupt, otherwise the bunker will just move to another camouflaged place and everybody here would suffer a serious let down.

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Is the ‘priority of constituencies’ spelled out anywhere?

https://dev.w3.org/html5/html-design-principles/#priority-of-constituencies

I’d just like to give a shout out to @megoth, @MitziLaszlo. @Vincent , and @james.martin - all Inrupters, I believe, who frequently post and comment here.

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@Vincent has indeed, the others not really. You can see if you visit people’s profiles and click “Activity”. There’s also some useful stats of user activity here:

https://forum.solidproject.org/u

Imo forum is for durable conversation, gitter for one shot/short question to active devs that need short question. But it’s sure that short question could become a topic that could interest some other… So I prefer post on forum , wait some time and if no response make a ref to the Post on gitter to enroll some experts. It’s our ‘amator’ role to make it live.
And @timbl I’ve set notifications on in my preference, this could be possible to you to…

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And not just ‘durable’. I think it’s the best way to maintain the conversation structured. A chat can be a great communication channel, but does not track or record the importante info. I totally agree with your approach which IMHO is the best & simple opinion which shed some & quick easy light on the discussion.

You just simple shared the right ‘How to contribute’ code of conduct:

1. Post on Solid Forum
2. Wait 24h
3. No Response? Chat on gitter referencing your Solid forum URL post
4. Record in the post any discussion or reply given
5. Continue the discussion in Solid forum thread

So simple 5 steps to follow, but sadly not an habit for all users… :slightly_frowning_face:

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I think the idea that those on the forum would work from a frozen version of what is a very fluid solid spec, and that there be little feedback or iteration, or need to adapt to spec changes, which are especially needed in the case of shapes for interoperability, is problematic.

sorry, I don’t think think sarcasm, ‘them and us’ and assumptions will help improve the communication…

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Ok, thanks, I edited it…hopefully better now

yep, and I think you have a valid point! how do you handle shapes at the moment?

I’m not coding now, sadly, but I hope to get back to it sometime. What I had in mind are shapes for chat apps so that hopefully someone can make one that can interop with other chat apps and maybe use that really cool Say editor :slight_smile:

So this is a good example of possibly improving the synergy between different parts of the community. Maybe some shapes for interop could be put out there, with the understanding that they will change, so that devs here can start to incorporate them and anticipate changes. Without expecting the shapes to be perfect or final on the first iteration.

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I think bridging is the best answer, but it could take many forms, broadly:

  1. Human (active cross-posters, etc.)
  2. Modification of content (annotation, linking, etc)
  3. External service (summarizing, topic identification/monitoring, etc.)
  4. Full-blown knowledge base with automatic/assisted concept extraction

This is actually an important general problem IMO.

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The aforementioned discourse2gitter plugin looks like a good low-effort option to me, for starters.

It would serve to notify core members of all ongoing forum activity.

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I’m not saying don’t try it, I think it’s a good idea but I think we would have more chance with buy in from more of those closely involved in and particularly directing development of Solid. I can’t understand how Inrupt can put itself in a position of de facto owning the development of Solid and much of its ecosystem, also the main communally resources (such as the forum, and gitter moderation) without being much more transparent, or engaging with the community when we ask about certain things. I asked to discuss this separately from this particular question but that was met by silence, and I think this is a pattern which is a significant causal factor in what we trying to fix in this topic.

Cross posting/bridge will help raise awareness. Having the people who are involved in development, and particularly the big hitters hanging out here and engaging with questions about the direction of Solid and answering when people ask questions that the community cannot, is necessary for the forum to get established. I think we probably lose people when questions are not answered about strategy, plans, and security or privacy concerns. Not just those who ask, but those who see this.

We’ve see it again in this thread. In my view it undermines their credibility, and affects respect, commitment and morale in the community. In that respect I think it’s an anti pattern.

That may sound strong. The reason I feel strongly is because I believe in the goals of empowering people, restoring privacy and autonomy, and building the open, accessible, democratised internet for everyone, and I’m concerned that the issues raised here jeopardise our ability to improve those things with Solid.

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The goal should be long term to get both forum and chat onto solid-based equivalents, of course. I to a certain extent have made my peace with gitter in that I have written code to keep a solid archive of chats I follow including solid/chat. I did this because I was worried about a few things about gitter – that it was not standard, that gitter.com could disappear with all the community knowledge with it.
Anyone else could do the same. Also we could look at ways of just syncing parts of pods, like those chat archives. I guess @happybeing you could take a copy of everything on SAFE or IPFS for that matter.

(Of course a nice tool would be one which extracts a long thread from gitter and reformats it as a forum post… but that would need root on both sides to be able to map different user’s comments and simulate their posts on the forum. Or it could do a sort of quote the original poster’s names for it like matrix-gitter bot does.)

Yes, really long-term. Imho dogfooding Solid for its own toolset is a nice-to-have at best and should be really low-priority. I created this thread (and others before that) to indicate way more urgent issues for the Solid initiative:

  • People don’t get Solid, and it is still not clearly positioned.

  • Tools and communications are fragmented, making it easy to miss ongoing activity.

    • Three landing pages for Solid (solid.mit.edu, solidproject.org, inrupt.com). If you ask me solidproject.org should be the main entrypoint to Solid. The MIT site should redirect to it, and Inrupt.com should be differently positioned (as it tackles the commercial side of things). Inrupt cannot be central (again wholly imho).
    • Nineteen (!) github repositories for Panel discussions. Why aren’t these taking place on this discussion forum? (Note that Discourse has github integration plugin, so you can still have work documents there).
    • Gitter has the core team interacting
    • This forum has some community member discussion
  • Solid is not actively reaching out, onboarding, building community, and hence has a high barrier to entry

    • A bunch of articles promise revolutionary change (exciting!) but landing pages offer little info, spec is mostly empty, etc.

Since I started monitoring Solid over a year ago I have seen numerous people getting confused, disinterested or getting a ‘Solid, meh’ impression. And in this thread I got the impression that among invested community members there is a lot of frustration not being addressed.

It could well be that there is a well-founded strategy behind this. Might also be that commercial activities take precedence. Whatever it is, to me it seems worthwhile to discuss more openly, and tackle the issues (or provide pointers if that already happened).

Edit: I am delighted to find more solid information on solidproject.org so that’s moving in the right direction.

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I think aside from Inrupt’s commercial focus, which is as to be expected since its a market funded startup, the problems have to do with spec issues. Since Solid connects the desktop with the web, the spec necessarily has all kinds of intricacies and corner cases. I think this is being addressed but the number of spec issues (imho) came as a surprise. Also, the concepts of user level programming (as explained in https://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/TabulatorGoals.html and https://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Footprints.html ) which also are pretty revolutionary, are added to the mix at the same time. Maybe some sort of iterative spec-design-implement-spec process with a more focused group is needed. I thought the panels were a great idea but they seem to require a commitment that is beyond what part-timers can deliver, and a lot of spec issues span different panels.

Also I think Solid needs a white paper, a yellow paper, and a beige paper.

According to @csarven:

The forum […] is used by some community members as something supplementary to Gitter chat.

Github and Gitter is where it is happening, and then all across the web, including here by some of us. For me that is good to know, as I am used to these kinds of forums to be central to a community, but there is not really a community, only a forum (solidproject.org also indicates that with a single ‘Forum’ link and ‘Integrate Solid’ leading to a business intake process).

I did spend a lot of time here suggesting improvements to Solid positioning, organization and community structure, but that may be a bit of a waste of time :smile:

However, all this should be more clearly communicated to all current and future solid members.

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