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I've been thinking about this for a while, actually since the new forum was launched last year: We could actually move the forum to a StackExchange site...
I know, I said it was a wild idea! ;-)
The StackExchange (StackOverflow) model has been very succesful and I think Umbraco would make a perfect candidate for the new structure that they've recently proposed.
The benifits are very clear to me: It's a well thought-out, well-tested, mature system for asking and answering questions. Let's face it, this forum was modeled after it but lacks a few of the key components like editing posts, there is a lot of duplicate questions, search doesn't work great, the rating system isn't very transparent. Most of all, why would the Umbraco core team spend valueable time (that could be spent on Umbraco's core itself) creating and maintaining something that's already out there.
Let's discuss this.
Good suggestion Sebastiaan, I'm also interested where a discussion could lead. Personally I'm not sure if it would work - the commercial element of StackExchange hasn't been fully revealed yet ... Do we want banner ads? Would this impact negatively on an open-source community?
Sure, there might be ads, but I'm also sure that you would be able to pay to have them removed. And who doesn't use an adblocker these days. ;-)
All kidding aside..
One thing that we'd be missing out on is the integration with the packages, wiki (although arguably, StackExchange questions do could turn into a wiki) and events. But, I do believe the StackExchange team is open to customizations and you might be able to get access to an API so that you can still ad reputation (karma) for package upvotes and so on.
I just heard about this in a podcast the other day, and considered that also. But I don't know if I am too fond of the idea. It's a classic dilemma between control/freedom vs. easy boxed software.
StackExchange sites are very focused on Q&A as far as I can tell. Our is more of a community site combining all the different parts of a community such as finding members or as you mention, publish/discuss packages.
If Our didn't already exist, I think it could be a good idea, but I would not do the switch when this site already exists (and works pretty well).
Well, we've moved forums before, so it shouldn't be too hard to do it again (except for now having two read-only forums..).
Now, I know that you and other have spent a lot of time and effort on this, and you did a great job, but we really could use some extra functionality in here (especially editting!) and it seems like a waste to develop something all over again that already exists and actually works better (once it launches that is).
And yes, SE sites are only Q&A, we still need all of the other parts and I have good hopes that they still can be integrated rather seemlessly once an SE API is available (not sure if there was one in the beta).
As tempting as it is it would never happen. The whole idea of spending resources on Our *is* the enormours freedom we get to customize. SE seems brilliant for launching things fast (I'd have loved to have it in the beginning of the Umbraco days instead of the Yahoo Mailinglist or the old YAF forum).
The benefits of this freedom should be pretty clear at CodeGarden 10! Our is much more than just a forum and a wiki. If that was the vision there would have been a ton of out of the box software we could have customized instead.
And in any case we don't need SE, but Sebastiaan needs to work on his posting skills so he won't complain about editing in the future ;-)
Haha, just for this comment I will make a speling mistake! :-)
You guys were asking for suggestions earlier this week and all of the suggestions that I could think of were already implemented in SE, so I thought I'd bundle them together... Seriously though, no editing in the forum, no images in the wiki? For almost a year? I'm disappointed that some seemingly simple and obvious things are still not implemented on the forum and wiki.
Of course Our is more than just those two, but the forum is the single thing that I think we all value the most. And I for one, would love for the forum experience to be much more excellent.
You focus too much on whats missing in Our and too little on what's missing in SE for a project like Our Umbraco (and how do you even count on a non-existing product (it haven't launched!) and an even more non revealed SE API. You must have drunk the Spolsky AId ;-))
Personally I think that editing features on forums are overrated. Just as much as I agree that it sucks there's no easy way to insert images.
But things will happen. If you've been pissed about this for a year, you should have gotten in touch with us. We can't read your thoughts, Sir!
Obviously my understanding of what SE will be is completely based on what StackOverflow (and sister sites) already offer. And yes, that is definately based on the Spolsky's comments as well.
LOL! I haven't been pissed, not to worry. These things have been suggested multiple times both here and on Twitter. I can't read your backlog, sir! ;-)
If you look at the meta site of Stack Exchange there's a feast of what's not to like about the current SE ideas. So I wouldn't hold my breath (on anything else than projects that DO need to get a site up and running quickly).
As much as I am a Stack Overflow fan I think it rocks because it *is* Stack Overflow and nothing else...
Out of curiosity, who is the dev team for Our Umbraco? (Same as uForum?) I know Morten is leading it, but who else?
Mainly Tim Geyssens and Per Ploug Hansen
Just to clarify, uForum is a branched version of the original forum part of Our, so they are maintained separately, and features are not merged between them.
I am currently only working on uForum and not the Our site.
Cool, thanks for the clarification, Morten/Niels.
Well, it's More "then" a year since this thread was started, and this forum still leaves a lot to be desired. I long ago gave up using the search function and use Google instead: http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3A+our.umbraco.org
Can it be done? Hard for me to judge. But I feel that any community effort to improve Our would be best spent on the 'tough' integration issue, and not reinventing a forum.
At one time the wiki on Our was seen as the best way to do documentation. Surely if that is now discontinued in favor of 'Git push', then we should allow ourselves to be just as critical (and honest) when looking at the current forum?
For example: Stack Overflow is great for asking programming related questions and getting answers. So why doesn't the HQ sponsor the Umbraco tag? Is it because we are afraid karma is 'lost' when we move (part of) the conversation to SO? I personally don't really care. It's not about the karma, it's about the answers, and by extension, about the questions. Or maybe it's because we don't like the strict rules on SO? That's what makes it so good, keep a forum here for further discussion. Or could it be because at some point some of us didn't like SO or felt strongly about Spolsky/Attwoord? Totally irrelevant. Or maybe it's just really expensive? Rob a bank... or ask Joel for a special price.
@Michiel: Still missing what you hope that a 3rd party forum would bring. To me forum software (in the scale of Our which doesn't have millions of threads and forums) is really simple and to me most forum software seems feature blown (especially at the time we made Our (we *did* move from YAF which was a buffet of issues too).
In other words, I'm just dying for some specific things we can fix on Tuesday at the hackathon - I'm pretty sure it's durable.
Yeah, I understand the focus on doable (especially for the hackathon). I added my single suggestion to that thread (markup editor, I like the predictability).
With regards to the forum:
It's not about millions of threads and forums per se (performance and/or scale seems like a red herring in this dicussion). I pose two arguments below. **
Anyway, this is basically the standard make-or-buy discussion. You didn't write your own issue tracker either, and most of us here wouldn't dream of writing our own CMS.
**) The rest of the arguments you can find here: http://our.umbraco.org/forum/ourumb-dev-forum/bugs
PS. I used a numbered list in my arguments above, although you can't see it. But that has been reported 10 months ago, 11 months ago, more than a year ago, again, again...
And that is just silly IMHO, and like I said, totally unrelated to any argument concerning millions of posts or threads. I (we?) just expect a forum that works as you may expect from a forum (custom made or off the shelve). If you can make that happen, you have a great argument for DIY, but until that time it's a rather weak argument.
@michiel: Then the numbered list will be easy to fix (yet has nothing to do with forum software, but solely the CSS of the site :-))
@Michiel: In regards to #2, what we learned from YAF was nothing but issues when we upgraded. Just very unpredictable issues. I'm sure there's forum packages more mature by now and you could always throw the NIH syndrome card, but to me it comes down to what we need is so simple that the advantages of a full blown forum package isn't compelling. Just like there's been a great conversation on Twitter this week about people longing for a no nonsense ecommerce starter kit as the fullblown e-commerce packages just tries to much making small projects, big.
So while I'm not saying you don't have valid points and yet that we'll probably for ever agreeing on disagreeing, at least we'll fix some of the issues next week - and faster than replacing the forum software ;-)
Ok, agree to disagree.
Good luck next week!
@Niels If I can throw my two cents in, although I'm in with your thoughts on a simple, easy to use forum, a thing that should not be overlooked, is the disclosure of forum posts.
The Umbraco Forum is a great tool, not only for posting a problem or question one has with using Umbraco, but also for finding and browsing the previously posted questions and answers. Due to the popularity of the forum, it is not uncommon one gets tens or hundreds of pages with search results. Impossible to browse them all. This leads to the problem of duplicate forum posts of a problem that has already been posted and solved.
So while I'm aware this is something that cannot be solved on the next hackday, the disclosure of solutions to a problem, and the avoidance of posting duplicate problems and issues is a thing that should be considered in the long term for the forum on Our.
Succes on the next hackathon,
Quick ideas for improving current forum solution off the top of my head:
I have to say I agree with Michiel, that StackExchange would be a great place for the Umbraco community.
Even though Niels disagrees, we can still get it up and running if there's enough interest in it. All we have to do is get enough people to "commit", by following the Umbraco Proposal on StackExchange.
So if you think it would be great to have a dedicated StackExchange site for Umbraco, please vote for it by following the link above.
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