W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webplatform@w3.org > April 2013

Re: Blog post for taking the Q&A system offline.

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:50:53 -0400
Message-ID: <5165C29D.9000208@w3.org>
To: Jonathan Garbee <jonathan@garbee.me>
CC: "public-webplatform@w3.org" <public-webplatform@w3.org>
Hi, folks-

Here's the rough first draft, without the links to resources. Feedback 


Suspending Q&A Forums
Apr 10 2013 by Shepazu	

When we launched WebPlatform.org, we wanted to have plenty of ways for 
the community to talk back to us about how to improve the site, and how 
to pitch in. IRC was a familiar option for many of us. Email lists were 
another, for long-term asynchronous discussions. An issue tracker was 
important to make sure we knew what needed to be done, and how it was 
progressing. An inline comments extension for Mediawiki was developed as 
an improvement on Talk pages. Community teleconferences to talk about 
tasks and progress. Doc Sprints to onramp new people into the community, 
and get work done. And a Q&A forum, like the popular and useful 

After evaluating the most productive ways that our community has used 
each of these channels, we are closing down the Q&A forum, and refining 
some of our other communication processes.

The software we used for the Q&A forum, Question2Answer, seemed to 
perform the task well. Our problem was communicating how to use the 
forums, and integrating feedback into our workflow. People tended to use 
the Q&A much as they would StackOverflow, to ask technical, pragmatic 
questions about doing Web development. Though our intent for it was more 
to act as a living FAQ and suggestion board for content on Web Platform 
Docs, questions about Web development were natural, and we did try to 
use these questions to help guide us in what content we would create for 
WPD. But the Q&A forums were never as focused as other channels, and 
ultimately there was not enough energy in our fledgling community to 
mine the Q&A forums for gems while keeping our eyes and hands on the 
tasks ahead of us. So, we’ve decided to close down the Q&A forums to 
refocus on what is working well: IRC, email, telcons, doc sprints, and 
our issue tracker.

We’re also looking at refining those communication channels we are 
keeping around. We started out with W3C’s go-to issue tracker, Bugzilla, 
but found it lacking. One of our most active contributors, Garbee, 
researched alternative, and convinced us that The Bug Genie has the 
feature set we wanted for not only filing and managing issues, but 
overall project management as well; he is taking the initiative to 
configure our new instance at project.webplatform.org, and port over old 
issues. Another active contributor, Frozenice, has been researching The 
Bug Genie’s API, so we can push issues directly in via the inline 
comment system in the wiki. Two W3C staff, Denis Ah-Kang and Lea Verou, 
have also helped by respectively installing the system and skinning it 
to match our site’s look-and-feel.

We are also strengthening one communications channel that we initially 
undervalued: Github. We are putting infrastructure into place to make 
all the code for WebPlatform.org available through Github, including our 
MediaWiki extensions, templates, skins, and stylesheets.

We don’t know yet if we are retiring the Q&A forums forever. We are 
keeping the software installed, with all the questions and answers 
intact, but are not allowing any new questions or answers. Once our 
primary and immediate goal of documenting the Open Web Platform is more 
mature, we may decide to reopen the Q&A forums to allow people to 
discuss Web development, if that’s what the community wants. But for 
now, we encourage people to get involved through email, IRC, our issue 
tracker, or by just diving in and helping create and edit content.


On 4/10/13 3:05 PM, Doug Schepers wrote:
> Hi, Garbee-
> I'll write this today.
> Regards-
> -Doug
> On 4/10/13 3:03 PM, Jonathan Garbee wrote:
>> We should try to get a blog post written for the Q&A system being taken
>> down. This way we can post it and finally take the software and put it
>> out of commission for the time being.
>> If I recall the email thread on taking it down correctly we had decided
>> that it currently doesn't have a solid use-case with the current state
>> of things. Further it hasn't had much use since the initial launch.
>> Although we are taking it offline for now, it may come back later once
>> the documentation is worked on more and we see a valid use for it.
>> Did I miss anything major from our conversation (probably did)? Is
>> anyone up to writing this post?
>> Thanks,
>> -Garbee
Received on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 19:51:00 UTC

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