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

There's some ambiguity around the pronoun 'we' in this post. In the 
context of launching the site, it refers to the Stewards. In the context 
of decisions being made currently, it refers to the most active 
participants in the project, which includes both Steward staff members 
and volunteers, i.e., "the community" as it exists today.

Along similar lines, the phrase "ways for the community to talk back to 
us about how to improve the site" sets up an unnecessary division. 
Something like "ways for visitors to interact and become part of the 
community improving the site" would be more inclusive and inviting.


On 4/10/13 2:50 PM, Doug Schepers wrote:
> Hi, folks-
> Here's the rough first draft, without the links to resources. Feedback 
> welcome!
> [[
> Suspending Q&A Forums
> Apr 10 2013 by Shepazu
> When we launched, 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 StackOverflow.
> 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, 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 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.
> ]]
> Regards-
> -Doug
> 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

Janet Swisher <>
Mozilla Developer Network <>
Technical Writer/Community Steward

Received on Thursday, 11 April 2013 00:16:14 UTC