[Members] XSF Board Meeting Minutes 20170301

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Wed Mar 1 20:30:21 UTC 2017

On 1 March 2017 at 20:00, Dave Cridland <dave at cridland.net> wrote:
> 3. Discourse

This section reads like I'm deliberately picking out items to support
my position of staying with crufty old mailing lists.

To make things clear, I am very much aware that removing mailing lists
entirely would be a significant break, and we would suffer from it.
However, this doesn't mean I'm not in favour of exploring other
communications tools. That is, after all, what my day-job largely
entails - we design and develop communications tools for specific

But I'm acutely aware that we're being presented with an either-or,
and with very little discussion about what the community needs.

We have a number of different, interlocking, communities - IoT is one
that came up in the meeting, but there's also operators@, jdev@, as
well as standards@ and members at .

I would like these to use the same communications tool - or at least
have a strong commonality. Some of these communities have faded away,
somewhat, because despite our goal of having a federated
communications protocol we don't actually federate between those
communities. I'd rather people joined the community as a whole and we
allowed some discussions to span multiple communities easily - being
able to tag conversations and alert, say, standards-folk to an
operators discussion would be really useful.

I would like to see "classic" mailing list access continue. They may -
and indeed are - old fashioned, but they're a very useful interface
for long-form discussion, and email remains the ultimate in
offline-first, mobile friendly, etc.

I'd like to see more use of XMPP. XMPP can be used for long-form,
asynchronous discussions; countless public work has proven that as
well as Surevine's internal work. Examples are Movim and Buddycloud.
It'd buy us federation capability, as well as bringing efforts like
this centre-stage. I happen to strongly believe that MIX is a key
ingredient to making this awesome.

There is a large population out there who would prefer a web
interface. I don't think a web interface is very hard, from a
technical standpoint - I do think a web interface that won't have a
cultural gap with mailing list style is going to be hard.

Finally, I think it ought to be possible to comfortably intermingle
long-form, asynchronous discussion with short-form, chatroom style
synchronous discussion. Of course, basing things on MIX would help
enormously here.

But most importantly, let's write down some use-cases and - dare I say
it - user stories, and then consider what existing tools might fit,
rather than pick one particular project and decide to bend our
behaviour to fit it.


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