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A. Overall thoughts about the forums:

  1. It is a good idea to have the international forum and as many local forums under one structure as possible.
    1. local forums (especially as center of a local community) tend to drift apart
    2. usage of LDAP is optimal when the applications are on the same server (at least inside the same structure)
  2. IMHO putting the international and all other forums wihich are on under the tight control of a git system is sub-optimal
    1. different forum communities have different opinions about small things like looks and other things, this is almost impossible to do
      1. example: I'd like to copy a link from one view to another where it is not available.
    2. even requests by all users seem to be very difficult - what takes 2 minutes in a stand-alone forum seems to be a major action here (at least this is what maat has written)

I understand the ideas about security and easy maintenance which were the cause for this setup. On the other side I see the forum from the point of the users, where we will get the more content users, feedback, promotion, the more convenient the forum is for the users.

Regardless what some people say, the forums are the most important parts of the web presence, they are the platform where all parts meet. If we want to make this important asset as attractive as possible we should do something about it.

Ok, I know that all the sysadmins will oppose to these thoughts - which is quite natural because we may have a different point of view about the forum's importance and who the forum is meant for.

B. Open questions about the current forum organisation

1. Responsiveness of forum admins

Although maat claims that there is a main forum admin and a substitute in place, this is only "on the paper" but not in reality. AshLeDombos is currently not available because of understandable reasons, he even filed a bug report to be removed from admin position. maat himself is not as responsive as an active admin should be (I'm not judging the reasons of his non-availabilty, only the fact). This results in various sub-optimal situations:

  • reasonable requests are not responded to in due time (remember how long it took to setup the German forum although everythign needed was available, just one example)
  • a valuable volunteer had to wait for several days until his message was even read although he saw that maat was active in the forum.
  • I myself have not received a reply to various attempts to reach maat (3 mails unanswered, 1 PM in the forum unanswered for months), as I have no reason to believe that maat does not answer my messages on purpose I can only get the impression that he is not as responsive as he claims to be.

Personal remark: when I found out that I could not be as available and responding to the i18n team as a team leader should be, I stepped back to make room for someone who can (and he does a remarkable job!).

Conclusion: there's a need for at least one admin who is available, this is not the case at the moment.

2. Moderators, Global moderators, whatever

At the start of the forums it was suggested to have a special platform for admins and moderators to exchange information and discuss issues like behavior of certain users, moderator applications, etc. I've been waiting for this platform to be set up. But recently (and by pure coincidence) I found out that this platform (even 2) already exist. Makes me first wonder why I have no access there as one of the admins of the German forum, and second, it caused the question about who are moderators. So, if maat claims that this infrastructure has yet to be setup - what then is this hidden forum in the international forum for? And what is the team he always refers to as "we" in his statements, if there is no team yet in place?

2.1. Global moderators

maat has spelled out the requirements of a moderator just recently and I surely agree to each of his points. But then I checked who is Global Moderator in the international forum and found out that only 2 of them (Isadora and Germ) meet all those requirements - what about the others? This question is not a personal offense, it only asks why these people are listed as Global Moderators when they are not actively participating? Cases prove the point where requests to edit a posting and/or change the title to "solved" are not responded to in due time (in one case the user had to wait 3 days until his request to change the contents of a post was responded to). When we discussed the time-to-edit issue one of the main points of maat was the option that such requests can be solved by moderators - as we see there is no sufficient number of moderators in place to keep up this point.

At the same time a valuable volunteer was told that there are enough moderators at the moment.

2.2. Groups position

What is the position of the groups in this system? There are packagers, translators, founders, etc. They all are moderators in certain parts of the forums, which is obvious for groups like packagers and translators. Does that make them moderators? If yes, why are they not part of that team which has access to the hidden platforms?

And what about the founders group? What are the criteria which forum sections they are allowed to moderate and what are the criteria for the subdued moderation rights they have? Looking at the list in the forum I can see no meaningful system there.

Conclusion: We should define who is what and why, then find a platform for all involved to reach a status of cooperation, eventually.

These are questions and issues which are (mostly) not related to the "Let's build a team" decision of last council meeting.

Unfortunately maat did not find the time to even respond to my mails so far - I did send them to the council in copy with a reason!


This is no whining nor criticism for the sake of criticism. I stumbled over some points which did not match my picture of the whole packageand after I did not receive answers to my questions I wrapped these points up here. If I am totally wrong and you want to tell me that I have a wrong perspective, ok, I can take that and live with that.

What I can't take and don't want to live with is the generic phrase "Yes, we have to improve this" without any consequences. I've read that one long enough. Lack of cooperation and communication (AND responsiveness!) and being unable to change anything were 3 of the main problems at Mandriva. The more important is it to avoid them here.

Wolfgang Bornath 2011/06/20 15:49