Fedora Discussion Site Reorganization is happening

Fedora Discussion Site Reorg

When we first set up this site two and a half years ago, we picked some categories kind of at random and got started. It wasn’t really planned — it was an experiment. The site has grown, and we took an intentional look at how to structure it. Now, I’m in the midst of executing that plan! I’ve set up a temporary site and am testing some of the process, and when I’m ready, will use that as a staging ground over the upcoming end-of-year holiday period.

Key Changes

Tags

Discourse has the idea of “tags”, but they’re not like hashtags on social media. Rather, they’re really a different type of category, and act like categories and subcategories in a lot of ways. They don’t have an inherent hierarchy [1], and unlike with categories, a post can have multiple tags. Tags will be the primary method of organization in the new scheme.

New Categories

I toyed with the idea of basically going all-in on tags and basically hiding the categories feature, but have been convinced that there are good reasons to have them. Categories will be used for _functional _differences: areas where there’s different permissions, different workflows, or even different sets of required tags. Top-level categories will be News & Announcements, Project Discussion, The Watercooler, and Specific Workflows. (That last will be hidden by default.) Oh, and CentOS — I’m not quite sure how that’ll fit in, but we’ll figure something out.

Mail and mailing lists

On the reorganized site, I’m going to turn off so-called “mailing list mode”. This is a mode where every post gets sent as a mail. But on a busy site, this isn’t really like a mailing list. It’s like subscribing to every list on the host. That’s probably not really what anyone wants.

I encourage you to instead think of each tag as a mailing list: you can individually subscribe to get notification (including email) for every post, or you can mute ones you don’t want to be bothered with to construct a right-for-you-view of the site. You’ll still be able to have a “pushed to me” email-centric workflow in interacting with Fedora Discussion, if you prefer.

I plan to turn most new categories to “watching” for anyone who currently had mailing list mode enabled. This should be roughly the same experience, but allow you greater flexibility to tweak what you’re getting if you later so choose.

Oh, also: this will change the headers and format of mail a little bit, so be prepared to adjust filters.

Docs

I’m going to write some more howtos and guides related to this. It’s on the list!

Merging Ask Fedora?

This idea is overwhelmingly popular, but I’m not ready to do it yet. One radical thing at a time! (And we don’t have the hosting details for the combined level of traffic worked out anyway.) If all goes well, I’m thinking that can be a project for March or so — before the Fedora Linux 36 release.

Downtime, Status Updates?

Sometime around December 27th, I’ll put the site into read-only mode, and make the changes on the temporary site. When they’re done, we’ll roll them back over here and open things up again.

I don’t expect this will take more than a couple of days. We should definitely be up by January 1st. (The contingency plan if we’re not ready: make main site read-write again, continue on, schedule for another time. The disaster recovery plan, if something goes wrong in the last stages: restore from backup.[2])

In the meantime, I’m using a checklist over on Ask Fedora (because that site won’t be down). You can follow along here:

What if it’s terrible? What if this tag idea is bad?

Let’s see how it goes! If it’s not working, we can change again.


  1. well, they actually can, but we’re not planning on using that now ↩︎

  2. This whole process, by the way, serves as a test of Discourse’s backups, which makes my sysadmin heart happy. ↩︎

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Needs more Geocities construction.gif

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BaBajaMesa9254construction1

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http://textfiles.com/underconstruction/

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This is now done! — or, at least, to 95%. I’m going to wait a few days over the remaining holidays for things to shake out before sending the planned wider announcements.

Those of you who are around, please let me know of any problems you notice, suggestions, or just questions about what I’ve done!

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