By default, the Discourse forum we use here has a “Lounge” category for site moderators and high trust users. I turned that off on Discussion, on the grounds that it didn’t seem as open and egalitarian as I like Fedora to be — but left it on on Ask, because the user-focused nature of that site felt like it would be nice to have an out-of-the-way place to talk a little more privately.
(Note that Discussion does still have a moderator-only area, but that’s very lightly used.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts on reconciling this in a combined site.
From what I can see, almost all of the lounge posts that show upon the main board are locked, with only the original post. Locked posts don’t exactly lead to a discussion and I don’t see the point of using them. If you don’t want replies, make it an Announcement. If you put it in the Lounge, leave it unlocked, for commets.
Well. I think because of the heterogeneous nature of topics and users on ask.fp, the lounge makes sense there, although I agree that there is no need at the current discussion.fp.
Given the experience of several ask.fp-topics, I think a dedicated place to discuss how to treat and solve problematic cases was useful and a major institution in facilitating ask.fp’s self-organization.
I think there are regularly cases where TL3/TL4 are unsure how to proceed, but the discussions and elaborations enabled by the lounge mostly end up in its members achieving a solution without the need for moderator intervention.
However, I think we need to ensure that the merged lounge will be not used for things that belong to discussion.fp. I agree that it can develop counterproductive when used for discussion.fp issues. So maybe it should be formally restricted to discuss pre-determined types of cases and/or related to the ask-category (so, restricted to issues that happen in the ask-category)? (I do not know how far IRC/Matrix can serve as alternative for the lounge? But it might be worth to be at least mentioned)
I am not sure if we need that. For “smaller” group discussions and socializing we have matrix, irc, discussion-threads and more. I think community-building takes place at other areas in Fedora, and usually at those areas that are open for everyone. When it comes to socializing, we have the Watercooler at discussion.fp, Social Hour, the channel and other activities/possibilities that are mostly unrestricted.
Also, my perception has always been that it is “widely expected” and intended to use the lounge as little as possible because we want to be an open community.
So imho, the need for the lounge is limited to handling problem cases, and this would be also satisfied by …
So, that would be an alternative that can fulfill the role. And it would clearly make the point that socializing is open at Fedora (if this is desired).
Why shall we restrict that? We have so many types of channels where people can openly socialize. I think outside of ask.fp ask-topics, we usually do not need to worry about “one day” users who are gone once their question is answered. So socializing among people with the goal of also getting to know each other better over time works imho.
However, how about a dedicated channel in Matrix or so for the ask.fp SIG? So, one that is explicitly not for answering questions, which (in my experience) limits the participants to the “committed” people. So just like the lounge but open? Like the Docs channel or so.
It does look like the watercooler is basically the same thing.
What I have seen on other forums is that people are willing to talk more freely knowing the level of inspection on everything written is lower. When a topic is in the public forum, it gets picked up by every search engine on the planet.
That being said, I wasn’t really pushing for it, just noticing that the lounge definitely isn’t that on ask.
Absolutely. But the version open to the whole community.
Indeed, a good point. However, a Matrix channel could at least partly solve the issue because contents can be made not public on search engines or so but to become only visible to registered & logged in Fedorians. Just the number of Fedorians with access would be higher compared to the lounge.
The interesting thing is, many people aren’t comfortable with that type of a platform and will never participate. It is a very different thing to a forum.
It also depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Getting people active and socializing on a forum tends to increase participation on other topics as well. People on ask often can’t get questions answered because there are a limited number of people there who are actively helping and they don’t know everything about everything. Increasing socialization is one way to start to alter that. Of course, it isn’t the only way.
I think it’s sometimes useful to have a space for moderators to discuss moderation related things in private, but otherwise I think defaulting to open is the best policy.
If there is a social thing, I’d prefer it be open to any interested folks…
A few things to think about with regard to “yet another channel”, I walk customers through this sort of thing in my day job:
What is the purpose of the proposed channel/forum?
What value is it meant to produce?
Does it contribute to the psychological safety of the group?
How will the team ensure it does not devolve into a “safe space for bashing?”
If the team has (based on some consensus) good answers for those four questions, it might be a good idea. If the team can’t come to a consensus on the answers to those questions then it may not be a great idea.
I didn’t include “Is the intent of this channel implemented by something that already exists?” because, while there may be some good conversations around that topic, it’s easy for a conflict to arise that can derail the (arguably) more important questions already listed.
I personally have no opinion on the topic either way. I just wanted to provide some food for thought to assist in facilitating the discussion. The team will decide what to do as appropriate, as well it should.
Okay, so, let’s do a poll! As always, this is a straw poll, not a binding vote.
We should have…
A Discourse category for mods, tl3, and tl4, specifically to talk about sensitive site moderation topics
A private Fedora Chat channel of with the same purpose
Why not both!?
Note that this wouldn’t replace code of conduct tickets for more serious things. In fact, sometimes the consensus might be: oooh, this should be a code of conduct ticket.
If we go with a category, I am thinking I will set it up to auto-delete posts after, say, six months. We don’t need it to be an gossip repository. (Note that admins and mods can see deleted posts.) This doesn’t prevent screenshots or whatever, but just makes it less likely that a good-faith discussion about someone’s post causes hurt feelings later when that person hits TL3
I don’t know of a way to do a similar thing with Matrix, although TBH self-destructing history would be a useful feature.
Oh, hmmm, I forgot about the TL3 → TL4 promotion process. On Ask, that process is: TL3 users who want to go to the next level (um, literally in this case) can post in the Lounge (which is available to TL3+), and if there are no objections in two weeks, we do it.
I think it should be okay for TL3 users to have access to the restricted-access room — but this is is one of the reasons I was thought of having posts self-delete. If they do have access, we could just continue the promotion process there.
So, we had three concepts if I understood it correctly:
the Matrix chat channel (although I thought the idea of the channel was originally the channel being public? To fulfill the purpose of open discussions among everybody that are not indexed on search machines? To not limit discussions to two extremes of “moderators/TL3/4 only” and “indexed throughout the Internet” - and maybe also a bit to focus on the long-term contributors), and
the “Discourse category” as a lounge-like category, or
extend the mods-only area to TL3/4
Personally, I am fine with both of the last two: as long as there is any channel where TL3/TL4/mods can privately exchange and discuss issues, it is not relevant for me if I am in the moderator area or in a lounge category.
When it comes to a chat, I would prefer to not always have to log into two services to start a discussion about an issue on any topic. I would prefer one of the other two possibilities, which are integrated into discourse (this is also an advantage when we use citations and such). Also, I think it will be hard to organize this in a Matrix channel: we have no dedicated topics/threads for an issue in a Matrix channel, no categorization. A matrix channel only sorts by time in the end.
So, I am for a Matrix channel for the ask.fp SIG, but not private but open for every Fedora/Matrix account, as elaborated at the bottom of 7 and 10. Based upon what I see in other channels, the channels will not attract the “one-day members” anyway but more the long-term contributors, and channels are not indexed. So, the Matrix channel would be for a different purpose in this case.
I am skeptic about explicitly foster non-moderation discussions in closed/private areas. But I will not object if others like that. I guess our community has no tendency to develop towards decision making in such closed areas, and in the past we could rely that this does not happen. If people want to have a “hang out” discussion in a closed lounge or such, it doesn’t hurt.
I am against a strict separation for TL3/4 in the Lounge. It not hurts if there are TL4+ present to just keep an eye on it. Just in case for strong opinions. It is better to remember someone to keep calm and be civilized than to escalate a problem who gets hot in a hideaway section of a ask/discussion forum.