What are the Scala Community Places?


This is a cross-post from a post I made on GitHub in Issue #267 regarding moving Scala JIRA to GitHub. No discussion has happened there yet, but shortly after posting it I toke note there was a similar line of conversation that happened on Gitter. I get the feeling some things are in transition at the moment, I am seeking a clearer picture of the expected role of various community places in the Scala ecosystem.

I think it is great that Scala has a large enough user base to need and support so many communities. However, it can also be overwhelming for new users and create more management “administrative” overhead for community “leaders” who are active on multiple platforms help redirect users as well as serve as information gateways when they know the “answer.”

Having spent more time observing how some of these places function, I think here is probably a more appropriate place to have this discussion, at the moment, than that GitHub issue.

[Context: the concerned was raised that the GitHub tracker may receive spam]
An aspect of limiting “spam” or other unwanted GitHub issues that I think important is to give direction on where to go for various purposes. The scala-lang community page could probably be updated to reflect this as well (IMO, the page needs an overhaul as is). The depending on the decisions made, the “Scala hacker guide” is another that may be beneficial to update.

Choices I can think of:

GitHub Issues
Mailing Lists

Straw man proposal

GitHub Issues <= Bugs, Suggestions, Change/Feature Requests, Suspected Bugs, Issues pertaining to trying to hack on scala itself
StackOverflow <= "How to do X?","What is W?", "Why Z?"
Gitter <= Informal discussion and help. Gitter is fast but (in my experience) is not good for archival and discovery purposes so other platforms are better if someone else might benefit from the discussion.
Reddit <= Exists for Redditors and things that don't fall elsewhere, people there will trickle up things like Bugs where needed.
Mailing Lists <= For people who like mailing lists and things that don't fall in other categories.
Discourse <= I understand the merits of Discourse as a platform; however, I see it as conflicting with the other platforms so don't really understand this one.

I have started seeing more and more users/repos treating GitHub issues as a forum for general questions of the variety “what am I doing wrong” or “how do it”. It seems to work for a lot of projects; though, personally, other than when it points to a documentation error, possible bug, or major usability issue I still think a place other than GH is more appropriate.

In the above I omitted IRC which was an oversight on my part. Since I posted this, I have also learned that Discourse is intended to superseded the mailing lists.

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If no one replied to this, I think it might be because so many different topics are touched upon. (Also, there are more people here on Discourse now.)

re: moving from JIRA to GitHub Issues, thanks for calling attention to the scala-dev ticket on it.

re: the transition from Google Groups to Discourse, yes, this is still in transition. The transition is now (Feb 2017) largely complete for contributors.scala-lang.org, but users.scala-lang.org isn’t fully launched yet.

I agree that http://www.scala-lang.org/community/ could use various improvements. I hesitate to agree with “needs an overhaul”, in that overhauls are daunting and tend to end up indefinitely postponed. But we don’t need to fix everything all at once. Over the last year or two, I’ve made many individual updates to that page. Cumulatively, as a result, it’s now in far better shape than it was. Anyone reading this, please consider yourself officially encouraged to submit a PR (or two) making whatever seems to you is the most important (improvement) or two that the page needs.

The situation with respect to all of these different forums and communication technologies is complicated. (Heck, I can’t even figure out whether to contact my own friends by SMS, email, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, or what.) It even varies for different subsets of the Scala community. It would be nice if the community page gave more guidance, but there’s only so simple we can make it.

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