Tue 22 Apr 2014 8:27PM

Revive DiasporaForum.org in order to properly support users and podmins

DU [deactivated account] Public Seen by 87

I have been debating reviving the old DiasporaForum.org discussion forums, with a view to them providing support for both users and podmins alike.

Currently there is no one central place people can go for support - and this includes users and podmins. New users either depend on their contacts or they seemingly go without and podmins are often referred to IRC but 9 times out of 10 there is no one available on IRC at the precise moment they log on and they end up leaving without having received any support.

A discussion forum could be the first port of call for support for both user types as forums can alleviate these issues.

Ryan (KOH) who currently owns the old domain name has previously declined offers from people not related to D* to buy the domain name from him. He will however kindly donate the name to us free of charge.

In terms of hosting, I will happily host the new forums (the old forum DB is now gone) and provide the maintenance and management of them. I'll probably need a few moderators to help out if it gets real busy.

As you are no doubt aware, a discussion forum is only as good as the members' contributions and with that in mind we would need podmins to contribute and assist each other - along with seasoned D* users willing to help new users with their (sometimes really easy) questions.

In order to succeed, the forum would also need some promotion in the form of a mention and/or post reshare by DHQ, plus relative links from the foundation web site. It should also have a prominent link in the right menu of D* under the "need help" section.

The forum should not have third party banner adverts (unless D* wish to use it for fund raising, but that's a whole other subject). I'm undecided as towards the use of Google Analytics on such a forum so again, that's probably one for a separate conversation.

Your thoughts?


Juan Santiago Tue 22 Apr 2014 8:50PM

Hi, your proposal seems very good, very necessary, unfortunately when you read what I write you see my English level is very bad, that's why difficult to collaborate moderator, but yes I can do it in Spanish or Galician. (In Spanish we have a forum, wiki and more: http://diasporalibre.com.ar/

Now that I know I learned English in the jungle and Tarzan was my teacher, just tell me what I can do.

PS, about the use of Google Analytic, please no!


Robin Stent - Outreach Tue 22 Apr 2014 9:11PM

Yes yes yes yes! Since I started using Diaspora I've been frustrated that this site was abandoned as it seemed like a great idea to have forum for end user discussion outside of D itself. When I asked about this in the google group way back the only response I got was an unhelpful one that I should ask the site owner (I had no idea who that was). So yes would be great to see this resurrected.


[deactivated account] Tue 22 Apr 2014 9:39PM

@juansantiago Contributions / forum members in languages other than English would also be a great help!

@robinstentoutreach I've used the googlegroups once or twice myself in the past (recently too) with such little success :( Again, it seems there's no one central place a user (or podmin) can go for a wider support audience.


Juan Santiago Tue 22 Apr 2014 9:46PM

Have you thought about using wordpress for run forum?


Hans Fase Wed 23 Apr 2014 12:32AM

Oh god, please don't use WordPress...

IMHO IcyPhoenix is good-as or maybe even better than vB...



RAM518 Wed 23 Apr 2014 3:33AM

A revived forum site would be great. A wiki would be charming also.


Pablo Cúbico Wed 23 Apr 2014 5:00AM

We started using Discourse in Mozilla, I'm very happy with it, very usable and readable!, from the guys at StackOverflow.

You can try it here:


Johannes Wed 23 Apr 2014 6:05AM

I second the idea.

Regarding Google Analytics: Why don't we use PIWIK analytics? I'll happily provide the hosting for that. I use this for analyizing the traffic on my server anyway and this data won't go to google ;-)

As Forum Software i'd suggest something like SMF (SimpleMachinesForum http://www.simplemachines.org/)


goob Wed 23 Apr 2014 12:50PM

The original forum was great, although use died off towards the end. I'd be happy to see a revived forum if you're happy to maintain it, Rich.

Do you actually need an analytics tool at all? You could just allow users to communicate without being analysed...

@ram518 , there is already a Diaspora wiki on the main project site: https://wiki.diasporafoundation.org/Main_Page


[deactivated account] Wed 23 Apr 2014 2:26PM

No, I don't believe analytics would be required. I was thinking from the point of view of aiding and raising awareness re search engine result rankings but there are other ways to do this.

As all my web and database servers are Microsoft Windows based (as too is my +15yrs of hosting experience) I intend to use the open source YAF forum suite - http://www.yetanotherforum.net/

I'll let this discussion ride out a few more days, then I'll create a proper proposal.


Jonne Haß Wed 23 Apr 2014 4:34PM

I'm against introducing yet another official communication channel, IRC, Loomio, mailing lists and Diaspora itself suffice here. So I'm against a forum.diasporafoundation.org.

However no one can really control what the community does, so if you want to do another diasporaforum.tld, nobody stops you ;)


Florian Staudacher Thu 24 Apr 2014 5:09PM

I suppose it couldn't hurt to "own" the domain as a project asset and refer to it as "unofficial, but endorsed by the project"?


[deactivated account] Thu 24 Apr 2014 8:29PM

Any reason it would need to be 'unofficial'?


Jonne Haß Fri 25 Apr 2014 12:10PM

There's already quite often confusion about the appropriate place for contacting the project. Adding yet another official communication channel would only make that situation worse.


Pablo Cúbico Fri 25 Apr 2014 12:30PM

In case you do, I strongly suggest to try Discourse, instead of outdated platforms as phpBB or SMF, it's way cleaner and with more modern features. Also it's more "support oriented" than "discussion", since those guys have the StackOverflow know-how.

IMHO, forums work if they are not abandoned and there's a strong community behind. They are more user-friendly than IRC or the mailing list for common and non tech-savvy users. But it's pointless if it doesn't grow.

To make it grow, the best is to have just one. But there has been cases as the spanish language PHP forum, which was ran by the community, and as the years passed, it became promoted as the official spanish PHP forum and it went into php.net.

Maybe you can just start one and see what happens.


[deactivated account] Fri 25 Apr 2014 4:13PM

Hey @jonnehass

There’s already quite often confusion about the appropriate place for contacting the project

Yeah, that was kinda my original point:

Currently there is no one central place people can go for support

The whole thing needs streamlining, nobody knows where to go and to be blunt, wherever they do actually go they often leave without having obtained the support they were looking for.

A discussion forum could solve this. I say 'could', as I don't actually know.

Hence this Loomio discussion :)


Jonne Haß Fri 25 Apr 2014 4:59PM

So far we achieved pretty good separation, Loomio for project development (all sorts, not just code), Github for code collaboration and bug/wanted feature tracking, IRC for shortlived adhoc communication of all sorts, diaspora for user support (could probably be improved) and mailing lists for persistent / long lived communication, like user and dev support.

A forum would contend the persistent communication part of diaspora and mainly the mailing lists. So that people feel the need for a forum means that our mailing lists are not working. Therefore I think we first should evaluate whether we can improve their usability and be more clear about the intended usage. If that's not possible a step we need to consider would be dropping them and replacing them with an official forum and a pure announcements mailing list.


Juan Santiago Fri 25 Apr 2014 11:34PM

There is a specific reason use forums and not mailing lists to support , with a forum for an answer can solve many questions, a forum created a public database of knowledge that is not created by a mailing list .

PS what are the Diaspora* mailing lists? :)


Jonne Haß Sat 26 Apr 2014 8:54AM

Mailing list archives are searchable the same way as a forum.



Juan Santiago Sat 26 Apr 2014 11:25AM

Oh! is very clear why the lists do not work, it's a real nonsense we use google products, a hybrid between forum and mailing list simil google groups seems to me the best solution, but never depending on google, I have observed that there are not many supporters wordpress. why if we work the domain DiasporaForum.org on mailman? Mailman is mailing list , discussions may be available on web, I'm not sure if can answer via web.


Jonne Haß Sat 26 Apr 2014 11:41AM

No, mailman doesn't allow replies via a web form.


Poll Created Fri 9 May 2014 2:49PM

Create a discussion forum to help support users and podmins Closed Tue 20 May 2014 8:10PM

I propose creating a forum as a visible online presence for Diaspora community members to support each other. Properly run, a forum could complement the current channels for help and support and I believe that a forum would improve the levels of support offered to both users and podmins.
It will also enable users to search the archive for previous answers to their problem before asking for help.
I would be happy to host this forum myself using the open source YAF forum suite on my existing enterprise level Microsoft servers, with no third party adverts and no third party analytics.


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 52.2% 12 JW BC TS M KAK JS A AA K DU JD CK
Abstain 13.0% 3 L SM DB
Disagree 30.4% 7 JH DM D IGM FL LM Q
Block 4.3% 1 JR

23 of 276 people have voted (8%)


Balasankar C
Fri 9 May 2014 2:52PM

Nice idea!!


Trolli Schmittlauch
Fri 9 May 2014 2:58PM

In contrast to Diaspora forums are searchable, so we don't have to answer some questions again and again


Maciek Łoziński
Fri 9 May 2014 6:14PM

But only if Diaspora drops Google mailing lists. It's a nonsense that opensource, privacy and decentralization concerned community uses Google's products.


Karthikeyan A K
Sat 10 May 2014 2:41AM

host a discourse


Christos Koulaxizis
Sat 10 May 2014 1:48PM

That's a great idea! Totally agree.


Jonne Haß
Sat 10 May 2014 3:33PM

I'm open to restructering the mailing lists but I'm against an official forum for the reasons I've outlined.


Seth Martin
Tue 13 May 2014 4:13PM

I think this would be better than the Google mailing lists.
Replacing the mailing lists would probably be a better proposal.


David Morley
Wed 14 May 2014 3:52PM

We had a forum for a year or so, no one maintained it and it died off just like uservoice and the horde of things used before. I think between a wiki, IRC, Loomio, emaillists, its still so spread out, everyone is lost. Make Diaspora do this no?


Ivan Gabriel Morén
Thu 15 May 2014 6:26PM

I don't see the use case of a forum as a q/a-tool if diaspora isn't working, and it doesn't feel worth the work. But I may be wrong.


Lukas Matt
Thu 15 May 2014 7:32PM

A podmin/user can search the wiki for FAQ or/and tutorials. If something is unclear or you need help you can join the IRC. And if you like to discuss things with the community join Loomio. I am not sure what else is left for a forum. Regards


Jason Robinson
Fri 16 May 2014 8:12PM

This proposal doesn't say anything about creating an official forum. Anyone can host a forum for diaspora* users to hang around. But to have it at 'forum.diasporafoundation.org' - we need an explicit proposal about that.


Frode Lindeijer
Sun 18 May 2014 12:40PM

When it comes to getting answers I find that the StackExchange system works quite well. Over at area51.stackexchange.com we could set up a general 'social network' site. In my opinion this would be preferable to a D* specific SE-site.


Jason Robinson
Mon 19 May 2014 6:46AM

I'd like a new vote clearly stating an official forum is proposed


Flaburgan Tue 13 May 2014 7:37PM

I would love to see diaspora* improved (complete and improve wording of the help section, better tags federation, possibility to make queries to search old post) to allow support inside diaspora*.
And I definitly want to move mailing list outside of google. We need someone to deal with that.


[deactivated account] Wed 14 May 2014 3:51PM

@jonnehass Was the original closing date for the proposal not long enough?


Jonne Haß Wed 14 May 2014 9:04PM

@rich1 I always try to include at least two weekends.


[deactivated account] Thu 15 May 2014 8:45AM

@jonnehass Cool, thanks, I'll do the same on future proposals

@davidmorley That's one of the issues with forums in general really - they're only as useful as the content posted within and the interaction from the members. If nobody posts questions on the forum, it'll die out. If nobody answers questions on the forum, it'll die out.

As mentioned in discussions on this subject in D*, if you're a podmin looking for help and your D* pod isn't working properly then D* isn't the place to host that support option. A forum would be a good alternative in this instance.

There are good points and bad points to every option available to us and we as a community should be working towards whichever provides the best outcome for the end product user.


Jason Robinson Fri 16 May 2014 8:13PM

In other words, just go for it @rich1 - unless you did mean an official forum and not just a forum?


Jonne Haß Sat 17 May 2014 8:56AM

If it's not official, why do we vote about it?


Jason Robinson Sat 17 May 2014 8:29PM

@jonnehass exactly. I see no mention in the proposal about creating an official forum :P


Jonne Haß Sat 17 May 2014 9:33PM

I think that's implicit by the fact that we have a proposal here. If it's just to check the community's desire, the place to ask such a question (it's not even formulated as a question btw.) would be diaspora itself or the mailing lists.


Jason Robinson Sun 18 May 2014 9:28AM

I'm extending this by a week to clarify this - @rich1 can you please clarify the proposal on whether you intended that the forum should be officially supported and possibly maintained by the project and maybe situated at forum.diasporafoundation.org OR if you mean to create a forum that would be not officially maintained by the project in any way?

I think it's important to make this distinction - it would affect many votes here.


Jason Robinson Sun 18 May 2014 9:33AM

(and of course in the case of the latter - there is no need to vote, just feel free to go ahead and set a forum up - of course it's good to discuss things first on what kind of forum would suit most. but since you are keen on hosting one you have the end choice in how to do it :))


[deactivated account] Sun 18 May 2014 2:55PM

This proposal needs to be for an officially supported forum.

To clarify the level of official support required from DHQ, the forum would need:

  1. A link from the Foundation web site to the forum
  2. The links in the right hand "Need Help?" section of Diaspora updated to include a link to the support forums
  3. Endorsement / mentions / reshares by the DHQ account in order to spread the word

An unofficial forum wouldn't need to be on Loomio as anyone can/could set one up on any domain and platform they choose.

Perhaps a new (and clearer) proposal is in order? I wouldn't want people voting for something they could potentially have not understood correctly.


Juan Santiago Sun 18 May 2014 5:54PM

An official forum is extremely necessary, just embarrassing use google gorups. If no agreement for an official forum, must be independent, but we must do.


Jason Robinson Sun 18 May 2014 7:23PM


To clarify the level of official support required from DHQ, the forum would need:

A link from the Foundation web site to the forum
The links in the right hand “Need Help?” section of Diaspora updated to include a link to the support forums
Endorsement / mentions / reshares by the DHQ account in order to spread the word

Looks like a good proposal to me! :) First decision for the need for a forum, then we can talk about how and where to host it. IMHO I'd close the current one and start a new proposal along the lines you wrote above, which clearly indicates what is voted on.


goob Mon 19 May 2014 11:18AM

I'd like to see a forum available again for help. I don't see any need for it to be 'officially supported', certainly not from the outset. I don't see any reason why Rich can't go ahead and set up a forum on his own servers using the DiasporaForum.org domain as suggested in the original discussion, and see how it goes. This forum can certainly be mentioned from 'official' sources such as Diaspora HQ without actually endorsing it, so that people who want help can find their way there. If it gains traction and proves useful as a means of mutual support and help, a proposal could be made then to move this from a resource provided by a community member to an 'official' forum, if that was thought to be preferable.

I was going to vote 'yes' because I thought the proposal wasn't for a forum to be officially supported; now I'm not sure what to vote, so I'll leave it there. But, Rich, how about just setting up DiasporaForum.org as you originally suggested, as this seems to have a lot of support? Then, if it proves a success, we could have a discussion about making that forum 'official' at that point.


Juan Santiago Wed 21 May 2014 8:14PM

Hi, @Rich, if you're not open another proposal, I would like to contact with you to think where we'll continue discussing your interesting project.



[deactivated account] Thu 22 May 2014 3:51PM

Hi everyone.

I think the plan will now be along the lines of Goob's suggestion.

I'll make a start on setting up a community-run discussion forum and we'll see how it goes.

Anything more formal at a later date will come back here for decision :)

@juansantiago I've just added you now, get in touch, I'd love to hear your thoughts :)