The migration from lists.opscode.com to discourse.chef.io

Hello!

We seem to be settling in to our new mailing list and discussion forum software here on https://discourse.chef.io.

I wanted to take a few minutes to walk through the migration process and apologize for the rough road we’ve traveled to get here.

First and foremost, I’m sorry that the migration hasn’t been as seamless and painless as possible. There were some technical challenges and little communication about the migration. Both of which led to a rough transition. I apologize for that and hope that you’ll agree we are now in a place to move forward with a stronger, more feature-rich place for community discussions.

The migration did include moving over every message from the old lists.opscode.com site into our new Discourse-based site. Instead of having multiple lists, we now have one forum that includes many categories (chef, chef-dev, Chef Delivery, and Chef Forums Feedback as I write this post).

As part of the migration, we also moved user accounts to Discourse. However, our script for doing so was flawed. Anyone who had participated in either of the previous lists were migrated and auto-subscribed to all messages posted on Discourse. However, anyone who had subscribed to, but not participated in, the previous lists were not migrated. This led to a lot of unwanted email in the first 24 hours or so of the migration. The current state of accounts is that email alerts on every message have been disabled and migrated users are now only watching the categories to which they’d previously subscribed. Of course, every member here has the ability to change their subscription and other settings in the preferences section of their account.

We held a session at the Chef Community Summit in Seattle to address this migration. Notes from that session can be found on in the Summit wiki.

The Discourse team has been extremely helpful and responsive in this migration. Needless to say, we’ve all learned a lot about how to make Discourse act more like a standard mailing list. Our community suffered for a bit but the next migration similar to this should go much smoother for anyone else moving from a traditional mailing list to Discourse.

Since migrating to Discourse, we’ve added two new categories to the system: Chef Delivery, and Chef Forums Feedback. Many members had the Chef Delivery category ‘muted’ in their preferences. If you’d like to see these messages, please un-mute this category in your preferences.

Discourse is not a mailing list. It offers a much nicer and feature-rich web user interface. Discourse offers capabilities that go beyond a mailing list that I encourage you to explore. I truly believe this will lead to much more productive and engaging conversations that we were able to have with our legacy mailing list.

In addition to the Discourse team, @coderanger has been very helpful in smoothing out the rough edges of the migration and helping us get the new system configured. Thank you, Noah.

We and the team at Discourse are extremely interested in your feedback. What can we do to improve your experience? Please post feedback as a reply to this message or start new threads in the Chef Forums Feedback category.

Thanks!
Nathen

On Thu, 2015-11-12 at 06:39 +0000, nathenharvey wrote:

Great. So I replied to this thread by e-mail and as you can see by the previous posting, Discourse truncated the whole thing. And I didn’t even receive a copy of my post via e-mail. Maybe that’s a per-user option or something. I would think that should default to enabled for an established mailing list trying to move to discourse since it embraces the element of least surprise.

How do we get a ticket filed about this bug?

b.

Note that due to the fubar above, I am replying to this using the web interface, which is something I hate doing. Web interfaces typically have pretty poor, featureless editors. Please get the issue that truncated my e-mail reply above fixed ASAP. I will be refraining from making future posts (i.e. answering questions, etc.) until it is fixed. I will NOT be coming to the web interface to interact with this list.

But I can reply to messages like it were? I guess we will see if/when this one is posted/distributed.

Update: It seems not, given the truncation of this reply when sent by e-mail above.

But what if we don’t want/like web-interfaces? I don’t need yet another website with it’s own username/password that I have to log into every time I want to interact. Mailing lists make this sort of thing soooo much easier with a much much higher signal:noise ratio, without all of the HTML “decoration” that wastes so much space and bandwidth.

Update: Having to use the web interface to make this posting, I can already say I hate it. Quoting is a pain in the ass, having to copy and paste the quote start/stop mark-up. The posting editor is a pain in the ass. There is no power-editor functionality. Too much mouse-to-keyboard traversal to do things like cut/copy and paste. Really, it just suffers from all of the problems a web-interface trying to make like a mailing list always suffers by removing the use of one’s local tools and making everyone use the common (usually pretty dumbed-down) web interface built tools.

As long as I get to continue to send and receive e-mails, that will be fine. I do seem to be receiving them fine. I guess this message will test the sending functionality. But if I cannot interact with it like it were a mailing list, I will likely be departing from the community. To be blunt, I hate forums. Everything about them is wrong.

On the other hand, if the e-mail interface works out, you will have done better than most forums implementations out there and you will get my applause for that.

Update: I guess I will hold my applause for now as the mailing list interface clearly has failed as we can see above.

Cheers,
b.

Brian, Can you gist up the contents of this reply so we can investigate what about it may have triggered Discourse’s email-reply-cleanup parsing too aggressively?

Edit: And I forgot the edition capability to fix typos. If this message is deemed inappropriate it can be suppressed.

How could a markdown editor supporting code formatting and highlighting be featureless than any mail interface ?

Just select the text you want to quote, and click the gray box which pop-ups above, clearly easier than adding quotation mark.

Just top reply and not inline, and it works.

I clearly disagree, I'm really not interested in any Mac OSX related discussions, adding an ignore filter to my inbox for each new discussion about it is clearly not my taste.
But having a mail for each new topic is great, and being able to subscribe to them or not is clearly better in my point of view (There's no answer to this, it's a matter of each one taste)

Sorry to hear this, Discourse interface is really near StackOveflow or Github one, things evolve.
I feel sad you're already too turned against any web interface to give it a real try.

I may a bit rude here, but it sounds like you wish to stay in your usual comfort bubble and keep everyone with you totally ignoring those who like this new interface which is far better tha an html mail composer to expose code/recipes/quotations/links/bullet points/etc.

“gist up”? Where (and how if the where is not self-explanatory) do I do that?

https://gist.github.com/ a great tool for document and code sharing.

That makes things look “pretty”, it does not make for a powerful (or even useful) editor though. There’s no keyboard navigation for starters. Having to keep moving my hand back and forth to the mouse is a regression, not a feature. But that’s what happens when you force a single editor on everyone instead of letting people choose their own editor

No, it’s all of the copying and pasting of quote delimiters that I have to do if I want to inline reply. With a good e-mail client, that all just happens automatically. I break lines where I want, the e-mail client fixes the quoting and I just type where I want. I don’t have to copy and paste around the delimiters, having to go back and forth to the mouse doing it.

But as you have demonstrated with your own posting, responding and quoting inline is much more useful.

How can you disagree that all of the “prettyness” and icons and avatars and bla bla bla doesn’t decrease the amount if signal that you get in a given amount of space compared to just having text?

A good e-mail client lets you “kill” threads too.

Well, that’s what the world of forums, where they force you to use a web-interface to do what (IMHO) e-mail is better suited has done.

Yeah, I like e-mail better. And yeah, the existing world of forums where you are forced to use somebody else’s idea of a “useful editor” (for values of useful that are biased towards “pretty” and “eye-candy” and against actually being functional, with a rich set of keyboard shortcuts, etc.), and have to remember another login/password combination, etc. have probably poisoned me against forum-like interfaces.

The biggest problem with forums vs. real e-mail lists though is the difference between a polling interface and an interrupt driven one. Everyone knows interrupt driven systems are better than polling ones. Who wants to have to keep coming back to a webpage “just in case” there is something new. When there is something new, just send it to me.

The reality is that I don’t have the time or attention span to keep polling dozens of information sources for new information. The reality is that my attention for any such source will lag and I will just stop participating.

It was a hopeful sign that this Discourse has an e-mail interface also. But it clearly is lacking compared to a real e-mail list. It’s outright broken in cases like the second message of this thread/topic but even when working it’s lacking. It’s not threading properly for example. It’s not making the proper threading references when message $n is a reply to message $m. It looks like every message is being considered a reply to the original topic message.

b.

Oh. A pastebin.

Message including full headers is here.

BTW, why is this interface not threading properly? When I reply to a specific message, my reply should be under the one I replied to, indented, or some such indication that it’s a reply to a message in thread, not a reply to the original message in the thread.

Otherwise a thread is a just a long rambling of messages with no context to what each message is in reply to.

I was able to replicate the email truncation in Discourse code. I have requested help from the Discourse team in investigating a solution. The original content was super helpful in replicating the problem. Thanks!

There's a link icon on top right of the message telling which message is answered.


That's exactly the point with the mail system of discourse, have a mail for new topics, replies to your posts, and you can define what you wish to be alerted on.

Personally I did chose to have notifications for new threads/replies to my posts but not for all new messages (i.e in threads I have no interest about. When I'm interested on a thread but have nothing to say on it, I just 'follow' it to have it in my mails. I prefer to subscribe to subjects than having to kill those not interesting me.

Once you logged in once, the authentication cookie let's you got to the right place to answer from your mail. Or if you don't wish to add anything more, you have the full information in mail. So you don't have to come 'poll' the site in fact.

At the end of the day, if I had properly understood your concern, the only point where there's no actual answer is the reply by mail thing. (And I hope it will support markdown too to format the code/links etc.)

Thanks for the snippet share @Brian_J_Murrell. We've been in talks with Robb about it and it already resulted in some improvements:

We sincerely want to be as close to feature parity with mailing lists as possible, so we are in fact always on the lookout for feedback like this. We're still just a team of <10 though, so various features need to be worked on in sprints instead of having a crack team of devs dedicated to them full time.