[tor-project] Discourse? (was: Disabling Comments on Most Blog Postings (was: Re: Have "anything goes" blog post?))

David Goulet dgoulet at torproject.org
Wed Jun 24 11:19:54 UTC 2020

On 22 Jun (16:59:22), Antoine Beaupré wrote:
> On 2020-06-22 20:46:23, Matthew Finkel wrote:
> > On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 10:45:33AM -0700, Philipp Winter wrote:
> >> We have many comments on our blog that are unrelated to the respective
> >> blog post but still bring up reasonable topics.  To make it easier for
> >> our users to be heard, why not have an "anything goes" blog post once a
> >> month?  A user suggested this idea over here:
> >> <https://blog.torproject.org/comment/288185#comment-288185>
> >> 
> >> The idea is for users to comment on any topic as long as it's not in
> >> violation of our blog comment policy (minus the "on topic" requirement):
> >> <https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/community/blog-comment-policy>
> >> Hopefully, this will give our users an opportunity to talk about
> >> problems they have, ask us questions, and request features.
> >
> > At Today's Tor Browser meeting we discussed the need for (additional)
> > blog comment moderators. The responsibility of approving and responding
> > to pending comments generally falls onto whoever writes/publishes a blog
> > post, but some groups have a better process for this than others. We can
> > think about creating a more formalized process for this, maybe with
> > rotating responsibilities, unfortunately we are faced with two (hard)
> > facts:
> >
> > 1) The number of paid individuals who can spend time on supporting Tor's
> > operations/responsibilities/goals is smaller than it was two months ago.
> > We should expect some tasks must be reduced/cut, and maybe moderating
> > blog comments should be one of them.
> >
> > 2) Drupal's blog comment system is terrible for supporting reports from
> > people about bugs or feature requests. We get stack traces and console
> > messages without context, vague descriptions of crashes and UI bugs, and
> > opinions about Tor's politics.
> >
> > I know real bugs are reported through blog comments, and anonymous
> > comments make Tor Browser (and other Tor projects) better. This is a
> > fact, too. However, the overhead required for finding the signal in the
> > noise is significant, and this is especially true now with fewer people
> > around.
> >
> > One proposed solution is we agree that all blog posts are published with
> > closed/hidden comments except the once-per-month "open" blog post. This
> > requires an agreement because experience showed that closing comments on
> > one post but allowing comments on another results in people submitting
> > their questions/comments/bug-reports on whatever blog post allows
> > comment, regardless of topic.
> >
> > One longer term solution involves integrating a feedback mechanism into
> > Tor Browser (like Whisperback, SecureDrop, GlobaLeaks, etc), but we
> > can't work on something like this any time soon and we need an immediate
> > solution for this comment moderation problem.
> >
> > Supporting users of our projects is an on-going challenge and we have
> > varying degrees of success (and media) from IRC, to blog comments, to
> > RT, to Twitter...
> >
> > Maybe centralizing and time-bounding the comments we must watch will
> > help us be more successful (or, maybe it'll be worse).
> >
> > Thoughts, arguments for/against?
> I would like to bring back the idea of using Discourse as a replacement
> for all our support channels (RT, blog comments, and other
> feedback/support systems). It has a nice system to promote community
> members as moderators while still giving us the ability to have the
> final call on content (as administrators).
> This would be a nice way of reducing the number of services (Drupal and
> RT) at the cost of possibly creating a new more complicated one
> (Discourse) or trusting a third-party provider (Discourse.net, although
> we already do that with Drupal).
> It would also allow us to switch to a fully static website for the blog,
> naturally. It would also address the problem of "how do I get an account
> on GitLab to file a bug report" (for which the answer would be: you
> don't, go on discourse for now and we'll do the triage).

+1 on Discourse idea!

It is quite a step forward in tooling and possibilities! We've been using that
at nsec.io to manage the capture the flag contest that has more than 750
people spread out over 80 teams and it is quite amazing to use.


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