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Goal of this page

  • Get feedback from contributors with experience in Github discussions vs Discord.
  • It looks like we already made an attempt of what I describe bellow at some point in the past, I would love to know why we reverted before making the same mistake again.

Please provide your feedback in comments on this page.

Problem

  • As a doc team and contributors who participate in answering questions in the Besu Discord, we find it hard to follow the messages flow and find questions that need answers.
  • We also struggle to redirect users to previous answers and users don't even search for previous answers as the effort to do so on Discord is outpacing by far the effort to simply ask again... and again... and again.

Suggestion

Activate, configure and use Besu Github repos discussions.

ConsenSys already uses this for instance for https://github.com/ConsenSys/quorum/discussions

Pros

  • have visibility on questions that need answers
  • build a knowledge base in the product repos itself, no 3rd party tool.
  • Search for a previously asked question
  • have a link to a specific question to send when users ask on Discord
  • Have questions sorted by popularity. Users can vote making a question go up or down in the list.
  • subscribe to notifications on a specific discussion, not the whole channel...
  • organise with labels (sync issue, database crash, command line questions,...)
  • lock a conversation if something goes wrong or we already have the best answer.
  • pin questions to provide visibility
  • create discussion from GitHub issue and the other way too
  • get some basic statistics on contributions but at least we have metrics to see if it works
  • Ease search for discussions by sorting and filtering
  • makes the Discord chat a chat again and not a fake knowledge base that doesn't work.

Cons

  • requires a GitHub account to participate
  • requires us to redirect users from discord to GitHub when we have questions (or search for them if we want to point to the same question directly)
  • may require to create a bot later on Discord that could spot questions in the chat and search and post a link to the answer that looks like it can help...

Implementation

If we agree that this is worth trying (we can always revert), then we setup discussions and start sending the link to users every time they asks a questions on Discord.
If you know the answer, but the answer is not yet in the discussions, add it once the user created their question in the discussion.

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5 Comments

  1. I agree that finding comments without replies is hard on Discord. One mitigation is to create a thread rather than clicking 'Reply' - I tend to do this if the reply would be far removed from the original comment. One downside of this is that not as many people can benefit from seeing the response, unless they click through to the thread. So short of Discord implementing a new feature, I agree that there's a good argument for another solution.

    The github discussions feature looks nice and would potentially solve a lot of headaches for all concerned. My main concern would be adding extra barriers that prevent people from asking their question, as is mentioned in the Cons section. A smaller concern would be the mapping from Discord → repo might not be so obvious, especially if their question involves a combination of products.
    The tricky part would be where do we draw the line between 'chat' and "please ask this on github".

    On balance, I can't see any harm in trying it as long as we have a plan for how to manage the discussions.

    (It would be interesting to hear from the contributors answering questions in both https://github.com/ConsenSys/quorum/discussions and the #goquorum Discord to see how they manage it)

    1. Thanks Simon for this feedback. I will try to find answers.
      Also asking GoQuorum team about their experience.

  2. Agree Discord makes threaded discussion really challenging, and search is nearly impossible. We did turn on GitHub discussions for a while and it wasn't used (then again we didn't advertise it widely) and we turned it off in favor of having fewer channels to monitor. I'm willing to give it another go. Agree with Simon's points about where is the line between 'chat' and 'discussion' - and that we need a plan for how to manage keeping across all of the channels

  3. Discord is very difficult to track conversations. But at the same time (unfortunately?) Discord is where the majority of web3 conversations happen and where communities are built. Before we try out GitHub Discussions, I'd like to clearly define how we want to utilize Discord vs. GitHub Discussions so that we don't confuse users. Also I suggest that we (maintainers, contributors) try to build up a critical mass of questions in GH Discussions page so that when we start directing users to the page, users would find value in that extra click they had to make. (Imagine as a user getting directed to StackOverflow to ask questions but you only see 3-4 questions posted on the site. He/she might start wondering he/she would be able to get proper support there versus on Discord where you see maintainers' names and you see them they are online.) 


  4. As indicated during July 5th community call, I put this idea on hold as I think we don't reach any consensus.
    However, I suggest another way to use discussions in a more creative manner: Re: Suggesting Enhancements