Using the forum as the main discussion platform for tagging

Continuing the discussion from Moving to the new forum for proposals and voting:

I’m opening this to discuss the goodness of this forum as a discussion platform about tagging and to decide whether it could make sense to use it as the main place where discussion should take place.
This should not be seen as a proposal to move all discussion to the forum, but just an analysis of this platform to identify all advantages and disadvantages compared to established methods of communication.
If the forum comes out as a large improvement over previous methodologies, then its use should be encouraged over the alternatives; while, if we find out that the forum doesn’t provide any significant advantage then we should just keep it as one of the alternatives.
Currently, the main places in which discussion takes place are mailing lists and the wiki.

You can refer to the discussion that took place in the parent topic of this one to see some of the opinions expressed by different people.
I’ll try to make a short summary so that you can have an idea without reading through the whole topic; you’re welcome to correct any error I made and points I missed.

Advantages of the forum:

  • Low barrier to enter
  • Easy to navigate
  • No external tools required
  • Can be followed through rss feed/emails
  • Single topic subscription

Disadvantages of the forum:

  • No threading
  • One place more where discussion could take place, thus fragmenting it even more
  • People with an established workflow will have to change it

The problems with the workflow, at least to me, don’t appear very significant; since the forum can be used exactly in the same way as the mailing list: you can receive all messages in your email and send replies with a mail.
The biggest difference between the forum and other discussion methodologies is definitely that the forum does not allow threading, as pointed out by @Hungerburg.
Both the wiki and the mailing list do allow threading in some way, even though threading in the mailing list can be a little bit complex to navigate.
The forum does allow opening a new topic as a reply to the post of someone else, this is what I’m doing in this topic mainly to test out the functionality and to see how it works.
This might actually be a proper solution to the missing threading problem, depending on how well it works and how accepted the conversation flow is.

Thus, please try out the forum a little bit and express your opinion about these points and present other things that you’ve noticed.

Issues identified in this topic:

  • Replying to one post by email does not show up as a direct reply in the forum (here)

Advantages identified in this topic:

  • Posts can be edited to provide summaries of the following discussion, to ease new people entering a long topic (here)
  • Images can be inlined with the posts (here)

Points to resolve:

  • When a new topic is created from an existing one, are all the participants noticed about it? (here)
  • Is it possible to easily understand which topics are related to each other? (here)
  • Are users participating in the discussion notified about edits to previous posts? (here)

Solutions proposed:

  • Structure each RfC proposal into multiple different forum topics to have a more ordered discussion (here)
  • Have the authors of the topic maintain a list of all related topics by editing the initial post (here)


Ideology about threading of discourse: Web Discussions: Flat by Design

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