On Thu, 9 Nov 2017, at 07:07 AM, Ryan Schmidt wrote:
From my understanding, the point of Discourse was to
be simply a Q&A
site. This forum has this as well, however it aims to also build a
community of MediaWiki users and admins beyond just a Q&A so that there's
a place to go to just talk about MediaWiki in general, share tips,
spitball ideas to make life easier for 3rd party wikis, and so on. A
section of the site is also devoted to listing professional services for
hire, a bit of an analog to [[Professional development and consulting]]
on mediawiki.org, except with more of an ability for users to have a
back-and-forth and leave reviews.
I don't see this site as replacing any existing means of obtaining
support. There's still advantages to the existing methods out there that
forums don't quite meet (IRC is more realtime, mailing lists give
flexibility in how to view the content, the on-wiki support desk allows
anonymous edits -- although I can enable anonymous/guest posts as well on
the forums if people think that would be beneficial). I felt that there
was a large hole in the existing offerings, and I had the technical means
and ability to fill in that hole.
It is using a software package called Invision Community. It is
unfortunately not FOSS software, however I felt that the feature-set and
end user experience it offered surpassed any of the FOSS alternatives.
I think the Discourse installation started as an investigation into how
it might work as a replacement for wikimedia-l and/or other mailing
lists — so very much forum-oriented rather than Q&A. It could perhaps be
It sounds like a good idea, and even having a forum outside of the
Wikimedia world could be an advantage. I guess my first thought is about
how this will avoid the fate of that earlier forum — which is why I was
wondering about the software, because if it was FOSS then you could
conceivably make some form of regular content dump available that could
be used in case the site ever disappeared; if it's closed-source this is
less easy (not impossible, of course).