Offtopic Category

Hello can I suggest we get a off topic section on here for anything off topic

I would like to see fellow contributors thoughts on this that why I have not done a bug to add this

Do these cover what you’re looking for?

While we understand the value of allowing people to bond socially to build the community, and how that needs to somehow happen in some sort of Mozilla space for it to feel like a Mozilla community connection, we’re not sure Discourse is the right place.

Discourse has a lot of permanence, and social bonding is more meant to be in the moment. Leaving casual conversations in a place with permanence risks creating friction and even factions within the community. There are so many social media sites available, and IRC, that would allow for bonding and social interaction, but also allow those conversations to be disposable.

But I’d like to get more opinions on what the pros and cons are for an off topic forum being included here.

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My concern is it might make us weaker in our efforts to purge migrate away from Yammer in Mozilla. If ‘offtopic’ content can’t be posted here, it might make people more inclined to just post everything on Yammer, including stuff which should be public (or private with the easy possibly of making it public, at a later date), and nothing here.

@r_oVhPfcJCUUC5wbm6i4_C2Q was describing this sort-of problem about a year ago, and I doubt it’s gotten any better:

Even then, I think there’s a reasonable argument for water-cooler chat being public, and easily accessible to new contributors, to (hopefully) create a welcoming environment.

I can see this being the case with some topics (politics, for instance) but not so much with others. I’d like to think we can trust Mozillians to be sensible enough to mostly stay away from topics which would prove very divisive.

I suppose we should try to imagine what an offtopic category would contain topics on. I can’t really think of it containing topics on anything but semi-Mozilla-related themes, but which aren’t related to project planning. Discussions about the latest version of Android, or what OS people run on their computer, for instance. But that might just be me.

Sometime off-topic channels help to improve personal connections between contributors. As an example, people like telegram groups because it’s not just about mozilla but also about anything (weather, what I’m eating right now…).

We use these off-topic channels to chit-chat at Mozilla Hispano and I think it has created/increased bounds between contributors. So maybe an off-topic category wouldn’t be too crazy :wink:


Bumping this thread, for reasons probably obvious to people with access to the NDA category. :cookie:

I think an offtopic category is still a good idea, for the reasons I outlined above.

And I’d like to reemphasise this:

And if people don’t, and there are posts which violate the participation guidlines, Discourse provides us with adequate moderation tools to crack down hard on misbehaviour.

Something I hadn’t considered before is that certain watercooler chat only happens because it’s in a private forum. The post we saw in the NDA category was only posted there, I imagine, because its author wouldn’t have felt comfortable posting it publicly. But how private is private enough - would a category only accessible to (all 1.4k) Vouched Mozillians on Discourse suffice?

That then poses the question, have we already got an offtopic category in the form of #mozillians:vouched-mozillians, and it just needs to be advertised as such?

I think we could model that category on the Mozillians Telegram group: it’s not public, while still being accessible to any Mozillian who wants to be a member, and most topics of discussion are offtopic, without being inappropriate.