This post was motivated by my own frustration at me seemingly being the judge, jury and executioner when it comes to extending the functionality of Discourse to match Mozilla’s needs. The great ideas from both within and outside of Community Ops of what features we want in Discourse - a lot being in old threads I’ve been looking through, because of my recent work on discourse-mozillians - seem to live and die based on my ability to remember them and commit time to programming them. It’s a very solitary experience - it doesn’t feel like there’s any team behind me, let alone around me.
I accept that some of this is down to me maybe not designing things with participation in mind, but I’m fundamentally not a… participation-er. As the badge says, I’m a bit of a code monkey - I’m a programmer whose skills seem to lie in writing code with the help of little documentation and with very little clue how or why it works.
But I feel as if a more ordered structure would allow the dev team (or, currently, me) to stick my hand up and go “Hey! I need some help from participation over here” a little more easily.
Some other thoughts:
I’m not entirely convinced myself of the split between frontend and dev. They feel somewhat different, but maybe dev is more of a subset of frontend.
I’m thoroughly convinced of the need for a split between back and frontend. I don’t care how Discourse is hosted, as long as it is hosted.
We need to re-evaluate the tools each of these teams uses. In my mind, for the things I’m working on, the JIRA experiment hasn’t worked. I don’t want to be spending half of my life updating JIRA with the things I’ve said on Discourse because of the things I’ve done on GitHub, particularly because there’s such a high barrier of entry to JIRA that basically nobody looks at it. I’ve been attempting to use it for the past few months and mostly failing, so what hope does a new contributor have to understanding how to use it? What hope does an old hand at Mozilla who wants to lend their expertise have?
Furthermore, I feel like a more formal structure will mean better organisation of topics on Discourse. I want a place I can spam with stuff on plugins, give status updates, and thrash out ideas of what to work on next.
I think we should take inspiration from the Discourse project itself. (As far as I can see) they don’t have a public facing issue tracker other than Discourse. Releases, bugs, documentation and feature requests, rfcs and tech specs are all on Meta Discourse. I think if we want to show how versatile Discourse is to the rest of Mozilla, we should at least be eating our own dogfood rather than using all manner of 3rd party proprietary tools.
Pinging various people who might not see this discussion, who I think can provide useful input, observations and experience (and who I can think of off the top of my head): @nukeador @gerv @pierros @george @comzeradd