Alternative to Community Participation on Telegram using the Forum

Hey

Its going to be nearly an year from our first FOSS hackathon soon, where this community came about. Telegram has worked wonders for our community. Indeed we have a 10-15 regular faces on the group chat every week from 0 an year ago. It came as tool for bringing people together and making a minimum viable community that slowly grew. Based on the recent post by @rushabh about using the Forum more often and the discussion surrounding it; Now, I think, we should start thinking about growing the discussions via this forum as a tool.

I would like to raise a few points. I don’t have any clear-cut solutions (few suggestions at the end that we can try together) but I think putting together a list of problems surely helps figure out solutions with lots of minds looking at them. Reiterating again that these might be purely anecdotal and just my opinions so feel free to comment and discuss/refute/share with your own opinions and comments.

Few personal reasons why I am reluctant to post in the telegram group.

  1. I make it a point not to keep telegram open during the whole day, and only check it once in a while. I have also muted groups that I am part of so that I don’t miss important notifications from smaller groups such as my friends and family. I guess many folks must be doing the same, maybe for other reasons as well, such as mental peace.

  2. Since there are so many people, and so many conversations I often feel lost and think it is meaningless to share anything there apart from hot-takes such as recent news to be able to discuss anything. Stale news shared, is hardly going to get any discussion going. I would be happy to see some long form discussions and non-hottakes also discussed.

  3. There was a strong reaction to keep the discussion on TG, and it was natural in my opinion. @knadh was right to point out that “Why break something which already works!” I think that is true, although the forum chatter is anyways going to be independent of the instant chatter and socializing on the TG group. Rather my say here is that, many people who lurk in the TG group do so because of the above reasons rather than not feeling like participating or being indifferent. In a way, lot of the folks who are already comfortable with speaking on chat groups can continue to do so but it would be interesting to see if some discussions can be moved to the forum and we might see new faces and help the community grow.

Why I don’t use the forum.

  1. I don’t honestly see a point in doing so and it lacks any agenda. The forum currently looks like an announcement board. Maybe if we seed some things or organize a few threads it might nudge people.

  2. There is a lack of participation (surely a chicken-and-egg problem). No one wants to post stuff to a forum where they know they will not get a response.

  3. Regarding the link sharing and curation aspect discussed in TG. I personally have missed out on really cool stuff. For example, the recent work being done by Janastu, only to hear about it later in a few days at BarcampBangalore, and coming back to share their work and find out that it had already been shared on the TG group with little discussion. Also, this stuff being on the forum will provide visibility to the projects and good work being done and also bring viewers to the forum. Right now there is no reason to open the forum anyways.

Few suggestions/ideas,

  1. Set out a few basic categories. I propose “Discussion” “News” “Q&A” to start with.

  2. I have set up “mailing-list mode” on this forum in my personal settings. Although, I have never replied by email, not sure if this is enabled, but I am sure that many others would feel it convenient to reply to the threads via email.

  3. Also, I have notifications on my browser set as “on” so when I am on the browser, I can instantly switch to this discourse instance.

  4. I propose setting up a telegram bot by following this tutorial https://meta.discourse.org/t/set-up-telegram-integration-using-the-discourse-chat-integration-plugin/66603 which posts new updates on the forum directly on the telegram group. I can take this up if people think it will be useful.

  5. Not everyone reads the telegram group to keep up with the activities and volunteer/community work being done here. I surely know that lot of work is being done by @Anand but maybe if we use the forum for all our internal discussions (in a new public internal category) instead of the communication mediums being used at the moment, external/casual contributors to the community can jump in to help reduce the work as well. I doubt it is possible to reduce the indifference to do some voluntary work by random people on the internet, but keeping these in the open could set a good example teach others to do/organize work in the public for their own communities as well.

5 Likes

+1

I would love to do that too. I find it very hard to have deeper conversations on IM. I miss email.

However, this forum is not yet configured to receive emails. Until that is done, you won’t be able to reply to emails from forum.

Here is an issue that I’ve created long back to track this.

+1

Thanks for bringing this up. Lets try out and see how it works.

1 Like

I can take this up. Although I do not have the permission levels at the moment to do so. Also, another category I propose is “Project Showcase” where people can share their Github mini-projects.

+1, this would be great to have. Connecting @mrkaran, maybe he can look into this and give some inputs.

I’d be happy to take this up, but don’t have the permission levels on the discourse instance.

Done.

Great. I’ll ping @mrkaran to see how to set that up.

Granted access. You should have got an email with details. Please let me know if you need any access on telegram side as well.

1 Like

Missed the messages here :sweat_smile:. I’ve not setup this forum, I think @shivam or @WishArya can help here.

Thanks for the access grants. Apologies, but I missed that the plugin will have to be installed first. For this we need to edit the config in app.yml (https://meta.discourse.org/t/install-plugins-in-discourse/19157).

To something like this:

hooks:
  after_code:
    - exec:
        cd: $home/plugins
        cmd:
          - sudo -E -u discourse git clone https://github.com/discourse/docker_manager.git
          - sudo -E -u discourse git clone https://github.com/discourse/discourse-chat-integration.git

and rebuild the container according to the steps in that doc.

@Anand

I have figured out an alternative to installing the plugin which would end up being a pain to set up.

We can use the RSS feed of this forum at https://forum.fossunited.org/posts.rss and pull posts using the TheFeedReaderBot telegram bot. If you give the go ahead, I will configure it for the telegram group.

Early on we can configure it with posts.rss and when the notifications become too much we can change it to latest.rss which only sends new-posts. Here is a preview of the RSS feed. https://www.feedroll.com/rssviewer/preview.php?src=https%3A%2F%2Fforum.fossunited.org%2Fposts.rss&targ=n&utf=y&css=

3 Likes

Hey @rhnvrm, I didn’t want to use TheFeedReaderBot as that was not open source. I ended up writing a simple python script put make the integration work using the rss feed. I’m testing it on a private channel now. I’m make it live soon.

The code is at:

5 Likes