Dead Discussion Forums

Having discussion forums on our list which are not used by the relevant communities (or there is no such community) is bad in several ways – it makes the list longer and more daunting, and can lead people astray when looking for the right place to ask a question or make an announcement.

I’ve been through the list recently, and the following discussion forums seem to me to be dead. Please let me know if you disagree, or if you know of more which need to be on the list. Once we have a good list, I will post in each of them to invite final objections, and then have them removed.

Group Comment
mozilla.web-developers.general 3 messages in 6 months
mozilla.dev.ajax 1 message in 3 months
mozilla.dev.tech.javascript Full of spam; JS dev discussion is in .js-engine
mozilla.dev.apps.minimo Superceded by mozilla.dev.platforms.mobile
mozilla.dev.general.it 3 messages in 6 months
mozilla.dev.web-development Not much activity
mozilla.mdc.devnews Empty
mozilla.mdc.webwatch Empty
mozilla.support.screenshots Moderator: “there hasn’t been a post in the group (other than my own) for several months now.”
mozilla.community.mozpad 4 messages in 6 months
mozilla.community.enterprise 4 messages in 6 months
mozilla.dev.apps.camino 2 messages in 6 months, both of them from me; the Camino community is thriving, but elsewhere
mozilla.dev.apps.other None since 2007
mozilla.support.mozilla-suite Suite is dead; group contains only misdirected SeaMonkey questions

What are the lessons here? Make sure there’s demand for a group before setting one up, and don’t create groups just because you wish that there was a community to live in them :-)

11 thoughts on “Dead Discussion Forums

  1. Or, if there is a forum that you think should exist, work to develop a community to live in it. Sometimes “build it and they will come” is not the way it works.

  2. I’m not sure that’s the right lesson. If you’re trying to build a community, a mailing list is often a basic prerequisite. Perhaps a better lesson is “if it doesn’t succeed, clean it up instead of leaving it to confuse people”.

  3. We don’t use either Camino newsgroup (.dev or .support) and specifically don’t point to them anywhere on our website. Our dev discussion has always occurred on irc, in the wiki, and in bugs where appropriate, and “live” user support and discussion has been on the mozillaZine Camino forum, the old mozdev mailing list, and on irc for those who happen into the channel.

    I think the only references to those two newsgroups are from mozilla.org. We’ve long had comment in the bug about http://www.mozilla.org/support/ asking for that page to stop linking to our .support newsgroup and to link to our support documentation instead. We certainly won’t be upset by having unwanted newsgroups removed ;-)

  4. Problem is there are so many different means of communication: forums, mailing lists, newsgroups…They should all be one single channel with various access means.

  5. I think the real lesson here is not to fracture a larger community for a smaller one prematurely.

    Most of these topics easily live within another group. What you usually do is wait to break off a chunk of the community like this until the sub-topic is flooding the larger one’s group.

    These groups seem to either be prematurely created to solve a problem that didn’t exist yet or just represent topics that used to flood a larger group but now have died down enough that they can be merged back in to the larger topic.

  6. Ben: Yes, that too. I was thinking of cases like dev.general.it, which was created in response to a bug filed by an Italian guy saying “we need somewhere to have development discussion in Italian…” and then there wasn’t any.

    Smokey: Sure :-)

    Charles: But that’s exactly what exists today. The newsgroups are the mailing lists are the Google Groups. See the developer forums page.

  7. RE: mozilla.support.screenshots
    Moderator: “there hasn’t been a post in the group (other than my own) for several months now.”

    There is a long thread in mozilla.general complaining that none of their submitted messages reached m.s.screenshots with accusations that the moderator has been censoring posts for no good reason. The moderator however claims that he never got those submissions. Because of the significant frustration level people have basically given up on m.s.screenshots and gone back to using tinypic et al. I suggest that before you remove this group, to try getting a more responsive moderator (i.e. one who doesn’t just flatly deny receiving anything)

    Phil

  8. Gerv Status 2009-09-04

    This week’s status. It covers the six weeks since OSCON, as I have been on holiday or not working for a large part of that time. Highlights: Sent out final reminder to everyone who hasn’t yet signed the new Committer’s Agreement; deadline is October 12…