Channel for Informal Dev Chat?

(Ryan Erwin) #1

There’s a big difference between catching the eye of a colleague that’s also got the “i’m stuck” expression on their face, and formulating a long, accurate, useful forum post that is worth the attention of senior developers.

What do you think of a category with much less formal etiquette where newby Discourse developers can exchange ideas and crowd source their troubleshooting?

  1. questions don’t need to be “properly formulated”
  2. answers don’t need to be correct and/or tested
  3. no issue is “too small” or “too minor”
  4. nobody will be judged
  5. speed of response is better than accuracy

Just like when we’re chatting with colleagues about these issues at the office, but facilitating those of us learning discourse development remote…

If you went this way, maybe the category could be setup in a way so that the “newby noise” didn’t leak out onto the rest of the site more that absolutely necessary…

What do you think? I believe there are a lot of people that haven’t posted about a particular question because it was too minor

  • I’ve done some development in Discourse and would like a very informal place to bounce questions off other similar developers
  • Never done any Discourse development, but I know one or more other programming language and I’m interested in building things on top of Discourse
  • I don’t know Linux or any programming languages, but would like to chat among the other newbies
  • I’m on the Discourse team (#dev for me)
  • I’m not on the Discourse team, but I’ve already completed many Discourse plugins (#dev for me)
  • I’m a grumpy person and I don’t like new ideas and/or change
  • I’m not a grumpy person, but this is still a bad idea…

0 voters

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Hey Ryan,
I hear ya, but in my experience these kinds of categories (and communities) fail because there is absolutely no incentive for the people that can actually answer the questions to bother participating.

I’m interested in your thoughts on that.

(Ryan Erwin) #3

fail because there is absolutely no incentive for the people that can actually answer the questions to bother participating

I think that’s ultimately a question of how many newby discourse developer questions can be answered by other newby discourse developers.

In cases where the community or category is for one specific programming language, I believe the “newby community” would be less effective, because as soon as you’ve got that basic info, you’re gone.

But with Discourse, there are a lot of people that know Ruby or Rails, but don’t necessarily know much about Discourse… Or maybe they know JS but not Ember. Maybe they even know JS and Rails but just don’t grok Discourse yet.

Longer term, there is definitely a risk of a “free rider” problem… People always asking and never answering, even when able. There are always ways to deal with those though.

Seems that the cost to try the experiment would be low, and the benefit might be significant. If it “failed” you could always just click delete


A fair comment but I remain unconvinced that there is a problem here that needs to be solved. I spend a lot of time reading topics here and I don’t get the feeling that people don’t ask questions because they are too easy.

That said, I’m totally cool with leaving this open to see if others agree with you, and if they do I’ll eat my words. :slight_smile:


There’s an enforced etiquette here? Isn’t that just a reflection of the well behaved, decent community?

I don’t know … I think a bigger issue is the lack of developers and that I speculate in part is down to the notorious learning curve involved (Ember/Javascript/Discourse-way/Ruby)

So when you don’t get a question answered is probably due to the small population that could actually answer it effectively.

This makes it sounds like there are a lot of developers … are there?

How many active members of meta are able to pen a plugin I wonder? How many of those are not on the team? What proportion is that of the total?

(Angus McLeod) #6

I’m in favour of the spirit of this idea. I would be happy to answer any questions on Discourse dev, as @ryanerwin can attest. The more Discourse-familiar dev’s the better as far as I’m concerned.

I wonder whether it needs a new category; #dev is a category to ask questions about Discourse dev. Perhaps it’s more a question of ‘atmosphere’?

If anyone out there genuinely has a question, you can always @ me, and I’d be happy to help you out, no matter how ‘basic’.

When asking a question the most important thing you need to do is show that you’ve made a genuine attempt to figure it out yourself. If you’ve actually put in some effort yourself, people are much more willing to put in effort to help you. There are a few indicia for effort:

  • Formulate your question as specifically as you can. A general cry for help tends to indicate a lack of effort.

  • If you ask something that has already been answered or discussed at length somewhere else on meta, this is generally a sign of a lack of effort. Not always, but in most cases.

  • If you’re ‘asking’ something just to try and get someone to fix an issue you’re having on your site, or to otherwise get work for free, it’s normally pretty obvious. Flattery won’t help you (in fact it normally has the opposite effect, at least as far as I’m concerned).

(Joffrey Jaffeux) #7

Fully agreed on this.

And I would add : “REPRODUCTION” Anything that can make me reproduce your error or issue will make me want to answer/fix it. A simple way to reproduce something is 50% of the work imo.