Every week (supposedly), we’ll be posting an interview with one of our many beloved contributors here on Meta. This week:
Please state your name & location, and tell us a bit about yourself
Name: Daniela Bogazzi (and yes, in spite of my username I’m female )
Location: Salerno, Italy
at the moment I am looking for work (Editor’s note: Daniela just got hired as a Technical Advocate for Discourse! ) , so I spend a lot of time searching for a new one. I devote the rest of my time
- to my community where we are developing a new torrent client from the scratch,
- to my forum where I am the only administrator and where I have to coordinate the various teams in their work and help new users who have problems with our existing softwares (emule mod for Windows, Linux and Mac),
- and because I’m not a developer I’m learning at least the basic web languages (Html and CSS), then who knows?
- with my partner, who is a developer
How did you first find out about Discourse?
I met Discourse when we were looking for another platform to migrate our community (we used V-bulletin for 10 years, but the founder of our project was tired of all the bugs of that platform). We tested a couple of platforms before deciding to go to Discourse, one was Diaspora, the other I did not even remember. We installed Discourse in November 2013, we tested it for a week, then we finally closed the old forum and opened the current one to the public.
What are you using Discourse for?
Our is a public forum focused on P2P technology. Since the official emule did not work with the Fastweb isp because of the private IP assignment to the users, our founder, 15 years ago, decided to develop a custom mod that worked only within the Fastweb network. In a short time we have become the most used mod in Italy, and today many users testify of having signed a contract with Fastweb only to use eMule AdunanzA. As I said above we use Discourse to coordinate groups in our work, to help users, and even to give news or comment on articles about the world of technology, politics, economics, and everything they want to discuss.
Discourse gives me all the right tools to do what we do.
How did you get so involved in the Meta community?
I’m so involved with Discourse initially to learn how our forum worked, what functions were there, what could be changed and what could not be done (at that time I was a member of the team, I was neither moderator nor administrator). Then I started asking our founder to add a function, edit a button, change a layout, and so on, because I had seen similar things in other forums here on Meta. After a month our founder promoted me moderator and said “well, now make all the changes you want”. After six months I was an administrator together with my founder. At that time I started to go even further with Meta to learn the administrative functions, to see if there were any reported issues before updating our forum, checking what functions had been added, what plugins were released that could serve us etc… When I felt a little safer than my knowledge about Discourse, I started interacting on the forum not only to ask for support but also to give it (sometimes even giving wrong or inaccurate suggestions ). When unfortunately our founder got sick, he had to leave our community and charged me to handle everything. At that point I became an even more active here on Meta, practically Discourse has become my second community I frequent every day.
What compels you to contribute to Discourse?
Compels??? I like to help who has problems if I can do it and I like to contribute to the community with my (few) knowledge when I can. Here I learned a lot, I return what I learned to others.
Tell us about a non-Discourse community that you’re involved in!
Well, I’ve been living in Salerno for about 2 years, many of my current friends are passionate about Dungeons and Dragons since they were 12 or 13 years old. Since my boyfriend is from the company, they have convinced me to play.
What to say? Become a Balor demon for 7 rounds, to save my party from a Japanese Oni and 200 samurai who want to kill you, have no price (at least until next week, when the master - university professor of medieval philosophy with a lot of fantasy - decides which curse I will have ).
Occasionally I also play with League of Legends with other friends, just for fun. We are a quiet team and we do not like discussing with other players for a game.
What kind of significance does the open source movement have to you?
I think it’s great to create open source projects, even ours are open source.
Personally, I believe open source philosophy is one of the most important resources to help new developers to evaluate and increase their skills and to learn new languages. I like when a developer, a web designer, or even a translator adhere to an open source project, because they do it mostly for passion. And it also helps them expand their portfolio.
For example, the latest public version of our project was developed by an 18-year-old boy (at the time) along with our founder. The one currently in development has 4 developers, 1 is a well-established professional who works for a multinational company, 1 has just graduated from computer engineering, 1 is a neo-graduate, 1 is a very good developer but has decided to do another job orientated to bio-engineering and develop programs only for passion … All of these different people joined together because of an open source project!
What has been the greatest challenge in learning about Discourse and its community?
Well, for a non-technical user like me, it was to understand the structure of Discourse itself. What does docker mean? What do all the services that go after discourse (postgres, redis, etc.)? What is a rails c console? And a SQL query what can do? It took time to understand how everything works and I’m still learning.
At first, I thought I could break anything I was touching… the first time I put my hand on the css/html window I inadvertently deleted a stylesheet that had written my boss and I had a day of total panic … then I searched in all forum to find the staff action log and reset the stylesheet lost.
At the moment the only difficulty I have is to understand well how api and webhooks work.
Any ideas on how to improve the Meta community?
We encourage respondents to speak candidly on this topic. Even if no sensitive information was discussed, answers will always be presented in a short list.
- Lack of topics/documentation targeted at new users. Clearer FAQ for recurring questions like server requirements.
- More exhaustive explanations for Discourse’s main features.
Any advice to future contributors?
Nothing in particular, just read a lot and learn from the documentation already written by others before them, ask for explanations if they do not understand something, do not get angry when a user does not follow your explanations, help when it’s possible even on the least important things, never give up the knowledge of other users (and then explain point to point a solution to a problem, because even if the user you are responding to is a skilled user maybe the user who will read the same topic later is only a basic user), the usual thing in short…