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OOoForum.org

Postby AndrewZ » Mon May 05, 2008 11:47 pm

I mean the following in a friendly way.

I notice some people use the terms "new forum" and "old forum." This implies OOoForum is depreciated or less useful. However, that's hardly the case. It contains a rich history of 260,000 posts, many of which contain valuable information not found anywhere else. OOoForum is still active both in terms of "ask-ers" and "answer-ers." Sometimes "old/new forum" is used in passing. I've also seen it as someone's signature (I don't recall whom.) In any case, I encourage people to reconsider terms with connotations.

More disheartening is the description of the two forums at at http://support.openoffice.org/ . One says, "The premier forum for OpenOffice.org users; immensely useful and recommended." Sure, USOO is good, but label is heavy on subjectivity and light on information. "Useful" to whom and how? What if you are looking for Macros and API posts only found on OOoForum? "Immensely?" And "recommended" by whom? One definition of "premier" is "first in time; earliest; oldest" and that is wrong, and the other definition of "premier" is subjective.

OOoForum is listed as "The (Unofficial) OpenOffice Forum." It's "unofficial" ? The term bothers me because it's used inconsistently and seems to imply something negative. Why isn't OOoForum instead called "The original (premier), largest, most active OpenOffice.org forum"?

Sorry for ranting. I just think OOoForum deserves more respect. I have to get it off my chest. :)

Finally, I encourage people who help answer questions here to consider also reading OOoForum. In either place, people are just looking for help.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue May 06, 2008 12:01 am

I agree that oooforum deserves a better description compared to the OUCV.

However, if this forum came to life, that was because oooforum could disappear at anytime. And I don't think the situation has changed (but I may be wrong since I rarely visit it now). So why invest time in something that could vanish suddenly? Better build a robust database here. I know, this is perhaps rude but that's my position, sorry.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby AndrewZ » Tue May 06, 2008 2:11 am

Hagar de l'Est, I do see your point and acknowledge OOoForum could have more active administration. I don't think you are rude at all. On the other hand, I think between Ed and his sponsor, OOoForum is actually sticking around for many years. I plan to continue regularly reading both forums.

I hope I am never rude. :) If so, let me know. Today I am tired, so I may be less aware than usual.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby ccornell » Tue May 06, 2008 9:16 am

If a wording change is in order for the Support page, then we should agree on what it should be, and then send a message to the dev@website mailing list where those who can make a change are lurking.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby Phil » Tue May 06, 2008 1:34 pm

This recalls me the very live discussion that we had in this thread.

I have learned quite a bit about the backgrounds, why I would not use the terms "old" or "new" forum anymore.

However, from its appearance and features and especially from what I learned in the discussion, I definitely prefer OUCV. This is why I think it is not wrong to bind new users to it. And exactly this is reflected on the support homepage.
I admit the term "unofficial" is not ideal, however how should a differentiation between the forums be made otherwise?
You also need to take the new user's perspective: It is confusing to have two support forums that seem to be equally significant. I think this is also something that has to be seen from the marketing point of view.

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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue May 06, 2008 1:46 pm

Why not something like "the Sun hosted forum" for OUCV and "external (or third party) forum" for oooforum (and 8daysaweek BTW). The point is to show that main difference is not the content but the 'location" of the mainframe.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby kingfisher » Wed May 07, 2008 5:22 am

"Community forum" vs "third party forum"?
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby TerryE » Wed May 07, 2008 6:11 am

Andrew, OOoForum does have a large knowledge base of posting history, but the fundamental vulnerabilities of OOoForum remain. Ed did about 50 posts last Jul-Nov around the time he refreshed the H/W. Apart from that there has been no evidence of active system management for over 2 years.

Most of us came to this OOo hosted forum because we have control over its maintenance and direction. No one person has overall control. We can use the full functionality of phpBB3. Bhikkhu Pesala can ask to switch titles around and we can do it. Hagar can raise an issue about automatically opening ODF attachments; Villeroy about search limitation and we will try to address these. We can adapt this forum to the joint wishes of the volunteers. This isn't an issue of rivalry. I personally at least have chosen to support this forum, that's all. And if OOoForum does suddenly vanish then at least the User Community has an alternative now.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby AndrewZ » Wed May 07, 2008 3:36 pm

kingfisher wrote:"Community forum" vs "third party forum"?


There is a difference? Here is an example: "Ed is a member of the community. He hosts OOoForum as a community forum."

OOoForum does have a large knowledge base of posting history, but the fundamental vulnerabilities of OOoForum remain.


Yes, the lack of maintenance is frustrating, but to me that's a separate issue.

However, from its appearance and features and especially from what I learned in the discussion, I definitely prefer OUCV. This is why I think it is not wrong to bind new users to it. And exactly this is reflected on the support homepage.


If OUCV is so great (and I am not saying it isn't), an objective, unbias description should be sufficient to encourage people to visit.

Also, what if Ed upgraded to phpBB3, paid his web hosting 10 years in advance, and did other things to demonstrate interest and maintenance. Would OOoForum again be the "premier" forum?

Why not something like "the Sun hosted forum" for OUCV and "external (or third party) forum" for oooforum (and 8daysaweek BTW). The point is to show that main difference is not the content but the 'location" of the mainframe.


Works for me. I would also like to have a little more to tell them apart, but I think total number of users or posts would not fly. :) Mailing lists often use current number of posts (for example, "average new posts 30 per day"). Would that be acceptable?
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby TerryE » Wed May 07, 2008 6:05 pm

What we have here is an OOo sponsored forum run by a community of volunteers who feel themselves answerable to that community and an independent OOoForum run by an individual who is extremely reluctant to engage in any form of constructive dialogue, and seems to acts as if he is answerable to no one.

For six months last year when the performance of OOoF was failing we privately explored options amongst ourselves, wrote a number of emails to Ed and tried to engage in direct constructive conversation. It never happened. Ed just didn't want to talk or share control. In the end we and the OOo consortium were so concerned about the future of OOoForum that we decided that the only effective way of ensuring a viable and sustainable support forum was to set up a separate user community forum under openoffice.org banner. (Wasn't it odd that Ed should suddenly decide to reengage and upgrade the OOoF server after 18 months of almost no involvement, and failing infrastructure — and after six months of our approaches and coincidental to our fallback milestone for starting up the new service?)

Of course it would make sense to merge OOoF and usOOo combining the kB and support teams, but no one in this dialogue has any influence over Ed and what he decides to do. If Ed moves beyond vague intent, and actually decides to share governance and maintainer access with other IT professionals then we can start looking at such options. In the meantime our job here is to live by the Open philosophy and focus on keeping this forum open, vibrant and providing an effective service.

Ed's next challenge is that phpBB2 is end-of-life. Upgrading OOoF to phpBB3 is a major undertaking, but Ed couldn't even rehost OOoF across MySql instances without screwing up the (UTF-8) encoding of old postings. (Incidentally I did offering to fix this one for him if he gave me temporary access; all I needed was a DB dump of the posting tables — but another unanswered email).
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby acknak » Wed May 07, 2008 7:10 pm

I don't have a problem with the wording on the support page: it's short, and I believe conveys an understanding of the situation that's accurate enough for a first impression. As far as I can see, it serves the user community appropriately by presenting both choices without implying that they are the same, which they aren't.

OO.org is contributing resources to support this site, providing critical features and administrative support that are currently missing from oooforum, so I don't think it's unfair for OO.org to recommend this as the "first stop" for community support. I don't see that "unofficial" carries any deep negative connotations, and the link is not buried as it is on some other sites; e.g., Mozilla puts all the links to third-party forums on a separate page.

In fact, I think the Mozilla presentation, which implies the same "official/unofficial" or "first-tier/second-tier" status even more strongly, serves most users better. The current OO.org support page forces newbies to choose from a complicated list of support channels. Mozilla puts one channel on the support page, and more experienced users who want something else have to click through to another page for all the other channels.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby kingfisher » Thu May 08, 2008 1:28 am

I think the term 'unofficial' is slightly pejorative. 'Independent' would be better.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby AndrewZ » Thu May 08, 2008 5:33 am

acknak wrote:OO.org is contributing resources to support this site


You mean Sun Microsystems? Some would like to see OpenOffice.org grow more independent of Sun, and lately I agree more. I say that acknowledging Sun's generous gifts, but an independent model has worked well for others such as Eclipse and Fedora.

providing critical features and administrative support that are currently missing from oooforum


Then why not make that the description?

I don't see that "unofficial" carries any deep negative connotations


The term "unofficial" may connotative unsanctioned, renegade, unwelcome, and unreliable.

When applied to forums and wikis, the term "official" is odd because forums and wikis are user generated content. Anyone can write anything. Without any special permission, I edited the OOo 2.4 features page and the 3.0 readme on the OOo wiki. When I write something on a non-*.openoffice.org site, it's unofficial, but when I repeat the same thing on the official wiki, it becomes (to my surprise) the official 2.4 release notes.

acknak wrote:In fact, I think the Mozilla presentation, which implies the same "official/unofficial" or "first-tier/second-tier" status even more strongly, serves most users better. The current OO.org support page forces newbies to choose from a complicated list of support channels. Mozilla puts one channel on the support page, and more experienced users who want something else have to click through to another page for all the other channels.


Did Mozilla have an "independent" (trying out Kingfisher's word) forum long before the corporate forum?
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby TerryE » Thu May 08, 2008 2:31 pm

Andrew, you didn't respond to any of the points that I made on my last post — I suspect that you missed it since it was at the foot of page 1 :-)

However, I meant what I said here. We set up usOOo because Ed wouldn't work with anyone. Here we have four designated system admins, 9 board admins, and a dozen moderators across the three boards. Any volunteer is free to propose changes to the system, and we will respond constructively in any discussion. The content of the forums is Open. We also know what we're doing. Drew and I for example have 60 years professional IT experience between us, so we are not amateurs. This a very different environment to OOoF.

We also looked at incorporating the historic posting content of OOoF into usOOo. Whilst this technically straightforward, we can't do this legally without Ed's agreement because its content is not maintained under an Open licence. We also suggested merging the forums (but answer came there none). In the meantime, usOOo/en is now approaching double the posting volumes of OOoF. PhpBB2 is now end-of-life and so OOoF will soon require some significant sysadmin effort. My view remains that OOoF is moribund and sadly has no long term future unless Ed fundamentally changes his philosophy. Have you any suggestions as to how we should proceed with OOoF, and could you act as a bridge here to get Ed into constructive dialogue?
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby AndrewZ » Thu May 08, 2008 3:43 pm

However, I meant what I said here. We set up usOOo because Ed wouldn't work with anyone.


Do you know his motivation (1) for starting OOoForum and (2) for continuing on this current path?

The content of the forums is Open.


I was not aware that my posts here are any under particular license. I could fork the USOO content?

My view remains that OOoF is moribund and sadly has no long term future unless Ed fundamentally changes his philosophy.


Rather than approaching death, I consider OOoForum in "minimal maintenance mode." In practice, it works OK, and I expect Ed to continue paying his hosting (if it's not donated/sponsored).

There are parts of OpenOffice.org as a code base and as web site that also are in a minimal maintenance mode.

Have you any suggestions as to how we should proceed with OOoF


First, don't alienate OOoForum with language like old vs new and premier vs unofficial.

and could you act as a bridge here to get Ed into constructive dialogue?


I am willing to try again*, but I don't know what motivates him. Is he busy? Does he feel important doing this? Does he distrust others? Does he need money? Does he have other web sites? Are his hands tied by some unknown influence? Is he ill?

* Actually, I wrote Ed about something along these lines three weeks ago, but he didn't reply.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby ccornell » Thu May 08, 2008 4:08 pm

AndrewZ wrote:Actually, I wrote Ed about something along these lines three weeks ago, but he didn't reply.

Sounds familiar :-(

I am sure we would welcome his participation here. At one point there was some discussion about merging things... but sadly nothing came of it.

I hope maybe you can get his attention.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby AndrewZ » Thu May 08, 2008 4:18 pm

ccornell wrote:
AndrewZ wrote:Actually, I wrote Ed about something along these lines three weeks ago, but he didn't reply.

Sounds familiar :-(

I am sure we would welcome his participation here. At one point there was some discussion about merging things... but sadly nothing came of it.


Sorry if I was unclear. I wrote Ed about maintenance, administration, and improvements, but I didn't suggest merging forum contents into one forum. I thought it was a good idea before USOO started, but not today. Anyway, that would be an academic debate right now. :)
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby ccornell » Thu May 08, 2008 4:22 pm

AndrewZ wrote:Sorry if I was unclear. I wrote Ed about maintenance, administration, and improvements, but I didn't suggest merging forum contents into one forum. I thought it was a good idea before USOO started, but not today. Anyway, that would be an academic debate right now. :)


Not unclear... I was just thinking/referencing the last (one?) time we had some contact with Ed, and thinking that it was a shame that it fizzled out.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby TerryE » Thu May 08, 2008 6:53 pm

AndrewZ wrote:Do you know his motivation (1) for starting OOoForum and (2) for continuing on this current path?
(1) No, but I guess that it was for the best intentions. He was certainly actively involved in the community until Mar '05 or thereabouts and at the point his priorities changed.

I was not aware that my posts here are any under particular license. I could fork the USOO content?
Yes, you can, and even OOoForum could incorporate this content. See the Policies and Terms of Use caveat at the foot of every webpage. In particular in clause 4A "You hereby grant to the Hosts and all Users a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, non-exclusive and fully sub-licensable right and license under Your intellectual property rights to reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, display and use Your Submissions (in whole or part) and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, all subject to the obligation to retain any copyright notices included in Your Submissions. " You will find the wording similar to Wiki and other OS knowledge repositories.

In terms of your point on "minimal maintenance mode", I agree re OOoF, but do you understand my point about being stuck on an old and soon to be unsupported bulletin board version? As to OOo, I can't speak for all projects, but this site and service is actively maintained. Incidentally, to give credit where it is due, OOoF is actually funded by UnitedLayer under the generous sponsorship of Richard Donaldson, their Marketing VP.

I guess that both Clayton and I are wryly amused by your comment "I wrote Ed about something along these lines three weeks ago, but he didn't reply." That's just my point. You make a comment here and we respond; we try to debate your points constructively. If they are valid, then we will act upon them. But we spent six months privately trying to get Ed in dialogue. At best we would get an "I am awfully busy, I will respond next week" ... followed by silence. All your Qs about Ed are valid and we've asked them ourselves. We have no answers.

I don't think it's valid to anthropomorphise OOoForum: you can't alienate a LAMP service running on a bit of kit in UnitedLayer. You can meaningfully talk about the community of supporters that answer posts on the forum. I respect this community and the service it provides. You can also talk about Ed, and guess about his thoughts and motivations. With usOOo the community runs the service; with OOoForum the community supports the service but has zero effective interaction or influence over the person who retains a god role over its configuration and operation, but this god doesn't believe in answering prayers.
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Re: OOoForum.org

Postby foxcole » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:23 pm

I disagree that "Unofficial" is in any way pejorative or diminishing. It can even be welcoming, in a way. If it were pejorative, why would anyone print "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World" or visit "The Unofficial Apple Blog"? It's a very common entitlement and it carries no dishonor; in fact, it can make a resource seem more accessible, less intimidating. Try Googling "the unoffical" and see how many pages of websites and books you find. That word doesn't make the resources seem any less attractive... people still readily refer to them for information and believe the information they find.

If anything, the wording should be challenged because it can reinforce the newbie's perception that they're reaching the "OOo team" in this forum, rather than other users... because they're perceiving this forum as official by inverse association, it must be a direct route to designers and developers.
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