Forum hosting

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Bryce
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Forum hosting

Postby Bryce » Sun May 13, 2018 10:35 am

After the forum outage a few days ago, several people have inquired with the Inkscape project about helping with hosting inkscapeforum.com.

MicroUgly first approached us back in 2009 (https://sourceforge.net/p/inkscape/mail ... /23185274/) but we didn't have the ability to host it at that time; he did transfer ownership of the domain name to us some while ago. Recently, though, Inkscape has gotten hosting capability donated to the project by cloudscale.ch. We've experimented with setting up an instance of the server, and if microUgly sends us the database + files and we are prepared to take over maintenance. Brynn can elaborate on what our plans are and various ideas and approaches we've been kicking around.

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brynn
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Re: Forum hosting

Postby brynn » Sun May 13, 2018 5:58 pm

Hi Friends,
While the exact timing isn't known yet, in light of the recent outage of this forum (just a few days this time), those of us who have been working on it, think it's probably time to announce the plans. The Inkscape project and community as a whole, has recently acquired it's own servers (as Bryce explained). And a new official forum will be among the first usage of the new server!

Some time ago (has it been 2 or 3 years....surely not 4 ??) when the developers were first notified of the lack of effective management of this forum (*), they offered a chance to create a new "official" forum. At that time, we had a brief contact with microUgly (the single owner/admin of this forum), in which he transferred ownership of the domain name (inkscapeforum.com) to the Inkscape project. He also promised to deliver the databases and other necessary files, in which to use this forum as a base for starting a new forum.

After that, he disappeared again. But at the same time, we found out that the Inkscape project did not have enough webspace to host a new forum anyway.

So now, a few years later, we have our own server, and we already have an empty new forum installed (just like this one). And we've attempted to contact microUgly again.

When we hear from him, and depending on exactly how he decides to transfer the files (whether to us or directly into the new forum), this forum will either be put into Maintenance Mode (the forum will be offline, or i.e. completely disappear, temporarily) or Read-Only mode (which means people can read the forum, but not post messages). We don't have a starting date for this yet, but it should only last for a day or 2 (unless unexpected difficulties come up).

When the forum opens back up again, you will have your same username and login credentials. You will have to log in again, but at first, the forum will be exactly the same as before. If you don't visit often, and if you normally log out and in with each visit, you might not even realize something happened.

We realize that there are a TON of improvements, which have been put off since almost the beginning, which will need to be made. Please be patient, and we will address those little by little, as time goes by.

However, there is one extremely important improvement which will be needed early on. Since this new forum really will be the official Inkscape forum, it will have to have rules, or code of conduct, or whatever you want to call it. Despite the fact this forum has been existing without any real leadership for 11 years, we will have to have some form of hierarchy, and some form of guidelines.

Instead of having these rules written for us, we'll have a chance to write them ourselves. We will have guidance from the board, but we will have fairly a lot of say about it. I've been asked to take ownership of this task -- which doesn't mean write it myself -- unless no one else wants to be involved.

At this point, I would just ask those of you who think you might want to be on the staff, or involved in drafting our new guidelines, give it some thought. I don't expect this should take very long. Because we already had a start on this a few years ago, I already know most of what the board wants to see included. I guess it really depends on how much time, people who want to be involved, have to spare. But I'm thinking within a couple of months of whenever we start, it should be finished.

Anyway, give it some thought. We'll have to "play it by ear" as to when we start, depending whether we get a response from microUgly right away, or if it drags on. I'll post about it again, whenever we're ready to get started.

(Fyi, being on the staff or helping to draft the guidelines would be a nice stepping stone, if anyone is interested in becoming involved in the larger development community.)

And by the way, if microUgly either changes his mind (about providing the files), or doesn't reply for many weeks, we'll have to go to Plan B. Plan B doesn't actually exist yet. (Likely it would involve starting the new forum without the messages in this forum. Hopefully we would be able to keep this forum online, but in read-only mode. Or maybe we would use the Wayback Machine.)

But in any case, we'll keep you posted about Plan B, if it becomes necessary. Right now, we're waiting to hear from microUgly.

(*) awesome spam control, but no other real management

v1nce
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Re: Forum hosting

Postby v1nce » Sun May 13, 2018 9:01 pm

Code of conduct ?
So you are telling us the forum is about to die ?

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brynn
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Re: Forum hosting

Postby brynn » Sun May 13, 2018 10:28 pm

No, no! It is about to be re-born! It will have proper management -- by us! We will actually have access to the server and the forum controls.

Doesn't have to be called "code of conduct". Could be called "rules" or "guidelines" or whatever. It will be patterned after the project's umbrella CoC: https://inkscape.org/community/coc/ But will have certain details which is needed by the forum. Such as, how many moderators to have, how many admins to have, how the staff will be selected, how staff will be replaced when they resign, if people have complaints, there will be a way to make complaints, and have them be settled fairly. It will also probably include things like in this forum's existing rules: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=1836

Just general, common sense things like that.

Edit
Although to be honest, coming under the Inkscape project flag probably means nudity will no longer be fine.

Moini
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Re: Forum hosting

Postby Moini » Mon May 14, 2018 4:28 am

One possible solution would be we can just ask to tag things appropriately, instead of not allowing them. I don't mind people showing off their art with undressed people. It's not the rules themselves, it's how they're applied (most are just common sense) which can make things go well or not. I prefer a less strict interpretation. We already do have some unwritten moderation rules, which mostly circle around spam, and discussions becoming unproductive. I don't think we need much more, except for the structure (admin, tasks of moderators).
Something doesn't work? - Keeping an eye on the status bar can save you a lot of time!

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brynn
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Re: Forum hosting

Postby brynn » Mon May 14, 2018 6:42 am

Yeah, but a lot of American parents would not like their children to use the forum, even if those images are tagged or flagged or whatever. Would we want to exclude children?

v1nce
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Re: Forum hosting

Postby v1nce » Mon May 14, 2018 8:01 am

Couldn't we just ban American parents instead ?

tylerdurden
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Re: Forum hosting

Postby tylerdurden » Mon May 14, 2018 11:18 am

Moini wrote:One possible solution would be we can just ask to tag things appropriately, instead of not allowing them. I don't mind people showing off their art with undressed people. It's not the rules themselves, it's how they're applied (most are just common sense) which can make things go well or not. I prefer a less strict interpretation. We already do have some unwritten moderation rules, which mostly circle around spam, and discussions becoming unproductive. I don't think we need much more, except for the structure (admin, tasks of moderators).

I agree with this.
Have a nice day.

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brynn
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Re: Forum hosting

Postby brynn » Fri May 18, 2018 4:08 pm

Moini wrote:One possible solution would be we can just ask to tag things appropriately, instead of not allowing them. I don't mind people showing off their art with undressed people. It's not the rules themselves, it's how they're applied (most are just common sense) which can make things go well or not. I prefer a less strict interpretation. We already do have some unwritten moderation rules, which mostly circle around spam, and discussions becoming unproductive. I don't think we need much more, except for the structure (admin, tasks of moderators).

tylerdurden wrote:
Moini wrote:One possible solution would be we can just ask to tag things appropriately, instead of not allowing them. I don't mind people showing off their art with undressed people. It's not the rules themselves, it's how they're applied (most are just common sense) which can make things go well or not. I prefer a less strict interpretation. We already do have some unwritten moderation rules, which mostly circle around spam, and discussions becoming unproductive. I don't think we need much more, except for the structure (admin, tasks of moderators).

I agree with this.

Sorry for delay, I've been overwhelmed with both online and offline problems lately. And plus I've been "digesting" a little.

Just to make sure we're all on the same page, regarding this part:

We already do have some unwritten moderation rules, which mostly circle around spam, and discussions becoming unproductive.

First, perhaps all we need to do is write down the unwritten rules?

Second, I think the part "....discussions becoming unproductive." probably calls back to the last incident where one member was putting down (i.e. "attacking") another (who happened to be me) and the thread was locked.

If that's the case, I do not agree that that's all we need. I think the member who breaks the rules needs to suffer some kind of consequence. I think it's not fair that they should continue to be a member in good standing, after having broken the rules. Whether we use the warning system which is part of the forum (*), or whether we come up with something else, doesn't matter to me. But in my opinion, they should have some consequence. Otherwise, there is no motivation for them to improve their behavior.

(*) I'm not sure about the phpBB warning system, but the one in SMF is quite flexible. The admin can decide what kind of effects come with the warning (which range from no special effect, just their profile says they have a warning, to having their posts moderated for some amount of time, to not being able to post for some amount of time, to....I can't remember for sure, but it seems like a temporary ban is part of the options). And you can also configure how long the member is under the effects of the warning (ranging from hours to days to months, etc). So there's probably a lot of flexibility available.

Please don't get too excited about these comments. I'm not talking about coming in with armed guards and locking down the forum. And I'm not talking about eliminating free speech. But I do think the member who breaks a rule needs some kind of consequence. And we need some kind of documented complaint system.

I've been personally attacked in this forum on at least 3 different occasions, and in every case, the person who did it had zero consequences. I think this is terribly unfair, and needs to change. It doesn't have to be anything extreme, but it needs to be at least a "slap on the wrist". As far as I"m concerned, it doesn't need to be anything more than that.

One last note. On 2 different occasions (over the years), I've been contacted via PM by newbies who had been "attacked" (put down or insulted) by another member. I assume they tried to contact the admin, and maybe other moderators, for all I know. But being the only one here with any semblance of the appearance of authority (at those times), I tried to handle the situations in the best way I could. (I profusely apologized. I explained about the lack of leadership. And I promised to do everything I could to see that this forum eventually adopts some kind of system where complaints can be heard and settled in a fair way.) (The first case, I was not involved with the development community yet. But in the 2nd, I additionally referred them to the board. Since we didn't hear about it, I assume they never contacted the board.)

It was the same member being aggressive, in both cases. Perhaps if that member had some consquence after the first incident, there would not have been a 2nd?

So it's not just "attacks" on me, which motivates me to try to create a system for having complaints heard and settled fairly. I know that a lot of you think we have a perfect system, and we all get along great, and we don't have any need for rules or leaders or anything else. I have no way of knowing whether those members (who were put down) have never been back because they didn't use Inkscape anymore, or if they found another forum where they could feel safe. But they have not been back.

So I think we definitely need a system for complaints. And part of that system needs to be some kind of consequence for breaking a rule. And you know, I hope we never have to use the system. But we still need to have one, just in case.

And I will close by reminding that we can create this system. No one will be forcing anything on us. I'm sure we can reach some kind of concensus and create something that fits us perfectly.

Thanks for listening.


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