Forum - Merits of the WikiForum and Talk Pages vs. Off-Site Groups

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Overview > Collaboration > Technical problems and solutions > Merits of the WikiForum and Talk Pages vs. Off-Site Groups

Since the Forum was introduced nine months ago with much fanfare, I believe the admin intended for the Forum (and Talk Pages) to be the place for all OGF discussions. And yet, several people on this site have expressed that having an off-site group (e.g. Discord server) would be better for hosting such discussions.

Unfortunately, yesterday's Discord incidents demonstrated the risks of having such off-site groups and reinforced the admin's stance against creating those groups.

I've always felt that the Forum and Talk Pages were sufficient for all OGF discussions, so what I'm trying to understand is this:

  • Why do some users feel the need to create an off-site group?
  • What are the pros/cons of using the Forum and Talk Pages as the only place for OGF discussions?
  • How do off-site chats address the limitations of the Forum and Talk Pages?
  • How can we use the Forum and Talk Pages more efficiently to address the limitations we've identified (so we don't feel the need to form off-site groups)?

I invite all of you in the community to give your perspective.

P.S. What's happening around the OGF Wiki? Check out these links:

Posted by Chazeltine on 6 September 2018 at 15:11.

But do the forum and the chats share the same purpose? I've always felt the wiki and the forums were a more formal space dedicated to serious discussion, and the off-site platforms were for casual chat. Hence the message format. The long texts on the forum versus instant messaging. I don't think people who created the past chats were looking for a forum, they just wanted to socialize with other mappers.

Posted by Eklas (administrator) on 6 September 2018 at 15:22.

To answer your first question, I feel like younger (<13?) people often want to prove themselves by becoming an admin/mod of *something*. I'd bet that at least half of these Discord chats and whatnot were created by users like that. I completely agree with Eklas though, Discord people just don't tend to use it for mapping. What they want is a social platform, but IMO OGF doesn't need that - it needs a reliable system for communication in long term which is by the forum is a better option.

Posted by Trabantemnaksiezyc on 6 September 2018 at 16:27.

I think the thing we need the most is a better form of the Forum log that brings the latest posts up in chronological order like how the User Diaries do, alongside the most recent replies. Maybe linking to it from the left side of the page under recent changes

Posted by Ernestpcosby on 6 September 2018 at 16:27.

Main reason: I like to voice chat with my collaborators and my companions.

Posted by Zytik on 6 September 2018 at 22:32.

And of course, its more casual

Posted by Zytik on 6 September 2018 at 22:33.

When I joined the OGF discord and was just chatting with other mappers, it was great!

Posted by Arlo on 7 September 2018 at 00:24.

Does the communication on the chat actually happen faster than communication here? Because even here on this post with all the people reading it, replies are often not instantaneous because of time zone differences, people mapping, working, sleeping, etc. I find it hard to imagine that the chat would be any faster for the same reasons.

Posted by Chazeltine on 7 September 2018 at 03:38.

Yes, because a million written words can be conveyed in 100 spoken words. Voice chat is infinitely more community based and important than text to text

Posted by Zytik on 7 September 2018 at 16:36.

For the forum, I think, one factor are admins. It's their presence or non-presence which affects a thread most. The same in the diaries. People gather eagerly where they see admins involvement and leave where is their absence. If the admins want to make the forum to our gathering place, then they need to do something for it. Where admins are involved there will be a result at the end of the thread, without admins its just bla-blah.

Admins: Keep us excited, keep us updated and keep us involved! What will be going on in the next months? What are your plans, generally? When will be the next AR120 vote? The western continents? Commonia? Do you want us involved or not?

If you want to talk with us about that, the forum will be a vivid place. If you don't, it's gonna be very dull here.

Posted by Toadwart on 7 September 2018 at 17:45.

I'ma have to disagree with Zytik here, strongly.

I do think that something beyond the forum and wiki could be very helpful, but voice chat is probably the single most problematic because there's no "stop and think about what you're about to say" factor- which has been a problem even in text from what I've seen. Also, text-to-text allows for people who aren't there at the exact moment to respond when they're available, and for people who say problematic stuff to generally be held responsible vs a "he said-she-said" situation. As long as there's a way for more efficient group communication and a good notification system, something more basic-social-media-like than the forum but not unorganized and risky like Discord would be optimal

Also, while Toadwart has a valid point about being updated and involved, we need to respect the fact that this is just a hobby, even for the admins, and that they don't always have the time or energy to always be involved or run everything. That's where more experienced mappers have to step up and do our parts as well. Granted, for large projects where we can't progress at all without an answer from admin, that's a special case, but I'm pretty sure pre-incidents that the reasoning for NOT adding more stuff was largely the fact that the admins already have so much on their plate. Let's try to respect that fact

Posted by Ernestpcosby on 7 September 2018 at 23:29.
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