Forum vs Blog for news

Hi devs,

Situation

ATM we use both the forum and the xwiki.org blog for news, as follows:

Also note that the most visible area of news for XWiki is the XWiki home page at XWiki - The Advanced Open Source Enterprise and Application Wiki (XWiki.org) which lists the latest 3 blog posts and allows to see other news. The forum news category is a bit more hidden for end users since they need to find that a forum is used for communication at Forums & Mailing Lists - XWiki

Problems

  1. The most visible area of news (XWiki home page) doesn’t list all the news (see above). More generally the xwiki.org blog is quite poor in news.
  2. The XWiki releases are announced in 2 places (duplication and more work).
  3. The reason why I’m interested by this topic is because I’m implementing a “what’s new” feature in XWiki and using 2 sources (Forum + Blog) would lead to duplications, unless I voluntarily exclude some info, but it would be much cleaner to have a single source of news IMO.

Proposal

  • Option 1: All on Discourse
    • Have an XWiki rendering macro to display the news from Discourse on the xwiki home page
    • Remove the xwiki.org blog and replace with this discourse macro
    • Pros:
      • Single location for XWiki news
      • Niceness of using Discourse (nice UX)
    • Cons:
      • No dogfood eating
      • A forum is… a forum and not the best format for news. A blog is a tool more suited for news.
  • Option 2: All on the xwiki.org blog
    • Close the News section of forum.xwiki.org and link to the xwiki.org blog
    • Start creating all news on the blog
    • Pros:
      • Single location for XWiki news
      • Dogfood eating
    • Cons:
      • A bit less nice/simple to use the xwiki.org blog to enter news (summary to enter for example)
      • Currently only committers, power users and admins of xwiki.org can create blog posts
        • I feel this is ok and probably something we want too. In practice it rarely (possibly even never) happens to get news from other category of persons (and we could add users in the poser users group when asked). Note that we’d need to add all contrib committers to the committers group too (or add a new contrib committers group)
  • Option 3: XS news on the xwiki.org blog and Contrib News on the forum
    • Have an XWiki rendering macro to display the news from Discourse on the xwiki home page
    • Also display contrib news on the home page of xwiki.org using that macro
    • Cons:
      • Harder to explain and make sure everyone publishes in the right place. Also harder for our users to understand the separation.

WDYT?

ATM my preference would be for option 2 (ie all on the xwiki.org blog). We even already have an “Extension” category for publishing extension news:
Screenshot 2023-01-11 at 14.14.37

Thanks

So just to understand properly the usecase: are you planning to allow anyone to post a news that would then be part of the “What’s new” feature in XWiki instances? Isn’t there a risk of massive spam?

Asking the question above because it would answer this too IMO.

Also do you have some example of News that should go there? I’ve the feeling that we might need to adopt a temporary solution until What’s New is integrated in the next LTS.

For example: what if I have to inform about a planned upgrade of xwiki.org? Right now I’m using the forum for this, if I move this kind of news to the blog in 1 month, do you think everyone would see it? Also it means the info won’t be available the day the upgrade is performed? (ok that’s a very specific example here).
So to me it looks like this kind of news should still be announced on the forum, at least for a while, to ensure it reaches enough people.

I think my preference for now goes towards option 3:

  1. it makes a clear separation for now between “official” news that get pushed to the XWiki instances, and community news that are coming from anyone
  2. on the long term run we’re using our own tools for the What’s New feature in XWiki
  3. nothing prevents us to emphasize some news by making a blog post for them if we consider them important
  4. it allows to keep having forum news for a while until what’s new is completely adopted

No, only allowed users would post news. This is a good point since using the XWiki.org Blog makes this easier than using discourse. So, that’s another pro for option 2.

FTR, the way I see it, not all news will arrive inside the “What’s New” feature. Only those tagged appropriately. See also UC2 for What's New Feature (Proposal.WhatsNewFeature) - XWiki in the impl part.

Several ideas:

  • For news not related to XWiki and its extensions (in your example it’s an xwiki.org-related news), I don’t see that reaching the “What’s New” feature (not tagging it with the tag for “what’s new in XWiki”), as I don’t think users of XWiki would need to see that.
  • Then the question is: where would that info be the most visible. IMO it’s on xwiki.org and not on forum.xwiki.org. I’d bet we have x1000 times (at least several order of magnitude) more people reaching the xwiki.org home page that some forum.xwiki.org post.

Option 3 is not about that. It’s about XWiki vs XWiki Contrib. And it’s not needed to have the clear separation. Options 1 and 2 would work the same for “official” vs other news.

I don’t understand this part. The “what’s new” feature is an XWiki feature and is only about making external news visible inside XWiki, not about reinventing how news for XWiki are posted.

I think it does, because of duplication work. Look at the XWiki extension releases. Why do you think they’re not in the xwiki.org blog? Because it’s too much work to publish in 2 places. As an xwiki contributor I wouldn’t want to have to post in 2 places.

I’m wondering if we should really have blog posts for all extension releases. Maybe we could rather say this is only for big releases (like major new features or a completely new extension) and collect other releases in a summary post per month? The summary post could exist for a whole month as a draft such that everybody can add new information to it and it could be published at the end of the month. Alternatively, we could also include this in the blog post for the monthly XWiki releases.

Apart from that, +1 for 2.

Ok thanks for clarifying this, indeed with the info on the design page it’s more clear. And yes it’s another pro for Option 2.

Ok so basically the news that would reach What’s new would be:

  • new releases
  • new extensions (?)
  • security related news
  • interruption of services (e.g. if for some reasons we absolutely need to shutdown e.x.o for some time without keeping a node available)

Hmmm I agree with you that what’s important is the number of people we’re able to reach with a channel. Now I have honestly no idea about our stats of visits on xwiki.org vs forum.xwiki.org, also maybe another thing to take into account (but not sure how to check that) would be the notifications settings: e.g. in my case I receive emails for any new topic on the forum, but I never receive emails for new blog posts on xwiki.org. I don’t know what are the default settings for notification on discourse, but that could have a bit of impact.

Hmmm ok so it would be actually more work for the What’s New feature since Option 1 and 2 imply to have only one source to it, while Option 3 imples 2 sources AFAIU.

Not so sure anymore what’s best then. Option 2 does feel simpler, but clearly we’d need to improve UX for blog, now it might be an opportunity to force us improving it.

yes, and more. Article explaining how to use some new feature of XWiki for example.

We have the data for xwiki.org but I don’t think we have for the forum but I don’t think we need that data to know that xwiki.org is reached a lot more. What’s less sure is how many number of these people reaching xwiki.org check the news on that page. But I’d say it’s a much better location than the forum, as a place to advertise news for xwiki.

Yes, definitely. I don’t know what the defaults of discourse. But on xwiki.org it’s not hard and you have 2 choices (more than the forum which requires an account):

  1. You can tell that you want to receive emails when there are new blog posts. You do need an account though
  2. Without an account you can simply use the RSS feed to get news

Yes, more work (needs one more source type to be implemented) but we also need to tag properly to not have duplication. But the main issue for me isn’t even for what’s new. It’s:

  • The xwiki.org blog is not really interesting right now, it has too little content
  • The release manager has to publish in 2 places (duplication) when releasing (on the blog + on the forum) when only 1 place should be needed

Yes. Any big UX issue you see that would be a problem for using the blog to publish all our news?

Thanks for the discussion!