LLVM Infrastructure Changes - Moving to Discourse

LLVM Community,

I just posted a blog post about the upcoming changes to the mailing lists and LLVM Discourse forums:
https://blog.llvm.org/posts/2022-01-07-moving-to-discourse/

I am sure some may be anxious about this change, but I hope we can work together as a community to resolve any potential issues or help each other navigate this change. I have put the migration to discourse guide that was drafted by the Infrastructure Working Group in LLVM Docs, and encourage people to add their tips and tricks to help others migrate over.
https://llvm.org/docs/DiscourseMigrationGuide.html

If you have any questions about the plan, please let me know.

Thanks,
Tanya

Hi,

I am sure there will be quite a bit of push-back for this. But I just wanted to chime in and say that I so glad to move away from email.

Thanks to the IWG for their work!

– Tobias.

Seconded - infrastructure changes like this take a tremendous amount of planning and execution work. Thank you to the IWG and everyone else who is working to improve the LLVM community!

-Chris

Hi,

I personally don’t really have any particular opinion on moving to Discourse, versus staying on mailing lists (if pushed, my naturally conservative mindset would say stay/use mailman 3 as discussed before, but I’d probably adapt to a switch quickly enough). However, I do have some related concerns to do with the process in particular:

  1. Regarding this paragraph in the blog:

“The majority of the community was in favor of the move when the move to Discourse was discussed extensively on the LLVM mailing lists. This provides the features mentioned above in addition to a more modern communication. We did hear of one feature some would miss compared to Mailman: the ability to reply to someone directly through email. However, while it may not be ideal for some, we feel this is a worthwhile tradeoff to gain the other benefits, e.g. better safety for LLVM developers and users in general.”

I skimmed the most recent thread on this topic from the middle of last year, and the distinct impression I got was that the majority opinion, or at least about half of those posting were actually against any move to Discourse, with several raised concerns that I never saw addressed (topics about accessibility and disagreements from existing moderators to the point about moderation being a problem on mailman being two examples). I haven’t gone over the thread which originally introduced Discourse back in 2019, so I can’t say what happened there. Was this majority reached in the 2019 thread, because my memory of it was that there was no clear consensus in either direction?

  1. Also from the above paragraph: who is “we” in “we feel this is a worthwhile tradeoff”? If referring to a specific subgroup (e.g. the IWG/the board), were these concerns actually discussed with the people who raised the concerns? If not, this seems to me like a case of “others don’t agree with us, but we’re going to ignore their concerns and go ahead with what we (i.e. the IWG/the board etc) want to do” which isn’t how community consensus works…

  2. The category structure: “January 7-9 - Re-configure the existing LLVM Discourse to the new category/subcategory structure (see below)”

When was this structure discussed? Note that the mailing list announcement came AFTER this point of time had started, meaning there was zero opportunity for people like myself who have concerns with the category breakdown to raise them and suggest improvements. Contrast this with the Github Issues migration, where I was able to get additional categories added to the list of labels, to reflect the pre-existing bugzilla breakdown, and how I used this.

Three particular categories of topics that aren’t reflected in the breakdown are a) debug information, b) LLVM tools like llvm-readelf, llvm-objdump, yaml2obj etc, c) testing infrastructure, i.e. lit, FileCheck etc.

  1. The timeline: “January 10-20 (sometime during these 2 weeks) - The LLVM mailing list archives are migrated to Discourse and it is sanity checked by volunteers of the LLVM community. This sanity check can take a week or more.” and “We encourage all LLVM community members to start using Discourse on Jan 10th to minimize any disruption once the mailing lists become read only and the final messages are merged to Discourse”

Given that this timeline starts today, and was only announced over the weekend (my time), there is zero opportunity for anybody to raise concerns or points, made worse by the fact that many community members might be off for a couple of weeks without any idea this is going on. This timeline should have been at a minimum 2-3 weeks after announcing it before it even begins. Again, contrast this with the recent bugzilla migration, where there were plenty of opportunities for others to raise feedback, and time to address them, before the migration even started. The 1st of February is the earliest any of this should have been starting, in my opinion, not the final cut-off!

James

One quick question about the new categories/subcategories - where do
you think it would be most appropriate to post issues of LLVM Weekly?

Thanks,

Alex

I hope it goes through. I’m tired of using email. Thanks for all the work!

My only real concern was this part of the blog post:

"The mailman archives on the LLVM server may eventually be removed,
but there is no final decision or deadline on this yet."

I hope that doesn't happen, as it would break a lot of links into the
archives, and I think preserving the history of the project is
important. Since it would just be static content at that point,
hopefully hosting it is worth the effort.

- Hans

From the blog post:

"Fully supported Email interface - Discourse supports the ability to interact through email if you do not like to use the web or app interfaces."

From the Migration Guide:

"*TODO:* Creating new topics via email is supported <https://meta.discourse.org/t/start-a-new-topic-via-email/62977> but not configured at the moment. We would need to set up an email address per category and give Discourse POP3 access to that email account. This sounds like a solvable issue."

Seeing those two, which relate to the question I asked in June last year [0], I was wondering if this means I cannot actually stay with email if I ever want to start a thread/topic. Maybe the information above is outdated but as we are "moving now" it might be good to actually have that ability for the few of us that are not yet tired of email.

Thanks,
Johannes

[0] https://llvm.discourse.group/t/discourse-as-mailing-list-replacement-some-questions/3713

Answers below.

Hi,

I personally don’t really have any particular opinion on moving to Discourse, versus staying on mailing lists (if pushed, my naturally conservative mindset would say stay/use mailman 3 as discussed before, but I’d probably adapt to a switch quickly enough). However, I do have some related concerns to do with the process in particular:

  1. Regarding this paragraph in the blog:

“The majority of the community was in favor of the move when the move to Discourse was discussed extensively on the LLVM mailing lists. This provides the features mentioned above in addition to a more modern communication. We did hear of one feature some would miss compared to Mailman: the ability to reply to someone directly through email. However, while it may not be ideal for some, we feel this is a worthwhile tradeoff to gain the other benefits, e.g. better safety for LLVM developers and users in general.”

I skimmed the most recent thread on this topic from the middle of last year, and the distinct impression I got was that the majority opinion, or at least about half of those posting were actually against any move to Discourse, with several raised concerns that I never saw addressed (topics about accessibility and disagreements from existing moderators to the point about moderation being a problem on mailman being two examples). I haven’t gone over the thread which originally introduced Discourse back in 2019, so I can’t say what happened there. Was this majority reached in the 2019 thread, because my memory of it was that there was no clear consensus in either direction?

There have been many discussions regarding Discourse over the last 2+ years. Some of these occurred on the mailing list, some in round tables or workshops, in the IWG, and some 1-1 with individuals. It was from all of these data points that it was concluded the majority was in favor.

  1. Also from the above paragraph: who is “we” in “we feel this is a worthwhile tradeoff”? If referring to a specific subgroup (e.g. the IWG/the board), were these concerns actually discussed with the people who raised the concerns? If not, this seems to me like a case of “others don’t agree with us, but we’re going to ignore their concerns and go ahead with what we (i.e. the IWG/the board etc) want to do” which isn’t how community consensus works…

We → LLVM Foundation

Individuals can be reached via private message on Discourse so the ability to reach someone privately and directly still exists. However,you won’t be able to get that person’s direct email address. There are tradeoffs in any decision and while we try really hard to make sure everyone is happy, unfortunately some may not be. I don’t think that means the concern was ignored, but it was determined not to be a blocker.

  1. The category structure: “January 7-9 - Re-configure the existing LLVM Discourse to the new category/subcategory structure (see below)”

When was this structure discussed? Note that the mailing list announcement came AFTER this point of time had started, meaning there was zero opportunity for people like myself who have concerns with the category breakdown to raise them and suggest improvements. Contrast this with the Github Issues migration, where I was able to get additional categories added to the list of labels, to reflect the pre-existing bugzilla breakdown, and how I used this.

Three particular categories of topics that aren’t reflected in the breakdown are a) debug information, b) LLVM tools like llvm-readelf, llvm-objdump, yaml2obj etc, c) testing infrastructure, i.e. lit, FileCheck etc.

The categories were discussed in the IWG. The nice thing about Discourse is that things are not set in stone and we can move messages around and create/delete/reorganize categories as needed. If you would like to suggest a new category, please file a GitHub issue in the llvm-project.

  1. The timeline: “January 10-20 (sometime during these 2 weeks) - The LLVM mailing list archives are migrated to Discourse and it is sanity checked by volunteers of the LLVM community. This sanity check can take a week or more.” and “We encourage all LLVM community members to start using Discourse on Jan 10th to minimize any disruption once the mailing lists become read only and the final messages are merged to Discourse”

Given that this timeline starts today, and was only announced over the weekend (my time), there is zero opportunity for anybody to raise concerns or points, made worse by the fact that many community members might be off for a couple of weeks without any idea this is going on. This timeline should have been at a minimum 2-3 weeks after announcing it before it even begins. Again, contrast this with the recent bugzilla migration, where there were plenty of opportunities for others to raise feedback, and time to address them, before the migration even started. The 1st of February is the earliest any of this should have been starting, in my opinion, not the final cut-off!

It is just a suggestion. You can choose to wait until Feb 1st to use Discourse if you wish (which is 3 weeks away). There might be some downtime for threads that have not been merged over yet.

Thanks,
Tanya

LLVM Community,

I just posted a blog post about the upcoming changes to the mailing lists and LLVM Discourse forums:
https://blog.llvm.org/posts/2022-01-07-moving-to-discourse/

I am sure some may be anxious about this change, but I hope we can work together as a community to resolve any potential issues or help each other navigate this change. I have put the migration to discourse guide that was drafted by the Infrastructure Working Group in LLVM Docs, and encourage people to add their tips and tricks to help others migrate over.
https://llvm.org/docs/DiscourseMigrationGuide.html

If you have any questions about the plan, please let me know.

One quick question about the new categories/subcategories - where do
you think it would be most appropriate to post issues of LLVM Weekly?

I am thinking that it should be it’s own top level category. I would imagine that some people may only want to subscribe to that category to get LLVM Weekly directly in their inbox. I also thought about as a sub-category for Announcements, but it might be too high volume for that category. What do you think?

-Tanya

LLVM Community,

I just posted a blog post about the upcoming changes to the mailing lists and LLVM Discourse forums:
https://blog.llvm.org/posts/2022-01-07-moving-to-discourse/

I am sure some may be anxious about this change, but I hope we can work together as a community to resolve any potential issues or help each other navigate this change. I have put the migration to discourse guide that was drafted by the Infrastructure Working Group in LLVM Docs, and encourage people to add their tips and tricks to help others migrate over.
https://llvm.org/docs/DiscourseMigrationGuide.html

If you have any questions about the plan, please let me know.

My only real concern was this part of the blog post:

“The mailman archives on the LLVM server may eventually be removed,
but there is no final decision or deadline on this yet.”

I hope that doesn’t happen, as it would break a lot of links into the
archives, and I think preserving the history of the project is
important. Since it would just be static content at that point,
hopefully hosting it is worth the effort.

I see no reason to remove them right now and we may never have a reason. It’s just disk space on a server. This would for sure be discussed in detail to understand the ramifications of it before a change was made. I think I was just trying to avoid saying we would never remove them… because I didn’t want that set in stone either.

-Tanya

I am thinking that it should be it’s own top level category. I would imagine that some people may only want to subscribe to that category to get LLVM Weekly directly in their inbox. I also thought about as a sub-category for Announcements, but it might be too high volume for that category. What do you think?

A sub-category for LLVM Weekly and other newsletters sounds like a good idea to me.

I'm not overly familiar with how people typically use the
categories/subcategories on Discourse, but I also might have guessed
that once a week is more frequent than people would typically expect
for "announcements". A sub-category for newsletters makes sense to me.

Best,

Alex

Thanks Tanya. I’ve created an issue (https://github.com/llvm/llvm-project/issues/53122) for suggesting the three new topics.

Regards,

James

Hello all,

Having used discourse for interacting with the MLIR community, I find discourse useful and support this transition.

I have a couple of points,

  1. It is mentioned that the current mailing list contents will be moved to discourse. Is there a plan to match the mails of a person with their account in discourse (assuming the person already has posts in discourse and mails in the mailing list)?

  2. The Flang project currently sits under Other Projects in discourse, can it be moved to a top-level project like Clang and MLIR in https://llvm.discourse.group/?

Thanks,
Kiran

Johannes,

We are working on this and will be sending an update to the list when we have more details. Until then, the ability to reply by email is supported currently. So at least one can start testing out using email to respond if they wish.

-Tanya

Hello all,

Having used discourse for interacting with the MLIR community, I find discourse useful and support this transition.

I have a couple of points,

  1. It is mentioned that the current mailing list contents will be moved to discourse. Is there a plan to match the mails of a person with their account in discourse (assuming the person already has posts in discourse and mails in the mailing list)?

Good questions! Here is the plan from the Discourse migration team:

Users from the archive will first be imported as users based on their email, and then they will be merged into your current Discourse site also based on their email; their ID and all user fields from our existing Discourse site will prevail.

not mailman user, Discourse user → use Discourse normally
mailman user, Discourse user → use Discourse normally; they’ll see their old emails in their history as if they posted them through Discourse
mailman user, not Discourse user → will have Discourse user records created along with their old email history; reset Discourse password to start using it

  1. The Flang project currently sits under Other Projects in discourse, can it be moved to a top-level project like Clang and MLIR in https://llvm.discourse.group/?

I think the general idea is to make something a top-level category when it has enough traffic and needs sub-categories itself. Flang can always be moved out from under Subprojects when it makes sense. We are trying to limit how many top-level categories we have to make things less visually cluttered. Maybe we can revisit this in a couple months when we see how things go with Flang where it is?

Thanks,
Tanya

Sounds good. Thanks a lot!

Thanks, Tanya for the reply.

"Users from the archive will first be imported as users based on their email, and then they will be merged into your current Discourse site also based on their email; their ID and all user fields from our existing Discourse site will prevail.

not mailman user, Discourse user → use Discourse normally
mailman user, Discourse user → use Discourse normally; they’ll see their old emails in their history as if they posted them through Discourse
mailman user, not Discourse user → will have Discourse"

In my case, I have used my Gmail account for Discourse but my company account for the mailing list. I see in the account settings in Discourse an option for “Add Alternate Email”. Will this be sufficient? If it is the then it would be good to advise existing discourse users to add alternate emails to match the mailing list email.

OK with waiting for a few months to see how things go with Flang discourse traffic.

Regards,
Kiran

I'm not sure if others have seen this issue, but I've enabled 'mailing
list mode' and found all LLVM Discourse emails are being classified as
spam by GMail. The emails passed SPF, DKIM and DMARC checks so it
doesn't look like there's anything that can be done on Discourse's
side. Just thought I'd flag it as an issue in case others were
experiencing it.

Best,

Alex