How the forum works
The purpose of this post is to provide a bit of information about how things work behind the scenes here at HQ, in order to provide some insight on how forum questions are handled.
Code of conduct
We have a code of conduct to keep everything clean, friendly, and inclusive.
The forum cannot work without moderators to keep everything squeaky clean. These moderators are mostly developers and other experts with domain knowledge who are able and enthusiastic to offer support on the forum! Many of these moderators are volunteering their time, so:
- please remember to be considerate of their time and the turnaround time that they can provide on your questions
- you can be a moderator too! You do not need to be a developer, either — some moderators on the team are enthusiasts who help keep the forum running out of pure zeal.
What do moderators do? They manage the forum “queue” (described below), delete and/or take action against inappropriate posts, assign queued topics to appropriate experts (usually themselves or fellow moderators), and answer user questions.
Life cycle of a topic
1. Posting a new topic
When any topic is posted to the forum, it is labeled with a
queued tag, indicating that it has not yet received attention from a moderator. If the user who posted that topic is new to the forum, their post will go in the “moderator queue”, meaning that a moderator must accept that topic before it appears publicly. Please be patient, new users, and do not repost! A moderator will be along shortly. This step is necessary to prevent spam and inappropriate content from appearing on the forum. After a user has had at least 3 topics accepted, they are automatically promoted to a higher “trust” level, which means that their posts become public immediately. Increased involvement in the forum will increase user “trust” levels. Bad behavior can result in demotion to lower trust levels.
2. Forum “triage”
Moderators “triage” the forum daily to assign and answer open topics.
The triage process follows several steps:
- The “moderation queue” is reviewed to accept or reject pending posts. Accepted posts automatically enter the “queue”
- “queued” topics are reviewed and assigned to moderators or other experts to respond.
- Assignees respond, typically within 24-48 business hours.
Note that even if a topic is assigned, anyone is welcome to respond! So please do not feel discouraged from participating in the forum just because you see a topic assigned to a moderator.
3. Moderator Response
We generally aim for a 24-48 business hours turnaround time for technical support and user support related to QIIME 2 but keep in mind that this depends on many things:
- The current volume of open topics on the forum.
- technical support (e.g., bugs) take top priority
- difficult questions may require more time to troubleshoot
- we are a small moderator team and time is limited!
- certain categories (e.g., other bioinformatics tools) are not guaranteed a response.
Once a topic has been responded to, it is removed from the “queue” until another user replies to that post.
We use forum assignment as a way to indicate to the rest of the moderation team who is responsible for replying to a topic. Once topics have been addressed, the assignee may unassign themselves. They may also reassign to someone else. Assignment is publicly viewable on the forum - any user can see when a topic is assigned to a moderator. We think this helps let people know that we see their post, and are working on responding. Please note, just because someone is assigned doesn’t meant that they will necessarily respond - especially in the “Community Plugin Support” category — a community plugin may have a support mechanism that does not involve this forum.
A high-level section of the forum, intended to guide discussion based on topical categories.
A plugin that isn’t written or maintained by the same team that maintains the “Core Distribution.” Please note, we are actively moving away from the core distribution model — all QIIME 2 plugins are expected to be “Community Plugins” some time in 2019.
The Core Distribution is currently the bundled set of QIIME 2 plugins that are obtained by following the official install guide. Please note, we are actively moving away from this model — all QIIME 2 plugins are expected to be “Community Plugins” some time in 2019.
Moderation is the process of helping oversee the forum, ensuring that users get the help they need while supporting other moderators in the day-to-day administration of the forum.
The moderator-only queue for vetting posts from new users.
A forum moderator is a QIIME 2 team member who helps curate, guide, and contribute to the QIIME 2 Forum. Anyone is welcome to help out on the forum, they don’t have to be a moderator to lend a hand, but if you are interested in becoming a moderator please just let us know!
Each element of a topic is referred to as a post . Each post has its own author and can be moved to a different topic if necessary, or even become the start of a new topic. (pulled from the Official Discourse Docs)
A written reply to a topic (or a post within a topic).
The collection of messages grouped together in a meaningful conversation, with a title, listed in a category, beginning with an Original Post, and including all replies in chronological order. Elsewhere this might be called a ‘thread’ but Discourse uses ‘topic’ since thread is used for linked elements that can go off in many different directions (and be confused with programming terms). (pulled from the Official Discourse Docs)
Triaging is our term for wrangling the day-to-day mechanics of keeping the Forum running smoothly. This includes ensuring the topics are queued or unqueued as necessary, assigned or unassigned as necessary, off-track topics are dealt with, and any other tasks related to ensuring that users get the help they need, and that the team on-deck knows who needs to do what. Other duties also include ensuring that topics are categorized appropriately, and that topics don’t veer too far off-track.
Discourse sites may be private or public for anyone to read, but you will always be required to register in order to create posts and record any actions such as bookmarking, liking, tagging, and flagging. Most site activity, therefore, is based around registered Users (pulled from the Official Discourse Docs)
Posts that have been approved (if applicable), and possibly assigned. These posts are awaiting some kind of action from a moderator (all new posts to the forum are automatically labeled as queued, this is how we know what needs to be triaged or not).