subdomains for testing things

Max Mehl max.mehl at
Thu Feb 8 11:02:02 UTC 2018

# Daniel Pocock [2018-02-08 11:00 +0100]:
> There is a distinction between people volunteering to maintain a service
> and the association choosing to rely on a service.
> This is particularly important in cases where two services do something
> similar (e.g. Discourse acts as an alternative to the existing Mailman
> service).  If half the group uses one service and half the group uses
> the other, you split the organization or you double the amount of effort
> required to community.  Metcalfe's law[1] comes to mind.

I have to disagree in this case, with the positive experiences from the
Git service [^1] in mind. Neither Discourse nor Gitea are/were
officially planned to act as a replacement for any service. 

Git was something a few community members have wished for, and Björn and
me just set it up. We were happy that it didn't entail any huge
bureaucrazy [sic], we were able to make some tests right away, and to
invite some people to give us feedback. That way we experienced that
Gitea can also act as a replacement for SVN in the future and fits
nicely in some workflows of our organisation. To make it official, we
just had to announce it, no domain change, no votes of huge groups.

Discourse could work similarly. It has been set up by a group of
volunteers and we gave them a free hand. Later it might serve as a
communication platform for a specific campaign or activity, and if we
will make good experiences, other groups and parts of the organisation
might think about picking it up for their activities, potentially now as
an "official" service. There is no need that we *now* think about
replacing the GA mailing list.

In my experience, bureaucracy frustrates volunteers for very good
reasons. Let them define a subdomain name, let them hack around, give
them some freedom – if such a service ever is ready for
organisation-wide usage, we can still think about the details. But
devaluate their service by putting a "test" in the domain name would
demotivate me as a service maintainer and user at the same time.

And, once again, your proposal solves a non-problem in my opinion.
hellekin found harsh words to express his feelings, but his problem
wasn't that the service implied to be official but that he didn't know
about it.



Max Mehl - Program Manager - Free Software Foundation Europe
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