Most beginners have no clue which libraries are third party and which are not. And it doesn’t really matter: if they ask for help, we can either help them (because we know the answer) or we can’t, and have to refer them elsewhere.
We don’t refer people elsewhere out of spite or just to muck them about. We do it because we don’t know the answer to their question. Asking the question in a separate “Third Party” topic will just mean that they have a smaller community seeing their posts.
There appears to be a consensus among us regarding the following action items:
Change the name of the Users category to Python Help.
Create a General Discussion category. Place this right after the Python Help category.
Change the name of the Python Software Foundation category to PSF.
If this is so, perhaps we should identify a date for those changes to be made. During the interim, anyone who has serious objections to their implementation can express them. If there is sentiment, instead, for a more formal mechanism for assessing the degree of support for these changes, those in charge could consider such an alternative.
Would it be agreeable to the @admins to schedule July 7th for those changes to be made, unless some good reasons are presented for us not to proceed with them at that time, or for a more formal technique to be invoked for gauging community support for them?
One thing that surprised me (and I’m mentioning it here because I’m not sure where to report it ) is that there isn’t an obvious “Where to go for help” link or page on the www.python.org front page. There’s the “Community” section, but that’s more about how we manage community issues than being for the community.
The best link seems to be “About → Help” but that’s not very obvious (I didn’t spot it until I went back and re-checked just now).
I think having a very obvious “Where to go if you have a question” link on the www.python.org homepage would be a significant improvement. If nothing else, it’s something we can provide as a link to people who end up in the wrong place (I thought of this because I was trying to suggest a better place for someone who just raised a pip issue, probably because they didn’t know what else to do…)
I personally wasn’t planning on it as it feels like it would overlap too much with Ideas and be too hard to explain the differences.
It looked like @Quercus had summarized the settled questions in a fairly recent post:
Since the Ideas category is for language changes (“change something in Python”), the difference between that and General Discussion should be pretty clear.
I think the safe bet is that Ideas will get diluted/polluted with general discussion topics if no separate category is provided.
Was this point not as much of a consensus as it appeared to be? Is this a case of the ‘Chairman’ voting rather than just being the Chairman? (The Chair generally refrains from voting due to the extra influence they hold, and votes only when they would break a tie.)
From the discussion here, it looks like a General Discussions category is needed and valuable. Is this still the case?
Or, we don’t add another category, and don’t have general discussions. Either discuss a feature idea, ask a question in help (it’s not just for beginners), or ask something specific to another category. We don’t have to support every conceivable topic in this forum.
I agree with Brett, there’s already overlap. There’s already plenty to moderate without allowing even broader topics.
One of the important concerns has been that inexperienced users were initiating discussions within categories where they did not belong. Most of these discussions were requests for help with code. The newly-named Python Help category would sieve out most of this material. However, there would be the need for a category for topics of general interest that were not requests for help. An example of such a discussion is Python download stats for May 2020. A General Discussion category, listed right after the Python Help category, would serve as a home for these discussions. It would also serve as a second line of defense against the incursion of the remaining Python development and distribution related categories with misplaced posts.
It’s also okay to say a topic is misplaced for this Discourse instance and should be taken somewhere else. As @davidism said, we don’t need to be the be-all, end-all place for all Python-related discussions on the internet.
Otherwise someone will need to set up a separate Discourse instance for that level of general communication as I don’t think we have the capacity to go that wide with this. The other direction is to shut down the Help section and take this back to being focused on the development of Python and not with Python.
That would be a sad outcome. Hosting a Python Help category provides people who are learning Python valued opportunities to interact directly with the developers of Python as well as with other experienced programmers. For sure, those learners are very appreciative of that.
Hence why I’m not proposing that, but saying what the realistic outcomes are from my perspective if people insist on a “Discussions” category.
I appreciate folks want to help other people out, but we have a scaling problem here that is not easy to solve (don’t forget we have tens of millions of potential users of this place as it is if you consider the entire Python community). I’m okay with the idea that asking for help for that potentially esoteric issue that requires reaching out to the rest of the planet for help as that’s possibly someone’s only option. But having a completely open commons to discuss whatever isn’t necessitated by a lack of other options. There’s social media, your local meetup (which some have gone international/remote), Python Discord, IRC, etc. There are legitimate alternatives to us adding a catch-all category that we then have to shoulder the maintenance of and having yet another place for people to try and decide it’s where they should go with their question.
Or put another way: please notice that the staff members who have spoken up on this thread are saying a “Discussions” category is too much.
Then that is where the limit must be placed. That category should not be created if it would cause harm.
The administrators and the staff here have been great, and it would be unrealistic and unreasonable for us to expect an expansion that would create an administrative burden that could degrade the work of Python development and dissemination. That would run counter to the interests of all concerned.
A sincere thanks goes to you, the administrators, and the staff for the work you are all doing.