Reconsider the "Users" category?

Brett suggested creating a more specific Python-Dev-like category:

"All that will require is a name and description that can clearly

communicate what the category is for."

How about these?

  • “Core Dev”

  • “For interpreter core development and Steering Council nominations.”

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“Users of the CPython standard library” is basically everybody, so it doesn’t seem like a good description. If we want that category, at least call it, “questions about the CPython standard library.” I’m not sure that’s going to be effective, but it communicates what you are aiming for.

I went with the suggestion by @steven.daprano as it’s descriptive enough to get the point across what it is about but also cryptic enough that users will have less of a chance of accidentally stumbling into it.

I also moved the steering council topic to under #core-dev so people can now mute Users if they so desired. I"ll email python-dev about this shortly.

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I’ve now removed the link to this Discourse from https://www.python.org/community/forums/ entirely; I had added it in mid-February, and perhaps I overstepped by doing that. So now I’ve undone that intervention and will let other people decide whether it ought to be re-added there, and/or on the Mailing Lists page, and what wording to use to appropriately set expectations.

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While we are doing EAFP here, I should confess that I recently edited the top-level python.org help page to include a link to the Users forum:

I deliberately did not put it at the top of the list but it seemed to me that the Users forum has become more active and more useful to the user community than some of the older, more traditional sources in the existing list. If there are strong feelings about it, I’d be OK with removing it. But I would like to advocate using https://www.python.org/about/help/ as the one obvious way, one-stop reference page for newer users seeking help. There is a link to that help page on the footer of every python.org web page.

Hi!

I recently browsed the Community page on python.org to figure out what best way there would be to sign up for announcements as well as partake in packaging discussions.

I went through the sub-pages under the Community and never thought about navigating to About->Help.

Somehow, I read about the Discourse forum (through one of the mailing lists, I believe) and was a little confused over the fact that this was not mentioned anywhere under the Community page. Also, to add to my confusion there was much more active packaging discussion going on in Discourse than in the existing mailing list.

Would it not be better to move all links under About->Help to be structured under the Community section?
Then place a link to the Community section from anyone coming from About->Help.

Right now there is a redundancy with maintaining (and just finding what you are looking for from a user perspective) by having some community links with explanations under Help and some under Community. And also, I believe when there are more “de facto” or “official” discussion forums, they should be mentioned first and foremost - so not to direct users to less actively used forums/lists.

I could help out setting up a PR with these changes as I have been struggling to just find the appropriate info myself, if you think all of this sounds good.

Are you talking about https://www.python.org/about/help/ here?

That would best be asked at https://github.com/python/pythondotorg/ which is the repo for python.org.

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Yes, that’s what I’m referring to.

That would best be asked at https://github.com/python/pythondotorg/ which is the repo for python.org.

Great, thanks. Will do.

I’m confused. :confused:

What was wrong with adding a link to this forum to Python’s official website at https://www.python.org/community/forums/? Can this be reconsidered? Isn’t this discussion forum a good source that deserves being mentioned on the Python.org website?

Side note: I had just failed to find this forum via the Python website a moment ago; had to ask my Web browser history. :roll_eyes: This really shouldn’t be necessary.

You’re unfortunately asking in the wrong place. This is a question for those that run the python.org website which is a separate group of people.

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I was pointed to this thread as I was writing a new post asking why discuss.python.org is not listed at Our Community | Python.org (very nice feature that “related topics” thing is).

I’ve read through this thread and I’m still confused. Why keep it quiet? What makes this place different from the Slack, Discord or Libera IRC channels on the community page?

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Its probably an oversight.

On second thought…

Discuss is literally the first item mentioned under “Forums”:

“The official Python Community forums are hosted at discuss.python.org.”

It seems to me that the Users category has basically become a user-support category at this point. The Users category is by-far the most active category on this Discourse instance (more than 4x the next most active category: Packaging). In the past month, it has had more posts than all the other categories combined.

I don’t know if that category also accounts for most of the moderation requests, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it is.

With all that in mind, I think it would make sense to do either of the following:

  • Sunset that category, reducing the overall traffic on this instance – delegating to other community spaces for interfacing with users
  • Move that into a separate Discourse instance (i.e. separating the users forum for the development forum), allowing both instances to be specialised for its audience + have separate moderation pools

This came up somewhat indirectly in What I miss here coming from users.rust-lang.org.

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A category for general questions and answers about Python is a good feature. Hosting it in this forum provides general users with some opportunity to interact with developers, as well as with each other, and that can be beneficial to both users and developers.

General users may find it interesting to occasionally peek into the specialized developer categories to see what is going on there. Developers who wish to do so can conveniently check out the Users category in order to maintain a sense of how the general community uses Python.

Instead, let’s consider changing the name of the category to make it clearer where to ask and answer general questions about Python. How about renaming it “Python Q&A”? Optionally, there could be a transition period during which it is named “Python Q&A for Users”. That would keep the name recognizable to current general users during the transition period.

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It’s been my experience that when other open source communities tell
users “take your questions somewhere else, this is the developers’
club, no users allowed” it reinforces an unnecessary rift between
“users” and “developers” making it harder for the community to pick
up new recruits to continue maintenance of its software because its
users have been intentionally alienated from the development
process.

Further, when users are expected to ask questions in a place where
only people who have questions are paying attention, the quality of
the answers they’re likely to receive is far worse… their
questions are more likely to be answered by another well-meaning
user who is misinformed or has a severe misunderstanding about the
software’s internals.

Perhaps worse still, it creates an echo chamber among the project’s
enfranchised developer community where external input is unlikely
or, in the case of the core developer section on the forum here,
actually prohibited by ACLs. There have been topics in that section
where a community management question was raised seeking
suggestions, and I could have brought outside experience to bear,
but my replies were rejected by the forum software because the
Python developers have decided they actually don’t value that.

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Personally, as someone who hovers somewhere between a regular user and a contributor, I agree with @Quercus and @fungi .

In my experience as a Spyder developer (particularly on responsible for the documentation, website and funding proposals), having an easily accessible place to interact with users (GitHub discussions and our issue tracker) and spending a fair amount of time on it, this both benefited users (by helping them), but also greatly benefited both myself as a developer, and the project as a whole, since it gave a lot of invaluable insight on how people were using Spyder in the real world and what problems they were running in to, which has directly informed a lot of our funding proposals, feature prioritization decisions, and documentation/help improvements.

Likewise, I’ve enjoyed interacting with both the user and developer communities here, and while perhaps not as directly valuable to development as on Spyder, it still is helpful to see what issues users are running in to, and get to spend some time giving back and interacting with them. And, there’s some amount of interplay between the communities and issues that fall into gray areas, e.g. packaging problems that may be more user questions, or may point to deeper issues that can spark a broader discussion, and can be moved around accordingly.

I’d be interested to hear from the @admins and @moderators on how this affects them, particularly as I’m a moderator on both small/technical focused and very large/user focused communities elsewhere.

@cameron you also might be interested in commenting, as you’re particularly active helping users in the Users category

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It’s actually not bad. Yes, the Users category generates the majority of issues, but it’s still fairly small. Discourse’s built-in spam blocking and such does a good job typically. For instance, there was a single message today to manage. Most days it’s at most 2 unless the system goes haywire and mis-flags, but that’s really only happened at a large scale once (as @fungi is well aware :wink:).

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Hi, why do you mute normal users of your language

Its a high-volume category filled with a large repetitive, low-level beginner help questions that can overwhelm other discussions on here. Guido is a busy person with a lot of things to do and conversations to be involved in that require his specialized expertise, whereas anyone with a decent amount of Python experience can answer such questions adequately (and in fact, a handful of active users are enough to cover almost all of the questions). Moreover, Guido is a core developer and participant like any other, who has every right to make his own choices about what categories he spends his time on.

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