A category that I didn’t notice in the discussion above is “Discourse Help”. While it’s tempting to adopt the defeatist approach and say “No one bothers to read pinned posts!!”, etc., it is true that many people are interested in presenting themselves in the best light possible. Also, the more people are aware of and use best practices, the more it will become cultural here. Referring someone to discourse.org is guaranteed to stifle their follow-through (and the traffic there is mostly about hosting and administering Discourse so is not relevant to the average user here).
ALSO- From the User category description:
General help/discussion forum for the Python programming language.
Recommend: Separate the word ‘help’ so that it is more easily seen.
(“General help / discussion forum…”)
The usual way to close out debate/discussion in a group (a parliamentary body) is to call for a vote so the group can decide as a group.
I’m not going to presuppose sufficient standing here to initiate a vote mostly because someone needs to (1) decide who the authorized voters are and (2) set up a limited-access venue for the vote to be carried out. Definitely above my current pay grade.
However, I can present the likely names to vote on for the User category:
What should we call the category for general Python help?
Python Code Programming Help
Python Program Code Help
Python Coding Help
Python Code Help
It seems that there’s consensus on creating a “General Discussion” category, though there might be a need to vote on the name as well. Here are the ballot entires that will accomplish this:
Should we create a category for general discussion of Python-related topics?
What should the name of this new category be?
Not enough names; open a specific topic on this to collect a few more
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.