Posing a question for the good of the Omnis community – want to move to STACK EXCHANGE?
Just to add a few cents into this discussion because this is an
important dilemma to solve.
It is also an incredibly hard dilemma to solve as history has proven
time and time again.
The problem for me is very simple. This list has been around for a long
long time, this is where the community lives and that is an incredibly
strong point to be in. Any alternative no matter how much better is
already loosing the race because nobody is there. Whether you look at
the various forum attempts, the Omnis developer portal, the Omnis Slack
thing, etc, they all fail simply because we are not there, we are here.
Now you can argue that the list serves us well, and indeed it does, but
it serves us well because we are here, not because its the best
solution. For us, the people who are already here, there isn’t a whole
lot of benefit moving somewhere else especially when any such a move
initially feels like a step backwards. If someone starts a forum, a few
of us move, most questions we ask there go unanswered, we move back
here. It lacks incentive for us to move.
For everyone else, this list does not exist. We have one of the best
developer communities in existence, it is an incredible strong point of
Omnis, but nobody sees this, because we’re hidden away in our own little
corner of the world. And while we may not see that as the problem that
it is, this is a huge problem. Our success as Omnis developers is tied
in with the success of Omnis as a product, and the success of Omnis as a
product is tied in to bringing in the next generation of Omnis
developers. It may only be a feeling, but each EurOmnis I go to, it
seems the average age of people there is only increasing. Where are the
new young faces?
The next generation of developers isn’t finding us. The next generation
of developers sees Omnis Software at a trade show, they see the product,
they peek their interest, and the next thing they do is Google and what
they find is silence… Yes there are some archived posts coming up in
search results but you would not know there is an active, vibrant and
above all friendly community of developers behind Omnis.
So as much as I love the list, and as much as it serves my personal
needs, I echo the sentiment that for the betterment of Omnis, for our
future, it is time we step out of our comfort zone, and move to an
environment more visible and more modern and more likely to secure the
future of our community.
Our first option is growing any of the forums that have already been
started. My biggest problem I’ve always had with forums is that they
seem overkill. The type of questions and discussions we have here seem
best served with a singular repository. Breaking them up into subforums
and splintering the community within one site somehow seems
counterproductive which may be one of the reasons it has always failed.
It’s part of the reason I don’t like the Omnis developer portal much
Stack Exchange would be great in the long term but it does feel like its
a huge uphill battle to make this work that requires a lot of commitment
from us all. It is the most professional feeling of the bunch of options
before us. My main issue with Stack Exchange is that it feels less like
a community and that may set it up for failure. It is purely geared to
technical questions and answers, the more open discussions we have on
the list here, I don’t see those happening on being tolerated on Stack
Google groups feels like it is the easiest to migrate to, it can
function very closely to how the current list works and might even give
the organization behind the Omnis list a method to migrate to Google
groups. I’m not 100% sure if throwing our lot in with Google is the
smart option but its a good system for what its worth.
Reddit, I have a love/hate relationship with reddit. It has a lot of
reach but I personally don’t care much for its interface. At its essence
it does feel like a format that would work for this community.
Do note that /r/Omnis seems taken by some unrelated entity.
One last thing, regardless of which decision we make here, there is one
thing Omnis Software should do in my opinion that would greatly help the
success of this.
One thing I have absolutely loved about Studio 8 and that I wish I had
access to in Studio 6, and that is the hub. An interface to whatever
community repository we end up using should be added here so anyone
using the product has immediate access to this knowledge and gets
directed to the community. Even if they don’t end up using that as their
primary interface but start using the communities native interface, that
first introduction right out of the box will do wonders.