The Lounge: Or Secret Communications

(simonv3) #1

Decided that this would be a good first topic, but I wasn’t sure if it belonged in Lounge or Site feedback (which is one of the reasons I prefer tags I guess).

As an “open” community, I don’t really like the idea that there’s a category of topics that is invisible to newcomers. Is there a good reason for this category? (I’m open to persuasion)

I can see a reason for a topic to be talked about by only a certain level of trusted participants, so having different settings for read and write, but I don’t really like the idea that there’s private or secret conversations going on.

Bootstrapping the Open Source Design Discourse community - TODO list
(Graham Perrin) #2

A short answer, based on past experience: yes.

Recommended reading: the answer to the FAQ that’s linked from the pinned topic :slight_smile: … if it does not make sense now, it will make sense as time passes.

For example: Site administration might be a topic that you wish to move from the private lounge, to the public lounge; it’s for you (and the three other nominees) to decide whether a move is appropriate.

If the site is well-administered, then we should expect the community to have very few questions about administration. A simple, quiet life :smile:

If general administration issues are brought into a public area, then you’ll probably find people addressing questions to you that would be better addressed to Discourse Meta.

Bootstrapping the Open Source Design Discourse community - TODO list
(simonv3) #3

I’ve been heavily involved in Open Source Design for three years now, and at no point has a conversation happened in secret (or async, in example: e-mails) that I think turned out to be better for OSD that it did. In fact, I can think of quite a number of these secret conversations that would have benefitted from conversation with a wider group of people.

If the intent of the Lounge :lock: is rather to be about admin-y things, then I would suggest changing the name of that category to reflect that. Calling it the lounge implies different things to me.

(I appreciate that you can quote and also link to the person who originally posted the comment, that makes these excerpts much more readable.)

(Graham Perrin) #4

The private lounge is a standard feature (not created by me or Simon).

There’s no pressure to use it, I suggest not changing its name.

The Public lounge was created by me.

(Jan-Christoph Borchardt) #5

I totally agree with @simonv3 that we should absolutely get rid of the private category. Any discussion which happened in private didn’t really end up in good collaboration. Let’s keep it all in public please and not encourage closed communications.

(Graham Perrin) #6

The trust level associated with this lounge allows you to make the change to that topic.

(Graham Perrin) #7

Agreed, but complete loss of privacy is not the answer.

Some things are being unnecessarily rushed.

(simonv3) #8

We’re not proposing removing privacy from people on this forum. People can still a) have private messages and b) continue conversations outside of this forum in private. There isn’t a “complete loss of privacy”.

This isn’t “being rushed”. We’ve been working on this organization for a number of years. Through the years we have determined that open-ness is a thing we value as a community and having a “private” category that only a group of people can see would be antithetical to this. Our opinion on this is informed through this experience and our principles. Discourse is only one new facet of this community.

(evalica) #9

So I totally agree with @simonv3 and @jan. All the work we did in OSD we did it publicly, from the selection of topics for FOSDEM to the problems we have with the logo. With this attitude we had multiple people jump in and participate over the time. If we were to discuss only with the initial members I guess this community would have died off.

I guess @grahamperrin and @studiospring are also examples of how we do things, otherwise you guys would not had any chance in creating, organizing and advancing to “admin” levels on this discourse.

We discussed about private discussion in several GitHub issues (you can look for them if you want) and the conclusion was that we will try to make as much as possible public. Of course we can do things in private and platforms like Discourse offer these functionalities, but that doesn’t mean we should use them.

So what I expect:

  • Limit the creation of topics in the (private) “Lounge” area.
  • (Rename “Lounge” to “Private”) or (Remove it [if the platform allows it, otherwise leave it be - we will not use it])
  • (Rename “Public lounge” to “Lounge”) or (Remove it and keep just “Uncategorized”)
    • Why I want the “Public lounge” to disappear it’s because the name implies some things are private

Categorisation, tagging, default appearance
(Sean) #10

@evalica the reason @grahamperrin and I are administrators is simply due to demonstrating initiative and having first mover advantage. As administrators, we should not and do not (at least in theory) have any more influence than any other member. Administrators are simply stewards and support staff for all members, although this position can be abused or misunderstood. If I or any administrator steps out of line, please point it out (politely and discreetly). Perhaps a complaints area should be set up, if you think site feedback is not appropriate. Please create another topic if you think it is necessary.

Having said that, as one member to another, I absolutely agree that things should be as transparent as possible. However, for reasons that I do not understand, the designers of Discourse seem to feel that a private area is in the best interests of the forum. These arrangements are not set in concrete. Discourse is new to most of us, so let’s keep an open mind.

I guess this is just my way of saying “I completely agree with your thoughts! :smile: But let’s take one step at a time.”

(Graham Perrin) #11


The standard Lounge is not the only private category.

(simonv3) #12

@grahamperrin What are the other private categories? When will we find out what they are?

Are you saying we can’t remove or rename The Lounge?

(Graham Perrin) #13

No. Instead:

I suggest not changing its name.

  1. visit the front page of the forum
  2. click Categories
  3. observe the padlock icons.

To everyone at trust level 3

If you have not yet familiarised yourself with guidelines and so on, please do so now. There is, I think, value in familiarity before suggesting or making changes to organisation and functionality of a site such as this.

Then the READ ME FIRST, which is normally for new staff (administrators and moderators).

Then maybe Counting the number of staff: including or excluding ‘system’ (UID -1) and ‘discourse’ (UID 1) - support - Discourse Meta

We currently have five admin users, one of which is Discourse Staff a.k.a. Discourse Support. It may reassure you to read the praise that is heaped upon Discourse Support.

(simonv3) #14

The only padlock icon I see is The Lounge. Does that mean that that is the only one? My impression from reading other messages on this form here is that it’s not (primarily because I see that there’s links to other threads that I can’t see).

@grahamperrin I appreciate and acknowledge that you have suggested we don’t change the name or remove it. Yet the members of the community who have been here for a long time have asked for it. I am fairly sure that if we bring more members of that community on board, they will say the same thing. But I might be wrong on this, and for that reason it might be time to open this conversation up to the public?

Except for “Discourse recommends it” (where do they recommend this except for creating it as a default?) I don’t feel like a good reason has been presented for keeping The Lounge as The Lounge, or keeping it at all. I can see private categories being interesting for working groups or specific organizations, but not as a general exclusive access level to “in club” members.

While there is certainly value in familiarizing yourself with guidelines and so on, there is also value in knowing the community you’re working for and with.

(Graham Perrin) #15

The padlock for Seed candidates is smaller than the padlock for its parent category. Maybe easily overlooked due to its smallness?

Please, is the Seed candidates category visible to you?

(simonv3) #16


(Graham Perrin) #17


I edited the category (including correction to my spelling mistake), you should be able to browse and find it now:

(Graham Perrin) #18

There’s already this move away from the Lounge:

– so when the site goes live, this topic will be visible to the public.

(Elio Qoshi) #19

Sorry I just arrived here to see what’s going on. There is a lot of back and forth going on and I think we should be remember what our values are. Thinking of that I don’t see any reason why to have anything closed on the Discourse apart Technical Administration and Moderation Topics (for CoC violations and similar).

(Belen) #20

Just a brief comment to say that I completely agree with @jan @evalica et al. (newcomers can only mention 2 users :confused: ) about keeping private categories.

We have always been an open and transparent bunch, and it has worked wonderfully for us. I think we all understand openness and transparency come with certain risks, but personally I am completely ok with that.

I do not see a need to keep “private” conversations in our public channels: we are all free to use other channels for those (personal email and the like).

Just my 2c