Direct questions about jupyter/docker-stacks to Discourse?

The jupyter/docker-stacks repo gets a fair amount of issues that amount to questions about using the images defined there in various contexts and in conjunction with other Jupyter projects. For example:

For lack of a better solution, I’ve been fine having questions show up as issues and trying to answer ones that I’m knowledgeable about. However, I think such questions would be better served if asked in a place where folks with a wider variety of interests and knowledge can see them and respond (aka here).

Having a docker-stacks section on Discourse feels a little too specific and misses the cross-project Q&A I’m hoping to capture. Should I update the issue template in docker-stacks to recommend that folks ask in the JupyterHub or Binder sections here instead? Should we open a new, more generic category about “Jupyter Deployments”? What do ya’ll think?

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that’s a great question - one option would be to simply start recommending people ask questions here, and then we can see what feels like the right place for them to go once we’ve gotten enough of them, what do you think?

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Maybe we should make a Q&A category in which to field questions on all topics (Binder, JupyterHub, Stacks, …) and have labels/tags to sort within it. Instead of first sorting by area.

That way we could also enable the “solved” plugin for that category and get it for all questions.

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OH @betatim! I think I like this idea a lot! Like a lot lot… so now I’m triggering my “it is too good to be true” reaction, what is wrong about it? Hmmm…

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Q&A or “Community Help” seems the most balanced route, possibly with tags for the different kinds of technology / projects / software.

I like the idea of a general “Community Help” section too in the sense of “Community Helping Community”–a place where any question in the context of Jupyter is fair game and everyone feels like they can help find an answer.

I’m not very familiar with Discourse yet, but if the tags are extensible, they seem like a fine way to call out particular types of questions or expertise desired to answer them.

Are folks imagining a single “Community help” top-level section, or a “community help” sub-section in each of the current top-level sections? What would remain if we removed this kind of conversation from the currently-existing sections? (I’m not trying to lead discussion to a specific conclusion, just trying to think it through)

I think we have other things to discuss as well (Binder tag lines, outreachy organisation, meetups, swag, jobs, release announcements are some things that aren’t questions) but it is true the vast majority of questions are support questions.

I’d vote to have one top level category for “Q&A”. With the following proposal: direct people to post there if they aren’t sure/as a catch all and if it turns out that it is more specific or better suited for the “JupyterHub:zero2jh” category we move it there. I think the moving is pretty smart in discourse (so says @consideRatio) so no links would break.

An example discourse forum that has been going for a while to support scientists using a tool at CERN: might give some idea on the distribution of topics.

So the workflow would be something like:

  • User has a problem, arrives at Discourse, the top-level section is “Q&A” which they gravitate to because they have a question
  • Within Q&A we add tags to the question depending on the tech involved (or maybe there are some sub-categories within Q&A?)
  • They ask a question there, and if it’s more of a general conversation topic than a specific question, it’s moved to the appropriate other channel?
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That sound like a good v1.

OK, I created a Q&A room to see how this goes :slight_smile:

  • I’ve made it possible to select responses as “solved my question”
  • I’ve made each first post a wiki by default

Should there by sub-categories for tech under this channel? Or leave it flat?

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I’m suddenly reminded of how I cut my teeth on topics as an undergrad and postgrad: signing up to Internet news / nntp groups.

As I remember it, there was an implicit community development ethos / progression path:

  • lurk and don’t necessarily understand what’s being said;
  • ask naive questions and / or answer / cross-refer simple questions;
  • ask and/or answer harder questions;
  • guru.

Or something like that.

There is a very different feeling between content you receive via a feed and content you consume at a destination site you go to, I think?


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Thanks for getting it started, @choldgraf, and for the discussion everyone.

Should there by sub-categories for tech under this channel? Or leave it flat?

I vote for starting simple and leaving it flat. We can see how it evolves from there.

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Looks like you can define multiple categories for a given topic, if that can be easily updated then a user can start a topic and select multiple categories (e.g. Jupyter and docker-stacks) or when we identified this is a docker-stacks issue in the middle of the thread, that category gets added to the topic.

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I’ve updated the docker-stacks issue template and README badge to direct folks here for general Q&A. has the specific text if anyone would like to review it or reuse it.

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one thing worth thinking about in the “one mega channel vs. many specific channels for Q&A” topic is that we can also define thread templates in Discourse too, so if we wanted to have topic-specific prompts (e.g. for jupyterhub, make sure you’re pasting your config.yaml file) then we’d need to have sub-topics for people to post in