Experience with the forum

First, and most importantly, I truly appreciate all of you! who work on the forum (and, of course, the Qubes project generally)

I started looking at the forum in Sept 2020 after the announcement it was official.
“This is an official user forum where you can ask questions, get help, share tips and experiences, and more!” - Axon 20 Aug 2020

What attracted me was the “share tips and experiences” portion. Although I saw the ability to ask questions and get help from devs and knowledgeable users as having value, tech support wasn’t really a motivator for me. If I thought of this forum as just another place to get tech support, I’d never have signed up.

I’d been scraping the Google Groups over tor for a few years but privacy hassles (ie challenges with even half-way decent pseudonymous email options) kept me from participating in the mailing lists. Initially the forum only supplemented my reading the project lists and github. I checked in on the discourse, with tb no js, maybe once a month. In 2020 that was kinda manageable. Over the next eight months I began reading the forum more than my qubes-users and qubes-devel archives.

I began to see some gaps in the information available on the forum and thought I might have something to contribute. But, what actually compelled me to join was that I couldn’t access a drive firmware compromise discussion. I “bit the bullet” found a hobbyist tor friendly email provider and signed up here (despite reluctantly having to enable js for discourse). My first foray into posting was May 2021 in the Recommended USB cards for Qubes? thread. Don’t know if what I wrote there was helpful to anyone but I didn’t get any negative feedback either. Still I couldn’t access the info I was actually curious about.

In retrospect I probably should have messaged a moderator at that point, but I didn’t know about that capability. So what did I do next?

On June 1st 2021 I submitted an honest but intentionally provocative post "AMD appears to lack sufficient testing...and may harbor latent bugs" - Trail of Bits SecureDrop Workstation Review In the original (under edits) my real objective is still visible “Also for the moderators: Is there any quicker way to trust level 2? I’d like to read/participate in the Drive firmware compromise discussion.”

Well, that post got a reaction! but not the one I was looking for. I respect tasket’s opinion and some of his insights about the Qubes project worried me. I guess I made a mistake when I acknowledged that I laughed in that thread. Code of Conduct violation for lol

I may have further compounded my mistakes by agreeing with tasket’s position, too. The Community Manager’s assertion that it was a misunderstanding and statement that “trolls could feign misunderstanding to DoS the project” didn’t help either. In the end, I tried to clean up my mess there. But the whole experience was bad. AND I still couldn’t read the drive firmware discussion.

I just want the best for the project and this community… and I’m tired of typing so I’ll finish with two cherry picked quotes from @fsflover.

Just one user’s experience…

P.S. Moderation looks very difficult. What kind of masochists mod for free in their spare time? (joke)
OH NO I did it again, please don’t nuke me.

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If you read what I wrote more carefully you’d notice that I wasn’t accusing you of being a spam-poster (I don’t have such an impression of you), but instead thanking you for bringing up the topic.

There really is no need for you to explain yourself since you did nothing wrong, and my suggestion to ‘nuke’ the subforum and start over wasn’t aimed at you in any way. However, I will admit that I should have been more explicit about this.

With that said: In the Qubes users’ forum, where most matters are technical, a focus on correctness is very much desirable, though what is ‘correct’ depends on context and sometimes might not be apparent even to the most technically proficient. That doesn’t mean the forum should be like a technical journal, but discouraging noise that doesn’t/can’t lead to correct answers is unquestionably desirable. Diversity, while a nice word to throw around, isn’t universally applicable, and this forum doesn’t have the resources to be diverse beyond its scope; nor should it strive to be.

Anyways, these are just my thoughts as a long-time community member.

Same here.

Even if @Justin did nothing wrong, it’s still very useful to read those explanation and understand how new users think. As @Justin already noticed, I am against strict rules hindering free discussions, even if they may lead to less technical forums. The whole point of forums in my view is to open Qubes OS to a larger userbase, not necessarily exclusively to find hardcore developers and testers (although it’s good, too, of course!). The more users know about Qubes and are interested in it, the higher chance to find good contributors, even if they get to know Qubes from their “spam-poster” friends.

This is very sad that we cannot open All Around Qubes to all users as read-only due to the technical restrictions of the platform.

Separating the forum into sections IMHO is the right answer to keep it tidy and useful for developers. Perhaps we could make some sections appear less at the top of the main page, to give more space to technical and support discussions.

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My fault. I never saw that someone had given a answer i could use until today. That was exactly the information I was looking for.