Importing qubes-users discussions

A lot of discussions have taken place in qubes-users and it could be useful to import those discussions to populate this forum and make it easier to find valuable content for people who never went to the mailing list.

Though I guess this should be something to be considered by the community itself @adw.

Update: There are two ways of going about this:


There was consensus that importing old discussions should be skipped this for now. But people seem favorable to experiment with mirroring qubes-users (It’s currently being tested).

Importing old discussions

This is for importing past discussions and is technically challenging so we decided not to do this for now.

This instance is using discourse’s free plan for open source projects and they don’t provide support for importing discussions

If you need to import existing community content of any kind we unfortunately can’t help you. For small communities we recommend simply copy & pasting in your top 20+ topics to seed your new forum with your most important content.

So if it is ok to import these discussions there might be an option of doing the import while still remaining on the free plan:

  1. Backup this forum
  2. Boot a server with discourse installed (we’ll call this the Mirror server)
  3. Import the backup from 1.
  4. Run google groups import script
  5. Backup the Mirror server
  6. Import the backup from 5. onto

:warning: This should only be done before this forum is actively used since any posts between steps 1. and 6. will be lost. Or the forum can be put in read-only mode, during that time. But the other option might be better.

Mirror discussions going forward

This is an easier option, but it will only have discussions going forward (not old ones).

This is discussed further down and it seems the staff is favorable if this works. (currently under test)

@marmarek @adw @michael you may have some strong thoughts on this.

it’s an interesting question – thank you laying out how we could technically implement it. i think it would be a lot of content and the creators of posts would not necessarily be aware of it now being here or if there are replies, etc.

so my initial feeling is that the forum can be an additional option for users rather than a replacement for qubes-users, and maybe users themselves can decide if at some point we move everything over to the forum (and then make mailing list read-only, for example).

happy to hear others’ thoughts.

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Quick thoughts:

  • I wouldn’t think there would be any problem with content permission issues. qubes-users is completely public.
  • Losing any posts here would be very bad.
  • Seems like a lot of trouble for something that maybe no one wants. I’m honestly not sure how many users of this forum would care.
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The key value here is that as opposed to regular forums or google groups (via the web interface), the search is quite powerful.

When a user has a question typically they won’t go through the trouble of looking at past archives so they just ask it again and then maybe someone points them to the previous discussion. On discourse the user is directed to old discussions about the same topic, even if the user didn’t use the search functionality.

F example when a user is trying to create a topic that is similar to something that already exists and point the user to that thread instead like so:

This essentially makes life easier for users since they find answers more quickly and also for moderators and community managers who don’t have to merge topics as often or point users to past conversations.

Regarding the work it doesn’t seem to too much for someone who has already a testing discourse instance. I can try to play around with this and report back.

Hum. Can you please elaborate? If this worked as a mirror to the qubes-users, I think it should be fine, no? One thing we could do is to close all topics imported from qubes-users so they are a read-only copy of past discussions.

@adw after reading with a bit more detail the instructions I realized that indeed for this will require some more work as I can’t do the export alone (only one list manager or owner) and since it involves exporting the google account’s cookies (which include access tokens), it’s better for that to be only one person alone with that kind of access performing this.

Google account: You need a Google account that has the Manager or Owner role 9 for your Google Group, otherwise the downloaded messages will contain censored email addresses.

Another problem may be that discourse creates users automatically for the emails of the conversations it imports which may not be fine with the people on the mailing list.

Then given your opinion on @adw’s I’d say it might be best not to do this at least for now and grow the forum in parallel to avoid confusion.

the auto-search for solutions is very powerful with Discourse, good point. I agree this seems like a lot of work and if we make it active (with constant import of new qubes-users emails) it’s not clear how folks can handle that (such as having email notifications only for Discourse-specific posts, not imports).

maybe one last flag is that there is also a lot of user support & troubleshooting going on in the Qubes reddit which we are unable to import as well.

it seems the leaning is towards not trying this. once there is clear consensus on this I think this is the final item we needed to decide prior to announcing the forum to qubes-users list?

I just wanted to go though the settings and see if anything is missing and I also have another comment on restructuring / reordering of categories, which I plan to address until the end of the week. But we should be just in the final stretch.

Hum. I think the solution I found only applies to migrating from google groups and not periodic syncs, unfortunately.

Good point. I was looking at discourse’s meta forum and I wasn’t able to find someone who has attempted to migrate from reddit to discourse. One thing that could be done would be to try to being some users from reddit onto here though sharing some headlines there of the discussions taking place here. But I think that can be a discussion in itself and can be done after announcing this on qubes-users.

I was simply responding to when you said:

Ah, I see. Yes, that would be bad. There might be ways to go around that, but I can’t think of anything simple.

That further feedback has now been done so I think the only thing left do is get a consensus on this is Michael said.

Then we can :rocket:!

Let’s try to get a consensus on this @adw @michael. I was the one proposing this, but given the fact that:

  1. Qubes-users will still be active (thus have new discussions that won’t be on the import - and the import is not an ongoing mirror)
  2. The effort involved in migrating
  3. And the possible confusion it might generate

I think we can skip this for now.

If needed we may be able to do this in the future without loosing any posts as long as we leave the forum in read-only mode during that migration operation.

Thanks, I agree.

(Some filler to reach 20 characters.)

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That’s very strange. I quoted your post in my last post above, and it appeared in the edit window, but it disappeared once I actually posted my comment.

2 posts were split to a new topic: Removing 20 character minimum limit for replys

I’ve moved this discussion to Removing 20 character minimum limit for replys

Im for skipping, the effort in porting and redirecting is high. docs can be updated to here and user migration will organically happen over time. there will be some duplication and im sure us mods will end up linking people who cant use a search box but thats just an inherent risk of any migration of a user facing system

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@michael it seems the consensus is building toward skipping this. What are your thoughts? (I couldn’t really tell from this post)