I have just copied a Discourse blog post into a forum thread on this forum:
I believe the XR Victoria (and probably many of the other XR groups in Australia) are suffering from poor and confusing online communications. We used to use this forum for rebels to find and communicate with eachother, with posts being used to initiate projects, upskill rebels and debate new directions for the movement. When we discovered mattermost, the forum quickly hollowed out as everyone migrated over to mattermost, which I believe to be a mistake. As the thread linked above details, mattermost and Discourse (this type of forum), each work best for different kinds of communications, and work best in compliment to eachother, rather than both of them trying to be everything.
For example, this type of long-form post is better suited to a forum such as this one. In XR Victoria, this type of post is occasionally going onto the XR Vic Discussion Group on Facebook - which is a problem because Facebook, like Mattermost, is ephemeral, with posts disappearing into oblivion as soon as the buzz on them dies down and the algorithm deems them no longer worthy. On Mattermost, posts exist forever but info can be hard to follow and search through after the fact. Here however, threads exist in subforums as logical groupings of topics, and when a matter no longer is satisfactory, old threads are resurrected to continue discussion and find new solutions.
As written in the thread linked above, forums have the advantage of being inclusive, scalable, permanent, categorized, explorable and searchable, and have effective moderation controls. It’s for these reasons that XR France has a forum with over 7000 active users discussing all manner of ways they can further the aims of XR. The categories on their forums include different focus areas for each local group (e.g. actions, artivism, training, essential info), national resources, guides and procedures (including for example, ways to contact every local group and every working group including very specific sub-groups), off-topic forums, an archive of newsletters, and a forum for new signups that walks people through how XR works, what the structure and principles are and how the forum works before they are released into the full forum.
This kind of structure means that people can easily find the people talking about the things they want to talk about - an advantage for collaboration and integration. This compares to facebook, where the topics people are talking about are dominated by some fad topics of the day some persistent topics that people will over and over, repeating the same debates with no resolution, and mattermost, where people often have to sample many different channels on slightly different topics to find one that is active.
I believe that by switching back to the forum we will improve our accessibility, inter-connectedness, transparency, accountability and effectiveness. Let’s do it!
I have a bit of a plan:
- One or two working groups to start using the forum. As that forum develops it will develop a store of knowledge, which will become attractive for people who want to get involved, bringing in more people. Eventually other working groups will see the benefit and join in.
- Actively build libraries of useful documents, as well as useful tools, and calls for feedback on the forum. This can then be shared with people, also attracting more people to the forum.
- Put effective moderation systems in place as the forum scales up.
- Shut down the XR Vic Discussion Group on facebook (this might apply to other groups in other states), directing people over here. I would do this after the above 2 steps are complete and people have started using the forum.
This post is the opening salvo of the plan.