Welcome to the EGI community

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About the EGI community

The EGI community is a place for researchers, developers, funders, technologists, dreamers and do-ers : in short anyone with a stake in advanced computing for research

Come here to mingle with your peers, discuss technical issues, collaborate, share ideas. Ideas and issues are best shared and discussed in the open, but there are many cases when this is best done in the privacy of a small group. If such a group doesn’t yet exist, the moderators will happily create it.

This community is supported and operated by EGI, for you, in the Commons. Treat it as your own, and help cultivate a healthy, diverse ecosystem.

Outline

Using the EGI Community forum

The EGI Community forum serves many purposes and connects many services. It can enable better communication, and should feel like a comfortable home for you. The primary purposes it serves are :

  1. Discussion (public and private)
  2. Community Engagement
  3. Questions and Answers
  4. Feature requests and co-development of EGI services

The forum augments, but does not replace :

  • existing support channels: For support, helpdesk and issue tracking, the existing EGI support channels should be used. These may include:
    • Global support (GGUS) or EOSC support
    • component-specific repositories e.g. CREAM These are meant to track issues and service requests. They are not great at stimulating discussion, collective problem solving and feature requests. We may often move issues from tracking systems to the forum in order to keep them for posterity, or when it is clear that the issue has no unique solution, but discussion is nevertheless beneficial to the community.
  • project-specific documentation pages: such as Confluence. These are often expected to be authoritative sources of information. While the forum can function as such, the decision of where to send people searching for authoritative documentation is left to the community in question. There will often be a cross-pollination of these sources.
  • chat rooms: the forum can be integrated with your Slack, Dischord, Mattermost, Telegram, etc chat room in a bi-directional manner. New topics from the forum are announced in the chat room, and longer chats of greater interest can be transcribed to the forum as new posts.
  • blogs: Writing ideas and posts on the forum can feel similar to blogging. The forum can however be used as an embedded comments engine in your personal or project blog, so that you both retain control over the content and are able to better engage readers.

Discussion

The primary use of this forum is for discussion. Discussion can be open-ended, and is best when there is a sincere exchange of opinions. Our community guidelines describe what is considered good practice and encourage positive behaviour. Topics will be moderated by our moderators, and may be edited for style and clarity. Please engage with them, and perhaps become a moderator yourself.

Public, private and protected

Discussion is best held in the open – you never know where your best idea will come from, and diverse opinions and viewpoints are good for a healthy community. The default setting of all topics is therefore for all community members to be able to post and contribute to discussions. However, there are several cases where protected or private groups and categories are more desirable:

  1. Internal discussions for sub-groups: Some things work better with a smaller audience and confidentiality. We can create sub-groups of people, and attach them to categories of topics only visible to members of those groups
  2. Authoritiative topics: Certain categories can be made such that only members of privileged groups can post there, making the topics authoritative. The topics can however be read by all.

Bear in mind that the forum staff will still be able to see all private topics and categories. We choose our staff to be people of the highest integrity, so who can be trusted to be unbiased, dutiful and fair in moderating and managing the community.

Community Engagement

The forum serves the purpose of community engagement in several ways. In particular:

  1. replace existing mailing lists: if your community is currently running mailing lists to stay in touch with each other, these can correspond to categories on the forum. Creating topics is then done in the same way you now do it – by writing a mail – and continuing the discussion can be done either by visiting the topic on the web, or continuing the discussion via email thread.
  2. online engagement at offline events: If you’re running an event in real life, use the forum as a place to collect commentary, questions, notes, and other forms of feedback. Typically this involves creating a topic for your event, which can have a date, agenda, etc.
  3. community decision making: The forum has several plugins allowing community decisions to be made. For example, you can open a topic with a poll to guage consensus, allow people to vote, or see what topics garner the most interest.
  4. comments engine for websites: The forum can act as a comments engine in your websites, for example blogs or your project pages, allowing visitors to engage with your web presence in the same way they engage with your community.
  5. community support for science gateways: If your community is developed around a thematic service like a science gateway or platform, the forum can act as a place to get community support for it, whilst remaining in close contact with the EGI community infrastructure.

The discussion platform should feel comfortable for your community.

Questions and Answers

The solved plugin allows posts to be selected as “accepted answers”, similar to how things are done on StackExchange. This is enabled in certain categories where technical, specific questions are typically asked. There are no hard-and-fast rules on what constitutes a question as is the case on StackExchange, and both the asker and responder can mark answers as solutions.

This can be friendly alternative to issue tracking or ticketing systems where the format may not be conducive to discussion.

Open Innovation

The EGI ecosystem has a wide diversity of actors, technology and platforms. We value diversity and openness, both in terms of ideas as well as technology, but need to develop a clear and relevant roadmap for the platform.

Good ideas can come from anywhere. Often, when using EGI services, a user may have a moment of inspiration (or frustration), which can help guide the developers in building a better experience for them. The discussion forum can be used to request features of service developers, by allowing anyone to express their needs and ideas quickly. However, there are typically few people who can implement these features or aspects, and often the developers may receive conflicting input.

The voting plugin allows members of the forum to use their voice to express preference for a particular feature or line of development.

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