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Comments/Suggestions for Building a Better Onion Community

  • Happy holidays everyone!

    I want to start a thread for everyone to give us some feedback on what you think of our community so far, and suggestions on what we can do to make the community better for all of you. This is the very first time that we are building an open-source community, so any advice would be be greatly appreciated!


  • I think the discussion of the future of community should be moved out of this thread. Either into a category of it's own or at least a thread. I don't think NodeBB structure encourages good structure. Perhaps, the roadmap should be managed in Github issues - this way, even if there's not much future planning, you at least get a way to construct a changelog and explore all associated conversations.

    To begin with, I would recommend you guys to familiarise yourselves with the work of Pieter Hintjens and his efforts on building the ZeroMQ community. Here's one of his recent articles that may be relevant: Ten Rules for Open Source Success. There are quite a few of his talks on YouTube where he talks about community building.

    Main thing to do now would be to publish the roadmap - you keep referring to it in many posts. Then you need to reach out to the community for help in bringing that roadmap to life.

    At this stage, I think that the software side of things is something community could clearly help with. Things like building and porting OpenWRT packages to omega and configuring systems for particular use cases. As an example, for many answers to my questions I go directly to OpenWrt website as they have a decent structure and tons of content. Something similar can be achieved with a system like GitBook. I personally believe that if it's not possible to comment on a piece of documentation - it's dead. All docs must be searchable.

  • Hi @Andrei-Railean, thanks for the advices. The article by Pieter Hintjens is excellent. Here's what my to-do looks like as far as community development is concerned:

    1. Create a separate thread to continue the discussion of how the community can be improved.
    2. Publish the roadmap for our projects in Github.
    3. Put up a notice on the Wiki to let the world know that anyone can contribute to it.

  • @Boken-Lin I might gently suggest an actual wiki (e.g. MediaWiki) for the wiki rather than a set of pages that are pulled from Github. Even knowing the sources are there and that I can submit a pull request, I'm much less likely to make quick changes or add information than I would be with a wiki with built-in editing and history tools.

    There's definitely a formality and separateness about having the markdown on Github that makes me feel like it's not something I should really be tinkering with, and I say this as someone who would love to be adding more and better documentation for the Omega šŸ™‚

  • @fader That's something we've been discussing internally as well. At first we just wanted to use something easy to setup so we can have a wiki system up and running. Setting up MediaWiki will take a little bit more time because we want to have it integrate with our authentication system (so that you wouldn't need to create a separate account for each application we use). Now that we have something simple running we can definitely look at using something that encourages all of you to edit and contribute to the Wiki.

  • If you over complicate the method in which you inform your "hobby" driven users or adopt the "talk down to newbies" I for one will abandon the interface. As it stands the responses are clear, friendly and concise. The feeling of a compassionate expert is what this industry lacks and to lose that would be a detriment to your path.
    The vehicle in which is the message is being delivering is less important then the cargo.
    Keep up the great work and product.
    Merry Christmas Everyone!

  • I suggest creating more categories for this forum to help users filter/find conversations relevant to their interests.


    • Troubleshooting (ask for help)
    • Releases (Onion build info/release notes)
    • Python
    • NodeJS
    • IoT

  • @Paul-Wright i'd suggest a catogory for hardware as well

  • @Paul-Wright @ramon-schepers +1 on more Categories. I also suggest more categories a month ago since I find very hard to browse specific topics on this forum.

  • @Eric-P. @ramon-schepers @Paul-Write: Ok, looks like there's quite a few of you that's want the community to have more categories, so we will be adding those.

    But can I just hear your opinion on using categories vs using tags? I just find that it's hard to balance with creating categories that are broad enough so that there wouldn't be just one or two posts in them, and something that's specific enough to be able to provide organization to the community. Currently we've been using tags because then the users will be able to tag individual posts as broad or as specific as they want.

    Looking forward to hearing your opinions!

  • @Boken-Lin IMHO I think there's two issues that the community page is trying to solve and that's the problem

    • Documentation
    • Issue Resolution

    1st issue - Documentation - There should be thorough documentation for the Omega and its systems, and I understand this is work in progress, so this will solve this issue once this in place. In my mind this should be in the form of the wiki you already have.

    As an example, I'm looking to work with Omega running NodeJS. Because there is no documentation I only have these Community pages to search for how to do this, not ideal. I don't want to read through a bunch of articles to find out how to run NodeJS and try to keep up with the updates, it's just not ideal.

    2nd issue - Issue resolution ( i.e. NodeJS is not working for me and I need help) is what these community articles are great for and adding categories will not help that. Then on top of looking for help on my issue using tags I also need to categorize it (is it hardware or software? could be either or both)

    So in summary, don't do anything with these community pages(they are ideal for issue resolution) and focus your energy on creating excellent documentation.

    Thank you for your great work and keep on trucking!

  • @Boken-Lin I don't recommend tags, as people can input the most irrelevant tags for example.


    what would be better is to have catogories as the main 'tag' (example: hardware, support, projects)

    and still have the tagging system as it is now, but more intended for sub-tags, like in the "hardware" catogory a topic called "how to use GPIO?"

    where the subtags can be like: "GPIO, SPI"

    i hope this clarifies what i mean šŸ™‚

  • @Pipo Thanks for your input. As you noted the documentation is something that we are working on very actively. We will soon be releasing a roadmap for all the documentations that we are working on / we want to work on. Once we have the roadmap up online we will have the whole community to vote on which articles are more important, so that we can better prioritize our work on them. Community members with prior knowledge on certain subjects will also be able to help us with some of the articles.

    @ramon-schepers Very interesting idea! I will do some research into that šŸ™‚

  • @Boken-Lin I see the community page akin to stackoverflow which is part of the StackExchange family of sites. I use stackoverflow on almost a daily basis at work. They limit the amount of tags you can give an article, if you're worried about over tagging. They don't have categories that I know of

    @ramon-schepers I don't understand your argument about people putting the wrong tags on, but that wouldn't happen with categories? What happens when something fits in multiple categories?

    Ok looked through the posts, I see what's going on. The community is serving as everything, q&a (issues), documentation, projects, general discussion. I can see those kind of categories.
    Ideally each of those would have their own presentation format (docs as wiki for example) but due to resource constraints the community is serving all those functions.

  • @fader I agree with your sentiment, though want to point out that with Atom included in github, it has become easier than ever to just edit in place the Readme file and stage a commit from that edit!

  • @Boken-Lin - It would help if questions didn't fall into the abyss many of us just do this as a hobby and spread the word when we find IOT's and a community which help promote answers.
    The key here is answers framed in a helpful manner rather than having most of the answers direct you to confusing (for hobbyist) sites or criticizing the methond of the question. Most of my answers to questions are from other media and not this community.
    Rather than spending so much time attacking the way the questions are asked which is detrimental for the community try being more compassionate. Also ignoring the hobbyist question is a downfall for your goal as there are more and more IOT's coming online everyday.
    If your goal is to cater to the dev's army then simply state so and hobbyist will move on.
    Of course if the fanboys answer this with the usual distain rather than having you address it then my question will have been answered.

  • How not to get help in open source

    This Article showed up in my RSS Feeds today ... found it interesting and would like to share it.

  • +1 on more categories, like this it gets difficult to find old threads.
    I was thinking on a way to categorize in 2 dimensions. One dimension would be the "what you want to do" and the second would be the "what language you use". This way you can search information on "your future project" and instantly know what languages and tools you have to use, or the other way search for things in your preferred language and see what can be done or has been done in the past. Tags on the posts could be used for that.

    Also the wiki is getting better and helps a lot. Maybe the community could help on creating more tutorials and how-to documents. I think it would be nice to have a vice-versa connection from the community forums to the wiki but I have not given it thorough thought yet. What if you were reading a tutorial and you could get suggestions on relevant community topics/threads. If I come up with a more specific idea I will post it.

  • obsolete info ...
    Just saw after, that the OnionTeam links on wiki Home
    ... Submit a Pull Request to the Onion Wiki GitHub Repo
    in the last section of the Document /Home.

  • Is there a possibility that this page https://wiki.onion.io/Tutorials/Expansions/Using-the-Servo-Expansion , with respect to the barrel jack for the separate power supply, list the specifications for power that the servo board expects? I don't want to fry anything by plugging in any old barrel jack power plug. . .

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