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A new issue should auto-start a discussion #43
There is currently a 'friction' in starting a discussion on a fresh issue that has come to mind.
If, for instance, cycle parking at a location is need, the process is
This does not compare well with an e-mail list:
There is also the problem that we end up with issues that have no discussions attached to them.
A suggested solution is that creation of a new issue should also start a new thread with the description being the first e-mail.
The only problem here is that the issue description should be relatively dispassionate (as a short, to-the-point description), whereas a thread is a more subjective discussion. Perhaps the solution is to have a sixth box on the new issue page which forms the message box for a new thread. Labelling would be needed to make clear what the difference between boxes 5 and 6 are, but that would probably avoid the current problem of occasional long descriptions. Box 5 could be made smaller to emphasise the need for short descriptions.
I can certainly see problems with it, but the current setup is very frictionful. We also have cases where an issue is created but there is no discussion thread, which is decidedly unfriendly and breaks most people's experience of a forum system (which is our nearest equivalent technology).
This definitely needs further consideration, though as I say I can see auto-creation does create problems, such as what group ownership, etc.
There may be something we can do like a tickbox to auto-create a thread, perhaps. Probably best discussed in person to brainstorm potential solutions.
At the very least, something (a flash perhaps?) needs to be added to make clear that a discussion has not been started, e.g.:
"To start a discussion on this, use the DISCUSS button on the right."
i.e. there is a much clearer flow to get discussion going.
One of the original 'promises' of cyclescape was that it would be usable by email, and the inability to start a discussion by email is one of the major failings IMO. It is simply too hard to get going, and the less incentivised people, the majority simply won't bother and we'll lose the participation we've built up. This is especially true because you generally have to create not only a thread (as you would in a forum) but also a topic to get a discussion going - and that is once you've got as far as remembering where the web site is (as most users will only be intermittent or occasional) and forgetting passwords and all the rest. It's not like Facebook where devotees treat it as if it were the internet and are always there and familiar with how it works.
I think this issue is the major barrier to use for less committed users who we want to encourage to get more involved.
I think this needs a degree of management from group organisers for it to work: basically taking some of the overhead and thinking process away from the participants.
I think a email (from a registered user, of course) that isn't replying to another should start a new issue and a new thread. Then two admin functions are needed:
1 it should be possible to transfer the thread (all of it, as people may have replied by that time) to another topic (and delete empty topics) where there is already a suitable topic - indeed that is useful independent of how it was created.
You can determine which group the thread should be created for by the email address to which it is sent, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org or maybe email@example.com, or maybe even (not exclusively) ISSUENUMBER@camcycle.cyclescape.org to target a new thread in a particular issue.
I think there's also scope for some geography in the subject line, at least to give an initial clue, e.g. @panton Street, Cambridge, though I appreciate that's quite a lot more work, and it only works properly if you can edit the location later in case of error.
By the way: GitHub has the same problem. It would be much easier for me to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org maybe with @toolkit in the subject line to create a new issue than do it here; and it is simpler with Github than Cyclescape.
Mar 4, 2015
Continuing the discussion at: cd3f4a9
Can you clarify exactly what the above commit does? Does it merely display the first message at the head of the thread (which as Andy says is not needed, since the issue extract is already shown), or does it actually clone the issue as the first message automatically?
The underlying issue we are trying to solve is described at:
I'll copy this message to the issue page, so we can discuss it properly there:
I think this is fine and should go live. It makes a lot more sense this way for e-mail -based users, and for web users it will mean a thread with a proper starting point to which people can actually reply.
I accept it will probably need more iteration in future.
The main thing is that users are prompted to create a thread, which is non-obvious at the moment, given the number of threadless issues.