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Discontinue hosted project #739

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lornajane opened this Issue Jan 24, 2019 · 33 comments

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@lornajane
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lornajane commented Jan 24, 2019

After 10 years of serving tech events everywhere, joind.in is sad to announce that it will no longer be available after 31st March 2019.

In recent years, we have been short on volunteer effort and heavy on tech debt. As an open source code project, this is not a problem, others can always fork and take up the torch. For a hosted product, it is a big problem. At this point, the project needs major time investment, new servers, updated tooling, and a whole team of owners and maintainers - and it does not have them. Those of us still involved in the project have agreed that we are no longer comfortable keeping the servers online as things stand.

Q: Why is this happening now?

A: It should have happened a while ago if we're honest, we just didn't take this step before. It's the Right Thing (TM) to do and we think that "now" is always a good time to do the right thing.

Q: What about my data?

A: We'll put up a read only version of the API so that the community's data is still available. As well as individual's talk portfolios and their feedback, joind.in holds all the conference schedules of many, many events. We have always considered ourselves caretakers of community data and we'll continue to make what we have available.

Q: Will you delete my account?

A: Yes, please email info@joind.in from the email address you registered with. If you've requested this before but didn't get a confirmation email, please email us again. This is a manual process, so be patient!

Q: My event relies on joind.in, what can I do?

A: We don't know. People mostly rely on joind.in for public feedback about the sessions at their event and an excellent, mobile-friendly version of a schedule. Speakers use it as their portfolio. If you know of alternatives, let us know and we'll share them.

Q: Is this about money?

A: No, we don't have any of that. A special mention goes to the various sponsors who have supported us over the years, especially Combell who have shouldered our server costs for most of that time, but also others who chipped in for domain names, SSL certs, and that sort of thing.

Q: Can I run my own version of joind.in?

A: You certainly can, it's open source.

Q: Can I help?

A: Probably not. At this point joind.in needs more than help. It needs a team of people including dev and ops skills, data management and general ongoing attention. It also needs ownership and leadership. If you can assemble all of the above with people who know and love joind.in and want to take it forward, of course you should get in touch!

@exussum12

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exussum12 commented Jan 24, 2019

Happy to help out with what ever is needed. Thanks everyone for their efforts with joind.in

@driesvints

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driesvints commented Jan 24, 2019

Thanks @lornajane and everyone involved for all the years of dedication and work you've put into this. Really appreciate the effort from you all for the community.

@ravage84

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ravage84 commented Jan 24, 2019

@lornajane sad to hear. Could the team make sure that all public content of joind.in is crawlable/scrapable for the Wayback Machine? This way it can be preserved.

@svpernova09

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svpernova09 commented Jan 24, 2019

@lornajane thanks so much to you and everyone involved over the years.

I'm curious to know what it would look like if someone wanted to fork / rewrite / replace / take over. I've asked the question to start the conversation in IRC.

<3 to all of you and especially those maintainers.

@akrabat

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akrabat commented Jan 24, 2019

@lornajane sad to hear. Could the team make sure that all public content of joind.in is crawlable/scrapable for the Wayback Machine? This way it can be preserved.

I don't believe that we've done anything to prevent the Wayback Machine from archiving as we took care to ensure you could see all the public data without being logged in.

If you do find a reason that it can't though, please tell me and I'll see what I can do.

@freekmurze

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freekmurze commented Jan 24, 2019

Thanks to everybody involved for all the work they put in JoinedIn. The feedback submitted to this platform certainly helped me to get better at speaking, and I hope I my feedback helped others too.

Currently discussing with my team on how we can create an alternative for this, if no one would step up to take over joined.in itself. We'd rebuild it as a opensource Laravel app.

@heiglandreas

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heiglandreas commented Jan 24, 2019

@exussum12 (and everyone who is interested) Let's talk!

@EliW

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EliW commented Jan 24, 2019

One for All Events would be interested in looking at helping keep this alive (and php[architect] as well) without it shutting down the current website ... Having some chats on our end. But would love to chat with @akrabat and @lornajane and @liam-wiltshire about that possibility.

@meandmymonkey

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meandmymonkey commented Jan 24, 2019

Thank your very much all of you who were involved and made joind.in possible. The platform helped me a lot throughout the years, both as a speaker and as part of a conference organizing team.

@iansltx

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iansltx commented Jan 24, 2019

Add me to the list of folks willing to assist in keeping the hosted version of this viable. The network effect of everyone posting reviews etc. in one place is a big deal. I can assist on dev or ops sides as long as it's clear what needs doing. @hskrasek may be able to throw a few hours at this as well.

@svpernova09

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svpernova09 commented Jan 24, 2019

If you're interested in being involved in the conversation of "Lets keep Joind.in Running and figure out what the next steps are" Please join this Discord so we can centralize the discussion:
https://discord.gg/fWa9fu9

(Sorry for discord, a new slack felt icky and I know half of you don't like IRC anymore even though it's far superior <3)

@liam-wiltshire

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liam-wiltshire commented Jan 24, 2019

All,

It's great to hear lots of conversations going on about keeping a hosted version viable, however I would like to really re-iterate @lornajane's point about quite how big a task it is.

Much more so than many other open source projects it's a product, and a product where the underlying system isn't just creaking, but is falling apart. Just off the top of my head:

  • The whole stack is way out of date
  • The build process needs replacing in all likelihood, which will probably mean also changing how staging and prod work
  • The code itself is not in a great state in many places - half built features, a patchwork of styles, design patterns etc
  • GDPR?!
  • Email deliverability is patchy at best - even for me probably 75%+ of emails from joind.in to go spam

It was a hard conversation to have internally - as Lorna alluded to it's a call we probably should have made 6+ months ago, but I was trying to kid myself that it didn't need to happen - and for that I'm personally sorry.

If (and it's a big if) joind.in was to continue on, the only realistic solution (in my eyes) would be for a group of people to form a company to do so, including responsibilities for all the things that Lorna mentioned. People offering a few hours here and there sadly won't be enough (believe me - we've been trying to operate on that basis for years!!!)

I hope someone can prove me wrong, as I think I speak for all the maintainers when I say this was the hardest decision we've had to make, but if it was to be successful, then it's only fair that the current maintainers are open about what woudl be required.

@stuartherbert

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stuartherbert commented Jan 24, 2019

Could I encourage a Discourse.org forum for discussing how to save Joindin, rather than Discord? It's much better as an async comms platform, and is much more acceptable in some professional circles :)

@stuartherbert

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stuartherbert commented Jan 24, 2019

I'm also very happy to step up and help keep Joindin alive.

@svpernova09

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svpernova09 commented Jan 24, 2019

@stuartherbert, I went with Discord because real time chat felt much more appropriate from a discussion forum.

@stuartherbert

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stuartherbert commented Jan 24, 2019

@svpernova09 what's one more Slack channel between friends? :)

@spriebsch

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spriebsch commented Jan 24, 2019

Sorry to see joind.in go, but I can understand that the time has come to move on.

Regardless of what efforts there are to build alternatives, may I suggest creating a static copy of the site, and keeping that around? There are many, many backlinks to joind.in from conference sites, also for material, plus a lot of speakers use the ratings to build credibility.

I'm sure we can find somebody taking care of hosting a few static pages. Ping me if you need help with that.

@JonoB

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JonoB commented Jan 24, 2019

Just putting this out there - I run a team of 6 devs, and may be interested in taking this over for a total re-write. Both @lornajane and @akrabat know me.

@heiglandreas

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heiglandreas commented Jan 24, 2019

There already is a joindin channel on https://slack.php.ug - invites via https://php.ug/slackinvite

@DaveLiddament

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DaveLiddament commented Jan 24, 2019

This is a real shame. At PHP-SW usergroup we've been really pushing joind.in for the past 18 months and have had engagement rates of over 20% (https://joind.in/search?keyword=phpsw). It's massively helped many of our speakers improve.

Well done to all who worked on it and kept it going to where it is today.

I hope it can continue in some form. As a Brit I'm already struggling with Brexit. I'm not sure I can cope with Jexit too!

@calevans

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calevans commented Jan 24, 2019

If keeping it up is a matter of hosting, I'll step up and take care of that and the domain. (LetsEncrypt for the cert)

That would at least keep what is there online.
=C=

@liam-wiltshire

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liam-wiltshire commented Jan 24, 2019

Hey Cal,

Thanks so much for the offer - everyone's offers of help and working towards keeping joind.in alive is awesome to see.

It's not the hosting as such that's the problem - Combell have provided hosting foc for longer than I was involved, but maintaining that server requires time that none of us have. The build process uses an incredibly old version of Jenkins, we are behind on other updates, etc.

To host a read only API as is proposed is low risk - we put it on a new VM somewhere (maybe still on Combell, or otherwise we may be looking for offers ;)), we don't need a build process, no problem.

But to continue as an operating product requires more time (and frankly knowledge) than we have to spare to re-tool, re-host and basically bring things to where they need to be.

@iansltx

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iansltx commented Jan 24, 2019

Is there documentation of how the hosted-y bits work right now? Drop me a line privately if need be there. I realize hosting isn't the only issue here but if we're saying "this needs to be modernized in order to be visible" we need to understand how it's running now to figure out the best way to, e.g., get it running on 7.3 (including any necessary extensions), switch to a current-version framework, etc. (And do at least some of this for the legacy site as well as web2).

And yes, if nobody is willing to touch the legacy site to get it up to par because it's CodeIgniter, I'll pitch in there. I've almost certainly dealt with worse.

@skyvondave

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skyvondave commented Jan 25, 2019

This answer to "Q: Is this about money?" is unclear...

A: No, we don't have any of that.

You don't have any of the necessary money? Or you don't have any of the problems with money?

It seems as if the description of the problems is not lack of time with the right people, or loss of interest, but just that there's not enough people or not the right people... which is solved by money to interested people, correct?

@coudenysj

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coudenysj commented Jan 26, 2019

Hi,

We at Combell are more than willing to continue hosting joind.in.

I think it is fairly easy to generate a static version of the public site which we can host on our shared platform (which removes the hassle of updating the vps).

I think it is also possible to create a read only version of the api, but we should have a chat about that to see how we can accomplish that.

Jachim

@svpernova09

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svpernova09 commented Jan 26, 2019

@coudenysj Thanks!

@rawkode

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rawkode commented Jan 26, 2019

I have plenty of experience with Ops and SRE, I'm happy to take on the project to revitalise the build and delivery pipeline.

Awesome to see others keen to help too.

Did a Discord or Discourse happen?

@liam-wiltshire

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liam-wiltshire commented Jan 26, 2019

@svpernova09 has been putting a plan together.

@lornajane

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lornajane commented Jan 27, 2019

I know there are a bunch of interested people who have already commented here, and some that have also emailed me directly that I have redirected here. Joind.in also has public IRC, slack (on php.ug) and believe it or not: mailing lists! I also see links to other locations for chat but given how many people here seem to be keen to help, is there a way for interested parties to follow along with the summary points? Including me :)

@svpernova09

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svpernova09 commented Jan 27, 2019

I know there are a bunch of interested people who have already commented here, and some that have also emailed me directly that I have redirected here. Joind.in also has public IRC, slack (on php.ug) and believe it or not: mailing lists! I also see links to other locations for chat but given how many people here seem to be keen to help, is there a way for interested parties to follow along with the summary points? Including me :)

Hi @lornajane! I pushed the conversation to Discord because I didn't want to cause confusion or disrupt IRC. You can check on our progress here: https://www.joeferguson.me/joind-in-proposal-working-group/ and view the current proposal: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FIGRqwWDGOvKnKo8HDan90SuC13mMXz2tKf1U61DEFU

We're planning on presenting our proposal to you and the rest of the maintainers tomorrow. I have Rob and Liam's emails but I don't have yours. Feel free to email me at first name @ first name last name dot me and I'll ensure you'll receive it direct as well.

@exussum12

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exussum12 commented Jan 27, 2019

I'm happy to be part of this as stated above

@svpernova09 svpernova09 self-assigned this Feb 2, 2019

@svpernova09 svpernova09 added this to To do in Server Migration via automation Feb 2, 2019

@svpernova09

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svpernova09 commented Feb 4, 2019

@iansltx

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iansltx commented Feb 11, 2019

Believe we're underway enough on this to close this one out :)

@iansltx iansltx closed this Feb 11, 2019

Server Migration automation moved this from To do to Done Feb 11, 2019

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