Ruby community website / forum


#1

Coming from Perl, what I miss in Ruby the most is (surprise !) not CPAN,
but rather the community at Perlmonks (http://perlmonks.org).

For those not familiar with Perlmonks, it’s a community website that’s
actually a collection of forums, subdivided into topics, with registered
users that receive ratings from fellow users for each post / reply.

Two aspects make Perlmonks great:

  1. It’s a true forum. With all due respect to RForum powering
    ruby-forum.com”, a real forum must at the very least support
    hierarchical threading correctly, and allow to post text with simple
    formatting, especially for source code.

  2. It is very active, and the vast majority of Perl hackers hang out
    there, from the nubies to the prominent leaders of the Perl community.

Thus, I know that if I have a question, I can always turn to Perlmonks
for an answer. The topics are organized logically in hierarchical
threads, and logs date years back, making everything easy to find. The
moderation system makes the signal-to-noise ratio very high (you can use
the rating of posts to filter stuff similarly to Slashdot, and the
trolls / spams can be simply deleted by moderators).

Ruby has three loosely connected community entry-points:

  1. The mailing list - an old-fashioned (at least IMHO) way to
    communicate, lacking hierarchy and formatting (try following the
    discussion in one of the most recent 50+ message threads).

  2. ruby-forum.com - a gateway to the mailing list, which disconnects
    from time to time. It’s not a true forum, and suffers heavily from being
    connected to the maillist, topics being split to “Re:” topics from time
    to time, and long discussions are impossible to follow.

  3. comp.lang.ruby - a mostly-nonfunctional gateway to the list, which in
    itself is probably the closest Ruby has to a normal forum, since it’s
    hierarchical and enjoys the excellent built-in Google search.

When I have a Ruby question, I truly don’t know where to ask it, so I
ask everywhere, which may sometime annoy people (on days when the
gateways function). I much prefer the newsgroup, but when the gateway
doesn’t work, it is much less read, so answers take a long time in
arriving. Am I the only one with this experience ?

I truly feel that a single place for the community is very important.
Ruby has a big potential for such a community because it’s a fun
language. People who code in Ruby really enjoy coding, and enjoy
discussing it. I just know that a more cohesive place for the community
to “meet” online would make Ruby and even more enjoyable experience.
Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way ?

Eli


#2

On 5-May-06, at 10:47 AM, Eli B. wrote:

Coming from Perl, what I miss in Ruby the most is (surprise !) not
CPAN,
but rather the community at Perlmonks (http://perlmonks.org).

[…]

time
doesn’t work, it is much less read, so answers take a long time in
arriving. Am I the only one with this experience ?

I truly feel that a single place for the community is very important.
Ruby has a big potential for such a community because it’s a fun
language. People who code in Ruby really enjoy coding, and enjoy
discussing it. I just know that a more cohesive place for the
community
to “meet” online would make Ruby and even more enjoyable experience.
Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way ?

I second your opinion of Perlmonks, a fine site with a good signal to
noise ratio. About as good a community web site as I have seen.

Being an old fashioned guy I like a mailing list for Ruby, and my
mail reader can do a reasonable job of pseudo-threading the posts
when I need them. I have pretty much given up on newsgroups these days.

Mike

Mike S. removed_email_address@domain.invalid
http://www.stok.ca/~mike/

The “`Stok’ disclaimers” apply.


#3

On 5/5/06, Eli B. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Two aspects make Perlmonks great:

  1. It’s a true forum. With all due respect to RForum powering
    ruby-forum.com”, a real forum must at the very least support
    hierarchical threading correctly, and allow to post text with simple
    formatting, especially for source code.

I haven’t spent much time at Perlmonks, but I hate visiting there when
someone points out something “interesting.” It’s almost as bad as LtU.

  1. It is very active, and the vast majority of Perl hackers hang out
    there, from the nubies to the prominent leaders of the Perl community.

This is true of ruby-talk. The best place to get an answer about Ruby
is on ruby-talk.

  1. The mailing list - an old-fashioned (at least IMHO) way to
    communicate, lacking hierarchy and formatting (try following the
    discussion in one of the most recent 50+ message threads).

I have no problem doing that. I use Gmail which makes it easier, but a
good threading client helps as well.

  1. ruby-forum.com - a gateway to the mailing list, which disconnects
    from time to time. It’s not a true forum, and suffers heavily from being
    connected to the maillist, topics being split to “Re:” topics from time
    to time, and long discussions are impossible to follow.

I would agree.

  1. comp.lang.ruby - a mostly-nonfunctional gateway to the list, which in
    itself is probably the closest Ruby has to a normal forum, since it’s
    hierarchical and enjoys the excellent built-in Google search.

shrug It’s not really hierarchical. It follows the same standards
that the mailing list does for references.

When I have a Ruby question, I truly don’t know where to ask it, so I
ask everywhere, which may sometime annoy people (on days when the
gateways function). I much prefer the newsgroup, but when the gateway
doesn’t work, it is much less read, so answers take a long time in
arriving. Am I the only one with this experience ?

Ask ruby-talk. The mailing list. This is the core that everything else
reflects to.

-austin


#4

On 5/5/06, Eli B. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way ?
Ok, ok. I’ve heard enough… You’re hired! :slight_smile:

My suggestion (for anyone reading this who might like to embark on
such a project) is to look at what software is available, then decide
if you’d like to use one of those choices or else if you’d rather roll
your own. After you’ve got something running locally that you’re happy
with, find someone who can host it live (you might ask here, when
you’re ready to go live).

Note though, that anyone can put up a customized phpBB. But to get
people to use it, and to measure up to the mighty perlmonks, you’ll
very probably need something more than that.


#5

Eli B. wrote:

  1. It’s a true forum. With all due respect to RForum powering
    ruby-forum.com”, a real forum must at the very least support
    hierarchical threading correctly, and allow to post text with simple
    formatting, especially for source code.
    [snip]
    discussing it. I just know that a more cohesive place for the community
    to “meet” online would make Ruby and even more enjoyable experience.
    Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way ?

I agree that having a single place to look keeps things simple and
centralized (perhaps I’m stating the obvious there). Whether it’s good
or bad (I’m not making a statement either way), the community seems to
have gravitated to ruby-talk, the mailing list.

I don’t use it directly per se, but I do use it indirectly through
ruby-forum.com, which suits my needs.

I think RForum updates and improvements would go a long way. I don’t
know how keen Andreas is on accepting patches.

Pistos


#6

Austin Z. wrote:

I have no problem doing that. I use Gmail which makes it easier, but a
good threading client helps as well.

I second that. Most email clients I come across aren’t smart enough to
realise when a thread has been broken, but Gmail is pretty smart about
it. It will also sort your threads by the date of the most recent post
in the thread and not by the date of the first post in the thread. This
is akin to the thread sorting in a lot of forums.

So before Eli has the Rubynuns up and running reading the list over
gmail might remedy the present situation.

alex


#7

John G. wrote:

On 5/5/06, Eli B. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way ?
Ok, ok. I’ve heard enough… You’re hired! :slight_smile:

My suggestion (for anyone reading this who might like to embark on
such a project) is to look at what software is available, then decide
if you’d like to use one of those choices or else if you’d rather roll
your own. After you’ve got something running locally that you’re happy
with, find someone who can host it live (you might ask here, when
you’re ready to go live).

Note though, that anyone can put up a customized phpBB. But to get
people to use it, and to measure up to the mighty perlmonks, you’ll
very probably need something more than that.

For starters, the software that powers Perlmonks itself can be used. It
is freely distributed for non-commercial needs by The Everything
Development Company (http://everydevel.com/), and in fact it also powers
a Java-aimed website named javajunkies.org

It’s a Perl / MySQL based CMS. I guess it can be OK to get the website
running, and later embarassed Ruby hackers can rewrite it in Ruby :slight_smile:

Eli


#8

On 5/6/06, Eli B. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

For starters, the software that powers Perlmonks itself can be used.
[snip]
I guess it can be OK to get the website
running, and later embarassed Ruby hackers can rewrite it in Ruby :slight_smile:

Well, places like perlmonks have a lot of content there besides just
archives of messages posted. There’s tutorials, code snippets, etc.
And they’re often cross-linked (nodes pointing to other nodes). It
would probably be much less work to start with something fairly
simple, in Ruby (RoR-based I’m guessing), then improve it over time,
rather than go with the perlmonks code and migrate all the accreted
content over to something Ruby-based.

I took a peek at RubyForge, searching for “cms”, but there’s a lot of
“coming soon!” projects in those results. Searching for “forum” gives
similar results.

Considering that the site would be based on a forum, but probably
heavily modified, it’s probably going to require something custom.


#9

You know what really bothers me…DevShed doesn’t have a ruby forum. I
learned so much perl using that place. I really liked it. I can’t
figure out why they don’t have a ruby forum.

Charlie B.
www.recentrambles.com


#10

On 5/6/06, Eli B. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

By borrowing from Perlmonks I didn’t mean the content, but the code.
Perlmonks is a customized Everything engine (a Perl CMS). It is quite
possible, I am sure, to have a ‘skeleton’ version of Perlmonks with no
content at all but all the features.

Right. But what I was getting at was, once you’ve got a body of
contributed material forming (including user accounts, messages
posted, tutorials, howto’s, etc.), if you then want to switch over to
some custom Ruby solution, you’ve got to migrate all that content over
to the new system (which doesn’t sound fun or easy. :slight_smile: ). That’s why
I was suggesting just starting with some custom RoR webapp right from
the start.


#11

On 5/6/06, Polite removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

So before Eli has the Rubynuns up and running reading the list over
gmail might remedy the present situation.

I “third” that. Gmail is great - just create a filter which keeps all
your Ruby-talk stuff out of the inbox and nothing could be easier. In
fact, I don’t know of a better web application than Gmail.


#12

Well, places like perlmonks have a lot of content there besides just
archives of messages posted. There’s tutorials, code snippets, etc.
And they’re often cross-linked (nodes pointing to other nodes). It
would probably be much less work to start with something fairly
simple, in Ruby (RoR-based I’m guessing), then improve it over time,
rather than go with the perlmonks code and migrate all the accreted
content over to something Ruby-based.

By borrowing from Perlmonks I didn’t mean the content, but the code.
Perlmonks is a customized Everything engine (a Perl CMS). It is quite
possible, I am sure, to have a ‘skeleton’ version of Perlmonks with no
content at all but all the features.

I took a peek at RubyForge, searching for “cms”, but there’s a lot of
“coming soon!” projects in those results. Searching for “forum” gives
similar results.

Considering that the site would be based on a forum, but probably
heavily modified, it’s probably going to require something custom.

Just a forum is not enough, I think, because part of what makes
Perlmonks great is exactly what you mentioned above - it has articles,
tutorials and code snippets on it, all conveniently cross-linked with
the ‘discussions’ (forum posts). Another is the user rating system,
allowing to rate posts and replies, and thus ensuring trust between
users and providing a real feeling of a community.

Just slapping a forum together is a 10-minutes job, using phpBB. It
won’t be enough, though.


#13

On 5/6/06, Leslie V. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I “third” that. Gmail is great - just create a filter which keeps all
your Ruby-talk stuff out of the inbox and nothing could be easier. In
fact, I don’t know of a better web application than Gmail.

I think he was lamenting the fact that there is no way to get a
threaded view of the conversation in gmail, and I must agree with him
on this one. Gmail is nice for personal mail, but it does get
somewhat unwieldy for larger threads.

On 5/6/06, John G. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Gmail is great for what it is, but I think the OP was looking for
something more durable – a site like perlmonks where you’ve got got
not only the messages archived, but also tutuorial content and other
stuff (like user-owned pages filled with useful links, for example).
Besides that, messages there are rated and ranked, and everything is
easily searchable.

Perlmonks really is a very useful site that’s much more than a mailing
list. I agree that it’d be great for the Ruby community to have a site
like it.

Yeah, you definitely might want to consider it as a total package. It
would be awesome to have a comprehensive site for ruby with similar
material. I don’t think anybody is advocating replacing ruby-talk,
this would just be an extra resource.

Dunno if I’d call it RubyNuns though. :wink:

I kinda like it =)

I don’t know about reusing the Everything Engine though. I haven’t
read through the code, but Chromatic (editor of perl.com), is doing a
column[1] on refactoring the engine. He describes as follows:

"The Everything Engine is an aging software project that powers Perl 

Monks,
Everything 2, and a few other websites. It suffers from poor design
and
maintainiability [sic]."

You might be better off just writing something in ruby from scratch.

[1]
http://www.oreillynet.com/onlamp/blog/2006/04/refactoring_everything_day_1.html


#14

On 5/6/06, Leslie V. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

On 5/6/06, Polite removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

So before Eli has the Rubynuns up and running reading the list over
gmail might remedy the present situation.

I “third” that. Gmail is great - just create a filter which keeps all
your Ruby-talk stuff out of the inbox and nothing could be easier. In
fact, I don’t know of a better web application than Gmail.

Gmail is great for what it is, but I think the OP was looking for
something more durable – a site like perlmonks where you’ve got got
not only the messages archived, but also tutuorial content and other
stuff (like user-owned pages filled with useful links, for example).
Besides that, messages there are rated and ranked, and everything is
easily searchable.

Perlmonks really is a very useful site that’s much more than a mailing
list. I agree that it’d be great for the Ruby community to have a site
like it.

Dunno if I’d call it RubyNuns though. :wink:


#15

On 5/7/06, Louis J Scoras removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

somewhat unwieldy for larger threads.
Don’t know what you mean, Gmail put the whole Sharp Knives and Glue
thread together quite capably - 99 messages or so, showing only the
last few responses I hadn’t seen by default, or expanding when asked.

like it.

Yeah, you definitely might want to consider it as a total package. It
would be awesome to have a comprehensive site for ruby with similar
material. I don’t think anybody is advocating replacing ruby-talk,
this would just be an extra resource.

I don’t think there’s a lack of this stuff on the web, it’s just not
all in the same place.
Maybe ruby-lang.org needs to be expanded, or maybe it just needs more
links? Rubygarden is great. It could do with links to the RAA and
Rubyforge though…


#16

On 5/7/06, Leslie V. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Don’t know what you mean, Gmail put the whole Sharp Knives and Glue
thread together quite capably - 99 messages or so, showing only the
last few responses I hadn’t seen by default, or expanding when asked.

No, don’t get me wrong. I think gmail is great for what it is, and as
you said it does a great job keeping the tread in tact. The problem
is that it displays it as a flat, linear conversation.

In a threaded view you can find replies to messages much easier
regardless of where they occur chronologically.


#17

On 5/6/06, Louis J Scoras removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I think he was lamenting the fact that there is no way to get a
threaded view of the conversation in gmail, and I must agree with him
on this one. Gmail is nice for personal mail, but it does get
somewhat unwieldy for larger threads.

Odd. I’ve never had a problem with gmail, and I’ve used a lot of
different mail and news clients over the years. gmail is probably the
best I’ve used.

-austin


#18

On 5/6/06, John G. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Perlmonks really is a very useful site that’s much more than a mailing
list. I agree that it’d be great for the Ruby community to have a site
like it.

Dunno if I’d call it RubyNuns though. :wink:

I see no value in this.

Literally, none.

I would like to see RubyGarden pick up a bit more, but the
principals involved have been very busy, partially with fixing the
RubyGarden Wiki.

-austin


#19

On 5/15/06, Austin Z. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I would like to see RubyGarden pick up a bit more, but the
principals involved have been very busy, partially with fixing the
RubyGarden Wiki.

No one said RubyGarden couldn’t be that site, but AFAICT there’s no
forum at RubyGarden.

Really, it’s all about folks coming forward and putting in the work to
either create a “RubyMonks” or else, as you seem to be suggesting,
adding a forum to RubyGarden with some PerlMonks-like functionality.

BTW, I’ve noticed that the Ruby wiki there has been really hammered
with spam lately.


#20

On 5/15/06, Austin Z. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I’m not going to speak for anyone else, but I suspect that a lot of
people are like me on this: I don’t have time. I barely have time to
read the Ruby blogs and keep up with ruby-talk in any case.

Me too.

Without guaranteeing a high level of participation from active
high-knowledge members of the community, including the Japanese
community, a PerlMonks-alike is doomed to failure. Not that I think that
PerlMonks is even remotely worth emulating. The postings on the first
page as I look now are spectacularly uninteresting and don’t offer
anything that hasn’t been asked and answered elsewhere better.
[snip]

Austin – I’ve used PerlMonks in the past, and it’s actually more than
a forum. It’s got a ranking system (both posters and posts are ranked)
that turns out to make the site very useful. There’s an interesting
dynamic going on over there – when someone posts a very basic
question, they don’t usually get a normal “here’s how you do it”
answer. Instead, they often get a, “here’s where you can look in the
docs for your answer” type of answer.

I think that, when you have a ranking system like they have (i.e. if
their posts are up-voted, they get more xp), folks tend to want to
live up to their on-site standing. You know what I mean? It’s like,
they build (visible, via their xp points) a rep (and “title”) over
time. Folks start looking at their home node (which only the user can
edit – unlike a wiki) as a useful reference to other good nodes.

Anyhow, I agree with you that another Ruby forum is not needed. But PM
is much more than a forum – it’s got extra magic sprinkled on top. :wink: