[isabelle-dev] A proposal for the website

Makarius makarius at sketis.net
Mon Nov 2 17:51:40 CET 2020

On 02/11/2020 16:36, Lawrence Paulson wrote:
> Under "Distribution & Support” it would make sense to mention the rather active Zulip community: https://isabelle.zulipchat.com/
> My impression is that it’s livelier than StackOverflow.

Are you registered at Zulip Chat and/or Stackoverflow? Do you actively
participate over there?

Some years ago, I have spent a lot of time to explore and extend the
"isabelle" tag on StackOverflow, because it was "cool" and "the next big
thing". Later I stopped it for various reasons: it is technically not quite
fit for a discussion forum, and it feels politically strange to be not the
master of your own house (e.g. unrelated reviewers can interfere with your
community; you don't own your data; you don't manage it freely).

Likewise, I am unsure if the supercool Zulip Chat fits to our needs, both
technically and politically. It suspiciously looks like another "Sirene
Server" in the sense of J. Lanier "Who owns the future?" (Sirenes as in the
story of Odysseus.)

Instead of observing the laws of gravity like a dead body, I would rather like
to see us moving independently. For example, like this:

  (1) provide a self-hosted server of a decent discussion platform, e.g.
Discourse (or a suitable alternative to be explored carefully)

  (2) import our glorious history from the two Mailman mailing lists:
isabelle-dev and isabelle-users

  (3) shutdown the old mailing lists and use just one platform seriously

  (4) disregard StackOverflow, Zulip Chat etc.

Thus we could reunify all Isabelle related discussion channels again, and
avoid wasting time with divergence and duplication.

We would also demonstrate that we are still alive and independent, like in the
past 30+ years.

Some notes on self-hosting in general: I have started with some small services
on server.sketis.net in 2017, and it has been growing and prospering
especially now under the "Corona-regime". If restricted to what is really
required, self-hosting is both easy and fun.

Even more, locals here in Augsburg have become quite enthusiastic about the
prospect to grow our own independent digital infrastructure. So there will be
spin-offs back and forth between Isabelle technology and Augsburg.One (that is
a toplevel Internet Domain and emerging website).

For example, instead of the seemingly inevitable Zoom.us, we already have our
own instances of Jitsi-Meet and Nextcloud/Talk for small conferences (even
with STUN/TURN server). For bigger ones, BigBlueButton appears to be the
platform of choice, but it requires further testing.

Maybe I will make some public audio/video sessions for user feedback in the
coming Isabelle release process, using the existing service
https://bbb.augsburg.one ...


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