Formal policy for project to be a software partner

imagej
slim-curve
openspim
policy
scikit-image

#1

This topic is probably mostly of interest for the forum @team, but I am posting it under the Websites category so the discussion is public, and anyone can participate if desired.

We need to add an entry to the FAQ stating the official requirements and benefits to being a software partner on this forum. Below is a first cut at that. Comments, suggestions, edits, discussion, etc., is welcome, until we converge on something reasonable.


A software partner is a software project that uses this forum as its primary recommended discussion channel. This means that: A) the software project links to the forum in its documentation regarding how users should seek support and/or discussion of the software; and B) it does not promote additional, separate, project-specific discussion channels. The rationale is to facilitate unification and visibility of discussion across the community; see “What is the forum’s mission?” above.

Each software partner appears in the top navigation with logo and link to its associated tag feed. Discussion of any and all scientific image software tools is warmly welcomed, but only those using the forum as their primary recommended discussion channel will be included in the navigation bar.


This week I will be retiring the OpenSPIM and SLIM Curve mailing lists in favor of the forum.

Relatedly, a question: The scikit-image project wants to keep their mailing list open. What do others think about that? Should our policy for inclusion in the top bar allow for a separate project mailing list? Personally, I am strongly ambivalent, because on the one hand I think scikit-image is often a great solution for questions here and I would love to foster closer collaboration between the Python- and Java-based projects, but on the other hand I think this forum cannot reach its full potential if every software project continues running siloed discussion channels.

Arguments in either direction? Alternative policy ideas?


The Scientific Community Image Forum is here!
Can APEER become a partner website on Image.sc
Can APEER become a partner website on Image.sc
#2

Will the IJ-1 list be closed?

Just curious

Herbie


#3

I was presuming not, but it is up to @Wayne and the NIH sysadmin team. All of the mailing lists associated with ImageJ2, Fiji, etc., were already closed years ago in favor of forum.imagej.net.


#4

How about redefining this as community partner?

  • A community partner is a software project or community that uses this forum as their primary recommended discussion channel.

This way, we could include NEUBIAS as an equal partner in the top navigation (/cc @Kota, @Gaby, @Christian_Tischer, @simonfn, @Call4Help and many others):


(I just noticed that the website has a horrible OpenGraph summary in the above one-box :slight_smile:; I believe this can be changed…)


#5

There are no plans to close the ImageJ mailing list.


#6

Yeah, I also think it’d be cool if there was one place for this type of discussion. Nevertheless, in my experience, it’s a difficult process so I understand their hesitation.

For example, when the Rust maintainers and contributors tried to publicly standardize around one platform (also a Discourse forum) there was strong pushback from the already well established Rust Reddit community. In time, because the internal contributors preferred the Discourse community, many people eventually migrated from Reddit to the Discourse forum. I imagine people would’ve migrated regardless of the explicit push. I’d bet something similar would happen in this situation especially since Google is more than likely going to be the entrance for most people.

I was stoked to see scikit-image included since they are arguably (alongside ImageJ I suppose) our most general-purpose community. Obviously most of us have biological and medical backgrounds (scikit-image contributors included) so it’ll be helpful to really push us to ensure the community retains a focus on multi-solution “imaging” rather than “biological imaging.”

Honestly, I’m really just excited about all of this! I really appreciate your effort @ctrueden!


#7

Good day Curtis,

I think your answer

I was presuming not, but it is up to @Wayne and the NIH sysadmin team.

to my question

Will the IJ-1 list be closed?

and Wayne’s statement

There are no plans to close the ImageJ mailing list.

give the logical answer to your initial question:

If ImageJ-1 is regarded as software partner and if the ImageJ-list remains active, condition

B) it does not promote additional, separate, project-specific discussion channels.

is violated.

Best

Herbie


#8

Dear Wayne,

thank you for your statement.

Meanwhile I’ve explicated the background of my question here:
https://forum.image.sc/t/formal-policy-for-project-to-be-a-software-partner/18834/7?u=herbie

Personally, I judge the ImageJ-list as being of great value, with highly competent colleagues who post exclusively there.

Best regards

Herbie


#9

The ImageJ1 logo does not appear in the top navigation bar.


#10

Thanks Curtis,

understood!

Herbie


#11

Based on discussion above, here is a revised FAQ entry / policy:


A community partner is a software project or other community organization that uses this forum as a primary recommended discussion channel. This means that: A) the organization links to the forum in its documentation regarding how users should seek support and/or discussion; and B) it does not promote additional, separate, project-specific discussion channels more prominently than this forum. The rationale is to facilitate unification and visibility of discussion across the communities; see “What is the forum’s mission?” above.

Each community partner appears in the top navigation with logo and link to its associated tag feed. Discussion of any and all scientific image software tools is warmly welcomed, but only those using the forum as a primary recommended discussion channel will be included in the navigation bar.


With this updated language, projects such as ImageJ and scikit-image would be able to continue with existing mailing lists while still being featured in the top navigation bar, as long as use of the mailing list is not recommended in preference to forum.image.sc.

Thoughts?


#12

I like it. I’m pretty sure skimage are in non-compliance right now though. =P But with plans to comply.

As an aside, does Discourse, and specifically this instance of Discourse, support:

  • replying to posts by email, and
  • making new posts by email (if you are a registered user)

If those two features were available, I would support deprecating the skimage mailing list altogether. (Though @stefanv may not be on board!)


#13

Definitely yes to this one. Notice at the bottom of any topic email notification, there is a message “Visit Topic or reply to this email to respond.”

Yes, Discourse supports this. It even (optionally) supports starting topics from email addresses who are not already users, via something called “staged users”. However, these features would need to be enabled in the settings. It looks like the basic toggle is called “email in” and default minimum trust level is 2. But at a quick glance, I suspect configuring everything properly may be more involved than just that checkbox. I recall that @thewtex told me it was quite tricky to get all these email-related features working as desired for the ITK forum.

Personally, I would be reluctant to enable starting new topics via email because I am concerned it could bring along issues of increased spam, and therefore moderation effort. However, if you feel the potential burden would be worth it to placate the email-centric people, and want to give it a try, then please feel free to read up on how it works in more detail and do some experiments with it. I promoted you to admin just now, so there should be no technical obstacles to you doing so.


#14

First, hats off to @ctrueden for making this happen! It is a great idea, and it did not come to fruition without quite a bit of effort.

For the ITK’s community’s migration to Discourse, mailing list behavior was a must for many in the community. And while it is not completely perfect, i.e. a user cannot specify that they want plain-text email and quotes are sometimes funky, most folks who gave it a chance found it to be a practical mailing list replacement. Here are the instructions to use Discourse as a mailing list for ITK.

I added a link to forum.image.sc on the ITK Discourse Welcome Topic. Hopefully, ITK can officially join as an image.sc community partner at some point. We will visit this in about half a year to a year. ITK is currently migrating to GitHub, and this should be finished before other community infrastructure changes. ITK’s migration to Discourse is also relatively recent, so it is a good idea to let the dust settle before making another major change.

There are a number of other changes we made to ITK’s Discourse configuration – it would not hurt to make those changes here, too :wink:

  • Check email time window mins
  • Increase newuser max images and newuser max attachments
  • Enable fixed category positions and order categories
  • Remove facebook from share links
  • Add Announcements category to default categories watching
  • Pin a Using Discourse as a mailing list topic in Uncategorized
  • Finalize the “getting started” guide for Discourse, and link to it in the welcome banner
  • Change “like” button icon from a heart to thumbs up
  • Tweak email contents (retain %{respond_instructions} )
  • Settings -> top menu -> “categories” on left (so it is first)
  • Set min trust level to create tag to 1
  • Increase title max word length to 150
  • Add * to the list of authorized extensions
  • Increase newuser_spam_host_threshold from 3 to 10
  • To allowed iframes add https://kitware.github.io/, https://www.itk.org/, https://itk.org/ (for posts like this)

#15

@ctrueden well, that’s why I said we should only allow posts from registered users. I think that should be quite effective at combating spam…?

@thewtex doesn’t mention spam issues which makes me think they didn’t encounter any. =)

@thewtex thanks so much for all that info, it’s very very useful!


#16

I hope it helps!

Some additional settings:

  • email time window mins: 1
  • email posts context: 0
  • email subject: %{site_name} %{optional_pm}%{topic_title}
  • email prefix: [ITK]
  • unsubscribe via email footer: checked

We have not received any spam, but I believe we are using a good spam filtering service for which Kitware has a subscription.

Registration to participate via GitHub and Google login lowers the barrier to entry substantially relative to mailing list subscriptions. Also, many younger community members do not know how to subscribe to a mailing (sadly).


#17

Thank you for making this possible! This type of initiative is very useful for anyone working within the bio-imaging community.

Regarding “A) the organization links to the forum in its documentation regarding how users should seek support and/or discussion”
Some commercial software includes dedicated technical and application support. In those cases (at least some of) the users will likely contact the company directly to get tech and app support. Is it OK to leave it up to the user to decide where he/she posts their question? If the user decides to post publicly the answer could also be public. But if the question is posted privately to the company then the reply would also be private. Thoughts?

A couple of other questions which may help other companies join this effort:

  1. can we add a note indicating that using this forum will always remain public and free of charge?
  2. can companies continue to have their own newsletters or similar?
  3. is there any plan to have advertising (personally I am against the idea) spots on this forum?

Many thanks!


#18

While it is perfectly acceptable that solutions involving commercial software are discussed on this forum, I’d like to question if closed-source software projects and companies can become a community partner of the Image.sc forum: one of the aims of this forum is to foster independent learning, see here:

and from the forum guidelines:

An open source process enables this sort of learning thanks to its accessibility, transparency and reproducibility.

And finally, one of the sentences from that linked page on the ImageJ wiki:

In contrast, closed source software presents a barrier to open research, because the implementation details of algorithms cannot be freely modified or even necessarily verified.

What do others think about this?


Regarding the other questions you asked:

This is already specified in the Terms of Service:

User contributions are licensed under a Creative Commons Zero (public domain) license


There’s no plan, and – as long as funding is secured – I very much hope there will never be commercial advertising on this forum.


#19

Thank you - I understand. While I do appreciate the difference between open and closed source software I also think there a significant value in having a bio image analysis community that includes all parts. In line with:

That said, this great forum was originally created by and for open source projects. Thus, it would be a significant (or even odd) step to embrace closed source projects in the same forum. On the other hand, keeping closed-source projects out limits the potential positive impact of this forum.

One (simple) solution would be to make it obvious to the users which are the open vs the closed source projects. e.g. by adding a badge to the logo of the project?


#20

+1.

To make it clear, perhaps the statement could be tweaked to

Discussion of any and all scientific image software tools is warmly welcomed, but only open source tools using the forum as a primary recommended discussion channel will be included in the navigation bar.