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Our proposed Stack Exchange site

Daniele Procida

Feb. 11, 2016

Stack Exchange

Help us help more of our users, by supporting our proposal for a dedicated django CMS Stack Exchange site.


What's Stack Exchange?

If you're a programmer, you're almost certainly already familiar with Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow is part of the Stack Exchange network of sites that use the same software to build online self-help communities.

There are a vast range of Stack Exchange sites, and they're not all concerned with programmming, but are dedicated to specific topics (maths, physics, aviation, bicycles are just a few examples).

The Stack Exchange model has proved very successful in producing self-regulating support channels where not only the answers, but even the questions are useful to others. 


Why do we need a Stack Exchange site?

We have some good support channels for django CMS (our IRC channel and email lists are friendly and helpful), but we've made a few observations.

Firstly, a very wide range of people work with django CMS. They're not just software developers, and they include:

  • content creators
  • project managers
  • frontend developers (visual designers, interaction designers)
  • business/site owners
  • webloggers
  • marketers

We know that django CMS is now being used and deployed by more and more people who don't have easy access to Django expertise, and we don't feel that our existing ways of providing support always work that well for them. 

Worse, it's hard to know how many potential new users in these categories are being put off because they don't find the right kind of support. (We're pretty sure that for most of them, our beloved IRC channel isn't what they were looking for... even an email list might not seem the obvious way for some of our users to find help.)

Secondly, the user-base of django CMS is growing very rapidly. We see a lot of similar or related questions, but it's getting hard to manage them and their answers ourselves. This includes technical questions from developers.

A dedicated django CMS Stack Exchange site will help provide the solution to both problems. We think that a Stack Exchange site will become a centre of gravity for django CMS users looking for support, and it will be much easier for the django CMS team to concentrate their efforts there.


What about fragmentation?

Won't this fragment the existing django CMS support channels? Will it hurt our existing community?

In a word, no. Especially in the case of our non-developer users, support is already pretty fragmented, across weblogs, Twitter, direct messages to us and so on. We hope this will help consolidate, not fragment, support.

With over 70'000 downloads each month on PyPI alone, django CMS is growing rapidly and it's getting hard to keep up. We need to find ways to put more of the new developers and users of django CMS in touch with each other, so that they can help and learn from each other.

We don't think a Stack Exchange site will draw people away from existing channels, but it will make the community's activity more visible and better-suited, especially to widening cohort of users who need this kind of support, and it will help show us where the pain-points are for the users we don't hear so much from.


Why not a Django StackExchange site?

This is a fair question. Django is much bigger than django CMS, and there's also a lot of overlap. However, django CMS users are most definitely not just a subset of Django users. The users listed above typically aren't in fact Django users, who'd ask Django questions - they have django CMS questions that would be inappropriate in a general Django forum.

We're already aware of django CMS users becoming puzzled because they ask what seems a reasonable question about using django CMS in a Django channel of some sort, and being told that it's off-topic, or nothing to do with Django.


What next?

It's not easy to get a Stack Exchange site set up - the bar is set quite high, for both quality and quantity of the proposed user community. There are quite a few steps to pass through, and we need to show that the a django CMS site would be viable and add to the reputation of the network. We're at the stage where we need commitment from more people to be involved in the site.

So, we're asking our friends in the django CMS community to give that commitment.

Please visit the site, and hit the Commit button.

Once we obtain the required level of commitment, the site will move into its beta phase, where we'll have our chance to show that people will use the site and contribute to it.

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