Forum & Slack Experimental Integration

Hey Cartographers,

We (@bemosior & @chris.daniel ) have been discussing an experimental integration between the Slack and the Forum in order to enable easier information flow across both communities and leverage their respective strengths.

Slack is great for real-time discussion and for keeping up with the community stream-of-consciousness. However, it isn’t so great for archival purposes (the free plan limits us to the most recent 10,000 messages).

Meanwhile, a forum is great for thoughtful discussion over time and preserving that discussion for future readers. However, it may be too slow-paced for intense collaborative work.

Additionally, one of the present weaknesses in Wardley Mapping education is the shortage of examples. We have the opportunity here to more deliberately gather examples and associated discussions to make learning mapping even more approachable for new and existing community members.

With this experiment, two things happen:

  1. When someone posts a map in the Share Your Map category on the Forum, the #maps-in-the-wild Slack channel will get a notification.
  2. When an interesting conversation happens in Slack, participants will have the option to post chat transcripts to the forum (the /forum post command creates a draft) to start a larger discussion or create an archive.

Our expectation is that the consent of conversation participants must be secured before storing a Slack transcript on the forum.

We want to emphasise this is an experiment. If all goes well, we will continue our efforts. If some important obstacles emerge, we will pull the plug without hesitation. We plan to explore this in the next few days, so please let us know if you have questions or concerns.

Thank you for all your support.

Best regards,
@bemosior & @chris.daniel

PS. This is how we see the map for this case:

2 Likes

Slack enables closed discussions and offers, to some extent, a safe space to share thoughts and ideas. Should the value of this within the community be tested by running an anonymous poll in Slack before making a decision to proceed with the implementation?

@john.grant

I understand your concerns. Destroying mutual trust is something nobody of us wants, and I would be happy to learn what others think about the integration. What question would you suggest?

And I just want to emphasise - @ben and I, we are watching how the integration will be used, if at all. If it does not provide value, or if it causes any harm (especially if we see people exporting Slack messages without consent), we will switch off the integration.

It is worth to remember that Slack is not a much safer space than the Forum. One still can, with the integration or without it, copy messages and post them in some other place. And while I understand the integration will make it easier, which in turn can have unpredictable consequences, I trust community members they will use it for good rather than bad.

As I have said, in case of any problems:

On a question relating to community trust, a clause in the forum terms of service state all content is copyrighted material of DXC. To encourage cross posting engagement should the forum terms of service not reflect the Creative Commons spirit of Wardley maps?

https://community.wardleymaps.com/tos

3 Likes

Thank you @john.grant, for bringing attention to this issue. It is actually one of the most important challenges we are facing as a community.

I think I understand your concern about the Creative Commons, and I also understand why the integration can be seen as the DXC attempt to copyright community content, which would be damaging to us all.

My understanding of the ToS is that all materials are copyrighted by DXC or DXC content providers (which are community members) unless otherwise noted. Users never transfer ownership of their content to DXC (albeit DXC gets rights to use the content. Without it, it could not even display posts publicly. I’ll return to that later). I never felt like I should decide what is the licence users should do, so we stick with the default - your content is copyrighted by you unless you mark it otherwise.

Creative Commons spirit

That’s I think one of the most important discussions we should have. What does it really mean? Do we assume that every conversation we are having (in the Slack & in the Forum) are Creative Commons?
We should definitely discuss this more, and define community expectations. What is desired? What is acceptable? What constitutes a transgression?
How should we inform users about those rules?

Collaboration Platform rights

The collaboration platform owners, be it Slack or the Forum, will always get almost unlimited distribution and reuse rights. They just cannot function without it (you would not be able to display a post to other users).

At DXC, we were brutally honest about that.

The Slack ToS are not different in this aspect:

When an Authorized User (including, you) submits content or information to the Services, such as messages or files ( “Customer Data” ), you acknowledge and agree that the Customer Data is owned by Customer and the Contract provides Customer with many choices and control over that Customer Data. For example, Customer may provision or deprovision access to the Services, enable or disable third party integrations, manage permissions, retention and export settings, transfer or assign workspaces, share channels, or consolidate your workspace or channels with other workspaces or channels, and these choices and instructions may result in the access, use, disclosure, modification or deletion of certain or all Customer Data.

The Foundation

The only way forward to get all of this is to establish a transparent foundation, that would act as a steward of community interests. I am a big fan of this idea, but I am afraid it is still a little bit too early. This is at least the vibe I get from the community.

And until we establish the Foundation, we will have to rely on individuals such as DXC or that manages the Slack channel that all willing to contribute.


Said all of this, I would be more than happy to start talking to lawyers and make the User Content Creative Commons by default, if this is something the community expects.

I am so happy I have finally managed to put all of this in writing :). Many important threads connect here because of the seemingly innocent integration :).

3 Likes

Thank you for your detailed response @chris.daniel

It suggests that until we can determine the needs of the Wardley maps community, the forum and Slack integration project is not a safe to fail experiment. There is a chance, a small chance, that automated copy and paste could kill engagement within this nascent community.

In the meantime, we could encourage members to post summaries of interesting Slack conversations, with permissions from all participants, to the forum with additional thoughts and questions to stimulate further open discussion.

As promised, I’ve pulled the plug.

Anxiously waiting a backlash from the pioneers…

@john.grant No worries. Community comes before everything else!