🍰 Hey, we’re one year old!

Happy Birthday Docling Forum!

:duck: :cake:

Somehow I missed our birthday on April 20th!

I started this site at the beginning of the pandemic, quite frankly, because the isolation was getting to me. There have been dips and waves in activity (we seem to be cresting a bit of late!), but overall I feel like our little corner of the internet has proven to be pretty neat. I for one have certainly met some great people here, and I’ve also had the privilege to get to know some people whom I previously had only known from their bibliographies!

I would really like to thank all of you for hanging around here. In particular I’d like to thank @msatokotsubi and @rgriscom for running the Coffee Hour and Writing Group, both going strong! :muscle:

What is this, the Oscars? :trophy:

:mailbox_with_mail: Suggestion box

Do you have opinions, suggestions, or ideas about what we could do to improve the site or make it more useful?

:question: We’re still “invite-only”… is that cool?

We’re still pretty small (101 users total, fewer active members). There are a couple steps to join, and that has probably resulted in some people not bothering. On the other hand, maybe that filters out people who are really interested? Should we make the site less invite-only? Personally I’m more interested in making the site better and more helpful than having many more users, but is that exclusionary?

:unicorn: Wishlist

My wishes for the site in the coming year… what are yours?

:gift: Support for glossing. I think if the site could support some sort of glossing syntax that would render interlinears in a nice way, we could actually discuss grammatical topics as well as the stuff we already talk about. That would be fun. If anyone is interested in hacking on this with me, that would be awesome. (It would probably involve doing some posting and reading on https://meta.discourse.org/, the user group for this forum software, for starters.)

:gift: An increase in posts. I’ve never run a site like this, so I don’t really know what it takes to encourage activity. I have found that even if I myself just post three or four times in a week, the rate of other people posting speeds up. Activity breeds activity, I guess.

:gift: Utility for language community outside of academia. What could we do here to help communities beyond academia? This forum has support for groups and things like that, perhaps we could offer help in hosting group discussions (say, if people are getting tired of Facebook).

:gift: Moderators? I think moderators can make a huge difference on these sites. I use some other instances of this software (discourse) that have great moderation, and I think that’s a huge part of why those site remain so active. Of course, there’s not much need for moderation if the rate of posting is slow. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

Anyway, thanks for reading and being a part of this little community. It’s been a hard year for everyone. Our work still matters. :heart:


Cheers, Pat! Thanks for leading this community. Like I’ve always said, there’s no other dedicated place on the internet I know of where all the kinds of people that gather on Docling gather, and I’m glad this community exists.

Is the current process that you can register if you arrive on the site, then someone (you) needs to approve the registration? That doesn’t strike me as a very restrictive barrier, personally.

One thing I’ve wondered though is how this community might look if posts were public. I think there’s no doubt that membership would grow, especially from people who aren’t in our immediate circles, because people would discover the site while searching on Google etc. Just as certainly, though, that would change the nature of the conversations that are had here, and might not even be a desirable transition to make at this point since people have been posting on the understanding that posts were semi-private.

This would be super cool and if someone wants to take this on I’d be happy to help—I suspect the harder part is getting started (because you need to learn Discourse’s plugin system) but the last bit (writing JS to implement glossing) ought to be relatively straightforward.


Yeah, that’s how it works. Well, that’s one way: the other way is that I can generate invitation links and just hand those to people, and they can log in with them immediately. They just added that system and it’s really easy. I believe that users who have been around for a while also get the ability to generate such invite links, but I’m not sure.

I don’t have any problem with the community becoming larger, it’s just that as you say there aren’t many places for our crowd to chat online and I think it’s worth filtering that.

Yeah, I have some code for the second part waiting in the wings. I have actually tried to wrap my head around Discourse, but while it’s an excellent system, it’s also an unfamiliar stack (at least to me) — Ruby, Ember, docker, it’s just a lot of stuff, and a sysadmin I am not. The other challenging bit is that the documentation for Discourse seems to be only that Discourse instance (meta.discourse.org) — there’s no manual per se, just discussions. Lots of searching, hoping followed by disappointment, etc! I’m told the way to proceed is to set up a development version of the platform locally and then develop on that, but I haven’t succeeded in that task either. If you’d like to chat about all this business some time I’d really appreciate it.

So reading would be open, but login wouldn’t be. Hmm yeah that’s a good question. I wonder if that’s a configuration possibility in Discourse.

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For anyone interested in learning more about online communities, here is a great (and free) book on the topic: The Art of Community - Jono Bacon


Thanks for the link @rgriscom , I remember Jono from LugRadio. Throwback.

I’m late here - but hopefully never too late to let you know how much this space (and you!) are appreciated @pathall !


Thanks so much @Andrew_Harvey ! Maybe now that school is in session people will have more to procrastinate and hence post here more often :laughing:

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