Better Forum Integration

Related spec:


We should integrate the ubuntu forums better into the look and feel of the main website sections and continue to improve communication accross the wider community.


The forums represent many people's first meeting with Ubuntu and is an important resource for support and social interaction. As we grow, we do so organically in many ways, with new websites, mailing lists, IRC channels and local support forums being set up. Some concious effort must be applied as we go along to make sure that it is possible to get a resonable overview of this vast ecosystem and that useful ideas and knowledge that originates in one section has a resonable prospect of propogation to the wider community. Examples includes the easy availability of best-practice advice for new users as well clarity in the process of how bugs are reported and how new feature ideas can come to fruition in future releases. (HenrikOmma ?)

The community on the forums is too seperated from the rest of the community.UbuntuDemon

Use cases

Jack has a problem and thinks it's a bug. He logs into launchpad and has to wait for a long time until it turns out that it's not a bug. Jack still has problems and nothing's happening. This is not a great user experience and needs to be adressed. With proper forum integration we could move the bug report to the correct forum section and improve Jack's user experience. UbuntuDemon

Average Joe has a problem and goes to the forums. It turns out to be a bug. Now Average Joe has to go to launchpad, register and start telling about his problems again which is scary,confusing and a hassle. UbuntuDemon

Devy the Developer discovers a common problem on the forums and comes up with a specification to solve the problem. He creates a thread in the Development Release section of the forums in order to get some specific user feedback on his new spec. UbuntuDemon


  • Common Launchpad authentication
  • Look and feel integration
  • Social integration
  • The forums are a big support system which works for a lot of average users. UbuntuDemon

  • It's relative easy to find the most common problems of users on the forums UbuntuDemon

    • real user annoyances and suggestions
  • The forums has different sections for different classes of problems.
    • The forums have an ubuntu testimonials section. This section is mostly about common problems and praises by users who are totally new to Ubuntu.
    • The forums have a development section (next release). This is the place where a lot of users who are testing the next release gather. This is great for testing feedback. There are also a lot of interesting discussions for example :threads discussing suggestions for the next release
    • installation and upgrade help. This is the place to go for installation/upgrading feedback and common problems.
    • if a new section is needed it can easily be created UbuntuDemon

  • The forums has a new tags system (xubuntu,kubuntu,ubuntu,edubuntu, or invent one) to help find stuff. UbuntuDemon

  • The forums form a giant potential of feedback by average ubuntu users (currently more than 120.000 users and growing with a couple of hundred users a day) UbuntuDemon

  • huge potential resource of volunteers
    • more motu's ?
    • more people helping with bugs ?
    • more people sending in good specifications ? UbuntuDemon

  • forum users feel being taken more serious if we are more integrated in the rest of the community. UbuntuDemon


  • Developers should try to spend 2 hrs a month on the forums to get interesting user feedback. Ofcourse they don't need to feel obliged to log in to the forums every day. UbuntuDemon

  • Blog by forum people on the planet (idea by Henrik). UbuntuDemon

  • A title for users who are promising to our (entire) community (idea by Henrik) UbuntuDemon

  • Every moderator should be an Ubuntu Member. UbuntuDemon

  • specs on the forums as a subforum of the Development Relesase section (a bit like the fridge which is also directly available on the ubuntuforums). This way developers would get automatically feedback! UbuntuDemon

  • Developers should more often start threads in the development section asking for specific input. UbuntuDemon

  • This bof is a great start. IMHO (ubuntu_demon) we should have BOF's like these with forum staff present at each Developers Summit. UbuntuDemon

  • We might apply for a 5 min presentation on friday morning. UbuntuDemon

  • Does it makes sense to do another BOF about this on friday (if possible) ? UbuntuDemon

  • having a ubuntuforums section in the weekly newsletter (idea by mdz)
  • having stuff on the fridge from ubuntuforums for example interesting threads (idea by jdub)


Outstanding issues

  • Communication between all parties needs to be improved ten-fold. RyanTroy

  • How can we improved social integration between the forums and the wiki (doc team) RyanTroy

  • At he latest DrinkingFromTheFirehose I heard that Launchpad is going to have a support section instead of integrating or linking to ubuntuforums for support. The reason is probably that they want to have a generic system which also works for non-ubuntu projects. I'm seeing increasing seperation on the launchpad stuff instead of integration. Why duplicate the support effort which ubuntuforums handles well already ? Why re-invent the wheel ? UbuntuDemon

  • Authentication between the forums and the Launchpad. The forums has a very nice API that will accept variables via a POST method. We have looked into this in the past and possibly we can revist. My thoughts on this is once the user is registered on the Launchpad the variables could be passed to the specific URL and then the forum account could be created. Who can sit down with me to work out the kinks? RyanTroy <= I can help with this, I have some experience with vBulletin's API. beuno argentina[at]

BoF agenda and discussion


After the chat, there was a phone conference between the key people who were present. A proposal was written by Mako regarding the the discussed governance policy.

Completed Items

  • Change forum navigation tabs to match Ubuntu sites, this was brought up and I am not opposed to changing these. RyanTroy



regarding DrinkingFromTheFirehose : I suggested creating a group of volunteers. (we have a lot of users on the forums) This group can do bug-triarching and prioritising bugs regarding how important they are for users. I'm not talking about the actual priorities but just how users perceive them. UbuntuDemon

Another idea to think about for possible future integration efforts is perhaps adding a small IRC widget directly into the forums. This could be similar to the "Click here for live chat" or technical support. This would be an easy way to introduce new users to the idea of IRC without them having to use a client. The widget or "window in a window" piece could be manned by volunteers or even a direct link to an existing IRC channel. (Brainstorming idea - Belinda Lopez, 22 June 2006)

Can't we borrow the idea of and mysql-documentation by integrating a forum into launchpad... a single thread for each launchpad entry (or when popular: multiple threads). I know this woundn't build much of a social community but it could foster some good technical discussions of packages, alternatives to packages and use cases of packages. I think a standard bugs/solutions thread would help people a lot and could help lowering the amount of spam bugs. (JurjenStellingwerff)

ForumIntegration (last edited 2008-08-06 16:40:20 by localhost)