Welcome to our #monitoringlove platform


(Michael Friedrich) #1

Welcome to our new community platform for sharing the open source #monitoringlove :heart:

Get Started

Please register a new account and create a new topic in your selected category.

Tip

You can register via email, or via oauth from Github/Twitter. These apps will only pull your email address, and are read-only.

If you are having trouble with email activation, please check your junk folder too (this will be fixed asap).

Before you post, make sure to checkout the interactive tutorial provided by the discobot: New users: Explore Discourse with discobot

Note

We have grown as an international community of monitoring enthusiasts. Please respect the one and only forum rule: Use English as language.

Modern and fast

Create a new topic with your question, choose a category, browse the forum meanwhile. Format your text using Markdown (more in the FAQ), upload images from your disk or the web, and click “post”.

Not only on your desktop, but responsive on your mobile device.

You can share the love and like posts. Share them on social media too (hint: get a badge). Use Emojis to express what you think :trophy:

Solve Topics

If you’ve created a topic, you can accept a specific answer as solution. This will be visible in the topic listing as well as be counted for user statistics (and rewards).

Badges as Rewards

Helping others and receiving a “thank you” is the best feeling. In addition to that Discourse rewards you with badges :heart:

More on that here: Honouring your community work

Howtos

Discourse allows us to create wiki topics which can be edited by community members. This additional feature should help create the best knowledge base there is :heart_eyes: More on that: Guidelines for writing howtos

Motivation

The old Woltlab platform served us well for many years. Here are some stats:

16,713 Members
37,167 Threads
239,548 Posts (45.16 Posts per Day)

Two years ago we already encountered bottlenecks with the MySQL backend. Search was sometimes slow, and posts did not hit. There was a lot of maintenance work happening in the background.

Apart from an incredible growth of this community, it was not easy to ask a question. You had to navigate into a sub forum, then create a new post. Some addons had been added to solve this, but this wasn’t satisfying at all.

The split view between the dashboard and the forum as an app slowed down the overall experience too. Let’s be clear - it is old-fashioned and makes community support very hard.

Woltlab provides a great tool with many plugins and extensions. Still, you need to pay money for many of them, including the forum software itself.

Living the open source spirit, it became hard to suggest or patch functionality. This also is what makes Discourse just awesome in comparison - 100% open source, and a rich helping community at https://meta.discourse.org

Setting up Discourse is a breeze with Docker. They even provide a web based setup wizard. Once you’re inside the administration section, you just start to adjust and play. Many settings are “default”, you don’t need to customise them.

Apart from the visual experience and easiness Discourse provides, it also was developed with community discussions in mind. Rewards with badges, a helping tutorial bot, an easy-to-use editor with live previews, and endless scrolling in threads. No more pagination.

In terms of spam prevention, Discourse supports Akismet (similar to Wordpress). The past showed us that bots are not the problem, as users kept solving reCaptchas and posting spam. Akismet filters those topics and allows staff members to review these posts.

In addition to that, Discourse grants users more possibilities as they proceed. This is a learning phase with different trust levels and also implements the possibility to flag and hide offending posts. It is hard to describe, let’s see how this works once user counts grow. TL;DR - we shouldn’t need any moderator or administrator, the community can take care on its own.

https://velocitize.com/2017/05/26/jeff-atwood-on-building-engaging-communities/

It is a great solution for community members asking for help AND those answering in their spare time, for free and the fun and pride. This is my personal motivation to provide you with the best and fast platform out there. Open source community work matters.

More Insights

You can read more about the journey here. It started out as an idea on Thursday, 28.12.2017 and was built in just 5 days :sunglasses:

https://meta.discourse.org & https://github.com/discourse

Archive

The old platform is available as knowledge-base at https://monitoring-portal.org/woltlab/ - you can use the search and navigate there. There is an Nginx proxy in place which redirects old thread URLs too, so your bookmarks and documentation is intact. Google search cache is also working until the crawler recognises the redirect.

Just keep in mind to add a reference URL into a new post here, as you cannot post there anymore.

More

Enjoy our new platform as much as I do, and leave your feedback here :smile:

Thanks to NETWAYS for sponsoring the server, SSL certificates and monitoring.


Third provider Plugin
New platform (work in progress)
German Forum
(Michael Friedrich) #2

New platform (work in progress)
(Thomas Casteleyn) #3

Too bad the old topics / users were not migrated. Wasn’t it possible to do that?


(Michael Friedrich) #4

Technically it could be possible. Let me explain a bit more in detail what I have been thinking the last months.

Import users

The old forum has 17000 users, starting with 2003. I don’t know how many of them are active, nor if the email address used for registration is still valid.

The password hash algorithm is different between Woltlab and Discourse. There is no chance to migrate such sensitive information. One could argue, that everyone needs to reset their password then. Could work, but doesn’t help with a general user cleanup.

Some users might also just want to use their Github or Twitter profile, and continue here. That is a benefit you don’t have with your old local registered account. That not only works for registration, but clearly for logins as well. And is super comfortable in my opinion.

Why not write a migration script?

At first glance, Discourse offers many migration plugins for different other products, like vbulletin, phpbb3. One could read the code and reverse engineer that in a suitable manner for Woltlab.

Then one would need to understand the database table layout from Woltlab, and extract relevant data.

Then you need to map the attributes from Woltlab to Discourse.

After having designed such, one needs to actually implement such a migration script. Test it extensively.

My time estimation on such a development task is 2-4 weeks full time.

I personally don’t have so much spare time to do that, and no-one pays me for that. That is merely the reason for not doing that.

On the other hand, the data integrity in the Woltlab database is not there. I’ve tried to delete old posts via bulk tools. It failed, as it cannot handle such. So the old forum has lots of posts in the trash bin, neither you can restore them, nor you can delete them.

The Woltlab database is huge. The underlaying MySQL database has grown far beyond what’s suggested by upstream for a scaling solution. 200k posts is something where they suggest you to buy the Elasticsearch backend, to sort of offload the workload from MySQL.

Attached is a full use wbb4; show table status; output: woltlab_show_table_status_wbb4.txt (54.1 KB)

Note: The create time differs, as I ran table optimize already, which re-created the tables.

Still, such a step could work in Discourse.

If you have read this far, you probably understand this is a matter of time and know-how.

But …

I’ll try to be honest - this forum is worth the many hours and days I already invested into making the monitoring community great. It also honours the years of Michael, Jörg and Mathias and many others who have built this community since 2003.

Still, one needs to find a reasonable amount of time for its maintenance and keep it going. There is no SLA or guarantee for this platform, no-one earns money from it, you don’t see any ads. No-one pays for the domains for example. If one wants to help out and sponsor something, I’m grateful for it. But I do not expect it.

I also had times where I didn’t like this platform. I was eager to just shut it off. Especially when the tone in some threads went wrong, or external users registered an account to attack me in a personal way. I’m not perfect, sometimes slept bad, being sarcastic, or triggering the wrong emotions. Still, I am reflecting that and have become a better person over the years. 9 years ago I would call myself an asshole on this forum. Today, I’m considering myself a leader, a role model, proposing the right way to do things. Receiving feedback and positive karma from many, having met so many community members in person, made new friends.

Sometimes I am thinking about the best way to achieve things here. I’m a perfectionist myself and would love to continue and migrate everything. This time, I kept the “problem” of a new platform for like 2 years on my shoulders, and decided to start fresh.

It is a full-blown risk to start fresh without any user base and no content. On the other hand, my experience with the monitoring community tells me, that users will adopt the new platform rather soon. And it will attract even more users, as the “getting started” or “benefit” is easier. @widhalmt for example started out immediately, having seen the benefit for him.

Still, life is an adventure. I’ll take the risk that this new start fails. For me, it won’t. I’m here for helping users, not being the admin. Showing the technical insights in Icinga, sharing development hints and making this a learning community. I’m enjoying Discourse like a Xmas present, it is just fun using it :slight_smile:

I’m hoping everyone else enjoys it too, and understands the reasoning for a fresh start :wink:

Kind regards,
Michael


(Thomas Widhalm) #5

I think a fresh start was a good thing. As long as the old threads are still accessible this will definitely help to see who is still active and who needs to get back on the boat again. There was so much movement in the tools we use in the last year so having old stuff out of the search results is a bonus. If someone needs old information for old setups, it’s still there in the archives.

We a are thankful for the work you’re putting into this community and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling seeing how much love this project gets.

I guess what I like the most is that you, @dnsmichi , as main force of this community are very much involved in Icinga but still the portal you are maintaining is open for everyone in the Open Source monitoring community who wants to play nice with others. No matter what tools they use, maintain or work with.

So a big thank you from my side and I still think it was a good thing to start anew. We talked a bit offline and we both know how challenging maintaining and migrating boards can be. You did a great job!

Cheers,
Thomas