Use of this platform for Bio.jl - Am I doing this right?


Branching from a conversation on gitter (starting about here) on the uses of Discourse vs other platforms.

I think the distinction between Gitter and Discourse is clear, at least to me. There’s value in extemporaneous chat and one-off questions, and there’s value in structured and threaded conversation. Of course, there’s always going to be some overlap, and things posted in the “wrong” place, but that’s unavoidable.

My question is more a distinction between Discourse and using issues on Github for things like proposing a change or questioning functionality, feature requests etc. Take for example this recent issue about parallelism in Bio.jl - this seems like it could have been a post on this forum. Should it be?

I don’t have a ton of experience in open source communities, so I don’t know if other groups use github issues in this way, but it made sense to me. I’m wondering if there are or should be some guidelines regarding use-cases to know where to post things, and also for knowing where to search for things. Again, I’m aware of the potential for overlap and edge-cases, but I’m just looking for broad principles here.


If you have some proposal for functionality in Bio.jl, then absolutely opening an Issue is a good thing to do - we can tag it properly and so on. But it may be helpful to open a thread here pointing to the issue, especially in the idea generating and spit-balling stages… as these posts will see a much broader part of the julia community and so may get more views and so more opinions and comments.

@kevbonham As a guideline I’m thinking of putting in our contribution guidelines to first post proposals here on Discourse in the very very initial discussion stages - especially if you have an idea, but aren’t quite sure about it, want to talk to people first and so on. This will typically happen with Biologists and students unused to coding or new to julia, who might be nervous/unsure and may need a welcoming voice(s) to talk about their idea(s).

Once such people are more confident in their idea and sure they’ll commit to the idea / proposal, then they can open an issue / PR. If someone already has a solid plan about their idea/improvement then of-course they can just open an issue or PR right away.

It’s easy to just dictate X goes here and Y goes here. So I think ideas and proposals can be aired here for feedback if someone is not ready to make an issue or PR that is under stricter scrutiny.

EDIT: @kevbonham This very thread is evidence that taking the attitude I outline above is effective: You were not quite sure about and idea or principle, so you asked on here and had a chat about it, and it solidified into an issue you can create on BioJulia/Contributing :slight_smile:


@Ward9250 - I think that makes sense. So an issue like the one I linked to would start its life here, and then if it turns into something more concrete, it would get moved to Issue/PR.

I assume things like bugs should just be opened immediately as issues? I ask because Juno seems to be asking people to even ask about bugs in Discourse, though I think that might be unique to that org since there are many different github packages involved and it’s not always clear which one a bug falls under.

In any case, I think additional guidance in the docs makes sense… should I open an issue :stuck_out_tongue: ?


That’s the general idea yes, I think bugs should be just opened as an issue, and then maybe pinged in the gitter chat-room, it’s a very simple communication, and is a very (You’d hope with bugs!) temporary and ephemeral communication. @kevbonham Opening an issue is good, but not at Bio.jl, but rather over at the BioJulia/Contributing github repo, which stores and hosts the contribution guidelines that are universal to every package produced by BioJulia and the BioJulia community.


Package-specific topics should go in GitHub issues of the package repository. So, I think opening an issue on parallelism of Bio.jl would be good. Random chatting and quick questions that we do not need to archive would be best at Gitter. Other general questions, opinions and suggestions from users should be located at Discourse.


Absolutey, as general guidelines these are the correct ones, with one extra guideline I would add: Suppose we have people who are newbies, or people who are not sure about an idea: They would like to make an issue/PR but are not 100% confident about how their idea works yet, or if there is already a better way to do their idea. Such users should be encouraged to come to Discourse if they want to talk about it first and get some friendly advice, before they start PRing and issueing.