Community Engagement - Experimenting with RSS Polling Between OH Communities

Hey everyone!

A few of us from GOSH, IoPA, and OSHWA are exploring ways to bring our communities together in conversation and collaboration, moving toward the shared ecosystem that we all envision for the global open hardware community.

One part of this (among many other ideas) is to find a way for our currently separate community forums to cross-link with one another, providing the capability for community members to have a new channel on each forum that shares a combined listing of events, opportunities, and/or announcements.

Technologically speaking, there is a fairly straight-forward way to do this using the Discourse RSS plugin to create a shared cross-community stream that each forum could display on their sites. However, as we are seeking to do this work to better support our communities - we are keen to hear your thoughts on how we can shape this sharing of information to better support your needs.

We invite you to join the conversation on an open pad, where we unpack more about our intent and goals for creating a shared feed between our Discourse forums. In that pad, there are a few questions we have for you all that will help us to frame a direction. We’ll be getting back together in Janurary to review, discuss, and communicate out what our communities have shared with us, and a pathway forward.

Until that time, please feel empowered to respond to this post thread, and/or reach out to any one of us individually (@briannaljohns @schutton @julianstirling).


TIL the Discourse RSS plugin, amazing! I just added one small item to the pad and will follow this effort with great interest.

One thing to think about is moderation. I know we’re talking the the GOSH Code of Conduct and moderation right now, so when we next meet about it, this could be a thing to keep in mind.

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Yes, absolutely - for cross-forum threading, the tech is the easy part, it’s the human engineering/governance bit that is oft overlooked (at least in my prior experience). While this is something that @julianstirling, @briannaljohns, and I discussed when we met to develop a strategy, I thank you for bringing it into the collective consciousness @hpy! I’d love to join in any discussions/pick brains regarding your approach to CoC and moderation - we’re in the process of reframing ours at the IoPA as well.

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This is a good point

We can have a shared agreement for the broadcast/cross-forum posts. This could set out things like

  • Conduct - If all forums have a broadly aligned codes of conduct and are moderated then this should be enough. If any forum is not well moderated they might need to be dropped from from the list. There would need to be a clear point of contact for each forum to flag any problems to. I think as the polled post is posted here by system a GOSH moderator could remove a post that violated the code of conduct.
  • Significance/rate of cross forum posts: One forum should not be flooding this channel with loads of stuff. This could be as simple as.

    Cross-forum posts should be topics that are of wide interest across the open hardware community. On average no more than 2-3 a month (with no strict limit if lots of exciting news happens to come at once!)

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Hi all! An update on where we are at with RSS Polling to connect the various OH communities:

A new channel will be created on each of the 4 community forum sites:

Channel Name: Consolidated Community Announcements

Channel Description (to be configured in Discours admin panel/plugin): Events and opportunities of interest across the Open Source Hardware (OSH) ecosystem.

Channel Content Guidelines:

  1. Scope: related directly or indirectly to open source hardware (OSH); if indirectly related, a brief explanation of the connection, the “why should I care” will be included with the post
  2. Included: anything that could be participated in on a global scale, either online or of a scale/open for broader community participation regardless of location
  3. Not included: smaller local/regional hackathons/meetups/council or governance meeting
  4. Examples: community calls, conferences (OSHWA Summit), online events/programmes

For users concerned about too much information: Noise reduction can be accomplished via the application of filters (focus on own org tags) or, you can mute the channel.

Who Can Post: Any community member, so long as the aforementioned channel content guidelines are followed. If you have any questions, please contact the community manager for your organization.

Assessment: Community managers and leads will continue to monitor this new channel, and will meet regularly to discuss how to gauge the impact and benefit to the global OSH ecosystem. If you have any feedback or questions, please reply to this thread or get in touch directly with any of us. (@julianstirling @Sarah @OSHWA @briannaljohns)


Don’t have much to add, and looking forward to seeing how this goes!

I am very curious, though: How much “manual” work did this take i.e. lots of custom scripting, etc.? Or was it mostly a matter of installing the RSS plugin on each of the four Discourse instances, and telling them to follow each other?

Hi @hpy!

The process for this was quite simple! Each of us downloaded the discourse RSS polling plugin, and then once it was enabled, we just had to add each other’s RSS feeds on the backend so that they are following each other. :slight_smile:


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