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Oro Community Improvements: Moving Forums to Stack Overflow, Slack and GitHub

At Oro, we know better than anyone the benefits of a vibrant community. We’re used to harnessing the power of customer conversations (on whichever platform they may be) and use them to inform, support and build better products.

When we set out to build our dream community, we settled on two platforms that would complement each other: our forums and issues. Over the years, we haven’t changed this winning combination because it has worked well: we got valuable feedback from engaged customers and kept in touch with developers who wanted to get the most out of Oro products.

Three years ago, we added Slack to our arsenal with the goal of nurturing discussion and promoting conversations around the Oro suite of products. We also wanted to get closer to our developers who customize our Oro community-level products – and be in a better position to help them.

The result was surprising to say the least. All of a sudden we began seeing more collaboration as developers responded positively to self-service and supporting their peers. We’ve also seen a fair share of issues being deflected from other support channels. This freed up time for Oro developers to answer more pressing, complex questions which improved the overall experience for our community members.

The Oro Community on Stack Overflow

Whatever form a collaboration takes, we understand the value of engagement well after communication has stopped. We took this to heart with forums, where we had Oro core developers on standby ready to jump into important conversations when needed.

Despite the continuous effort in keeping our forums a helpful resource, we realized that they were falling short on the value we’d like to offer our users.

  1. The more questions we had that needed the attention of our core developers, the less time they have to work on new features and bug fixes. This presented many scalability issues and obstacles in growing our forums.
  2. The quality of questions and constructiveness of discussions was also a concern. For example, we often got unrealistic code writing requests or issue reports without any details to accompany them.
  3. As time went on, the organizational limitation of forums were not conducive to improving communication, developer engagement and bringing everyone’s attention to information with the most value.

That’s when we realized that building a website others will want to use and come back to involves more than just giving access to trustworthy, dynamic content. Our new forums had to be a valuable destination for wide-ranging conversations about every possible topic, with minimum friction in delivery and experience.

After looking for alternatives that would address the above issues, we decided to completely migrate Oro forums to Stack Overflow.

Where to get help about Oro products

As we commence migration from forums to Stack Overflow, we are keeping forums in a read-only state with all existing content intact. Moving forward, our community members will have the following resources at their disposal: 

Oro Documentation

Welcome to Oro Documentation - Google Chrome 2020-

Whether you’re a business user, developer or administrator, this is where you’ll find a comprehensive library of guides covering every aspect of OroCommerce, OroCRM, OroPlatform and OroCloud. The documentation portal is designed to address everything you need to know about using Oro products as well as developing Oro applications.

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is the largest online community for coders and serves as the go-to platform for everything programming related. It works in the same way as Reddit would, giving participants a chance to ask, answer and vote discussions up and down. It also does what we weren’t able to with forums such as awarding reputations and privileges. This makes Stack Overflow an excellent fit for Oro’s values and goals.

Slack Community

Slack community

The Slack Community is the new kid on the block for community-driven support, all in the convenience of a Slack channel. With ample fresh, relevant, customer-generated content our Slack community is the go-to source of trusted information. It’s an excellent community for those looking for a healthy source of peer insight, offering users a more dynamic idea-sharing platform than Stack Overflow.

GitHub for Issues

github for issues

We use GitHub Issues exclusively for managing issues and feature requests, so it’s an invaluable tool for our community and the Oro team alike. To ensure quality submissions, we encourage the use of issue templates already established for various projects, as well as moving questions to Stack Overflow when appropriate.

Frequently Asked Questions About Migration

When will Forums switch to read-only?

Forum posting capabilities will be removed by March 1, 2020.

Where can I ask a question about Oro products?

As a first line of defence, check the documentation portal, as most topics are already covered in depth over there. There’s a search bar and easy navigation menu in every article to help you find what you need.

For specific, development-related questions that may require examining a number of solutions, consider using Stack Overflow. The community members and other developers can set you on the right path.

Questions of investigative nature or addressing work-blockers can be brought up in the Slack Community. However, don’t expect to get all the answers immediately, as many of us operate in different time zones and can only contribute occasionally.

Where can I report an issue?

GitHub Issues is the best place for reporting any issues you may run into. By using our issue templates, you can make sure your bug report includes all the right information for reproduction and resolution. You can also subscribe to an issue to get updated on its progress, such as when someone posts a workaround or a fix is applied.

Where can I request a feature for OroCommerce, OroCRM or OroPlatform?

GitHub Issues help us keep feature requests in one place. The voting system and comments help us  prioritize as well as close the feedback loop on every idea. It also allows you to contribute your own solutions to core packages, leveraging other community members to help you with development.

Where can I continue to discuss existing forum topics?

If you come across a forum topic you’d like to continue, please start a new question in Stack Overflow referencing the original thread. This will help minimize duplicates and improve content quality.

How to tag questions about Oro in Stack Overflow?

Use the “oroplatform” tag questions related to the Oro ecosystem. And add “orocrm” or “orocommerce” to a question related to the appropriate application or its features.

How to find questions about Oro and Oro products in Stack Overflow?

Enter oroplatform,” “orocrm,” or “orocommerce” into the search bar to find the right Oro related question.

Conclusion

Every change, no matter how small, is performed with the community in mind. The goal is one and the same: to better meet your needs, priorities and expectations when interacting with us. The move to Stack Overflow aims to strengthen delivery and access to information for all, as well as improving communication between Oro ecosystem and community members.

We hope you find these recent changes useful. Got any questions or comments? Let us know in the comments section below or in our Slack channel.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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