ROOT Q&A site

ROOT Forum and/or StackExchange

  • The current forum works for me
  • I would like ROOT q&a on StackExchange and try to migrate the forum to it
  • I would like ROOT q&a on an open source StackExchange alternative and try to migrate the forum to it
  • I would like ROOT q&a on StackExchange but keep the forum
  • I would like ROOT q&a on an open source StackExchange alternative but keep the forum

0 voters

During the last ROOT Users Workshop there were some comments that searching for answers on the forum is quite difficult and that it might be a good idea to use something like StackExchange to handle ROOT Q&A. Should we consider an open source StackExchange alternative (note, StackExchange allows the export of all Q&A data) to be independent of a third party. Should we keep the forum or try to merge the current forum data in the new solution and close the forum? Help us form an opinion by answering the poll.

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It seems to me that a big part of the problem could be solved by having a better search function for the forum. E.g. if the search results were entire threads instead of specific posts within threads, I wouldn’t get 3 pages of search results from the same thread clogging up my search. Is there only one way to search within phpBB3?

That said, whenever I have non-ROOT C++ or Python problems, Google usually gives good StackOverflow and similar results that are helpful. As long as we don’t end up having to search manually both the old forum and the new place when looking for help, I’d accept a migration.

What I have been missing is an IRC channel where people can discuss things more interactively. I find it very useful for Python for example, using #python on Freenode. Is the lack of an IRC channel because CERN policies prohibit its use?


Migrating is a good idea: the search features work quite well over there, and the voting system really helps to organize threads and display important questions / answers prominently. Over there I usually find similar questions to the one I’m asking, and even if I have to ask my own question it’s usually answered within hours (for more obscure subjects, for more mainstream questions it takes seconds, basically as fast as chat). I’d also imagine it’s cheaper to maintain (i.e. free) than this forum, especially if we’re considering upgrading it.

Were you planning to use StackOverflow, or was the plan to migrate to a designated StackExchange?

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Clear and simple.

But no https? [-X

+1 for StackExchange. People already use that for ROOT Q&A:

Whenever I visit this forum, I feel like I am being transported back to 2003…

And better integration with the JIRA Issue tracker would also be nice. I hate seeing responses like “this was just fixed in 5-34-patches” without an explanation of what the fix was, or a link to the issue on JIRA.

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I think the current forum is ok, but its functionality could be easily improved in a couple of aspects.

The problems I see:
[li] Some users write cryptic questions. A great deal of time / posts is spent in asking what the user really wants.[/li]
[li] Users do not provide reproducers of their problems. 50% of the replies are “please send a reproducer of xxx”. This makes reading the thread tedious until finding the solution.[/li]
[li] Important information like OS and ROOT version is often missing.[/li]
[li] Sometimes, users forget to “mark as solved”[/li]
[li] There are many duplicated topics, similar questions and answers, (and time of the ROOT developers lost/spent in pointing at that)[/li][/ul]

The (easy) solutions I can think of:
[li] To implement a “default template system”. Everytime a user starts a “New topic”, (not when he posts a reply), he will get a predefined post structure in his text window automatically inserted. This guides the users posting style and would make the forum much more efficient in my opinion. As it is just a text snippet, one could still easily remove everything if the user just really wants to ask… What are the news about ROOT7?[/li]
[li] Once he has written the post “subject”, a popup window of “possibly related topics” could appear, like Google search suggestions, and asks the user if his topic is really new.[/li]
[li] To embed an on-line ROOT compiler (latest version) where the users test first their code reproducer, and check if the problem appears also in the master branch. ROOT could enable such a feature, see e.g., via ROOTJS or ROOTaaS, or Binder. [EDIT] Such a functionality has already been designed, see e.g., or One could also enable to upload a couple of small.root files to reproduce the problem and be check faster by the ROOT developers.[/li]
[li] To enable a “mark as duplicate button” in the forum.[/li]
[li] When the user writes the topic subject, a pop-up window could appear showing “related content” threads. He has to look through them and click on “the topics below do not solve my problem, go on with my post”.[/li][/ul]

Below an example on how the automatic text template could look like.

For experienced users who do not want to bother about templates and instructions, one could set an extra tick in the “user profile settings”, equivalent to the automatic “notify me when a reply is posted”.

After 3 years, why is it still not on StackExchange?

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Because we don’t think it’s sustainable; we’d add yet another location to check for users and us; we’d reduce the value of the existing knowledge base (i.e. this forum). And this is for a large part a support forum while SE is more of a Q&A forum. That’s not the same…

Instead we are working on merging the email list and this forum, and making the forum more useful. More news hopefully by the end of this year!


I’m sorry, but maybe you are describing the advantages of a StackExchange site as a solution to most problems mentioned. So the better solution is to simply migrate there.

Most (all minus one) feedback we got was that this new forum (Discourse) is way better than anything else for the problem at hand, and way better than the previous forum. We have no plans to move anywhere for the next year or two.