We’re pleased to announce a new way to communicate with the core team and communities around the Akka projects (including Akka HTTP, Alpakka the various persistence plugins and all other community projects), as well as downstream projects such as Play and Lagom: discuss.akka.io
The “Discuss Akka” forum is co-hosted under the discuss.lightbend.com domain, along with discuss.playframework.com and discuss.lagomframework.com, and aims to help those communities be closer to one another. Each of the discuss.* domains, directs you to the category that the domain mentions, so you can go directly to discuss Akka things by using the discuss.akka.io domain, without having to navigate the “big” forum.
This is something we’ve been working towards since many years, moving the Play Framework’s backend to Akka HTTP, and collaborating more and more closely between the teams and communities. We hope that this move will further help connect those communities, and see those tools as colleagues with different use cases, as in fact they’ve always been positioned as – Akka being a low level toolkit, and Play and Lagom providing high level building blocks for websites, or microservices with more guidance.
To further explain what’s going to happen next to the other communication channels, and what their intended use is:
What about the gitter channels?
The gitter channels (akka/akka for discussing “using Akka”, and akka/dev for “developing Akka”) remain as-is. As do the various other chats about technologies around Akka. We find those chats tremendously valuable in connecting with the community in a more “chatty” and real-time fashion.
Over the years of using Gitter however, we noticed that its ease-of-use (especially for beginners, new to the community) is a double edged-sword: we noticed many multiple-paragraph questions with code snippets be pasted into the gitter chats, and if no answer was received, the same question would be posted again and again. Other questions which require more in-depth writeups and thinking also “get lost in the chat”, and thus such users did not get the best experience, which they could have gotten on the mailing list – if only they got there.
To help remedy this issue, we want to increase accessibility to a proper discussion forum, where long questions as well as design debates have enough place to breathe, and not get lost in other chatter. Thus, introducing the new discussion forums at discuss.akka.io
What happens to the akka-user mailing list?
The mailing list, whom people following Akka since it’s early days surely have learnt to love, even with its numerous flaws, will be transitioned into a read-only mode. This will not happen immediately, however we’ll try to direct all new questions to the new forum, and eventually flip the switch to mark akka-user as an read-only archive.
We took this decision after much thought, debate and considering the various up and down sides of handling it very seriously. We know that a mailing list work-flow is very precious for people used to working with them (plenty of us including), however in order to grow the community as a whole, and also help making the discussions on such forum more searchable and accessible, we decided that this move will be beneficial for everyone involved.
If you enjoy working with mailing-lists, and would like to continue to do so with the new forums, please have a look at the hints in the Discuss Meta topics, where we prepared hints on how to set up the notifications to work as-if a mailing list.
Forums are complementary to StackOverflow
Since the question about “why not ‘just’ move to stack overflow?” is likely to come up every now and then, we’d like to address it right away, as we make our move from the mailing list to the new forums:
We greatly value the StackOverflow community and think it’s a great place for what it’s been designed for – Q/A style questions.
Often times however, questions about Akka tend to require some more discussion and understanding the architecture where the person asking is applying the technology. This discussion style is able to yield more useful advice, even if the opening question is vague or perhaps by itself is not really a question but discussion topic to begin with. Such discussions do not fit the StackOverflow model very well, which is why we see the discuss forums complementary to the StackOverflow questions, which also have their own tremendous value.
Please keep using the #akka tag and answering questions on stack overflow as you always have been, thank you!
What if I want ASAP 24h/7d responses?
Nothing changes in this aspect. The public communication channels were always best-effort, although we and the community do try to help as much as possible, the amount of traffic makes it hard to give a timely response to every question. If you really want the best-in-class and as-quickly-as-possible answers and support, this is what Lightbend has been offering since the beginning and will continue to do so.
We hope that this new forum will be an enjoyable place for both old and new Akka users, contributors and hakkers alike. Please help us making this transition a pleasant experience (though some bumps are to be expected), as the excellent hakkers you all are, thank you! :-)
Happy hakking, Akka Team