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+9 votes
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in Q2A Core by
The developer has not responded for a long time. The last release was a year ago. There are no new opportunities. There is no refactoring. What is the future?
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I'm a developer. I don't have any particular permission on the GitHub's repository, so I'm just another mortal :) I spend around 15 hours a week in Q2A-related activities, including answering questions here, which happens to be the time I have left from my personal life. Considering the lack of development hours that people as a whole spend in Q2A (I can infer this by looking at the pull requests and plugins published here), I'd say any development hour spent is a good investment of time. That's what I can offer: my development time.

I can confirm that testing is needed as well. I know in the past this post was created https://www.question2answer.org/qa/56130 but I think it led to no where, or at least I saw no other update on that.

Those are the things that I see are step 0. Unless those are not satisfied, I hardly believe it is possible to reach step 1.

Now, if your final words are requesting drastic changes, I'm sad to tell you that they don't help at all. You will need to clarify what those changes are (in detail) and how you can contribute for them to actually happen. "Be the change you want to see in the world" :)
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How much money it will take so that your time is not wasted and you could develop the project with Scott I know that you have another job. How can we help? We can collect a donation. How much money is required?
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In my case, all I can give are those hours. I won't have more free time even if I'm paid for that. I mean, I like Q2A but I won't quit my full time job for it :) So I don't ask for any money, although I do believe Scott should receive some donations from time to time.

Furthermore, I believe that any user who actually owns a Q2A site and is making profit out of advertisement (or any other way) should donate something every month/quarter/year. It is one of the ways of giving back. Without Q2A, that income wouldn't have been there in the first place. Maybe donating an X% (up to each site owner) of the income will help keep motivation up.

Anyway, according to Gurjyot, it is not just a matter of developing but also taking other actions. Maybe understanding that other path and turning it into concrete actions could help figure out the best way to invest any money in Q2A.
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I have added an answer instead of a comment, to give some of my thoughts on what can be done to improve Q2A.

4 Answers

+4 votes
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Alright here is what I have in mind for Q2A which can help if for sure. I'll divide the situation into parts by which each can be understood and handled separately. 

Problems

  1. Lack of vision of Q2A. What is Q2A and why is it here? Is it trying just to become a clone of StackOverflow?
  2. Community Members do not believe in the software, they believe in the team. The lack of team activity on the website leads to a sense of doubt in the minds.
  3. Currently, we are lacking devs (not core devs) and not many devs are on Q2A because of lack of people using Q2A (and the number of websites using Q2A on homepage, it's just not correct - anyone can see that).
  4. Lack of communication from devs to members of Q2A. By this I mean, what's going on in Q2A and what devs are planning next? What's new that's about to happen or what has already happened? Basically, someone with authority to talk to. Because of the lack of communication, the first thing which breaks is, the Community
  5. Not giving proper exposure to devs and other contributors who spend most of their time in this community. 
Solutions
  1. A vision is as important as the destination for a ship in the sea. If there is no defined destination then the ship will keep wandering and will never reach a destination or even close to it. Decide a vision and show it in bold on the homepage which reminds all, what Q2A is about. And that will also help you decide what direction should Q2A take in the next release to keep that vision alive.
  2. This is going to take the most time to explain. In a situation like this, you should focus on grabbing a few more hands for Q2A. Make a small team for different work like Community management, Marketing, Development, Github issue management, docs management and anything else which you think is necessary. By team I do not mean that you have to pay them or anything, just give them exposure and a status that they are part of the staff and that will be enough. This can be done by making them mods, editors, contributors and what else you think necessary.
    Now you do not have to make this team in one go. Start by adding one new member who is most active after devs and knows the stuff around Q2A. And then after some time another one when you find someone fitting. Every year a few will leave and a few can be added. This keeps a sense of activeness in the mind of community members that team is alive and active. Which intern encourages them to keep believing in the team. Moreover, a word of encouragement every now and then from the leader that Q2A is here to stay and will stay for many years to come can give much more confidence to the members in believing Q2A. Once they start to believe then this will change into a cycle and Q2A will keep going forward much faster.
  3. This problem somehow relates to point 2 only. Once people will have trust in the team and Q2A, they'll start coming more and will also bring more people on it. Now with more people in the community will attract more devs towards this community. But that's not where it ends. You also need to help and encourage these devs to stick to the community, which can be done by the Community Manager. Give these devs proper exposure and show trust in their work. Give them proper credit for their work and this all can be done by the Community manager (rarely any devs input is necessary here).
  4. Here Community Manager plays a vital role. If you see Scott's activity on this website then it's 5 hours back, Sept 30 and July 27, then how can you make a new visitor believe that the project is alive when the leader is not showing here for months. During this time, having a proper communication system is much more important. I would suggest having a Discord channel for Q2A where members can talk to each other and to other devs much more easily and fast. Moreover, it can be left in the hands of community manager only. He should also be able to make Community update posts which can be pinned at top every month. This gives any member a sense of stability that whatever is happening in the community, he is getting to know about it all. 
    This managers main duty would be to take care of the community, take care of spam, to clear any doubts in the minds of members, to report to devs about any major concerns or activity in the community every day or week. Once the manager feels that the community is getting bigger then he can have more help by adding one or two members under him and creating a separate Communication Team. 
  5. Finally, I have seen for many years a lot of devs came to Q2A but none got supported by Q2A even a bit. Now I do not say to give them money or anything, but give them status as contributors or editors if they are doing well in the community. Even Pupi worked for years then he got a status of a moderator. If you do not encourage devs then how would they find the motivation to stick in Q2A. If devs perform well then give them a higher rank and if they stop performing for a long long time (and do not respond) then decrease their rank. 
Few other things to add here are, shift the home website to WordPress with a free but decent theme. Right now it's like making a Mercedes in shadow of a broken shed. Make someone handle the social media channels of Q2A. Scott said that he'll post on these frequently but nothing has been posted on them for montttttttths. 
There are many more things but the fact is, will anyone be able to implement these?
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I liked how you explained your points. That doesn't mean I fully agree with what you mentioned, though. I will not go over each item to avoid a long discussion but I'll try to be practical and consistent with my previous comments in the question. In short, this means the community needs to take ownership. Again, the only thing that Scott can officially do on his own, is adding code to the Q2A repository (or maybe performing an update on the home page, I guess). Now, EVERYTHING else, should not rely on him.

For example, if you consider a vision as such an important thing (I'm not saying it isn't!), why haven't you suggested one? Have you sent Scott or Gideon the vision you think it should have? Or maybe created a question in here mentioning a possible vision and asked for suggestions about it? Again, Scott/Gideon decide at the end of the day, but if you can make things easier for them by not just mentioning the problem but also providing a possible solution, then you increase the chances of the change actually happening. Of course, this will demand more of your time than just mentioning the problem.

Note this also applies to "Make a small team". Why does Scott/Gideon have to do that? If the commitment is real, then I'm pretty sure there should be 7 people that could be part of the team (basically, the 6 upvoters to this question plus the OP). Instead of saying that, why don't you get started with it? Turn the "Make a small team" into small concrete actions that you can take care of and, if you require any support in any step from Scott/Gideon, then feel free to request it. If the request is rejected, then you will have done everything in your hands, but meanwhile, you have the ball.

Despite the last paragraphs, I agree with you in most of what you said, but I wanted to make it clear that the community should not rely on one person and should be more proactive.
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I can understand most of what you say but your last line contradicts everything here. The person whom we are talking about is not a normal registered member but the person who represents Q2A now (The lead developer). Moreover, have you seen a class of 50 students and expected them to behave the best and do their work in harmony and help each other out. That's only the perfect case scenario but the truth is, that never happens. There always have to a Monitor in the class who lays down certain rules and shows the path. And that monitor is also selected by the teacher of the class. So the work of a teacher is not just to teach but to lay a system in the class which brings maximum productivity. Same goes for Q2A as well.
No matter how good the community become and how dedicated the members are. If the leader is not there to take the charge and place a PROPER SYSTEM then it'll keep failing.

And yes I have proposed many changes and suggestions before to Gideon and Scott and also contacted third party devs from time to time. But the fact is, they all look up to Scott now. Gideon says that Scott is in charge now and he can take care of most of the stuff and other third-party devs say that the leader is not very confidence boosting. Even after so many years I have stayed with Q2A and tried everything in my power to help it out. But until Scott takes the charge, what more can be done?
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@Gurjyot Singh, 100% agree with you. Discourse started in 2013 and see its progress now, they built very good team. Q2A started in 2010 and still no direction.

I requested release 181 because v180 is detected as a malware to Gideon and Scott but no update :(
https://github.com/q2a/question2answer/pull/607 (fixed by pupi1985 in Feb-2018)

This shows how serious Q2A is taken.
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edited by
@Gurjyot I have tried doing most of the stuff on your list already but it’s not having much of an effect. What else am I supposed to do?

Regarding a “team”, you’ve mentioned this several times but I haven’t seen anyone post a concrete definition of what should happen.
If I say “pupi1985” is on the dev team, what changes? He’s already doing a great job making changes to Q2A. So he’s already part of it.
If I say to you “OK you’re on the documentation team”, what changes? You can already contribute to the docs.

What should I be posting on social media? I had been posting about new features and such when they were implemented.

@ProThoughts Discourse *started* with a full team and is run as a business. I don’t have the luxury of being able to stop all my other work and do Q2A full time.

And yes, I was planning to do a 1.8.1 release once I was able to do it myself but time kept slipping by. There is no major issue though IMO, the malware thing is not a security flaw in Q2A, it’s an error in crappy detection software. Anyway I’ll try and do a release soon.
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If you make Pupi an admin and set him in dev team then that makes member's trust in Q2A strong. If a member is added in docs team then people know that they can trust the team as even if one member is absent then someone in authority is there to answer.  This also shows the members that people who are active in community are encouraged by giving them better roles like editors, contributors and others. This gives a sense of stability in the minds of members and clears doubt of members that Q2A is running without a team and soon will end.

Alright, let me ask you this way. Would you make your child study in a school where anyone from anywhere would come in a class and behave like a teacher and make your child study? Or you would only send him to a school where you have a sense of satisfaction that the faculty is good and is working under a proper system laid by the school.
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Pupi is already a Moderator. I’d be happy to make more people Experts/Editors here but there is little need for it, we don’t have any problems with posts needing to be edited etc.

As for the docs, I have no one to “appoint” at the moment, because no one has contributed yet.
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edited by
Actually, you need it the most. Nowadays you are around so you can take care of things here but when you are not here for months, who takes care of the community? These experts and editors will keep the motivation level high of these members. Moreover, by making anyone an editor does not mean he cannot help in development.

In simple terms, you need extra hands at development but don't know how to get those. In real world, a company pays and people work for that company. But in an open source script most people work for recognition and exposure. They do not need money, they just need exposure from this project. Now all you have to do is, encourage them, make best members into speical members, tell about these members to the community with an announcement. Show names of these members in a Team page listed on home website and tag them in social media posts. Basically, you need to give them incentives in an open source way.

Now what this results is in, more dedicated members who are ready to invest more time in Q2A. With more such special members comes more registered members who get better help in Q2A and also want to becomes like these special members. So they also start to invest more time here. With more members in Q2A, also comes third part devs (which are running away from Q2A right now) who see an opportunity to shine in this community.

If you don't think there is any need, then create that need by expanding work or roadmap. And then assigning that extra work to these new special members. That's how a project goes.

There are always people who work out of love for a project but more that 90% are there to find an opportunity. Give them some and take some out. ;)

Edit: As for the docs are concerned, you never asked anyone in the community to update those? Or asked what exactly they need in those docs which need to be updated. The more you get involved into community, the more the community get involved in you.
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edited by
@Scott I feel better create custom title plugin so that you can assign those to various people and form a official team. Titles like Q2A Support team, Q2A Test Team, dev team, doc team, social media team etc.

so when people get reply for their question they will know that there is official support. This will help to build confidence in Q2A.

Regarding v1.8.1 release:  We know it is not actual malware but many security software block q2a sites. Hope we dont want our user to face that problem.

Also I'm not asking you to work full time but come up with roadmap, tasks, form a team which will work on those. You just need to take a lead on this.
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@Gurjyot actually I did ask about documentation, here: http://www.question2answer.org/qa/50709/new-q2a-documentation-site
I didn't have anything specific in mind but many people asked for this kind of thing in past (hence why the wiki was originally made).
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That's great. Now you can Pin that post at the top of this forum and let more and more people know about it. The more people know the better as a few among them might start to help you in managing those docs. Also share that post on social media with proper hashtags to bring make some noise for Q2A and bring some more members to it.
+4 votes
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Q2A has such a nice core that not much activity is required on it. But Q2A plugins and themes require periodic maintenance and new features. As of now there aren't many developers doing this due to various reasons. The primary reason I feel is that as an organization it is difficult to use any software where they don't have trust and for this reason many are not using Q2A -- this in turn means good developers dont use Q2A too as they have less customers. So for Q2A we need to build the trust that it'll be active and developers are available for any feature request. From my part I'll try to add some plugins to do the following:

  1. Stop Spam
  2. HTML Emails
Once Q2A becomes 'ready to use' for any organization I feel there will be a lot of customers. We also need to 
  1. Rate the devlopers here especially for paid plugins -- some of the paid plugins are horrible
  2. As of now Paid plugins are not listed anywhere AFAIK - so no one knows which all are available
  3. Have a proper way to "Donate to Core Developers:" This also build trust for any organization to use Q2A and also the core developers to get fund. 
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Rating developers is not what I would suggest, people should be able to see those devs in action in the community. The more a dev is active in the community the more the trust people will have on him, that's how it should be.
Your other two points are absolutely correct.
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@arjunsuresh, true, we need to build trust for this platform otherwise it will not grow.

anyway, I still test every new version of Q2A thoroughly.
0 votes
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I think there should be ads on this page which should be clicked once per user.
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What do you mean by this? Do you just mean having something like Google Adsense?
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I think this is a good idea.  This could create some revenue and support the project.
+4 votes
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Hello, Q2A is still active. As you can see in the github there are still pull requests coming in, but I personally haven’t had the time to merge all those in. Coincidentally I just started going through them before you posted.

I won’t make excuses for my lack of updates, especially the past couple months. Though prior to that I had been working on several things behind the scenes including taking over control of the Q2A site so that I can do releases myself without having to wait for Gideon.

My paid work has quietened down a bit now so hopefully I’ll have more time for development and managing the project.

And remember, be the change you want to see. If you want more activity in Q2A then become more active yourself, whether it’s answering the many unanswered here, improving the docs, making plugins or contributing to Q2A core.
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Thanks Scott
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@scott, please update this q2a to latest version and install SSL.
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