Vote to Replace Google Groups with Discourse Forum

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  • Andrew Camardella
  • Alex Berkowitz
  • Sky Nova


  • Announced:
  • Language locked:
  • Voted on:


The Private Google Groups is the main form of communication for members, and accounts for the majority of communications with regards to authorizations and pertinent space information. Due to it's flat and simple format there are many issues that arise with this communication channel. In particular:

  • all messages are sent to everyone (you can't tune out discussions you aren't interested in).
  • sorting and finding specific information is difficult
  • minimal community standards or moderation options
  • signing up new members and removing old members is completely manual
  • low new member engagement
  • no fine access control -- users can either see everything or see nothing
  • cannot be backed up, completely reliant on Google infrastructure

Discourse solves many of the issue with Google-Groups because it:

  • modern open source forum that is feature rich and geared specifically to encourage relevant and valuable discussion
  • is actively developed and updated
  • can be used to combine our public and private google groups by using category tags with permissions
  • supports mailing list emulation
  • can be integrated with existing automated systems to provision accounts for new members, which lowers the bar for engagement and community discussion
  • can be backed up, the organization owns and operates the instance
  • has a community of developers for support
  • offers a rich toolset for moderation


As we already have an instance of Discourse running, and hosting costs are already included in the CTO's budget, there are minimal new costs to the organization that this change will introduce. The only future cost increases would be a result of increased use of Discourse.


The board will lock the Google Groups but all existing members will retain access for historical reference. There is not currently a known method of extracting or archiving a Google Groups instance due to the lack of development by Google.


  • The Membership authorizes the Board to switch to Discourse as the main member forum sanctioned by Pumping Station: One, NFP, to take effect following a transitional period of three months from the time of the passing of this vote.
  • The Membership authorizes the Board to lock the Public and Private Google Groups from additional posts at the end of the stated transitional period, and to ensure the contents therein remain available to the membership as a historical record.


Quorum: The number of votes required to have a valid vote (ten percent (10%) of the Membership]. If the vote doesn't meet quorum it will have to be proposed again, and can be voted on the following week (consider campaigning for your particular vote). Yay: This is the number of members that vote but that agree with the vote language. Nay: This is the number of members that vote but that disagree with the vote language. Present: This is the total number of members that voted (physically present and by proxy) and includes those that abstained from voting.