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Today, we’re delighted to launch the Confluent Community Forum. Built on Discourse, a platform many developers will already be familiar with, this new forum is a place for the community to meet, ask questions, help each other out, and share best practices.
“But wait,” I hear you say, “What about the Confluent Community Slack group? Isn’t that all that a community could ever need?” And of course, Slack is a wonderful platform—and the Confluent Community Slack will always be a key part of our community. We believe that both have a central role to play in the community.
Important things first—how do you get to the forum? Head over to forum.confluent.io. The forum is set up so that anyone can browse and search without needing to sign up. If you want to join in (and we hope you will), you can sign up using either your email address or GitHub account.
From the front page, you can navigate through the different categories, or click on Latest or Top to dive straight in and view recent/popular discussions.
You can browse existing discussions, as well as use the search icon to look for particular content.
Perhaps you have a burning question about a streaming application you’re building. Or a gnarly configuration issue with Kafka Connect. Or you just want to say hi 👋 to your fellow community members and look at unanswered questions that you might be able to help with. You are very welcome!
Before asking a question, first search for existing questions as you may find that it has already been answered (existing Slack users will be delighted to know that the forum retains all history and has an easy-to-use search feature). If your question hasn’t been answered already, then you’ll want to find the most suitable category in which to ask your question. Let’s say you need help with a Kafka Connect problem related to setting up a self-managed connector: Head over to the Kafka Connect category, and from there, select the appropriate subcategory. Now, click on New Topic.
Compose your message using the editor. There’s a great guide on how to ask questions that’s always worth referring to. The forum supports rich formatting of messages using Markdown with a preview on the right, so you can check how the post will look as you write it.
Hopefully, the community is able to answer your question. If so, make sure you mark your question as Solved to help others in the future.
Maybe you don’t have a technical contribution to make just yet, but you still want to join in the community. That’s what the Lounge category is for. Come along and say hi, introduce yourself, and tell the community about your journey so far with the technology.
Flairs are overlaid on user avatars and indicate Confluent staff, Confluent Community Catalysts, and Apache Kafka® committers.
Who doesn’t love a bit of bling? 😄
Badges get awarded automagically by the forum software for milestones like creating your first post and completing your profile. You can receive badges for more long-term interactions with the community too, such as regularly visiting the forum, and making popular posts. We’ve also added custom badges to recognise contributors (those who make accepted PRs) to Apache Kafka and to recognise Confluent Certification holders.
Badges are listed on a user’s hovercard, and selected badges can also be used as the user’s title (set from the user settings screen).
In addition, anyone who contributes to the forum within the first month of the launch receives a special badge. The Early Adopter badge will be granted to anyone who posts a full technical question or answer before March 1st, 2021. Be the envy of your peers and have something to show your grandkids with this exclusive badge!
You can read more about badges and flairs on the forum.
The forum uses the concepts of categories to organise discussions as shown below:
│ ├── Events
│ ├── Lounge
│ └── News and Blogs
├── Architecture and Design
├── Certification and Training
│ ├── Java Clients
│ ├── Non-Java Clients
│ └── REST Proxy
├── Cluster Replication
├── Command Line tools
├── Confluent Cloud
├── Kafka Connect
│ ├── Managed Connectors
│ └── Self-Managed Connectors
├── Kafka Streams
├── Learning Apache Kafka®
├── Schema Registry
├── Site Feedback
Within categories, you will find a list of the discussion threads called topics (they’re not partitioned though 😉).
Here’s what a topic looks like:
Forums are but one component of a comprehensive platform for the community to interact with one another. The Confluent Community Slack group is hugely popular and will continue to be central to the Confluent Community as a whole.
With the addition of the forum, we’re just providing another option for people to use if they’d prefer. Just as there are meetups, mailing lists, and real-time chat, there is now a forum too. Forums and Slack each have their own particular strengths, which can complement one another.
Robin Moffatt is a senior developer advocate at Confluent, as well as an Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador and ACE Director (alumnus). His career has always involved data, from the old worlds of COBOL and DB2, through the worlds of Oracle and Apache™ Hadoop® and into the current world with Kafka. His particular interests are analytics, systems architecture, performance testing, and optimization.