This forum is going offline

With a brief announcement, I set up this Discourse server in 2015. It’s a really great platform - look at how it is used by OKFN, Mozilla, or Penpot. Maybe it’s not fediverse, maybe it’s not enterprise - but it plugs easily into dribdat, and certainly deserves the attention of our community.

Here are some ways I think this site ( provides value to the community:

Bridge the Röstigrbn

This Forum contains my most consistent reporting on the state of Open Data in Switzerland, and as a minimum it helps connect us to the wider OKFN community by being a sub-forum of:

(if we shut this site down, I’ll go back to posting more regularly there)

Nevertheless, one clear issue with international forums is that they are mostly in, or at least strongly encouraging of, English - and we are a very multilingual country. This is why I recently tested translation services (turned off at the moment because of cost), and have other ideas in mind through 10 years of experience running events all around Switzerland.

Clearly as Oleg’s side-channel, without it being used by the team who mostly just post to various social media channels, it’s kind of pointless. If we at least aggregated this content to Discourse instead of to Slack, that would already be a nice place to openly discuss the various topics and create a knowledge base that searches across the various domains. What about the wider community?

Open Data Stories

There was an idea in this direction recently discussed and prototyped as part of the Open Government Data Course at the University of Bern:

We would like to stimulate a Community of Practice within government administrations that are working with Open Data, as well as industry partners, research teams, and other stakeholder groups, with Stories and Resources. As an initial low hanging fruit, we have created a news feed which complements the Dataset publications and Newsletter produced by BFS /, the Blog of, social media hashtags prevalent in our community. Our initial focus is to cast a light on positive and negative examples of the publication and application of Open Government Data. We hope to test the interest with a website and crowdfunding, and create a platform for useful automatic aggregation, community content, and journalistic work.

As a virtual Forum

I think that we should use Discourse again for the Annual Forum. This will benefit participants in many ways, from collecting ideas and notes, to enabling hybrid participation on an open platform.

We could also see how we could be of service here to people in the administration - some of who also (tried to) run (private) Discourse forum as part of We could run a content development project like GLAM Tutorials here.

Here is a capture of the analytics of this forum, just to see roughly how much usage we have, and how it overlaps with our calendar of activities:

What next?

I don’t really have a plan for this site, but would be happy to see some feedback on whether or not that Discourse is interesting to you in our “platform portfolio”, and if you think at least you would like to help in the hosting costs or what problems could the right plugin or integration solve for us. Thanks in advance! :bird:

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A discussion with @florihas of infrastructure costs at prompted some more reflection on this.

Besides having set up a bunch of key infrastructure for our Hackdays, I am running this forum and and various apps for Data Literacy, at cost of +/- 200 CHF per month. Here’s a quick breakdown of those costs:

I use some of the same infrastructure for teaching and consulting, but a lot of it is written off under “data activism”. I would appreciate more input on what should be within scope of shared infrastructure/projects, what is not, what could be a good process for something becoming part of it, what are our needs/wants in the community. A good example of this from our friends at Wikimedia: Proposals for new projects.

A little bit of process would help to ensure things are done securely and with good oversight. It’s not okay that I or other team members just create domains and start apps on a whim. And if other people have ideas for projects, we should be approachable to them, as in the Proposals wiki above. Is this something that you would join as a Working Group of the association? Can you suggest a good partner to outsource the engineering of more Open Data platforms to, like we do with Hitobito, Clickup, Slack? Is there a good way to fundraise and offset the support costs? What would you be willing to contribute?

Looking back, I remember the discussions in 2012 when we were just starting out. We were looking out across the existing platforms and community hubs and trying to hack together an alternative. The vision we had for the then-called MAKE platform was compelling, and has only been partly implemented. Perhaps with fresh people and funding a better foundation could exist for collaboration across government and industry and our network.

Concept architecture that was part of an early proposal for our platforms

Looking ahead, I think there is quite some incentive for us to operate internally and provide services around community datasets / no-code and other data wrangling tools / data quality and monitoring infrastructure. We have our own CKAN instances (at least for training purposes), but if we are to stay with the times, today we would be providing are data loaders for open source LLMs.

At least a status page for all major open data sites in Switzerland would really benefit our community. Let’s start 2024 on the right foot :hugs: Please feel free to chime in on this thread, or drop me a line!

The latest numbers:

You can also now (from January 2024) access our Fathom Analytics.

You may notice that our Forum has a fresh theme and a few upgrades. As discussed above, I am keen to decide whether to keep improving or archive it - multilingual support has been one of the key issues in the decision. Therefore, today I set up a LibreTranslate instance, and configured a plugin for Discourse to use the API (this required a bit of debugging). In other words, logged-in users on this forum can request translation of any post into their preferred language!

Let me know if you also would like to build something with LibreTranslate or have questions. A quick guide to get you started can be found on the latest post in this thread:

If we keep this forum, what other things should we add? :heart: this post if you think we should let the A.I. out next :robot:

I’m inching closer towards archiving this forum as part of spring-cleaning. Discourse is a wonderful open source platform, and there are some great community-run and freedom-supporting options out there. I’ll keep the site in frozen form, and archive the database if we need to spin the forum up again in the future. Hopefully with a better impact plan and more committed moderators.

For more Swiss stories, sign up to the newsletter, join the Matrix room #opendatach or be a groovy and pick up an association membership to get access to the Slack community.

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¡Adiós Amigos! Bis bald et à bientôt :slight_smile:

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