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Item2157: How to inform existing (tm)wiki users of foswiki's existence and benefits

Priority: Normal
Current State: Closed
Released In: n/a
Target Release: n/a
Applies To: Marketing
Reported By: EliotBlennerhassett
Waiting For:
Last Change By: MichaelDaum
Occasionally while browsing the web, I come across a site that is implemented with TWiki.

I think perhaps I should email the webmaster and let them know about foswiki, but I'm not sure what to put in the email - this task is to create that content, and also guidelines about how and when to send such email.

?also keep a record of who has been contacted, so they don't get spammed multiple times.

"Dear (webmaster),

I was visiting (your website) because I was looking for (wiki content) and I noticed that you are using TWiki.

You may be interested in, the continuation of the TWiki project under the new name Foswiki. After catasatrophic events (link to WHyThisFork) the majority (except one or two) of the developers behind TWiki abandoned that project and continued under the name Foswiki.

You are welcome in the IRC channel #foswiki on freenode, where knowledgable developers will probably be able to help you with either Foswiki or TWiki problems."

-- EliotBlennerhassett - 25 Sep 2009

Just something to be aware of:

09:29 <@gmc> DrPrune: i'd be very very careful with that (sending mail to webmasters)
09:29 <@gmc> i think it is only ok if you somehow know them or are a registered user or something like that
09:29 <@gmc> ie, if you have a 'relation' with the site owners
made some edits above as well smile

-- KoenMartens - 25 Sep 2009

Sending out an email is not the way. Their first contact with Foswiki is spam, and this will color their perception for a long time.

I have a better idea: invite those admins to participate in the Foswiki summit either by joining or by leaving suggestions. Of course the invitation needs to be handle very carefully. But because we are still supporting TWiki users, we also want to hear their wishes, ideas, complaints, etcetera. Or ideas how to create better coverage. See outline in MarketingCalendar.

-- ArthurClemens - 25 Sep 2009

I agree that sending an unsolicited email is problematic. I don't believe any message conveyed (be it by email or other mechanisms) should refer to "catastrophic events". The story ought to be the advantages of Foswiki. Rehashing the past clouds this message and invites energy-sapping squabbling.

-- IsaacLin - 25 Sep 2009

It is not as if there is no connection or relationship between the developers of Foswiki and the users of TWiki. I.e. those users are using a product that was largely developed and supported by the current Foswiki developers. One email politely informing them of their available support and upgrade options is scarcely spam IMO. I suppose it depends on how sensitive you are.

Also, for instance contacting anyone who you have personally helped with TWiki in the past via irc or the twiki tasks web, and saying "We helped you in the past, if you need help again you can find us over here".

I do agree that we would want one well written message, to be sent only once. More than that is moving into the spammer's territory.

-- EliotBlennerhassett - 08 Oct 2009

If anybody I dont know sends me such email, I would consider it as spam.

-- OliverKrueger - 08 Oct 2009

Look at it from the other side: you are user of TWiki, and suddenly you don't see any major updates anymore, has gone quiet, support questions go unanswered, so you start to feel that TWiki is a dead end, and that you have made a mistake by suggesting this software to management a couple of years ago. Then you receive a mail from some group that explains the situation, and invites you for input, and offers support through a smooth upgrade path.

I don't think that is seen as spam by many. Of course the way the message is worded is crucial.

-- ArthurClemens - 08 Oct 2009

Well, for better or worse I see an email did get sent out (see below) I'm closing this issue now, as I agree that such a broadcast email should not be repeated. As mentioned above, talking to individuals who you know more or less personally is a another matter, and more amenable to a conversation being entered.

-- EliotBlennerhassett - 12 Nov 2009

Here is the original email that arrived in my inbox on 2009-11-11.

Subject: invitation to Foswiki community summit

Dear TWiki <TM> user,

You may or may not have heard about recent developments with the
TWiki <TM> project, but around one year ago certain circumstances [2]
forced the continuation of the project under a new name: Foswiki [1].

Now, one year later, the Foswiki community invites you to be part of the
first Foswiki community Summit in Hannover, Germany [3] on November
21st and 22nd. 

In the past year, the group of contributors (developers, documentation
writers, translators, release managers, designers, marketeers and system
administrators) that have made TWiki what it is today has been working
hard on this new project.

After the initial effort to bring the old TWiki codebase under the new
flag, a lot of bugfixes and improvements have been made by the former
TWiki community. Bugfixes and improvements that are not available in
TWiki <TM>.

Meanwhile, the community has been providing support to Foswiki users but
also to those that still run TWiki.

As a crown on the struggle to free the codebase from commercial interests,
and be truly FLOSS in nature, the Foswiki association has been incorporated
just weeks ago [4]. The upcoming summit is also the first constituting
meeting of this association.

We feel an obligation to our userbase, that includes those that are still
running TWiki, and want to know what direction the project should take
according to our users.

This is a once-off mail, to make all of our users aware of the new directions
this project is taking. The decision to send out this email was not taken
lightly. We apologize for any inconvenience this email might cause.


The Foswiki community



<TM> TWiki® is a registered trademark of TWiki founder Peter Thoeny, TWIKI.NET.
The TWiki logo and the "Collaborate with TWiki" tagline are trademarks of Peter

-- EliotBlennerhassett - 13 Nov 2009

Eliot is right. Let's document it together with the reply by Pth that I received today. I'd love to see some comments analyzing those two emails. I.e. Pth made some notion of "inaccurate and misleading information" ... which information is he actually referring to?

Reopening this bug item as long as we don't have those two emails archived somewhere.

Here's the one I received today:

Dear <WikiName>,

Several of you brought to our attention that on November 10, 2009 the
community members registered on received an unsolicited bulk e-mail
addressed from the domain. This mailing was not authorized by the community and contained misleading and inaccurate information in
regards to TWiki. It is our belief that an old backup circa 2008 of
taken by consultants who left the project a year ago was used to spam all users. We take your privacy very seriously. As of October 2008, an
updated privacy policy has been published [1]. We apologize for the SPAM that
you have received. To help investigate, please forward the e-mail you got to

The community has not changed names and continues to be an active
open source project.

The TWiki platform has become the leading enterprise collaboration platform
with adoption by over half of the Fortune 500, more than 500,000 downloads and
over 1 Million users across 130 countries in 14+ languages worldwide. TWiki was
a finalist in July 2009 for the Community Choice Awards and is
downloaded 5,000-10,000 times a month.

We have an active support community that has helped out by answering over 500
support questions in the last 12 months. We had 4 new TWiki releases in the
last 12 months, and we are working on exciting new features [2]. Our project is
focused on enterprise-grade quality, stability & performance that you can
depend on. Unlike other projects, we put a priority on maintaining quality,
stability & performance over releasing new features too quickly. established a clear code of conduct [3] and governance model [4]
modeled after the successful commercial open source Ubuntu project. Some people
opted out and left the TWiki project to form a fork, [5]. Over the years
there have been many projects inspired by and based upon TWiki, and we wish
them all well. Since then we have regained a professional, courteous and
helpful open source community. Our focus remains making the open source TWiki
the best enterprise collaboration platform and structured wiki available.

You can help the community by getting involved! Open source is about
participation. As a contributor you can actively make a difference and help
shape the product. A good way to get engaged is to participate in the biweekly
release meetings. Our next meeting is on Monday 23 Nov 2009 [6].

We are working hard to build up our community and encourage you to get involved
by emailing me your thoughts.

The open source TWiki project is supported by Twiki, Inc [7], a company
providing enterprise grade software, applications, support, and services based
on TWiki. The company provides solutions for behind-the-firewall deployment, as
well as a SaaS offering for those organizations wishing to minimize maintenance
and support requirements. Twiki, Inc is committed to supporting the TWiki
community with hosting, product enhancements, marketing activities
and more. I invite you to read how we position the open source community and
Twiki Inc, [8].

Best regards,

Peter - Community Lead (on behalf of the TWiki community)


PS: Your hompage is at<WikiName>

-- MichaelDaum - 13 Nov 2009

Unfortunately I was away when the mail that triggered Peter's response was sent out, otherwise I would have wanted to make a number of changes to it, including eliminating all but one mention of TWiki, and letting the benefits of Foswiki stand on their own.

In terms of inaccurate or misleading information, here's what I picked up on as soon as I read the original mail:
  • forced the continuation of the project under a new name - this is misleading. The existing project continued under the original name. Foswiki is a fork, and should be acknowledged as such. A better fork, but a fork nonetheless.
  • the group of contributors (..) that have made TWiki what it is today is inaccurate. Most of the community moved, but not all, and Peter, one of the most important contributors, did not move. So I regard this as inaccurate.
In the response I noted the following:
  • The mention of old backup circa 2008 of taken by consultants is inaccurate, and only marginally short of libelous, given that it is clearly directed at certain individuals (including me).

Peter has made far more emotional capital out of this than I ever would have wished. We must be very careful to avoid this in future communications.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 13 Nov 2009

I have no idea who sent it (Foswiki Email) or who coined the wording, or where one had an opportunity to participate in writing that email.

Did I miss (or ignore) the respective discussion on our mailing list or on this wiki?

-- CarloSchulz - 13 Nov 2009 (Eliot moved quoted email to before the quoted reply, tweaked this paragraph to still make sense)

Attached the 2 main responses from Peter.

Because the html is forbidden:

And now let's "forget" TWiki, only time will reveal strengths, values and winners. I love these Ohloh tools:

-- IngoKappler - 13 Nov 2009

Note also PTh post on facebook:
Peter Thoeny www = wild wide web: On Tuesday, a fork of TWiki who had an old backup of (via a sysadmin at that time) sent a bulk e-mail to 28,000 users declaring that TWiki is renamed to Fosswiki (their name). At the same time we had two DOS attacks rendering inaccessible for a few hours. Followed by 3 days of damage control. Thank god it's Friday (first time for me to use this term).

Note the typo on Foswiki name, and the implication of a Foswiki DOS attack...

-- ColasNahaboo - 15 Nov 2009

ItemTemplate edit

Summary How to inform existing (tm)wiki users of foswiki's existence and benefits
ReportedBy EliotBlennerhassett
SVN Range Foswiki-1.0.7, Sun, 20 Sep 2009, build 5061
AppliesTo Marketing
Priority Normal
CurrentState Closed
TargetRelease n/a
ReleasedIn n/a
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
BlogEntry200911x2.htmhtm BlogEntry200911x2.htm manage 34 K 13 Nov 2009 - 17:15 IngoKappler TWiki: BlogEntry200911x2.htm
MainTwikiResponses.zipzip manage 15 K 13 Nov 2009 - 17:22 IngoKappler
RelatedSoftwareProjects.htmhtm RelatedSoftwareProjects.htm manage 24 K 13 Nov 2009 - 17:15 IngoKappler TWiki: RelatedSoftwareProjects.htm
Topic revision: r19 - 13 Sep 2011, MichaelDaum - This page was cached on 05 Jun 2020 - 08:06.

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