Alan IF Community Platforms

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Christan Winslett

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Jan 18, 2021, 7:44:46 PM1/18/21
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Hello, my name is Christian and I am an aspiring IF author. Of the several systems currently available, I've found Alan to be quite capable and flexible, so I wish to propose starting a few more points of contact on various external social media platforms to make it easier for the modern author to contact and receive help from the Alan IF team.

Several such platforms are Discord and Telegram, and possibly an IRC channel.

I already have a Discord server dedicated to Interactive Fiction and my hope is to use this as a way to help others find the appropriate resources for learning Alan and help those that are in the learning process.

Additionally, I've updated the wiki to reflect the change from the outdated Yahoo groups page to the current Google groups page: https://github.com/alan-if/alan/wiki

I have not yet updated the Readme at https://github.com/alan-if/alan-docs

My hope for the future is that I will be able to update some of the reference docs to reflect the current changes in 3.0 and the current changes in the standard library.

I am personally happy to set up these external social media page for the Alan IF project, but I wanted to ask the team first and answer any questions about these platforms if necessary.

If anyone is already familiar with Discord, you can join my server dedicated to Interactive Fiction and authoring via this link: https://discord.gg/rCBwFeZC5F

Ben Martin

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Jan 18, 2021, 8:24:43 PM1/18/21
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I'm just trying to figure out how to install and get started w/ Alan, so all this additional stuff is way above my pay grade. Good luck with it.
-- Ben

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Christan Winslett

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Jan 18, 2021, 8:56:28 PM1/18/21
to Alan IF discussions
Yes, I can help you with that, which is what my Discord server is for and why I want to set up other platforms that people can join who are interested in picking up and learning Alan. Feel free to join the link if you have a DIscord account.

Ben Martin

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Jan 18, 2021, 10:00:56 PM1/18/21
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I may just do that. Right now I don't have a Discord account; in fact, I have no idea what it is. I use Chrome and that Microsoft thing as my servers, depending on what I'm trying to reach. Is Discord a browser? Of course I'm concerned about viruses, etc.

At the moment I'm considering dumping all my Alan material -- the lot, including the libraries, etc. -- and starting from scratch.

Best,

-- Ben

Christan Winslett

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Jan 18, 2021, 10:16:58 PM1/18/21
to Alan IF discussions
Discord is social platform for chatting that works a bit like classic IRC. You can download the desktop app @ https://discord.com/ for your specific operating system and create a Discord account through there.
If you join I would be happy to share the necessary tools and documents for authoring with Alan as well as the tools necessary to run/test your games.

Regards,
Christian X. W.

Greg Ewing

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Jan 18, 2021, 11:56:21 PM1/18/21
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On 19/01/21 4:16 pm, Christan Winslett wrote:
> Discord is social platform for chatting that works a bit like classic
> IRC. You can download the desktop app @ https://discord.com/

You don't really need the app, you can also access it through a browser.
I don't think there's much the app can do that the browser version
can't.

--
Greg

Christan Winslett

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Jan 19, 2021, 1:50:00 AM1/19/21
to Alan IF discussions
There are a few trade-offs for each method but they aren't usually relevant unless you're an experienced Discord user trying to do something specific. For a new user the most recognizable difference will be that UI is less responsive via the browser. All the same, it is perfectly accessible by logging in at https://discord.com/login once an account is created. :)

Regards,
Christian X. W.

Tristano Ajmone

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Jan 20, 2021, 4:54:57 AM1/20/21
to Christan Winslett
Hi Christian and a warm welcome to ALAN community!

> Hello, my name is Christian and I am an aspiring IF author. Of the several
> systems currently available, I've found Alan to be quite capable and
> flexible, so I wish to propose starting a few more points of contact on
> various external social media platforms to make it easier for the modern
> author to contact and receive help from the Alan IF team.

Indeed, ALAN is really an elegant system with a nice balance between ease of
use and power. Also, it's the easiest and most flexible system to write in
non-English languages (as it was my case). It's also the only system that
doesn't come with an hard-coded world model, which means you're really free
to taylor your text adventures to your liking, from the ground up.

> Several such platforms are Discord and Telegram, and possibly an IRC
> channel.

Yes, there's no IRC channel right now for live ALAN support. It would probably
be a better choice than a mailing lists when it comes to questions and answers
pertaining code problems, since it's much faster, also it wouldn't clog the
newsgroup with nitty gritty details which might not concern everyone.

Possibly, the newsgroup serves better as a tool to contact the whole community,
e.g. for introductions, general questions, announcements, etc., whereas specific
problems and long-standing discussion might be moved to an IRC like channel, for
the above mentioned reasons. Discord is a well known platform among software
developers, so it would be a good choice.

I haven't used Telegram, but from what I've heard it's also a nice tool. I did
visit its website, and so fare I liked what I read about their philosophy.

I'm not a social media fan, so I'm not really into all these services and apps,
since I don't use them much — but now and then I do use them because they are
often the direct means to software support, via community or official channels.

> I already have a Discord server dedicated to Interactive Fiction and my
> hope is to use this as a way to help others find the appropriate resources
> for learning Alan and help those that are in the learning process.

Bare in mind that the activity within the ALAN community is not frenetic; usually
there are periods of intense activity were efforts are orchestrated to update the
various projects, which are then followed by periods of relative quiteness. Still,
having the Discord client running in the background would allow us to intercept
any new questions/messages in real time.

> Additionally, I've updated the wiki to reflect the change from the outdated
> Yahoo groups page to the current Google groups page:
> https://github.com/alan-if/alan/wiki

> I have not yet updated the Readme at https://github.com/alan-if/alan-docs

Thanks a lot! I've already merged the PR. I've been procrastinating the Yahoo link
fix simply because there are too many repositories in which it needs to be updated
(I know, it's really a lame excuse).

> My hope for the future is that I will be able to update some of the
> reference docs to reflect the current changes in 3.0 and the current
> changes in the standard library.

The StdLib is undergoing a massive update which has been in the working for almost
two years, both in terms of its source code as well as the whole documentation being
ported from Word to AsciiDoc and revamped from scratch. So that's an area where help
is much appreciated — although it might be hard to jump into, due to the current WIP
state and the huge list of pending tasks. But there are some subprojects which haven't
even started yet, e.g. porting the "ALAN Cookbook" to AsciiDoc, before updating all its
references, code examples and contents to mirror the state of the (upcoming) StdLib v2.2.0.
Contributing in those areas might be easier since they don't require digging through the
changes history and the general roadmap. Also, porting to AsciiDoc the "Cookbook" could
be a good chance to study it thoroughly while polishing it after conversion.

The latest stable StdLib is v2.1, but there's also the v2.2.0-RC candidate release which
was created in November, in view of the Christmas holidays (which usually IF authors
can take advantage of to dive into adventures making).

Since the StdLib v2.2.0-RC release was announced on the old (and now defunct) Yahoo group,
here's the Google Drive download link:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1BP4OM3wKvZP1zsVs4aEZpVlR8LKdR137

We're keeping it on GDrive since it's just a temporary release which will become obsolete
once the stable v2.2.0 is ready, but of course you can also find the full source on the
GitHub repo, in its dedicated frozen branch:

https://github.com/AnssiR66/AlanStdLib/tree/v2.2.0-RC


> I am personally happy to set up these external social media page for the
> Alan IF project, but I wanted to ask the team first and answer any
> questions about these platforms if necessary.

This is more an issue for the ALAN Community; the ALAN Team is just the (open) group of people
who have committed themselves to actively maintain various code or documentation projects
on GitHub (which of course involves Thomas, on of the original ALAN creators and its
current maintainer). When it comes to decisions regarding ALAN and its resources, these
are usually discussed by the whole community, here on the list.

You'll soon discover that the community built around ALAN plays a central role in ALAN's
development. The community is central to ALAN, not the other way around, which is why
ALAN as a tool has been actively developed for so many decades. It's not a matter of
who is actively writing adventures or who might be taking long breaks, the community is
build around the long-standing love for IF and for ALAN (among other tools, of course).

So usually, any decision is presented to the community in order to get feedback and ensure
that it's going to be in the general interest of all its members. There are no dictators
in the community (benevolent or otherwise), just people who share a common passion and
have a strong feeling of belonging to this small but tight community — which is why the
community is also very respectful and relaxed, and free from flamewars and other sad
incidents which sometime occur in more broad an loosely knit online communities.

> If anyone is already familiar with Discord, you can join my server
> dedicated to Interactive Fiction and authoring via this link:
> https://discord.gg/rCBwFeZC5F

I've joined while replying.

Best regards,

Tristano Ajmone (Italy)

Christan Winslett

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Feb 1, 2021, 5:54:52 PM2/1/21
to Alan IF discussions
Thank you for your detailed response Tristano! I apologize for the delay in response as I had been preparing for an exam.

Regarding the IRC and Telegram chats, I have created both with an IRC channel for ALAN at #alan-if hosted at freenode.net,
and a Telegram group for ALAN at t.me/alan_if -- I'm not sure if any of these would be considered official but If so,
I can add these to the project links on the ALAN ifwiki page (which I've updated a bit as well).
If it is the case then it may also help to add these links on the main website as well?
I am, of course, happy to moderate these platforms myself!

And thank you for the link to the WIP library, I will be sure to look through it when I can!

> But there are some subprojects which haven't even started yet, e.g. porting the "ALAN Cookbook" to AsciiDoc

I would be glad to get started on this! AsciiDoc looks very easy and translating the document would help me get a bit
more familiar with the common methods of doing things, then I can help update the Cookbook once version 2.2 of the library is finished. 😄

Regards,
Christian X. Winslett

Tristano Ajmone

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Feb 4, 2021, 8:36:00 AM2/4/21
to Christan Winslett
Ciao Christian!

> Thank you for your detailed response Tristano! I apologize for the delay in
> response as I had been preparing for an exam.

Don't worry, I've been off the PC four day myself. My dog had to undergo a sudden
and urgent surgery, and between the examinations, preparations and post-surgery
care I haven't found the time to even check my emails — and, quite honestly, I
preferred to dedicate my time to him. He's almost 10 years old, so full anestesia
always carries a risk factor. In half an hour I'll be going back to the vet for
a checkup, so I've found some time to quickly check my emails before going out
again...

> Regarding the IRC and Telegram chats, I have created both with an IRC
> channel for ALAN at #alan-if hosted at freenode.net,
> and a Telegram group for ALAN at t.me/alan_if -- I'm not sure if any of
> these would be considered official but If so,
> I can add these to the project links on the ALAN ifwiki page (which I've
> updated a bit as well).

As for "official" ALAN things, you should ask @Thomas, but adding links to the
Wikis is a good idea (after all, we left them open for end users to populate
them).

> If it is the case then it may also help to add these links on the main
> website as well?
> I am, of course, happy to moderate these platforms myself!

> And thank you for the link to the WIP library, I will be sure to look
> through it when I can!

>> But there are some subprojects which haven't even started yet, e.g.
> porting the "ALAN Cookbook" to AsciiDoc

> I would be glad to get started on this! AsciiDoc looks very easy and
> translating the document would help me get a bit
> more familiar with the common methods of doing things, then I can help
> update the Cookbook once version 2.2 of the library is finished. 😄

That would really help! You won't regret learning AsciiDoc, it's a wonderful
standard for all sorts of documents, and works great for collaborative projects.
It has a steeper learning curve than other lightweight markup syntaxes (markdown,
restructured text, etc.) but also tons of additional features.

Once my dog has fully recovered, and I've managed to catch up with the piled up
work (a huge pile), I was hoping to find a few relaxed days (or nights) where I
can finally manage to carry on with the ALAN documentation and StdLib projects.
The hard part is always trying to work out where one left the work at, but after
catching up with all the notes, issues and TODOs it's easy to find the right pace
again and carry out various update chunks.

Tristano (Italy)
Tristano Ajmone (Italy)

Christan Winslett

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Feb 4, 2021, 9:41:47 AM2/4/21
to Alan IF discussions
Saluton Tristano!

> My dog had to undergo a sudden and urgent surgery,
> and between the examinations, preparations and post-surgery
> care I haven't found the time to even check my emails

I'm sorry to hear this! I wish for a full recovery for him! I understand
that he is your priority, these messages are not urgent by any means.

> You won't regret learning AsciiDoc, it's a wonderful standard for all
> sorts of documents, and works great for collaborative projects.

I do appreciate how feature-rich it is! As of now, I am about 10% done
with converting the Cookbook. I also asked you a question in Discord
(I wasn't sure where best to contact you for a casual chat) about the
AsciiDoc toolchain, which you can check on when it is convenient
for you. :)

Best wishes,
Christian X. Winslett
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