Discussions about archetypes, where to have them?

Currently we have two parallel places to have persistent (as opposed to the more fleeting chat of the Slack site) discussions about archetypes;

  • here on Discourse
  • in the CKM, either under each archetype or for the site as a whole

I think this separation makes it harder both to participate in and to relocate discussions. Would it be better if we chose one or the other?

PS! I’m not thinking about the change request functionality of the CKM. I think that has its own purpose in addition to more extensive discussions.

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Hi Silje, good point, I share your concern. I much prefer discourse for discussions in general. But I also like that key discussions on the archetypes are discovered and archived with the archetypes. Especially since the archetypes are to be used indefinitely, and discourse is probably gone in 20 years.
I’ve also had thoughts about archiving the editorial discussions like the slack channels and zoom (recordings). It may be undesirable from a privacy perspective since it contains a lot of logistical and some personal information.

A key question is whether an ‘archetype-specific discussion’ needs to be persisted (somehow) in CKM, in case Discourse became unavailable or we stopped using it. We would also need to tag the Discourse conversation with an archetype ID or other id to maintain the link.

Perhaps we could start with General discussion, agree that CRs should be out of scope ( though posting a copy on Discourse may not be bad (optional?) idea).


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Regarding long term persistence: Discourse is open source and has a lot more users and larger community in the world than the CKM has. So it’s not at all certain that the CKM would be more presistent long term than Discourse regarding storing discussions. Also if the discourse project dies it is (due to the user base) very likely that new/competing projects would make it possible to import old discussions from Discourse.

I like the CKM very much, but the fact that many important design discussions regarding archetypes are locked in a proprietary format in a proprietary (but nice) platform is a risk, moving them to Discourse (possibly with auto creation of a topic per archetype in a specific “knowledge manager” category and automated links from the CKM) would be good. Also, Discourse is very well designed for discussions.

After such a move (of discussions), only vendor-independent mirroring of reviews and CRs would remain a vendor-bound persistence risk. @ian.mcnicoll’s idea above with copying to Discourse could be explored.

The risk for the archetypes themselves is already mitigated via the faithful mirroring at openEHR/CKM-mirror at github

Ocean is doing a great job maintaining the CKM and of course deserve to keep getting paid for their work via licences etc. Out of principle I’d still like to avoid having community created content only in a proprietary platform/format. (Same thingking as openEHR users apply to EHR content - proprietary tools/platforms are OK and often a great option, as long as you can get your own content out of there when needed.)


Key to me here is not whether the product is open source or not, but if the data is readily available in a decent format, which I think is what Eric is saying as well.

In that spirit, happy to add whatever kind of export function for the discussions in CKM, via the REST API in some form or more likely via a csv, xml, or json file available to CKAs/admins or whatever does the trick…

I agree with the advantages and disadvantages mentioned above.

If as a consequence of assessing these advantages and disadvantages, a CKM instance such as the int’l openEHR CKM doesn’t want to use the internal CKM discussion space, we could look into adding links from these CKM discussion spaces to the appropriate place in Discourse - assuming there is a clear convention on where to find the appropriate topic(s) on Discourse based on the base url of the openEHR Discourse site.

In that regard, it is a bit unfortunate if there can only be one Discourse topic per archetype (and template, project, general discussion?) as I think Erik was suggesting. One topic may be a bit too limited to work well for different discussions about each archetype - or is this something you feel comfortable with?
However, the alternative of having one Discourse category per archetype may be overkill - especially if a user needs to subscribe to each category individually as at least used to be the case.
Using Discourse Tags with the archetype-id or CKM’s citeable identifier (which never changes) may be another option, but this requires that someone manages the tags on discourse so that CKM can link to the appropriate search results page. Not ideal either, but that in my limited understanding of Discourse are the three available options - unless some one has others?

Either way, it won’t be as convenient if you are in CKM as it is now and there are things that cannot be done like creating an editor task based on a discussion, being notified of new discussions in CKM as per your notification settings and subscriptions to archetypes, editors inviting reviewers based on their participation in discussions about that archetype.

There are some other details to be solved like

  • how to handle any discussions occuring for archetypes/templates in private incubators in CKM;
  • what to do with project discussions and general discussions;
  • what identifier to use for templates.

Also note that archetype-ids can and do regularly change in CKM as part of the editorial process - the most common one is probably from v0 to v1, but anything can happen before the archetype’s initial publication.


Thanks for your contributions everyone! I broadly agree with the advantages and disadvantages mentioned.

I like this idea. Would it be possible to integrate CKM and Discourse to manage tags for archetypes and templates?

Do we need discussion spaces for archetypes or templates in incubators? Could this be a restriction of the ‘predraft’ state of incubator archetypes?

IMO, general discussions belong in Discourse in any case. I think they could be disabled.

As with the archetypes, it’d probably be best to use the never changing identifier the CKM uses for telling templates apart?

Our gracious Discourse expert is @marcusbaw. Do you have any opinions about this topic, Marcus?


I like it on the one hand too, but I don’t know if it would be possible to write a Discourse plugin that uses CKM’s REST API to look up the appropriate (citeable) identifier. CKM’s current REST API is probably sufficient for the CKM aspect of it.
But in any case, plugin or not, anytime someone creates a new topic in Discourse, then either the creator or anybody curating Discourse would need to tag new topics accordingly. Not sure this is managable, at least it seems to require some dedication.