Dear LAMMPS users and developers,
As you may have noticed, the communication in this forum is rather one directional: many people ask questions, very few provide answers, and there are next to no “open” discussions.
We had started the LAMMPS category in the MatSci discourse forum with the expectation that a forum might encourage participation of a larger number of people better than the lammps-users mailing list. Sadly, that has not happened.
Thus I am writing this message to start a discussion in order to collect some feedback on what could be done to improve the situation. Below are some discussion points:
Operating and moderating the mailing list and the forum at the same time is not going to work forever as it requires duplication of efforts. What speaks for closing the mailing list, what for making the LAMMPS categories in the forum read-only and only use it as a mailing list archive?
We need more participation from a larger number of LAMMPS users. Users with little experience should guide those new to LAMMPS, those with more experience should help those with less, and experts should focus on complicated topics or assist others to correct mistakes or provide additional insight. What could be done to encourage this? What are the reasons that people do not participate in discussions, even if they would know (part of) the answer?
LAMMPS has a large manual with lots of explanations and technical details, yet it seems that problems often arise because people don’t read enough of it, or have difficulties identifying the most relevant parts, or need more practical examples with explanations. What could be done by the LAMMPS community to improve this?
As a LAMMPS user, what are the problems that bother you the most? Where do you feel more effort should be spent? What would be a (scientific) software and community that could serve as an example for how the situation around LAMMPS could be improved?
As a developer working on software to be added to LAMMPS or writing a software that uses LAMMPS as a library or that is working on modifying LAMMPS, where do you see the biggest deficiencies? What would need to be done to make your development work easier?
As a long-time LAMMPS user or developer, which of the many changes that we have made over the last 5+ years have worked well for you? Where did LAMMPS go backwards and should revert to how things were done previously?
Please share your thoughts.
Many thanks in advance.