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Author Topic: Discourse in Practice  (Read 2779 times)

wraith808

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Discourse in Practice
« on: April 03, 2013, 09:17:44 AM »
On the site for one of my Guilds, we switched to using Discourse.  I'm a convert now.  It just flows so smoothly, and actually fits how I use DC actually... I never look at the forum look, unless I'm posting, which makes it more involved to post than it needs to be.  I look at things from an unread threads perspective rather than the breakdown that we have here.

Discourse works exactly like that, with the added advantage of the fact that you can just post, and assign it to where it needs to go, without having to go to that area first.  Tags/Categories take the place of the subcategories.

I just know that we'd discussed it, so I just wanted to chime in after practical use.

The site, if you're interested is http://forum.guildm8s.com.

The short of it is, I really dig it now.  Not sure how it is from the admin side, but as the user experience, it works well.

40hz

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Re: Discourse in Practice
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 04:51:38 PM »
@wraith - Other than making a flat-styled forum discussion look more like a chat session, how exactly is it so different?

I'm probably missing something (as I often do) but from reading what's on the Discourse website, it strikes me more as preaching to the choir about fixing a problem that I'm not sure exists. Or at least that the "problem" isn't as significantly problematic as the authors of Discourse seem to feel.

FWIW, the premier discussion site (The Well) has used a frankly antiquated (by choice) system for hosting some of the finest and most well considered discussions you'll find anywhere. So I don't think the "problems" with forums the Discourse team seems to be so concerned about have as much to do with the technology as they do with the more limited attention span some (many?) of their target users seem to have.

That said, it sure does look pretty - even if I do have a little trouble easily seeing where one comment leaves off and another begins because of the minimalist look and my admittedly lousy vision.

Definitely going have to look more closely into this since my grail quest for an ideal online discussion system has been going on for years. ;D

wraith808

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Re: Discourse in Practice
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 07:03:05 PM »
I guess its a matter of use-case.

As I said, when I come to DC, I use one of the following links:
http://www.donationc...hp?action=unread;all
http://www.donationc...ex.php?action=unread
http://www.donationc...sdense;sort=creation

The problem with those, is that they're a convenience- not the way the forum is meant to be used.  So therefore, when you go to do something, you have to go to a different view to post.  You have to go to a different view to find the post that you were looking at if it's unread.  And that involves a lot of finding/remembering/inferring in my experience.

Discourse is built around that view, instead of it being a convenience.  It also maintains the other view in the form of categories.

That's the largest thing that I really like about it.

There are other conveniences- the ability to mention someone like in twitter or SO.  The fact that it remembers where you were (the smarter most recent post in thread link, IMO).  The ability to reply as a new thread, helping to reduce derailment with tangential topics.  The fact that links act like they do on SO and expand, so there's not a reason to figure out how to add context to a bare link.

I don't think it's as much of a revolution as they tout- but they're coming out with a product, so they have to have the marketing speak.  But it is an evolution IMO.

kyrathaba

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Re: Discourse in Practice
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2013, 10:42:32 PM »
Being a PHP neophyte, I don't know how easy/practical/possible this would be, but one thing I'd like is if, after viewing a particular thread, and then clicking my back button (say, to return to Living Room's listing of thread topics), that just-viewed thread would turn from bold/dark blue to light blue without me having to click Refresh/F5 in my browser. Is this something the rest of you experience, or is it some goof of mine, or a setting I could change within my browser?

wraith808

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Re: Discourse in Practice
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2013, 12:31:00 AM »
^ you mean on this board?  With this thread being about Discourse, you'll probably want to post it in an area about the DoCo board...

app103

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Re: Discourse in Practice
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2013, 01:27:49 AM »
That's an interesting alternative to traditional forum software.

How searchbot friendly is it? Does your content get indexed well?

What about sites that rely on advertising for revenue? How easy would it be to insert that stuff? I am not just talking about an ad banner at the top/bottom/side of the page. It's possible with traditional forum software to insert ads to appear as posts within the discussion. (I am sure you have seen what looks like a member named "Google" making posts in forums that are Adsense ads, that try to be "related" to the discussion) Can something like that be done with this, yet?

Another thought: That "endless stream of content" approach, that just keeps loading more content when you reach the bottom of the page (till there isn't any more) usually creates problems with low end and older machines (and a lot of mobile devices) that don't have multiple gigs of RAM to waste on viewing a single web page. Eventually, if you scroll enough, it can cause your browser to freeze up, your entire system to crawl. It happens much faster when you don't have that much RAM. I have a gig of RAM on this machine and run into this problem quite frequently on Facebook and G+, if I scroll too far or leave the page open too long. Breaking the content into separate pages like a traditional forum does, kind of prevents that from happening.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 01:46:08 AM by app103 »

wraith808

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Re: Discourse in Practice
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2013, 08:43:33 AM »
Those are some really good questions App... and unfortunately, I don't have the answer's to any of them :(  I tried to look up some of your answers, but found nothing unfortunately.  It's still very much beta software, so I suppose that will change as they get closer to production ready and people start posting about issues and such.

f0dder

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Re: Discourse in Practice
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2013, 10:00:48 AM »
I hate "endless scrolling" with a passion.

It makes the scrollbar useless (both for scrolling and as a visual indicator of progress) once you're a few pages down, and if I'm searching for something specific in a thread, I often have an idea that it's a page n+/-3 (or whatever), something you just don't get with endless scrolling. Oh, and if a site doesn't persist "progress", or persists it in a cookie, that's just extra hate-fuel, since I often switch browsers and machines.
- carpe noctem

wraith808

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Re: Discourse in Practice
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2013, 12:44:54 PM »
It does persist progress.  Not sure by what mechanism it does it, but it does persist progress.  And that's the reason behind the endless scrolling.

f0dder

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Re: Discourse in Practice
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2013, 04:48:37 PM »
It does persist progress.  Not sure by what mechanism it does it, but it does persist progress.  And that's the reason behind the endless scrolling.
...and I'd hope it does it in a database-persisted setting rather than a cookie - because otherwise, it's useless :). Given that the team behind Discourse are pretty skilled (even if they chose RoR :p), I'd expect it not to be a cookie hack.

Doesn't change my overall sentiment, though.

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