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Discourse: Next-Generation Discussion/Web Forum Software 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the web-2.0-is-attacking-your-words dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Jeff Atwood has a post on his Coding Horror weblog about his latest project, Discourse, 'a next-generation, 100% open source discussion platform built for the next decade of the Internet.' Along with Coding Horror, Jeff is most well-known for his work on Stack Exchange and its family of related sites. In the same way that he tried to improve Q&A sites, he hopes to make forum/discussion software better with a team of folks he's pulled together for the task. They're using the 'Wordpress model' of offering both open source software and commercial offerings. The software interface is an in-browser app via Ember.js, with a Ruby on Rails and Postgres backend. I wonder if it will ever have an NNTP gateway."
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Discourse: Next-Generation Discussion/Web Forum Software

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  • Interesting idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by meburke (736645) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @12:41AM (#42805583)

    I just found the link to Discourse on Coding Horror by accident about 20 minutes ago. Then I see it mentioned on /.

    Well, Discourse should get rid of some of my favorite annoyances about forums like /.

    For instance, today there were four good articles that I'd like to comment on, but by the time I get my arguments together, the people who could contribute the most to a meaning ful discussion will have moved on and been drowned out in a flood of idiocy. continuing a thread or an interest ove longer periods of time would acutally contibute to our mutual benefit.

    A couple of things are missing:

    Technical articles and opinions should have a level of proof and logic behind them. Incomplete arguments should be noted, and invalid arguments should be immediately identifiable. Furthermore, authors should be forced to stand on the merits of their arguments rather than some alleged claim to authority such as, "I've been a teacher at a major University for 15 years..." And they should be forced to create psudonyms that don't imply and opinion. (For instance, no one named "Alexander Hamilton" should be allowed on the forum, and certainly not to comment on the Federal Budget.)

    Any other ideas?

    • by meburke (736645)

      Sorry for the typos...I was in a hurry to see if I could get the first post. This would be unnecessary if /. was using Discourse as an engine.

    • Re:Interesting idea (Score:5, Interesting)

      by meburke (736645) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @12:52AM (#42805643)

      Another thing about forums like /. that tick me off: I have seen some references to articles and links that have interested me, and even though I've bookmarked lots of them, the bookmarks have sometimes disappeared due to computer crashes, software changes or updates or other reasons, and then I can't find the original article again. Marking it "Interested" on the forum host itself would be great, an adequate search engine behind the forum is better, and both would be terrific! I can go to Microsofts tech forums and find out which topics I researched 10 years ago. (Comes in handy when an old fart like me starts thinking, "Didn't I have to solve a similar problem back in...")

      • by mortonda (5175) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @09:35AM (#42808031)

        !I can go to Microsofts tech forums and find out which topics I researched 10 years ago. (Comes in handy when an old fart like me starts thinking, "Didn't I have to solve a similar problem back in...")

        What gets me is when I google a particular problem and the first result is a post I made 5 years ago asking the same question. Even worse is when it went unanswered 5 years ago. :(

      • Everyone see the two radically conflicting views here? I don't know if the above post appeared in a thread about NNTP coincidentally or not, but it definitely is deeply related.

        I have seen some references to articles and links that have interested me, and even though I've bookmarked lots of them, the bookmarks have sometimes disappeared due to computer crashes, software changes or updates or other reasons, and then I can't find the original article again

        Call this the anti-NNTP position. Or in modern hips

    • Re:Interesting idea (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stephanruby (542433) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @12:57AM (#42805667)

      Well, Discourse should get rid of some of my favorite annoyances about forums like /.

      Do you really think so? Did you take a look at it? [discourse.org] What's the point of putting all those avatar pictures on each row? Each forum row looks too busy as it is. And why are they trying to do everything with Javascript? In my opinion, they're just repeating the mistake of Slashdot in that area.

      Hopefully, they'll listen to user feedback, and iterate away from what they have now. Their forum is not bad, but for now it's not that great either.

      A couple of things are missing:

      Technical articles and opinions should have a level of proof and logic behind them. Incomplete arguments should be noted, and invalid arguments should be immediately identifiable. Furthermore, authors should be forced to stand on the merits of their arguments rather than some alleged claim to authority such as, "I've been a teacher at a major University for 15 years..." And they should be forced to create psudonyms that don't imply and opinion. (For instance, no one named "Alexander Hamilton" should be allowed on the forum, and certainly not to comment on the Federal Budget.)

      Do you think your advice would also apply to a forum on Legos or Barbie dolls?

      • Re:Interesting idea (Score:5, Informative)

        by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:27AM (#42805781) Homepage Journal

        It looks horrifyingly bad. Just looking at their test forum makes me want to run away screaming.

        FidoNet was better.

      • by tbird81 (946205)

        Did you take a look at it? [discourse.org]

        How about a seizure warning before posting that link next time!

      • by meburke (736645)

        That's a philosophical question. I personally think any serious discusion where opinion is expressed ought to have some Proof, Information or Example for each serious statement of Opinion. Arguments should be cogent and valid. However, not every discussion is serious enough to warrant the effort involved. I think Discourse might be better if the option to carry out serious conversation without distraction or undue influence were included in the architecture.

        (Of course, I think most programmers could improve

        • Don't let the name, nor their tag line, confuse you.

          Here is the list of actual forums [codinghorror.com] he gives as examples:

          There's an amazing depth of information on forums.

          * A 12 year old girl who finds a forum community of rabid enthusiasts willing to help her rebuild a Fiero from scratch? Check.
          * The most obsessive breakdown of Lego collectible minifig kits you'll find anywhere on the Internet? Check.
          * Some of the most practical information on stunt kiting in the world? Check.
          * The only place I could find with scarily powerful squirt gun instructions and advice? Check.
          * The underlying research for a New Yorker article outing a potential serial marathon cheater? Check.

        • the option to carry out serious conversation without distraction or undue influence

          A forced timelag netween interactions would probably help. Could create a difference one in the old days could observe between correspondence chess (by surface mail) and blitz chess.

          CC.

        • by foobsr (693224)
          Forgot this one: I think most programmers could improve their programs considerably if they programmed in LISP

          ... and would read "The Psychology of Computer Programming: Silver Anniversary Edition [Paperback]".

          CC.

          • Forgot this one: I think most programmers could improve their programs considerably if they programmed in LISP

            ... and would read "The Psychology of Computer Programming: Silver Anniversary Edition [Paperback]".

            I've done both, but I'm not a great programmer yet.

            • by foobsr (693224)
              I've done both, but I'm not a great programmer yet.

              Almost same with me (without the silver attachment). But I am sure it helped me to improve in my days (made it to a LISP machine). What was missing was endless exercises with proper guidance by a master of the field.

              But I could also say that I never was a programmer in the first place.

              Besides, I am suspicious regards people claiming to be *great* anyway.

              CC.

      • by dkf (304284)

        Did you take a look at it? [discourse.org]

        The discussion threading is terrible, and there's no keyboard navigation, not even as good as on slashdot (which is not good either). It's also got a very noisy design, with lots of colors and complexity. In short, Jeff appears to be learning all the wrong lessons from other sites.

        I think I'll stick with other systems for now. There's no value proposition in being involved yet.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're asking for technology to solve what is essentially social problems. A common mistake amongst geeks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > You're asking for technology to solve what is essentially social problems. A common mistake amongst geeks.

        I don't think that's entirely true. Sure, you will not solve the social problems via technology, but are these really social problems?

        Just to give an example: If a platform like ./ offered a moderation system in which posts aren't simply upvoted or downvoted, but the platform remembers *who* voted, and lets me "connect" to other users who I think contribute in a meaningful way, and applies a higher

        • Why the "if"? /. allows you to do just that.

        • by ka9dgx (72702)

          Having other people who uniformly agree with you would enable such a system to work, but reality is more fine grained than that.

          What you really want is to be able to flag/score things according to some specific dimension, like "truth", "humor", "spam", "creationism", "logic", "propaganda", etc.

          If those dimensions were chosen by all of us, and consistently scored/flagged/applied, /. would be a lot more powerful.

          • What you really want is to be able to flag/score things according to some specific dimension, like "truth", "humor", "spam", "creationism", "logic", "propaganda", etc.

            If those dimensions were chosen by all of us, and consistently scored/flagged/applied, /. would be a lot more powerful.

            If by powerful you mean "works to ensure I see stuff I agree with and shields me from stuff I don't", then sure. Otherwise not so much. One persons "truth" it another persons "propaganda". And that's not to mention the numb

    • drowned out in a flood of idiocy

      BIEBER!!!!!!
    • by Ostracus (1354233) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:14AM (#42805719) Journal

      How about putting close at hand the tools to make a better, more educated post? Note Spellcheckers, and Wikipedia are close by. Wolfram Alpha for another, although none are integrated. Grammar and math checkers next.

      • ... none of those are the reasons that stackexchange has so many good answers to questions. I don't believe they'd contribute greatly to a discussion forum either.

      • by meburke (736645)

        Yup, and Logic parsers, and decision tree diagrams, and appended tutorial tools for those who want or need them.

        I was impressed with the idea that I could link to an authoritative source and it wold be integrated into the post. Good Math tools and statistics easily at hand might make it better. I still think there is a gap in the ability to FIND relevant info on subjects.

        • by elucido (870205)

          Yup, and Logic parsers, and decision tree diagrams, and appended tutorial tools for those who want or need them.

          I was impressed with the idea that I could link to an authoritative source and it wold be integrated into the post. Good Math tools and statistics easily at hand might make it better. I still think there is a gap in the ability to FIND relevant info on subjects.

          This is exactly what I was thinking. Btw do any logic parsers exist or did you just make it up?

      • by elucido (870205)

        To improve upon that why not add propositional logic and analysis capabilities into it? Regular expressions?

      • I don't know what you're talking about. When I browse the web in Emacs, I can spell check the web page, query Wolfram Alpha, launch wikipedia in another buffer, and do symbolic calculations in Maxima, all while reading a pdf in yet another buffer. Sometimes I even respond to emails.
    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:33AM (#42805821)

      "Technical articles and opinions should have a level of proof and logic behind them. Incomplete arguments should be noted, and invalid arguments should be immediately identifiable..."

      Good luck with that. There are forums at actual scientific journal websites that that don't always meet those qualifications. Half the time when I've tried to have a logical discussion on /. someone causes it to devolve into meaningless bickering over inconsequential details, or derisive ad-hominem attacks; even from people who should know better.

      I would love to see that change. But as I stated earlier: good luck with that.

      • by jafac (1449)

        . . . that reminds me. I think it's about time for another C++ vs. Java flamewar.

        Who's up for it?

      • by SomePgmr (2021234)

        Something about slashdot makes it really combative. I don't know if it's the karma system, us, or something else. But if you say something people see, no matter how rational, someone is going to disagree just to disagree, and it's probably going to be a little nasty.

        Like you said, that usually starts with someone tilting at some inconsequential and opportunistic BS taken out of context. A couple mod points later the whole thread is off the rails. It's pretty irritating and I doubt most of us actually conver

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          It's pretty irritating and I doubt most of us actually converse like this in the real world. We'd get laughed at or punched.

          I personally become combative when people say things that they clearly would not even fucking begin to say to me in meatspace. I do in fact talk like this, outside of business situations where it's inappropriate. (I've been in workplaces where everyone cussed and I've been in workplaces where no one cussed, and fit in fine in both cases. I admit to enjoying the former more, but he who has the gold makes the rules.) When someone says something that makes no sense I'll tell them it makes no sense and if they

        • Something about slashdot makes it really combative. I don't know if it's the karma system, us, or something else. But if you say something people see, no matter how rational, someone is going to disagree just to disagree, and it's probably going to be a little nasty.

          I disagree!

        • I agree with you and DrinkyPoo both. I have been in "conversations" in online forums (fora?) that, in the real world, would have led to me punching the other person in the nose. And usually it has been a guy, so I would probably punch him in the nose, rather than get into a hair-pulling session.

          I do my darnedest to not behave the same way myself. Which is not to say I never have. But I try.
      • by dkf (304284)

        Half the time when I've tried to have a logical discussion on /. someone causes it to devolve into meaningless bickering over inconsequential details, or derisive ad-hominem attacks

        So learn to ignore the parts that are value-free. There's no point in mud-wrestling a pig into submission as you just get covered in mud and the pig loves it.

      • by Sigg3.net (886486)

        Good luck with that. There are forums at actual scientific journal websites that that don't always meet those qualifications. Half the time when I've tried to have a logical discussion on /. someone causes it to devolve into meaningless bickering over inconsequential details, or derisive ad-hominem attacks; even from people who should know better.

        You're an asshole, Jane.

    • Yup. Only let the Council of Alphas have a voice. It's been tried. It didn't work out quite as well as you might have imagined. Funny how it's the well-spoken people who think that only well-spoken people's opinions should be heard?
      • If you want to be democratic about it, have a platform where you can lend weight to peoples opinion ; in the context of Slashdot, your post is already weighted according to your karma when you initially post it, and later on, by people reviewing it.

        Being well-spoken is essential to having a democratic debate. If you cannot express your opinion in a way which the other party can understand, you have no chance of having any discussion about it at all.

        If you are well spoken, then those of us who are not well-s

    • Technical articles and opinions should have a level of proof and logic behind them. Incomplete arguments should be noted, and invalid arguments should be immediately identifiable

      Sure, this problem's easy to solve........

      # wget -R *.* > /dev/null

    • And if your real name is Alexander Hamilton?

      Nice set of unenforcable stupid rules though.
      • I always think a PGP style web-of-trust would be useful in the sphere of trading opinions, whether that be reviews on academic papers or posts on a forum.

        One such form of trust would be that, yes, you are Alexander Hamilton, and these 2,000 people have signed your public key to acknowledge this.

        • I dont know that that would work. People on the fringes like Ralph Nader and Rush Limbaugh would be pushed rapidly up to very high levels. If you added negative points to balance this, it would quickly become a political war where technically correct but unpopular people could get buried as untrustworthy while a politician who says all the right things could become the most trusted person.

    • by neurovish (315867)

      Technical articles and opinions should have a level of proof and logic behind them. Incomplete arguments should be noted, and invalid arguments should be immediately identifiable. Furthermore, authors should be forced to stand on the merits of their arguments rather than some alleged claim to authority such as, "I've been a teacher at a major University for 15 years..." And they should be forced to create psudonyms that don't imply and opinion. (For instance, no one named "Alexander Hamilton" should be allowed on the forum, and certainly not to comment on the Federal Budget.)

      Any other ideas?

      What if my name actually is Alexander Hamilton? ...and you think that people shouldn't talk about anything about which they have an opinion or form opinions based on anything other than bulletproof logic founded on verifiable proof? You sound like somebody who would be no fun at a party.

  • I'm excited about the idea of new forum software. I feel like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have made reasonably good conversation interfaces that forum or bulletin board software could easily borrow from. Having good search facilities, an interface with lower friction (i.e fewer clicks and scrolling) and snappy performance would be a great start.

    Recent improvements in web user interface frameworks such as Twitter Bootstrap would go a long way towards making a mobile friendly and easier to use forum interfa

    • I wonder if it will ever have an NNTP gateway

      This can't possible mean you want to go back on the ages of Usenet, extended with Web2news interface [wikipedia.org], can it?

      Well, what? How about moderation, user voting and those rosette-shaped icons... these are the new(-ish) cool features, where are you letting them? They so much worth it.. for example, "Google groups" is useless for a discussion without them!

      And who needs a distributed system like Usenet when a single Web server is sufficient?

      • by marcello_dl (667940) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:27AM (#42805993) Homepage Journal

        Why you need usenet?
        Because it is better to focus on a tree of subjects instead of roaming a hundred forums with different logins about the same subjects.

        Usenet needed improvement, not death. The big problems were efficient distribution of articles among servers, and moderation. Both solvable (i'd have left to server/discussion admins to kill articles based on readers feedback, and the option to accept the kill recommendations from other servers with some degrees of trust). It obviously was too free for the interests driving the development of the net, namely advertising, the telcos and media companies.

        One group I used to follow was polluted by very persistent trolls without fantasy, the most prominent one was found to be linked to the telco running the server, YMMV.

        If somebody thinks about reviving a low bandwidth web 1.0 instead of js sites on a handful of bloated browsers, please tell me where do I sign up.

        • by c0lo (1497653)
          Uh... (my sarcasm was too subtle. my whole post above would be summarized by: "Discourse? What is/was wrong with Usenet?")
  • i want to see (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @12:54AM (#42805649)

    more anonymity
    more encryption
    more control over my data

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:14AM (#42805717)

    No. just... no.

    IO loaded the example forum with NoScript enabled. Absolutely no formatting present, the only way to differentiate individual posts was by the "#1" "#2" numbering each one individually, inlined with the body text of the comments.

    We don't need more client side code, we need less. Formatting should be in CSS, the content should degrade sanely for text only and mobile browsers / screen readers. I shouldn't have to allow javascript through in order to format the page content.

    Worse - when I did enable javascript to see what it actually is intended to look like, they've got one of those "fixed position" menus at the top of the page that doesn't scroll away, and I absolutely detest webpages that use those. I prefer being able to see more of the content, and can navigate my way to the top of the screen for a seldom used menu with one keystroke, or a short drag of a scrollbar handle. The site also has a maximum width for the content section, on a 16:9 1080p screen, 2/3 of the page is blank when my browser window is full screen. If this is the future of webforums, I don't want it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xenobyte (446878)

      No. just... no.

      IO loaded the example forum with NoScript enabled. Absolutely no formatting present, the only way to differentiate individual posts was by the "#1" "#2" numbering each one individually, inlined with the body text of the comments.

      We don't need more client side code, we need less. Formatting should be in CSS, the content should degrade sanely for text only and mobile browsers / screen readers. I shouldn't have to allow javascript through in order to format the page content.

      Worse - when I did enable javascript to see what it actually is intended to look like, they've got one of those "fixed position" menus at the top of the page that doesn't scroll away, and I absolutely detest webpages that use those. I prefer being able to see more of the content, and can navigate my way to the top of the screen for a seldom used menu with one keystroke, or a short drag of a scrollbar handle. The site also has a maximum width for the content section, on a 16:9 1080p screen, 2/3 of the page is blank when my browser window is full screen. If this is the future of webforums, I don't want it.

      Agree 100% - I use NoScript for this exact reason: JavaScript is heavily abused by hackers and advertisers alike - evil people hell-bent on destroying our online experience.

    • Agreed, it looks like dog shit...after a homeless man ejaculated on it.
    • by Twinbee (767046)

      they've got one of those "fixed position" menus at the top of the page that doesn't scroll away, and I absolutely detest webpages that use those

      Probably one reason you're not aware of is that pages with it tend to be slower to scroll. I hate that too, but that's a problem with the implementation (download.com take note).

      Yes you lose a little space, but then we sacrifice space with the taskbar/launchbar/quicklaunch/tab bar in Windows, and it's a very worthy sacrifice. Get a higher res monitor if it's really a problem.

  • by SilenceBE (1439827) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:19AM (#42805747)
    Wordpress is popular because of the lamp stack. Regardless of personal feelings against a lamp setup, but if the goal is to be the "wordpress" of discussion software I will say good luck wit that ! I think the fact that it is written in ROR, will make this a very hard goal to reach.
  • by pclinger (114364) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:14AM (#42805949) Homepage Journal

    disclosure: I'm the President and CEO of ProBoards, my company creates forum software.

    From TFA: "When I looked at forum software again after leaving Stack Exchange, I was appalled to discover that after four years virtually nothing had changed."

    This is a great sound bite, but unfortuantely is just not true. There is a lot of innovation in the forum space going on. A few recent software releases come to mind that offer new, unique functionality. XenForo, vBulletin 5, and my company's new forum software ProBoards v5 that launches on April 29th.

    I can't speak in depth to our competitor's products, but I can tell you how we have taken forums to the next level:

    -Live Search. Most pages have a search box you can type in, and the threads/posts update live on screen.
    -AJAX pagination - switch between pages without needing to load a full new page.
    -Integrated Notifications. We push content to you, you shouldn't have to seek it out.
    -Integrated mobile site
    -Clean, simple UI (while keeping all functionality available)
    -Enhanced privacy. More control over what you see and who can see you.
    -Activity feeds for staying up to date with your friends on the forum
    -Single signon for all ProBoards forums with the ability to easily switch between forums
    -WYSIWYG editor
    -"Conversations" instead of PMs -- you can have multiple people in a discussion
    -Better moderator tools that make it easier than ever for mods to get stuff done with fewer clicks.
    -We launched a new section on our homepage that shows you all forums you are a member of and information such as how many new messages you have, notifications, if any of your participated topics were updated, and more -- many forums, all on one single page.
    -and a whole lot more.

    You can test these features in our new software yourself at http://support.proboards.com./ [support.proboards.com]

    My main point is this: There is plenty of innovation going on. Go look for it.

    • by nblender (741424)

      Disclosure: I have no familiarity with your software.
      Disclosure2: I am predisposed to hating forums.

      I'm from the days of the internet where discussions were had on mailing lists and usenet. Forums didn't exist.

      The problem with forums is:

      - In order to read a discussion, I must endure N page loads.
      - Each page load has a bazillion assets (smileys, avatars, buttons, menus)
      - Each asset that is not cached is a TCP session. Laggy or poor network connections make for a slow forum experience.
      - I can't read forums

  • I just loaded the example site, and it looks like just several lines of text with JavaScript disabled on the site. After enabling JavaScript, the site looks like it's supposed to, but is it really necessary to write a web forum that relies entirely on JavaScript to work? What ever happened to server-side processing spitting out dumb HTML pages and CSS styles?
    Most popular message board systems I've seen work perfectly without JS enabled, but others are very ugly (I'm looking at you, Disqus).

    • Web devs must require customers to download 10 megs of JS to be a professional.
    • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @08:05AM (#42807297) Journal

      I just loaded the example site, and it looks like just several lines of text with JavaScript disabled on the site. After enabling JavaScript, the site looks like it's supposed to, but is it really necessary to write a web forum that relies entirely on JavaScript to work? What ever happened to server-side processing spitting out dumb HTML pages and CSS styles?
      Most popular message board systems I've seen work perfectly without JS enabled, but others are very ugly (I'm looking at you, Disqus).

      The problem is that the vast majority of real web users do not actually care what a site looks like with JS disabled, as they keep it enabled.

      You guys with your insistence on no JS completely excludes jquery use and means everything has to work on completely refreshing the page every time you interact with it. Jquery and ajax creates an experience that is much quicker for most users since they only have to wait for very small amounts of JSON data to be sent to and from the server, and don't have to wait for the entire DOM to be reloaded from the server even though only a small part of it changed. Most users prefer this experience.

      I actually agree that all decent websites should degrade gracefully when JS is absent as this is how most screen readers (for blind people) render sites. The thing is though that most developers do not care what the blind person view of their website looks like providing it is at least half way usable (often that usability is a mandatory requirement as all government funded stuff has to tick the accessibility box).

      The number of real world users who insist on disabling JS seems to be a very low minority so don't be too surprised you are neglected by us web developers more and more. That way of creating websites is dead, and it simply is not coming back no matter how loudly you piss and moan as most people prefer the more modern Ajax feel.

      • by BenoitRen (998927)

        That's understandable (though I think it is really unprofessional), but that doesn't excuse initial page formatting done by JavaScript.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        yet strangely I find that the websites that do gracefull degradation are on average way more responsive then the ajax all the way ones

      • by Twinbee (767046)
        For a site that's technologically oriented, I'm surprised to see so many frown on JS like this, though I have a feeling it may have something to do (ironically) with the speed of such pages. Download.com for instance is a pig to navigate due to (presumably) its heavy use of JS.
  • It's shit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:46AM (#42806067) Homepage
    Too much JS but more importantly their demo is ugly as sin. I'm not seeing how it's that different other than making everything feel crammed together and with far too many Web 2.0 features and not enough good design to not make it feel like one big blind poo.

    It does nothing to improve on the message board design and its fucking ugly. Good job, jeff!
    • by jez9999 (618189)

      I basically agree. Strangely, the "log in" screen is inferior IMHO to Stack Exchanges, which implements a proper full-on OpenID login; this just has the usual suspects (log in with Google, log in with Facebook...)

  • What's new? (Score:4, Funny)

    by DerPflanz (525793) <bart@DEBIANfriesoft.nl minus distro> on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:57AM (#42806117) Homepage

    Okay, I only looked at it for a few minutes, but I can't see the difference with classic boards. Yes, it is more fancy, more JavaScripty, but functional, I couldn't get any differences. Just a list of topics, when clicked go to a list of replies.

    No voting system, no "highest votes on top", no threading, ...

  • Roll your own. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:37AM (#42806239)

    I have never felt that packaged forum systems were robust enough or integrateable enough to be worth it. In every situation, I have rolled my own. Including when deploying it for a community of 100k+ users. I'd also much rather roll my own functionality as a project grows into the individual application of the forum rather than go out and grab someone's plugin/module to stick into it and hope it answers my needs.

    Also, what the hell ever happened to nested-threaded discussions? Why is EVERY god damn forum out there in the last decade just this obnoxious flat-thread full of quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes? Is it because the developers are too lazy to add a minimal amount of recursion in their engine or . . . what?!

    • by jez9999 (618189) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:32AM (#42806421) Homepage Journal

      Amen to nested discussions. I guess having a single flat thread for everything is easier for beginners... you just click on the thread and the posts are all meant to be "to do with the title" rather than perhaps some tangent the thread has gone off on. That said, threads do and will go off on tangents, so nested-threading is a great way to acknowledge that.

    • by Lazy Jones (8403)

      Is it because the developers are too lazy to add a minimal amount of recursion in their engine or . . . what?!

      In this particular case it is because Jeff Atwood hates threading [codinghorror.com]. I think it's a huge mistake and he never manages to argue this choice in a compelling way, but I guess it's an emotional thing after all.

      • by sco08y (615665)

        In this particular case it is because Jeff Atwood hates threading [codinghorror.com]. I think it's a huge mistake and he never manages to argue this choice in a compelling way, but I guess it's an emotional thing after all.

        He's got a point that many implementations make it hard to navigate the tree, but it's not like it's that hard to implement what he wants (find my replies, see original) and be able to collapse trees.

        • by Lazy Jones (8403)

          He's got a point that many implementations make it hard to navigate the tree,

          I don't even grant him that point. Hard compared to what? A flat list of posts that one should try to reconstruct the (naturally tree-shaped) discussion structure from? That's like saying we should be using square wheels because some round wheels make it hard to steer the car.

          • by sco08y (615665)

            He's got a point that many implementations make it hard to navigate the tree,

            I don't even grant him that point. Hard compared to what? A flat list of posts that one should try to reconstruct the (naturally tree-shaped) discussion structure from? That's like saying we should be using square wheels because some round wheels make it hard to steer the car.

            Many implementations don't give you ready access to the parent and siblings of a post. Also, it is naturally a tree, but often a thread of discussion is mostly a list, and implementations could often flatten those. But, point taken, most of those are not issues that require fundamentally reworking a tree, and they're all far better than the "wall of text" you get with a flat list.

    • I think the currently accepted theory is that the great unwashed masses can't understand threads (I disagree, but...) and the real goal of a forum is to maximize ad impressions, not to encourage good discussion, so threads are considered unwise.

      But, here we are using Slashcode despite all its warts...

  • by evanh (627108) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @05:06AM (#42806553)

    I'll be happy.

  • It will be built with security in mind, and won't use Javascript or PHP in any fashion, or allow modules that involve them to interact with the software in question.

    Some of the biggest problems I've seen over the years involving compromised forums have almost always involved issues with those two (with the 3rd most common being they were run on Microsoft's web services).

  • ...after reading through the comments on this shiny turd, I vote Atwood should rebrand this new Discourse software to "Coding Horror".

    It relies on Javascript, so it's nothing but a security nightmare for anyone to implement.

  • It's using the same user-based moderation that has sunk most other discussion forums. Like-minded people will overwhelm the discussion, and moderate up people they agree with. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • I used to try to participate in online forums. I consider Slashdot one of the better ones, and even so, I'd say that at most 25% of the commentary here is necessary.

    The problem with online forums is that they follow the rules of behavior for a carnival. Those who create drama are most popular and so the attention focuses on them, while the more interesting comments are buried.

    There are relatively few people who can understand much of anything, and they get buried under the flood of people quoting TV shows,

  • I'm having difficulty understanding why people insist on using Ruby on Rails, especially for projects where their goal is high performance OLTP system.

    Twitter was an incredibly high-profile failure, where twitter had to rewrite their entire backend in something else (Java I think? I can't remember now).

    If you want to make a scalable application, then use a platform known to be capable of handling such things. What next? Writing code for an embedded system using J2EE?

    At least they're using postgres for th

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      While Postgres may be a better database, it's not a great idea to use Postgres as the only option if you want other people to run your project on their own systems. Because many hosts simply don't have Postgres as an option. It's not "that hard" when you're starting a new project to make it database agnostic, or support a few of the more popular databases. I don't know why more projects aren't database agnostic.
      • I don't know why more projects aren't database agnostic.

        Some apps are postgresql apps, not just CRUD apps. That is, much of the work is done in the database, for speed and efficiency.

        Since the two main options are postgresql and mysql, and postgresql is a much nicer programming environment and it scales much more easily, it's not surprising that the developers chose it. The consequences are merely that there are several thousand hosting companies available to choose from rather than tens of thousands.

        Yes

  • Maybe with some 5G coverage? Can we do some next-gen dialog about it?

  • *sigh* people are constantly trying to 'reinvent discussion for the modern age', they have been doing this for decades now... and the bulk of the time all we end up with is a repeat of 80s BBSes with some new trendy technology under the hood and little actual advancement...... resulting in decades of half-baked improvements. People keep focusing on the technology and what other technologies it interacts with because, well, geeks like playing with technology.. but the underlying discussion tools just keep
  • Anyone played ForrumWarz?

    Discourse was co-authored by the same developer, Robin Ward.
    http://blog.discourse.org/2013/02/the-discourse-team/ [discourse.org]

    Draw your own conclusions, but it should be incredibly stable under a heavy load, and randomly pelt you with evil flames from hell.

  • Seriously?

    Yes, security, search and spam are three obvious problems, but you usually find what you need with Google, you can reference individual posts and the format is intuitive (rows are posts cols are types).

    The model isn't broken.

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