Changes at TDWTF: Goodbye Community Server



  • The Daily WTF is turning 10 this year. Like any ten year old, that means that it's time to start undergoing some changes. The first thing that's going to change: Community Server.

    Yes, that venerable old beast is finally going to be put out to pasture. Your posts here will continue to live here, but our plan is to, early this year, put these forums into read-only mode.

    To replace them, we've been talking with Jeff Atwood (of Codinghorror fame) about migrating to his platform- Discourse. Discourse offers a lot of really great functionality for having discussions. BoingBoing has had some great success with their new comment system, and we really like what we see when we look at it.

    There are no hard dates when this is guaranteed to happen, but it will happen soon (we're currently playing with it ourselves). When it finally does, we will move your accounts over to the new system. We will leave this forum up, in read-only mode, so you won't lose anything. We won't continue to let you do bizarre things with unicode symbols in the tags on your posts. We will give you a great new way to post messages, discuss the articles, and generally be awesome.



  • @Remy Porter said:

    The first thing that's going to change: Community Server.

    Yes, finally!
    @Remy Porter said:
    To replace them, we've been talking with Jeff Atwood

    hmmm
    @Remy Porter said:
    Discourse

    Crap!
    @Remy Porter said:
    Discourse offers a lot of really great functionality for having discussions.

    You should read about some of the input from other forum users about Discourse
    @Remy Porter said:
    BoingBoing has had some great success with their new comment system

    I have no idea what BoingBoing is but that is some stupid name
    @Remy Porter said:
    we're currently playing with ourselves

    So that is what you do! ;)
    @Remy Porter said:
    We will give you a great new way to post messages, discuss the articles, and generally be awesome.

    I'm getting tired of this "new" bullshit everywhere



  • @Remy Porter said:

    Discourse offers a lot of really great functionality for having discussions.
     

    I look forward to our little WTF group stress-testing their plaything beyond breaking point.

    And it will break.

    This I promise you.

    @Remy Porter said:

    We won't continue to let you do bizarre things with unicode symbols in the tags on your posts.

    What a sad, sad day is ahead of us.

     



  • @Remy Porter said:

    migrating to his platform- Discourse
     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Remy Porter said:

    we're currently playing with it ourselves
    May I suggest using the text from my post here to play with as well.



    While Community Server seemed to honor my placement of underscores, Discourse seemed more reluctant. At least on my browser:











    On a more serious note, I presume some consideration has gone into preventing name-squatting on the new board if the software cannot do so?



  • Actually, it was reading some of the forum discussions on the subject that kinda put us over the edge. We've been batting it around among ourselves for awhile, and when we read through the forum discussions here, what we saw was a transition from, "this is weird and different, and we don't get it," to, "oh, so it's really just oversold and not this revolutionary, completely weird thing, and while I have some niggles with the UI, it's actually kinda nice" (I'm paraphrasing, and also including a little of my own experience with it).

    While I'm not going to claim that Discourse is a perfect solution, it seems like it's a good fit for our forums. It'll also replace the comments system on the articles, which I don't care who you are- the article comment systems are [i]awful[/i]. It'll be different and strange, and it'll piss some people off, but honestly- that's true no matter [i]what[/i] changes we make (including no changes at all). Also, the folks at Discourse are really engaged in the process, and are giving us a lot of help, and want to work with us to make it good [i]for you[/i].



  • You have to escape the text with backticks to keep Markdown from eating your underscores. [img]http://i.imgur.com/OfbO4xj.png[/img]

    And before we open this to the world, we are going to migrate existing accounts over to the new environment, which should handle most of the squatting issues.



  • @Remy Porter said:

    We won't continue to let you do bizarre things with unicode symbols in the tags on your posts. We will give you a great new way to post messages, discuss the articles, and generally be awesome.


    How to do bizzare things with unicode symbols? Please explain now.



  •  At the very least-- at the very VERY least-- please be sure the skin is the same. Same colors, same font, as close to the same layout as possible.

    It would also be nice if there was some way of importing, say, any forum topic that has been posted in in the past week into the new system, so ongoing discussions aren't interrupted.

    Keep in mind that the majority of users of the forum are those who do not like change. Make it as unchangeful as possible.



  • @Remy Porter said:

    "oh, so it's really just oversold and not this revolutionary, completely weird thing, and while I have some niggles with the UI, it's actually kinda nice" (I'm paraphrasing, and also including a little of my own experience with it).

    While I'm not going to claim that Discourse is a perfect solution, it seems like it's a good fit for our forums.

     

    It'll be fine.

    I am just sad about the demise of wonderful side features like Tag Abuse and Signature Guy.



  • @PJH said:

    @Remy Porter said:
    we're currently playing with it ourselves
    May I suggest using the text from my post here to play with as well.



    While Community Server seemed to honor my placement of underscores, Discourse seemed more reluctant. At least on my browser:










     

    How is that even possible? It's text displayed by the browser.



  • @Remy Porter said:

    You have to escape the text with backticks to keep Markdown from eating your underscores.
     

    I should also read threads before posting.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Keep in mind that the majority of users of the forum are those who do not like change. Make it as unchangeful as possible.
     

    Goodbye, Lorne.



  •  I must reach 12,000 posts before the changeover happens.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Keep in mind that the majority of users of the forum are those who do not like change.
    Anyone who has any experience here would loved to see Community Server changed to something better.

    Discourse is not something better.



  • @dhromed said:

    I am just sad about the demise of wonderful side features like Tag Abuse and Signature Guy.

    I wonder what kind of things we can find in the new one.  I'm sure that there won't be as much, but I hope we can find at least some.



  • @dhromed said:

     I must reach 12,000 posts before the changeover happens.

     

    Feature Request for Discourse:  Imported user accounts should have an Initial Postcount Offset so that their postcount does not start at 0.

     



  • @El_Heffe said:

    Discourse is not something better.
     

    For how many weeks have you used it?



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Feature
    Request for Discourse: Tags should be arbitrary strings that don't
    facilitate searching and instead are only used for jokes to be deleted
    when the database is full
     

    You realize that without the terrible, terrible tag cache  on everypage, we'd have tags forever?



  • The skin and appearance of Discourse will be as close to TDWTF's look as possible. We won't let the two things feel like separate sites.

    You raise a good point- I'm not sure if it's possible, but maybe what we'll do is turn off new topics on this site, but leave the comments active for awhile.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    Clearly the solution is some janky middleware between the two products. I suggest dropping all the tables from one database, and creating views to the other database in their place so that, while they both think they have their own respective databases, they're actually using the same one.



  • Fare thee well:

     



  • I think that should be our next OMGWTF contest!



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Fare thee well:

     


    Apparently ‧̴̵̶̷̸̡̢̧̨̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̣̤̥̦̩̪̫̬̭̮̯̰̱̲̳̹̺̻̼͇͈͉͍͎̀́̂̄̃̅̆̇̈̉̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̽̾̿̀́͂̓̈́͆͊͋͌̕̚ͅ͏͓͔͕͖͙͚͐͑͒͗͛ͣͤͥͦͧͨͩͪͫͬͭͮͯ͘͜͟͢͝͞͠͡ is not a descriptive enough title, and if I add more characters, it says the title can't be more than 128 characters long.



  • @Remy Porter said:

    You have to escape the text with backticks to keep Markdown from eating your underscores.

    I don't know anything about Discourse, but Markdown is fucking awful.



  • I tried it out, it's barely acceptable.

    Can we make sure our install has normal pagination and not that "infinite scroll" bullshit?

    EDIT: FYI, despite the button being labeled "upload", it doesn't actually upload an image if you plug in a URL. So you can still put up a image link and edit the image after it's been posted.



  • Apparently it does rehost images, although the logic for when it chooses to do so is fuzzy.

    Rehosting images sucks. When I post screenshots, I put them on my server so I can censor text (if there's some I missed when I originally put it up.) If the forum rehosts images, you'll see a drop in the number of people willing to post screenshots, and WTFs without screenshots suck.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Apparently it does rehost images, although the logic for when it chooses to do so is fuzzy.

    Rehosting images sucks. When I post screenshots, I put them on my server so I can censor text (if there's some I missed when I originally put it up.) If the forum rehosts images, you'll see a drop in the number of people willing to post screenshots, and WTFs without screenshots suck.

    Really? Most of the WTFs with screenshots I've seen have had broken images because the image host went out of business or whatever. If you really need to edit your post after the edit limit runs out, just report it and leave a message for the mods to change the image.



  • It's kind of scary that I'm less than double the age of a website.



  • Well maybe I should say I would be discouraged from posting images. If nobody else cares, then nobody else cares.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Can we make sure our install has normal pagination and not that "infinite scroll" bullshit?
     

    +infinity to that.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Can we make sure our install has normal pagination and not that "infinite scroll" bullshit?
     

    +infinity to that.

    Hey, let's try it out for a while before dismissing one of its signature features just because someone else did it badly.



  • @Ben L. said:

    @Lorne Kates said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Can we make sure our install has normal pagination and not that "infinite scroll" bullshit?
    +infinity to that.

    Hey, let's try it out for a while before dismissing one of its signature features just because someone else did it badly.

    But isn't it a requirement that the TDWTF forum software must itself be a WTF? Infinite scrolling certainly fulfills that requirement.



  • @Ben L. said:

    Hey, let's try it out for a while before dismissing one of its signature features just because someone else did it badly.
     

    Infinite scrolling is a bad idea, period. It's an anti-pattern. There's no good way to impliment it (caveat: not for a discussion system or any other system I have ever used).

    "Hey, let's try out exploding cars for a while before dismissing one of its signature features (exploding) just because Pinto did it badly."

    "Hey, let's try out holocaust for a while before dismissing one of its signature features (getting rid of ethnic groups we don't like and making power grabs by uniting the people against a ficticious enemy) just because Hitler did it badly."

    "Hey, let's try out Godwining the thread for a while before dismissing one of its signature features (losing the argument) just because Lorne did it badly."

     



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Infinite scrolling is a bad idea, period. It's an anti-pattern. There's no good way to impliment it
     

    Your absolutist dogmatism and your spelling error are noted, and one of them is summarily dismissed.



  • @Remy Porter said:

    Discourse
     

    Can we veto to go back to CS if Discourse turns out to be True Shit after a few weeks?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Remy Porter said:

    You have to escape the text with backticks to keep Markdown from eating your underscores.
    Erm - I do hope this is a default that can be changed? Ideally on a site-wide basis which can be overridden by users who actually prefer Markdown.



    In other news, this isn't the first time we've discussed Discourse on here. Thread the first. Thread the second.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @Lorne Kates said:

    Keep in mind that the majority of users of the forum are those who do not like change.
    Anyone who has any experience here would loved to see Community Server changed to something better.

    Discourse is not something better.

    Uh, if I may call your attention to the elephant in the room....

     Will we still be allowed to post periodic comments about how Community Server is the root of all evil?

     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @El_Heffe said:

    Discourse is not something better.
    Yes, minister. (Background, for those that haven't seen the show.)



  •  Will the thread that cannot be named over in Funny Stuff be carried over, or will it finally die the agonizing death it has inflicted on others?



  • The post box supports [i]either[/i] markdown or BBCode, and I tested- if you use BBCode in the post, the markdown processor won't run, and thus won't eat your underscores.

    Personally, I rather like Markdown- it's how I write all of my articles.

    As for infinite scrolling... I have mixed feelings on it, and it depends on the application itself.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Markdown is fucking awful.
     

    Why?



  • @dhromed said:

    @Lorne Kates said:

    Infinite scrolling is a bad idea, period. It's an anti-pattern. There's no good way to impliment it
     

    Your absolutist dogmatism and your spelling error are noted, and one of them is summarily dismissed.

     

    On the upside, Discourse may have a "post" textarea for which Firefox will remember my "checking spealing" selection by default.

     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Lorne Kates said:

    On the upside, Discourse may have a "post" textarea for which Firefox will remember my "checking spealing" selection by default.
    Without having to change anything, it appears to be on by default for me (FF 29.0a1)



  • @dhromed said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Markdown is fucking awful.

    Why?

    I've come across a lot of people who don't like using a wiki-like syntax for forum posts. Personally, I like them. I've only used Markdown a little bit, and I suppose there were some things I thought had been done better elsewhere, it seems decent to me. It will definitely be better than writing semi-raw html in Chrome.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @dhromed said:
    @blakeyrat said:
    Markdown is fucking awful.

    Why?

    I've come across a lot of people who don't like using a wiki-like syntax for forum posts.

     

    Can't say I'd want to do that, but as long as it's optional and people who want BBCode or WYSIWYG can still use it, more power.



  • @PJH said:

    @Lorne Kates said:
    On the upside, Discourse may have a "post" textarea for which Firefox will remember my "checking spealing" selection by default.
    Without having to change anything, it appears to be on by default for me (FF 29.0a1)
     

    I was on FF26, but reverted back to FF22 because 26 broke Page Up/Page Down keys in multiline textboxes.

    And... is that FF 29.01a1... as in Alpha? {long stare} Ooookay.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @boomzilla said:
    I've come across a lot of people who don't like using a wiki-like syntax for forum posts.

    Can't say I'd want to do that, but as long as it's optional and people who want BBCode or WYSIWYG can still use it, more power.

    I can understand preferring WYSIWYG, but my eyes glaze over and urge to kill rises when I hear about preferring BBCode.



  • @dhromed said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Markdown is fucking awful.
    Why?

    Because every time I try to use it, it fucks up and I can't figure out how to do what I want.

    For example
    text like this
    is fucking impossible
    to type in
    Markdown.

    You can have full paragraphs, or you can have pre-formatted text, but you can't just write loose lines like that. If you try, it'll either remove the carriage returns and glom it up like:

    For exampletext like thisis fucking impossibleto type inMarkdown.

    Or it'll put each line in its own paragraph. On StackOverflow's Markdown I just gave fucking up and put it in a CODE block even though it wasn't code. (It was just an error message on multiple lines, the kind of thing you'd think a TECH SUPPORT FORUM would actually support.)

    EDIT: Wiki-like syntax? There's a reason only uber-nerds edit Wikipedia. Well, there's many reasons, but one of the big ones is: no normal person can figure out their complicated-ass syntax. DERP HERP WHY DON'T WE JUST TYPE EVERYTHING IN HERP DERP TeX DERP DERP!!!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Lorne Kates said:

    And... is that FF 29.01a1... as in Alpha?
    Yup - and I'm a bit behind - I think they're on 30 now; just started a (re-)build.


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