Discourse and our reaction to it



  • Chaps / Chapesses,

    Ok then - we're looking at Discourse - and there are problems... It can't be said that all has gone well, but let's just take stock for a minute...

    We are, as a site, very good at spotting faults / criticising software - it's what we do, quite literally, for fun. We're looking for a decent forum, and we're not afraid to be bleeding edge. Discourse may have their problems, but look how they have reacted to the feedback they have received... Their devs, including him with the penchant for overly expensive keyboards, are all over us like a rash now.

    Why? Simple - they know a good thing when they see it - they know they are going to get worthwhile feedback and participation here... We on the other hand are sick of faulty software - and in Discourse have a team of folks who are apparently seriously motivated to fix it.

    This is a chance to give back to a worthwhile Open Source project.

    Discuss (or engage in Discourse, if you will...)



  • @mjmilan said:

    We on the other hand are sick of faulty software - and in Discourse have a team of folks who are apparently seriously motivated to fix it.

    Unless, of course, our issues pertain to the fundamental ideology of Discourse, such as infinite scrolling.



  • I have already made some growing positive comments about this.
    http://what.thedailywtf.com/t/im-making-a-topic/275/10?u=nagesh

    http://what.thedailywtf.com/t/discourse-vs-community-server/249/70?u=nagesh

    I am also making some observations.
    http://what.thedailywtf.com/t/vote-of-no-confidence/270/142?u=nagesh

    Also unless you came in today, there are many happening discussions already taking place here only. So no need to start new thread like this. Just participate in existing threads and post your opinions and thoughts, in case you have any, over there.



  • How fundamental is that though?

    Is there, for instance, a chance of Discourse implementing a paginated / everything on the one page view as a configuration setting?

    Ok - so they load posts using JS - no reason they can't, if they chose, load a topic full...



  • @mjmilan said:

    We are, as a site, very good at spotting faults / criticising software

    I don't recognize your username. Did you ever use CS? That WTF is the comparison point.



  • I'm DumbByAssociation - which is too long to use as a username here apparently...



  • I am trying to stress the opportunity here...

    Why so negative? Does your mother speak ill of me?



  • @mjmilan said:

    Why so negative? Does your mother speak ill of me?

    @mjmilan said:

    Why so negative? Does your mother speak ill of me?

    What negation? I am positively trying to encourage you to participate in other threads?
    is referencing other person's mother a common thing in your part of the world? Are you from Mumbai, the worst city in India.



  • @Nagesh said:

    I have already made some growing positive comments about this.

    Like mold/mould.



  • There are definitely bugs and I'm glad the Discourse team is actually here, listening to our feedback, and fixing things.

    I still don't like Discourse at first however I know I'll eventually get used to it. My gripe is that it's just so different. I feel like I hopped into a car that doesn't use a steering wheel and has a totally different naming scheme for the transmission's gears. Stuff just isn't intuitive to me. Thankfully the devs are here to explain stuff to us, but that would not be required with literally any other forum software in the world.

    Lastly, I had no serious gripes with Community Server but I understand the need to move on. The WYSIWYG editor was crap but most of us learned to deal with it, from a usability perspective a new editor would have been the only needed upgrade. However the major problem with CS is security. All the signature hacks show that the devs were pretty naive about security so it was really just a matter of time before hackers totally nuke the site somehow.



  • @mjmilan said:

    Chaps / Chapesses,

    I already hate this post.

    @mjmilan said:

    We are, as a site, very good at spotting faults / criticising software - it's what we do, quite literally, for fun.

    I don't do it for fun. I do it to register my disgust at the entire IT community, which is fucking terrible and getting worse each year.

    Discourse is actually a pretty good example of exactly the kind of things I complain about. A product built by people who have zero respect for similar products that came before, didn't even bother to use them or learn a single thing from them. A product that has absolutely zero consideration for its users. A product where exciting "trendy" features, like infinite scrolling, are implemented long before it gets any of the fundamentals correct.

    This is exactly the bad example I've been talking about on DailyWTF for years.

    @mjmilan said:

    Discourse may have their problems, but look how they have reacted to the feedback they have received...

    Condescension? Being dismissive?

    The only bug I've seen fixed so far as Morbius' XSS bug, and that's only because it could land them in legal trouble if they know about it and hadn't fixed it.

    @mjmilan said:

    Their devs, including him with the penchant for overly expensive keyboards, are all over us like a rash now.

    Right, because we're now "part of the Discourse family".

    A rash is a pretty good analogy you've chosen there.

    @mjmilan said:

    Why? Simple - they know a good thing when they see it - they know they are going to get worthwhile feedback and participation here...

    And yet that doesn't matter, because they're not going to fix any of the things we're complaining about. They don't give a shit about the users of their products. It's just another broken open source "we know better than you" project.

    @mjmilan said:

    We on the other hand are sick of faulty software - and in Discourse have a team of folks who are apparently seriously motivated to fix it.

    I've found as many bugs in 2 days of Discourse than I found in 5 years of CS. Discourse is the faulty software. Community Server was excellent, by comparison, and the fact that it hadn't been updated since 2007 makes it even more impressive.

    In any case, the root of 85% of these bugs, the idiotic concept of infinite scrolling, is never going to be fixed. So that injects a huge dose of nihilism into this whole bullshit affair-- complaining about the numbers of characters in the username field is just moving those Titanic deck chairs in a charming arrangement.

    @mjmilan said:

    This is a chance to give back to a worthwhile Open Source project.

    Open source projects are always broken, user-hostile, messes. I'd be embarrassed to "give back" to Discourse and have my name associated with this bullshit. I have a reputation to protect.



  • @mjmilan said:

    How fundamental is that though?

    Is there, for instance, a chance of Discourse implementing a paginated / everything on the one page view as a configuration setting?

    If they do that, I might change my mind. Until they do, there's no fucking point in trying to improve this broken mess, because the broken mess is their selling-point. They genuinely believe the broken mess is the future of software development.

    The issue is cultural, not technological.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    If they do that, I might change my mind.

    Given that this happens when you turn off javascript, it seems like it should be possible. The biggest hurdle is probably finding someone interested enough to push it through, since the current devs obviously like infinite scrolling.



  • In addition to my other problems with this whole forum move, you also have to remember that we had a thread discussing this months ago, we thought we had the requirements for the new forum settled (no infinite scroll, works on mobile, matches the DailyWTF theme, etc.)

    Then the actual move comes about and none of the posts in that thread were apparently even read by Alex. None of that work was done.

    And hey guess what I called it: http://forums.thedailywtf.com/forums/p/30922/358061.aspx#358061

    The problem is what I didn't predict: that despite obviously not having the resources to do the forum move properly, Alex would just do it anyway. If the guy who owns the site doesn't give a shit, what can I do?

    So there's nihilism+1.

    Then I post a thread genuinely trying to point out at least a small fraction of the bugs that need fixed and people fill it full of barf videos.

    So I'm basically at full, 100%, solid gold #1 hits nihilism now.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Discourse is actually a pretty good

    See?



  • @mott555 said:

    I'm glad the Discourse team is actually here, listening to our feedback, and fixing things.

    I am also happy for this reason.



  • Because I like being a contrarian, here are some things I like:

    • After posting my reply, it's there, instead of there or sometimes not there yet, like in CS.
    • After learning about the hot keys, and changing my settings to track any topic I've read at all, and turning off most email, I've gotten used to doing g,u to get to the unread stuff. The fast and furious pace of posting right now gives me plenty to read.
    • Not a huge fan of markdown, but I like using it a little better than all the hand crafted html I was forced to use for CS
    • When I return to a thread, it generally takes me to the post where I need to start.


  • @blakeyrat said:

    And hey guess what I called it: http://forums.thedailywtf.com/forums/p/30922/358061.aspx#358061

    Guess what? I am also making prediction here.

    The important thing is I like this software with its flaws.



  • @Nagesh said:

    I like this software with its flaws.

    Everyone else would like it better without them.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    Everyone else would like it better without them.

    Eventually you'll learn to love it.

    That is what they saying about arrange marriage in India also.



  • @mjmilan said:

    Is there, for instance, a chance of Discourse implementing a paginated / everything on the one page view as a configuration setting?

    That's why I said it's ideological. It's not that they couldn't implement this, it's that they disagree with the very idea of it. Could they capitulate in the name of harmony? Sure. But they won't like it.



  • Why are you all insisting on pagination? Pagination is 2005. This is 2014.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I've found as many bugs in 2 days of Discourse than I found in 5 years of CS.

    One reason could be that you were newbie when you started to use CS. Now you're experienced.



  • @moderator said:

    It's not that they couldn't implement this, it's that they disagree with the very idea of it.

    Yeah, because they did implement it when there's no javascript. I recall when it was first announced, and my recollection was that the infinite scrolling was one of the main selling points.

    I think I'd still prefer paging, but so far it's not too bad. I think the CTRL+F, when looking for a previous post will be when I get my rage on. I've done that a lot on CS, and sometimes I have to go forward or back more pages than I thought, but it's easy enough to do, and the results are exactly what I'd expect.



  • @boomzilla said:

    I think I'd still prefer paging, but so far it's not too bad.

    I feel the domestic abuse victim mentality setting in: "It's not so bad. It really does love me. It only hurts me once in a while. It apologizes, and we laugh about it later."

    It doesn't seem too bad if I keep up-to-date on every topic, and only have to read the one or two or half-dozen most recent posts. If I ever fall behind and have to read more than, I dunno, a couple dozen posts to catch up, fuck it; I'll probably just give up.



  • @Nagesh said:

    Why are you all insisting on pagination? Pagination is 2005. This is 2014.

    Infinite scrolling is 2012. This is 2014.



  • @boomzilla said:

    Yeah, because they did implement it when there's no javascript. I recall when it was first announced, and my recollection was that the infinite scrolling was one of the main selling points.

    Yeah, there's pagination if you disable Javascript (or use links - which is what I tested), as suggested in a different thread. Apparently you can't post anything without Javascript, again as claimed in that other thread (didn't test, though).

    FWIW, I also dislike the infinite scrolling. In the old forums, you could quickly read the last few pages of any thread - which is mostly what mattered for any topic more than 3-4 pages, because let's face it, threads around here don't tend to stay on topic for very long.

    Try to read the last 20% of a topic here. Who knows where those are.



  • @HardwareGeek said:

    I feel the domestic abuse victim mentality setting in

    Not me. I simply haven't had the pain that a lot of the local whiners have.

    @HardwareGeek said:

    It doesn't seem too bad if I keep up-to-date on every topic, and only have to read the one or two or half-dozen most recent posts. If I ever fall behind and have to read more than, I dunno, a couple dozen posts to catch up, fuck it; I'll probably just give up.

    Why? Is it slow to load for you? I've heard people complaining about that but haven't experienced it, myself. The fact that it goes to where I left off is really nice. With CS, I used to read mostly by email and only come to the page if I thought there might be some interesting tags or if I wanted to reply.

    Here, I jump to the unread list and can see stuff that's new since I last checked. Now that I straightened out my tracking preferences, it's pretty nice.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    The only bug I've seen fixed so far as Morbius' XSS bug, and that's only because it could land them in legal trouble if they know about it and hadn't fixed it.

    I think they fixed the broken Home/End buttons as well.



  • @oesor said:

    Infinite scrolling is 2012. This is 2014.

    you got me.



  • I'm not blown away with Discourse so far, but many of the issues are correctable in short order. On my computer, it's usable and occasionally nice. On mobile devices, it is at times torturous.

    My greatest issues, other than infinite scrolling, which I dislike in general:

    • Lots of little bugs: the "127 of 125" thing, weird behavior when highlighting linked text to quote it, occasional minor effects fire for no apparent reason, broken formatting inside quotes, etc.
    • Slow at times, feels especially clunky.
    • The minimalist UI which requires exploration to discover how anything works.
    • The Markdown guessing game to figure out how to do anything more than the basics.


  • @blakeyrat said:

    The only bug I've seen fixed so far as Morbius' XSS bug

    And Home/End.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    nihilism

    Fatalism.



  • @boomzilla said:

    I think the CTRL+F, when looking for a previous post will be when I get my rage on.

    You can use the /



  • Discourse feels like twitter but with really big tits twats tweets.


  • Banned

    @mjmilan said:

    Is there, for instance, a chance of Discourse implementing a paginated / everything on the one page view as a configuration setting?

    There are two classes of feedback:

    1. This car needs power windows.

    2. This car needs a truck bed.

    I am all for a better car. But I'm not so much a fan of the Subaru Brat..



  • Metaphors are like bad similes.


  • Banned

    @cvi said:

    Try to read the last 20% of a topic here. Who knows where those are.

    To enter the topic at the bottom, click on the last post date in any topic list:

    If you are already in a topic, and you want to move to the bottom, use the end key or click on the down arrow on the topic progress bar at the lower right of the topic:

    (any click in the right half will work, not just the arrow. Fitt's Law and all)



  • What does going to last have to do with going to the one that is 80% of all? They were asking for a way to read the last 20% of posts, not the most recent one.



  • I'm telling you, just reimplement the scrollbar in its entirety. You already had to spend hundreds of man-hours designing and writing that green widget and robust (lol) post-fetching ajax code (not finished yet), for no other reason than to avoid the utterly trivial non-problem of "pages", so that's sunk cost and you might as well throw another month or five into that pit re-imagining the scrollbar. As long as you're having fun!



  • @codinghorror said:

    To enter the topic at the bottom, click on the last post date in any topic list:

    Yes, but that's not what he asked:
    @cvi said:
    Try to read the last 20% of a topic here.
    In a topic with 100 posts, how to you get to post 80? Go to the end and scroll backwards? That might not be so painful to get to 80/100, but how about 800/1000? (If you haven't noticed, we have at least one topic with over 300 posts in less than 3 days, and a couple of others that are close. 1000 posts in a topic is not unrealistic for TDWTF.)

    With a paginated display, it's trivial to figure out which page to go to.


  • Banned

    @dhromed said:

    I'm telling you, just reimplement the scrollbar in its entirety.

    I'm trying to focus on the actual issues that need solving though.

    We should allow you to filter a topic down to posts you liked or bookmarked.
    We should allow you to navigate to a particular post with a keyboard shortcut.
    Our widget can be improved.

    The ONE HUGE scrollbar for an entire topic still does not solve the issue of being able to quickly track down a particular post in a topic.


  • Banned

    @HardwareGeek said:

    With a paginated display, it's trivial to figure out which page to go to.

    As would a "by date" overview.

    10 posts in June 1
    120 in June 2
    ... etc.

    Click to filter / navigate.

    Pages are arbitrary, why does everything need to be split into 50 item chunks, why not 25 or 102?



  • @sam said:

    We should allow you to filter a topic down to posts you liked or bookmarked.We should allow you to navigate to a particular post with a keyboard shortcut.

    You should allow users to read a forum like a forum, by pagination, like they want to. Because they don't want the widget. Easy solution.



  • @sam said:

    Pages are arbitrary, why does everything need to be split into 50 item chunks, why not 25 or 102?

    How is "one chunk" any less arbitrary than n chunks of m items each?

    Correct solution: allow the user to choose



  • @sam said:

    The ONE HUGE scrollbar for an entire topic still does not solve the issue of being able to quickly track down a particular post in a topic.

    That's why you have a sort of tooltip thumbnail of the user as you drag the scrubber; just like thumbnails in youtube. Word processors and (some) PDF readers already show a live tooltip of the page number as you drag the scrollbar. Could work.



  • @sam said:

    Pages are arbitrary

    Hey, I'm not opposed to disrupting the page paradigm by throwing out all sorts of nutty varied ideas, but thruth be told, pages aren't much of a problem, and you can have all of your fancy user-filtering and resume-reading and jump-to-original-quote etc with pages, so why spend to much time building fog-of-war-scrolling?


  • Banned

    The problem I have with pagination is that it's a barrier to reading, and reading is fundamental. Who visits page #864 of #3,204? Who?

    If you want a "move to arbitrary post number" keyboard shortcut, as @sam mentioned, that has been requested and we can add that.



  • @too_many_userna said:

    How is "one chunk" any less arbitrary than n chunks of m items each?

    "load/render times" and "futility" sort of create an upper and lower bound to the page size, respectively.



  • @codinghorror said:

    pagination is that it's a barrier to reading,

    Not really.

    @codinghorror said:

    Who visits page #864 of #3,204? Who?

    Who visits post 1345 of 3000, when you can jump to the bottom? Endless scrolling does not solve this.

    Assume a megathread of 500 pages.
    People start reading pages: at some point they lose interest. Page 250 is probably not very interesting anyway.
    People start reading with endless scroll: at some point they lose interest.

    Endless scroll does not magically cause people to read all posts.


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