Poll: WYSIWYG Editor



  • Alot of people here seem to have trouble with the HTML/BBCode/Markdown hybrid, and we're coders who are used to writing code.

    Discourse was intended to be used primarily by non-coders, so why does it have a post editor that even coders have trouble coding in?

    Does it seem like it would have made more sense for Discourse to have a WYSIWYG post editor?

    [poll]

    • Good the way it is
    • Editor also needs YAML or some such shit
    • WYSIWYG all the way
    • I hate Discourse so much, I refuse to participate in polls
      [/poll]


  • The problem isn't the editor, the problem is Markdown. 99% of my posting issues have been Markdown doing something totally unexpected because edge cases are really common.

    I'd vote for "Ditch Markdown And Just Use BBCode" but that wasn't an option.


  • BINNED

    Yes, but it's always nice to have a fallback to HTML, or BBCode, or whatever when you want to do something fancy which cannot be handled by WYSIWYG implementation.

    The current one might as well been that, with something like TinyMCE on the top.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    I hate WYSIWYG Editors. As an intern job, I once had to convert the company-wiki to a new, shiny one that offered ONLY a WYSIWYG-editor. And the "converter"-scripts were laughable at best.

    To discourse an editor like that would make sense, since it overwrites everything a browser does anyway but that does not change my opinion that those editors need to die a firey death.

    Filed Under: Didn't vote because "WYSIWYG must die" is not an option


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @mott555 said:

    The problem isn't the editor, the problem is Markdown.

    I disagree. Thousands of people manage to post things on reddit (which only uses markdown) every day. The problem is trying to combine markdown with BBCode and HTML. Just pick one, people!



  • Yeah but nobody on reddit is having any kind of intelligent conversation, all they need is enough functionality to copy and paste unfunny memes.



  • @mott555 said:

    I'd vote for "Ditch Markdown And Just Use BBCode" but that wasn't an option.

    @Kuro said:

    Filed Under: Didn't vote because "WYSIWYG must die" is not an option

    I'd edit the poll to include the options, but can't after 5 mins.

    Whatever.



  • In a shocking plot twist, I'm the sole "Good the way it is" vote.

    At one point in my "META IS WRONG" series, I asked what better way is there to do editing on a forum. IMO no one came up with any viable alternative. The best strategy for Discourse seem to be to keep fixing this thing, while quickly putting up some genuine WYSIWYG on top of it that regular posters could use.



  • I, for one, OPINION_NOT_FOUND


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I dislike WYSIWYG editors, but I also dislike the other alternatives. WYSIWYG is good until it isn't (when it becomes totally fucking impossible, as anyone stuck with the current Confluence wiki software will understand, whereas older installs were at least switchable). Basic text is really not engaging. The current dual-pane option here distorts where things wrap (and sucks in other ways special to DC, which aren't so interesting).

    If you were proposing to improve things here, would it be possible to have something to switch between views? That would at least keep the suck level down; different editing styles have different strengths.



  • In other news, Jeff's micropenis tastes of Cartman's mouth.



  • @tufty said:

    In other news, Jeff's micropenis tastes of Cartman's mouth.

    How would you know? We never kissed.



  • @dkf said:

    WYSIWYG is good until it isn't...
    ...would it be possible to have something to switch between views?
    ...different editing styles have different strengths.

    I totally agree.

    I think non-technical users would be much more comfortable using an interface that resembles something they're more likely to be familiar with - like MS Word - where you type your text, then use your mouse to select formatting options.

    You could even set your default editor in your profile (code / wysiwyg), and the default default would be wysiwyg.


    I never noticed!
    Ctrl+B and Ctrl+I work in the editor!
    Ctrl-Z sort of does.



  • Markdown is fine. Jeff needs to shop around for a better Markdown library.



  • @cartman82 said:

    How would you know? We never kissed.

    Who never kissed? You and Jeff? Is Jeff's penis in his mouth?

    I guess that's why it's small, or he wouldn't be able to talk very well.

    Is it his tongue? Does he use it to season his food when he eats it?

    So many questions.



  • @Captain said:

    Jeff needs to shop around for a better Markdown library.

    Indeed. Approximately 10% of its current features give consistent (if not exactly what you might expect) results. I'm sure Jeff can do better than that.



  • What's the point of discussing it. Atwood will never change it. And even if someone writes a working plug-in (VERY hypothetical), Alex will never install it.

    Might as well be debating what color the curtains should be in the Alpha Centauri colony's capital building.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @blakeyrat said:

    all they need is enough functionality to copy and paste unfunny memes.

    Discourse was made by @codinghorror. It all fits.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @blakeyrat said:

    And even if someone writes a working plug-in (VERY hypothetical), Alex will never install it.

    Granted I've not been following along as closely in past weeks, but Alex seemed very willing to accept plugins from the community last time I heard him speak. Something to the tune of, "I'll install it without reviewing it, and if the community hates it I'll blame you."


    Filed under: It seems like I'll never get back to 100% of posts read now, and that's making my interest wane.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    What's the point of discussing it. Atwood will never change it. And even if someone writes a working plug-in (VERY hypothetical), Alex will never install it.

    We complain impotently all the time.

    I'm personally curious if the membership thinks a wysiwyg editor is a good idea.

    Since there's a strong opinion that Discourse sucks - what would have been the right way, I wonder?



  • Markdown is indeed confusing, but on top of that this is a tremendously buggy markdown parser that tries to combine it with HTML and BBCode. And even things like the "" quotes that aren't part of any of those.


    Markdown tries to hide to you that there's even a language. "Oh look, you can make ordered lists just by typing numbers!". But when you want to have more things, you start needing more and more bizarre syntax, like the "---- below a paragraph makes it a title" or the "need two spaces after a paragraph to make a newline". BBcode may seem more verbose when you look at the code, but everything is unambiguous and clear, all the important information is contained in the tag names instead of weird syntax.

    It's like those Asian languages where half the meaning of the words is in the intonation, vs a language that only has 5 vowel sounds and needs longer and more explicit words.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @anonymous234 said:

    "Oh look, you can make ordered lists just by typing numbers!"

    3. foo
    5. bar
    7. baz

    yields:

    1. foo
    2. bar
    3. baz

    Filed under: Nailed it!, Is that quote expansion wonky for anyone else?


  • BINNED

    1. It works fine. No idea what you're on about



  • @anonymous234 said:

    BBcode may seem more verbose when you look at the code, but everything is unambiguous and clear, all the important information is contained in the tag names instead of weird syntax.

    I tried to double-like that but I couldn't get it to go through.

    With Markdown, it's always something like I wanted a horizontal rule but it bolded a bunch of stuff instead, or I answered a question requiring a numeric response with a numeric response and it replaced the number with a different number because I triggered the ordered list code, or I wanted to put something in quotes and it turns into an ugly quote block instead.

    It's like the Linux CLI where you cause a global currency meltdown, the next Holocaust, and World War 3 because you accidentally entered -x instead of -X.



  • I still refuse to believe that a good WYSIWYG editor is impossible.

    But barring WYSIWYG editors, the dual-pane method seems like the best way.

    On an unrelated note, I now want a Discourse fork that uses [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Wiki_markup wiki markup] instead. Hours of fun!



    1. Testing


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @mott555 said:

    The problem isn't the editor, the problem is Markdown.

    I think the problem is the fact that three markup languages are being used, and can be used, at the same time.

    Should have been either a user option or per-post option (or the former with an override for the latter) to state which you're using:

    • BBCode
    • HTML
    • Markdown

    and disallow/ignore markup from the other two that aren't applicable.



  • @PJH said:

    Should have been [an option] to state which you're using

    The problem1 is, of course, if you ever quoted anyone, you'd be shoehorned into BBCode, since that's what their quote syntax is only available in.


    1 "Problem". I wouldn't have a problem with that. It would actually help with a lot of issues, though it would make posting on mobile a bit more annoying if you wanted to do anything special.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    My opinion is that if you want to release this to the masses, it needs a WYSIWYG editor. The masses are not going to learn obscure markup languages, let alone all of the craziness that comes with using three markup languages at once. I think the default should be WYSIWYG, and allow more experienced people to use their preferred markup exclusively if you want to use them. But to mix them, in the same window, is just inviting chaos.

    I like to think I am a fairly intelligent person, but even I regularly have the "what the fuck happened now?" moments. Not to mention that at least twice I have had the preview window not properly preview my post and then I post shit in all caps or something else unexpected.

    They say this software is almost v1, but there are still shitloads of bugs and UX fuckups, but they are worrying about "heatmaps" that are not heatmaps and invented the term "coldmap" for some fucking reason. They are polishing the brass on the Titanic at this point.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PJH said:

    three markup languages are being used, and can be used, at the same time.

    Nailed it!

    Doing 3 things poorly instead of 1 thing very well is shitty... ooo SQUIRREL!!!

    Would you like 1 bucket of chicken, or 3 partially cooked buckets of chicken?


    Filed under: Diarrhea time!

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @ChaosTheEternal said:

    The problem is, of course, if you ever quoted anyone, you'd be shoehorned into BBCode, since that's what their quote syntax is only available in.

    It wouldn't matter if the three syntaxes converted to a common model. Alas, there's nothing behind the curtain: it's regexes all the way down. It's this which drives me wild about Discourse: it's not done right, it's just oodles of wrong layered on wrong.
    OK, it's not just wrong bits. But there's a lot more wrong than its purveyors think there is. (Still beats CS though, but that's like being a better mail client than Lotus fucking Notes.)



  • @dkf said:

    OK, it's not just wrong bits

    Doesn't matter how much is good, though, does it? Because the stuff that's wrong is fundamental to its purpose.

    Handling messages is Discourse's raison d'etre. And the way it handles those messages is just plain broken. regex on regex, "allow everything and block the stuff we can catch". It's fucked by design.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tufty said:

    Because the stuff that's wrong is fundamental to its purpose.

    I suspect that some parts are more wrong than others. Rip out the shit that is the “parser” and have a proper model for the content and you'll fix most of the remaining serious problems because there won't be an opportunity for content injection attacks and the like. (The parts that seem to be not so bad are things like user management. Yes, there are sock puppets, but they're mostly manageable.)

    If the renderer would also clip the content of the individual posts to their relevant vertical area, most of the remaining opportunities for mischief would also be gone. I've got no idea how to enforce such a thing with HTML…


  • BINNED

    @dkf said:

    If the renderer would also clip the content of the individual posts to their relevant vertical area, most of the remaining opportunities for mischief would also be gone.

    1. Do I really have to bust this old thing out again?

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    No, but it doesn't mislead. Layering your content over someone else's does.

    (“I agree with whatever Morbs just said!”)



  • I think we should be allowed to post arbitrary HTML, and have every post be a sandboxed iframe.

    That was obviously sarcasm, but now that I think of it, it might just be crazy enough to work.



  • It would probably still send fewer HTTP requests than Discourse does currently.



  • Every post being an iframe that does automated AJAX requests every 10ms would send fewer HTTP requests than Discourse does.



  • NOTENOUGHOPTIONS. WONTVOTE. 



  • @Bort said:

    Does it seem like it would have made more sense for Discourse to have a WYSIWYG post editor?

    In a way, the editor already is a WYSIWYG editor. Ok, splitted into two windows, but you (normally) can see what you will get in the preview window (unless on mobile).

    The problem is that there are so many ways to format your post that even seasoned developers get it wrong.

    So, for ordinary users, the question is not WYSIWYG or preview. For ordinary users, the question is: why didn't they keep it simple???

    Just one way to styleposts, and a couple of buttons for the most used things like bold, link etc. Discourse is doing it right at least there. Unfortunately, only there.



  • @faoileag said:

    In a way, the editor already is a WYSIWYG editor.

    Well, there's the way that "WYSIWYG" could be weirdly construed just to pointlessly argue semantics and there's the way that you know I meant.

    I was referring to the latter.


  • BINNED

    @faoileag said:

    In a way, the editor already is a WYSIWYG editor

    I'd say it's WYTIWDFU actually.


    Filed under: What You Type Is What Discourse Fucks Up


  • sockdevs

    How about we just shorten it to WYSIWTF?


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Or, for the times that the preview window is not accurate, it could be WYDSIWTF? (what you don't see is WTF)



  • @Bort said:

    I'm personally curious if the membership thinks a wysiwyg editor is a good idea.

    I think a WYSIWYG editor is fine. So is the one we have. It's the implementation of markdown+etc that's the problem.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @boomzilla said:

    I think a WYSIWYG editor is fine. So is the one we have. It's the implementation of markdown+etc that's the problem.

    For our purposes, if they fixed all the problems with the parser, and picked a fucking markup, it would be fine. But if you think about turning this turd loose for consumption by the public at large, do you think it would still be OK to not have a WYSIWYG editor?



  • Eh...I don't know. It's hard to say. I think most people would pick it up quickly, if not instantly. And I don't think those people are going to be doing anything as fancy as we tend to do.

    So...maybe? Probably?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Intercourse said:

    My opinion is that if you want to release this to the masses, it needs a WYSIWYG editor. The masses are not going to learn obscure markup languages, let alone all of the craziness that comes with using three markup languages at once. I think the default should be WYSIWYG, and allow more experienced people to use their preferred markup exclusively if you want to use them. But to mix them, in the same window, is just inviting chaos.

    As I was saying earlier, thousands of people manage to post on reddit using markdown every day. They are not all technical people, and a lot of them are, shall we say, not very bright.



  • @antiquarian said:

    reddit...and a lot of them are, shall we say, not very bright.

    Just like here!


  • sockdevs

    From the brief glances I've seen on Reddit, their use of Markdown is not especially thorough anyway.


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