DotNET Foundation is using what now for its forum software?



  • Couldn't find this mentioned anywhere but I was away somewhere without Internet access for a week or so (having been back for a week the tremors have more or less gone away) so I'm behind on my lurking, particularly in the more heavily traffic'd threads. That said, I can't believe no one noticed that Microsoft's shiny new open advisory council for all their "community" developer technologies is using everyone's favourite discussion software (4th paragraph in):

    Now I wonder if something like this will make the platform more stable and/or responsive to its users or if the popularity will go to their heads and we'll start seeing any old weird adventurous feature they can think of (bring on the gamification of entries - normal users may type only 300 characters into a text box in an hour while those with > 100 independent likes may type 3000).



  • I can't see the part in the article where they're sponsoring a rewrite of Discourse in ASP.NET away from RoR and Ember.js (and by extension/in the process, fixing Discourse)



  • Oh, and one of the kickers (as pointed out in the article comments).
    There's (currently) no sign-in option in Discourse to use your Microsoft account, which would, you know, be expected for a primarily-Microsoft forum.


  • SockDev

    You know BoingBoing uses Discourse, right...?



  • I guess it would be easy enough to keep the look, if you like that sort of thing but how would you keep the feel of Discourse without all the issues?



  • I'm sure I'd heard it mentioned on here somewhere in passing. I never go there so it doesn't really register on my radar. Is it safe to assume that that answers my question about the ongoing attitudes of the Discourse developers as their user base grows?


  • SockDev

    @smallshellscript said:

    I'm sure I'd heard it mentioned on here somewhere in passing. I never go there so it doesn't really register on my radar. Is it safe to assume that that answers my question about the ongoing attitudes of the Discourse developers as their user base grows?

    Kind of.

    It was touted at one point as a poster child for Discourse as to how a large scale community runs, but the simple truth is that we pushed DC so much harder and found so many more issues, that serious issues sometimes get buried amongst the minutiae. Not that we have, historically, given much consideration to DC's devs on this point because we feel they should probably know better.

    More than once, strange things got added that actively felt like they were trying to get back at this community. For example, the thing that is Trust Level 3 - ability to rename topics, move topics and so on. It has certain requirements (certain amount of posts read, certain amount of days visited, that kind of thing) and then they added the requirement to both give and receive likes. As though this is a fundamental characteristic of a more senior figure in a community.

    And @blakeyrat was summarily dropped out of the third trust level because he doesn't issue likes to people because he's opposed to the gamification - but at the time it felt as though it were added precisely because we thought it was stupid rather than in spite of it - with blakeyrat as a casualty of that.



  • Right. I caught some of that whilst lurking 'round here though that is an excellent executive summary.

    I have to admit being a little surprised that they didn't game-ify their gamification. Seems like if you met 80% of the TL3 criteria, you would qualify as a senior member of the community. Though I'm sure you all have gone over all this shit before...

    Guess I just can't wrap my head around the idea that you would resent a group of users that push your software beyond the breaking point, identify hundreds of issues, do it all for free and even keep it within their own community. It's not like this is 4chan where you'd be actively running off to fuck up other peoples' Discourse instances left and right.

    'Course, what do I know. I write software for manufacturing equipment where things like robustness and correct, expected functionality are important.


  • SockDev

    Oh, we've gone over the TL stuff, many of us shake our heads with it. Another great example is the fact that trust levels when they were first introduced were 'new member', 'registered member', 'member', 'leader' and 'elder' or somesuch representing TL0 through 4. But for reasons that aren't clear, they decided to rename the trust levels, most notably from 'Leader' to 'Regular'.

    Except we're talking about a group of people that must have been here for 50 of the last 100 days, read something like 25% of posts in the last 30 days or something, handed out a few dozen likes, received the same... and gets automatically promoted to modest moderation powers. Which cannot be configured. You can configure the limits, but not the fact that TL3 grants such powers.

    To be fair, we weren't exactly nice to the Discourse devs, mostly because we were very unenthusiastic about their attitude towards us. I mean, here we are, being software devs, and we thought they should be using a proper bug tracker - not their own Discourse install! Stupid us. And of course, when your software is a behemoth of client-side JS doing massive amounts of polling, poor performance on mobile is of course you being too cheap to buy the greatest devices on the market. It couldn't be, say, the behemoth of JS being run.

    That was what pushed the relationship between the Discourse devs and us to breaking point, was that we were expecting to be treated like subject matter experts (because we do understand UI and databases and networking and all the various things being played with) and were treated somewhat less enthusiastically, shall we say.

    I do think it's relative to the industry you're in, because if a Discourse install fails, it's not generally like lives are put in danger because of it. Or big, heavily expensive machinery is going to tear itself apart. No, Discourse is part of the hipster internet era where it's OK to ship software with some serious foibles as 1.0.



  • Great, so the forum that can't even search for posts, even if you make up the fucking word and make it 30 characters will now be used for fucking a heavily code related forum.



  • Maybe they'll switch to using Bing for search.



  • Nope, everybody knows Bing is the world's most advanced porn search engine.



  • Hmmm...

    I don't think I've ever used Bing to search for porn. I started avoiding it when I got better MSDN results from Google. Not that you want to search for porn on Google either. It already knows too much about people. If it comes to understand one's sexual proclivities, it would be too easy to replace us with software.

    Am I some nerd in my parents' basement with a search history full of drawn pornography based on the cartoons of my youth or am I really just an AI experiment pretending to be that nerd?



  • Try it, I'm serious, it's like they had an entire team dedicated to categorizing all the fetishes in the world to sort by.



  • @Arantor said:

    Except we're talking about a group of people that must have been here for 50 of the last 100 days, read something like 25% of posts in the last 30 days or something, handed out a few dozen likes, received the same... and gets automatically promoted to modest moderation powers. Which cannot be configured. You can configure the limits, but not the fact that TL3 grants such powers.

    Hopefully that will only last until somebody somewhere (not here obviously since they don't care about here) does something incredibly stupid or nasty with those powers.

    @Arantor said:

    I do think it's relative to the industry you're in, because if a Discourse install fails, it's not generally like lives are put in danger because of it. Or big, heavily expensive machinery is going to tear itself apart. No, Discourse is part of the hipster internet era where it's OK to ship software with some serious foibles as 1.0.

    While I'll grant you that nothing life threatening will ever come of Discourse that doesn't mean that there isn't value in the things that go into it. If you are trying to build software that builds communities, you need to value the people that put hundreds and thousands (tens of thousands even) of hours into it. They almost certainly use your software more than you (the developers) do. They'll have a better idea than you will how to make it do things, not do things, fuck up, work around the fuck ups, etc. And that's before you even get to the question of if there's any value in the actual creative output that ends up in a web forum.

    Or maybe this is all some kind of giant sociological experiment on Jeff's part. But then is this the test or simply one of the control groups...



  • That's beautiful. It even points out location aware groups and ads for some of the more socially acceptable fetishes.


  • SockDev

    Oh, TL3 abuse happens semi-regularly with renaming topics. But here, it's all good fun and for the most part we are self-moderating because we have standards of ethics. There's been times we haven't been... so appropriate... but as a general trend, we know where the line is.

    I'm also not suggesting that things of value don't come out of Discourse; they clearly do - and this community being what it is is in fact one of them. I don't know if you were a lurker or a regular on the old forum - I was a lurker occasionally, never a member - but it had a very insular feel, as though it were almost more an echo-chamber for the grown-ups to talk and for the kids to sit back and be schooled. It didn't feel quite like a community.

    This place, however, does - because we were united by our dislike and distrust of Discourse. It brought us together in a way Community Server simply never did.

    Here's the really fun part in all of this: Jeff refuses to listen to what the established forum software does, because basically it's all toxic and 1990s era and there is nothing possibly of value to learn from them. Which would be fine except I happen to actually have been a developer on one of those 1990s era PHP beasts. (If you ever heard of SMF... I'm a long standing contributor and former dev team member)

    All the lessons of how people do the most bizarre shit with web based forums, all the creative abuses of the tools they are given and I was quite happy to share my experiences. But nah, I don't know anything. Doing it wrong, clearly.

    I don't think it's a sociological experiment; I think he genuinely believes in what he's doing, which would be fine if he listened to people who have some idea in this particular field... he has, in defence of Discourse's encouragements regarding keeping things on topic, actually described StackOverflow as a forum. And while, technically, it might be, it certainly isn't regarded or treated as one. Q&A has a very different set of criteria for usage and usability as compared to a place for discussion.

    Or apparently not, but then again, Discourse doubles up as a bug tracker so, you know...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Arantor said:

    there is nothing possibly of value to learn from them.

    In Year 0, the New Soviet Man will have nothing to learn from the capitalist running dogs.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens if/when @codinghorror ever grows up and realizes his metaphorical parents might actually know something.

    Hell, I've contributed in minor ways to improving forum software (my favorite was some guy who spammed our public subforum with the HTML tag that says "stop rendering HTML", thus destroying the rest of the page. I didn't like the idea of removing HTML support, so I changed it so any use of that tag would be replaced with "I am an idiot whose ego outstrips his talent" and he left, and so did the next person who discovered that trick.)


  • SockDev

    Pretty much, yeah. Most of the lessons Discourse has tried to learn either in general knowledge terms of CompSci or domain specific knowledge in terms of forums... there's nothing new here. Nothing that hasn't been done before, and in most cases done at least as well if not better than Discourse does it.

    Forum software that can't handle your situation, though, are pretty much WTF since they should be neutering all content and only accepting what is whitelisted (one of Discourse's many failings)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Arantor said:

    Forum software that can't handle your situation, though, are pretty much WTF since they should be neutering all content and only accepting what is whitelisted (one of Discourse's many failings)

    In many ways, that forum was like this one, in the character of its denizens. Plus the software was 100% homegrown in like 1999. (It's actually still running to this day) and there was a desire not to limit the users. People so rarely abuse it it's only had a handful of modifications to limit what the users can do.

    I think the public forum eventually got some extra sanitizations but as far as I know almost anything still goes. (I had a signature block that was some JS that picked one of four images someone drew for me to display. I just now realized--I probably haven't logged in in years--that the reason it never quite worked is almost certainly due to a closure.)



  • @Arantor said:

    established forum software [...] all toxic and 1990s era

    Well, that's not entirely wrong. I hate web forums. All of them. They all look like geocities, navigation is a pain in the arse, content is smooshed together with noise like signatures and flashing/moving emoticons and shit, etc. Not good at all. Plus they're written in a proliferation of shit PHP, exploits out the wazoo making them dangerous to visit. It's a terrible situation.

    @Arantor said:

    Jeff refuses to listen

    This is a real problem though, and isn't going to help him come up with a better replacement for all the PHP shit.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Arantor said:

    More than once, strange things got added that actively felt like they were trying to get back at this community [...] and then they added the requirement to both give and receive likes

    I'm fairly certain that particular addition was not a dig at us, since /t/1000 trivially gets around that requirement, and was a thing before the likes requirement was introduced.

    Only on some of the badges I've created is that thread deliberately taken account of, for example.

    @smallshellscript said:

    Hopefully that will only last until somebody somewhere (not here obviously since they don't care about here) does something incredibly stupid or nasty with those powers.

    Regarding here: In a round about way, this has already been discussed among the TL3's that were around at the time. The consensus was, as @Arantor pointed out, as a group we're self-limiting/moderating on here, but I can quite easily override on a user by user basis should it ever become necessary. (i.e. drop someone back to TL2 and keep them there, regardless of criteria.)



  • @Arantor said:

    renaming topics

    The topic title should follow the actually discussion point, no? Even for topics that have no discussion point, just a discussion.

    @Arantor said:

    self-moderating because we have standards of ethics.

    and because most members listen when someone else tells them to give it a rest


  • Fake News

    @smallshellscript said:

    It's not like this is 4chan where you'd be actively running off to fuck up other peoples' Discourse instances left and right.

    Well, there was that one time where a whole lot of users with Mr. Burns-avatars invaded someone's blog software, but I'm sure it's just anecdotal.


  • Fake News

    @smallshellscript said:

    Hopefully that will only last until somebody somewhere (not here obviously since they don't care about here) does something incredibly stupid or nasty with those powers.
    We do lose a thread once in a while. Though mostly after that thread itself had lost the plot.


  • Fake News

    @another_sam said:

    I hate web forums. All of them. They all look like geocities, navigation is a pain in the arse, content is smooshed together with noise like signatures and flashing/moving emoticons and shit, etc. Not good at all. Plus they're written in a proliferation of shit PHP, exploits out the wazoo making them dangerous to visit. It's a terrible situation.

    I think there are counterexamples with less bizare layouts, although the navigation part can still be daunting.

    How well does Discourge's navigation work in your opinion?


    Filed under: Triple-combo-post toaster bonus!


  • SockDev

    @JBert said:

    Well, there was that one time where a whole lot of users with Mr. Burns-avatars invaded someone's blog software, but I'm sure it's just anecdotal.

    Even that was more playful than outright abusive.


  • BINNED

    @Arantor said:

    Even that was more playful than outright abusive

    That's what bullies always say


  • SockDev

    @Jaloopa said:

    That's what bullies always say

    Hey, don't look at me, I wasn't part of it.


  • BINNED

    @Arantor said:

    I wasn't part of it

    "It was the bigger boys. They made me do it"



  • @delfinom said:

    Great, so the forum that can't even search for pos

    To be fair, this hasn't been true for a while. I still want a full page search, but you can definitely find stuff now using discosearch.



  • @PJH said:

    I can quite easily override on a user by user basis should it ever become necessary. (i.e. drop someone back to TL2 and keep them there, regardless of criteria.

    As @sam calls it, trust holing. AKA the Sword of @PJH<sdsdf>ocles.



  • @JBert said:

    Well, there was that one time where a whole lot of users with Mr. Burns-avatars invaded someone's blog software, but I'm sure it's just anecdotal.

    And now he's a member here and he actually has some comments on his blog.



  • I really hope that Jeff sees a lot of the feedback of Discourse being used by developers on another site.



  • And that it tracks the feedback he's been getting from this one.



  • @smallshellscript said:

    And that it tracks the feedback he's been getting from this one.

    Well, duh. I mean, those guys are already running a bug tracker for their forum.



  • @JBert said:

    How well does Discourge's navigation work in your opinion?

    I have no idea what I'm doing, so I think the answer is "poorly".

    I usually just follow one of the grab-bag Suggested Topics stuff at the bottom of the thread. I don't know how Discourse determines what should be there. I occasionally accidentally necro threads as a result. I have no idea how the grab-bag would work on a busy forum, I can't even keep up with everything that happens on this one.

    Navigation on TDWTF is probably a lost cause anyway. Threads are constantly derailed, topic titles and posts edited, so much stuff assumes you've already read all the other threads currently in progress as well as every post on the CS forums dating all the way back to MasterPlanSoftware and before (yes, I lurked that long). So the grab-bag works here for me but I think would be a complete failure on other forums.



  • @another_sam said:

    I usually just follow one of the grab-bag Suggested Topics stuff at the bottom of the thread.

    I regret to inform you that you are Doing It Right™. This, of course, is actually doing it wrong, and is not allowed here.

    @another_sam said:

    I don't know how Discourse determines what should be there.

    This has been explained before, but I CBA to search for it. IIRC, the priorities are:

    1. Unread topics in the current category.
    2. Unread topics in other categories.
    3. Completely random, because $deity forbid that Dicsores should fail to give you a full list of suggestions, even if they're things you already read.

  • Banned

    The full set of logic for Suggested Topics can be found here:



  • @codinghorror said:

    The fu

    Except that's only the initial state. Then you get some topics tackled at the top anyway.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @another_sam said:

    Navigation on TDWTF is probably a lost cause anyway. Threads are constantly derailed, topic titles and posts edited, so much stuff assumes you've already read all the other threads currently in progress as well as every post on the CS forums dating all the way back to MasterPlanSoftware and before (yes, I lurked that long).

    It sounds like you're pretty much up to speed.


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