Help, they're moving us to Discourse!


  • Impossible Mission - B

    I've been a user of (and minor contributor to) the SDL multimedia library for many years now. It's a widely used library for developing games, and among other things it's officially used by Valve for a lot of Steam and Steam integration stuff.

    A few months ago, the maintainers mentioned that they were looking at migrating to Discourse for the mailing list/forum, because the current one is old and outdated and full of bugs and security problems. I replied with a warning that this would be a bad idea, which they acknowledged, and I thought that was that.

    Then today I saw that they're going ahead with it. I responded with a stronger warning, detailing the problems we had with Discourse, both technical and social. The guy running this downplayed the bugginess aspect of things, saying that he thinks the code has improved over time, but he did seem concerned by my explanation of the origin of our use of "Jeff" as a verb. He said that that would constitute a serious breach of trust if it's true, and he asked if it was OK to ask Jeff Atwood about that.

    I responded,

    Go ahead, ask Jeff what happened with The Daily WTF forums on Discourse. Just be aware that whatever answer you get is likely to be heavily slanted. Then tell us what he said, and I'll show you the archives.

    Can you guys help me get together a succinct overview of just why we found Discourse so toxic that we had to leave, with relevant links? Please keep the :trolleybus: to a minimum, as I plan to actually show this topic to the maintainers, and the goal is to persuade them not to make a big mistake, rather than persuade them that we're a wretched hive of scum and trollery.

    The other big hang-up seems to be, "if not Discourse then what? It's the best alternative we've found." Recommendations along those lines would be very helpful.



  • @masonwheeler

    1. That everything that wasn't Jeff's idea, or any conversation that wasn't what he wanted to hear, was "toxic".
    2. That he was less interested in bug fixing than preserving the image of the forum software.
    3. Any criticism of his UI design goals were just wrong. No matter how gentle.

    Those are what that directly involved me.

    Others seem to have gotten further with him.


  • Impossible Mission - B

    @xaade Thanks, can you provide a few linked examples? (I tried to stay out of most of the drama, which kind of puts me at a disadvantage now because I don't have it in my post history. Not that I have my old post history, because node:baby: somehow split my account in the move, but... you know what I mean.)



  • They didn't want to hear anything about performance issues, because the latest Apple devices were fast enough that it didn't matter. Every performance issue was the fault of old versions of Chrome.




  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @masonwheeler said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Thanks, can you provide a few linked examples?

    Which, surprisingly, he hasn't deleted or hidden.



  • @hungrier said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    They didn't want to hear anything about performance issues, because the latest Apple devices were fast enough that it didn't matter. Every performance issue was the fault of old versions of Chrome.

    I remember a lot of "you're using the wrong mobile browser" even though someone would post images from every popular browser showing the same bug.


  • SockDev

    And let's not forget the Mass Banning of 2015, which is what eventually led us to NodeBB.


  • mod

    @masonwheeler The Discopocalypse thread is a good start. Then there's all the terms we invented in the Discopædia, many terms have links to ciatations of where they came from, as does the Dsicopædia Meta thread.



  • @masonwheeler The deal breaker with Discourse to me would be the use of CPU on mobile and the cooties. But the cooties appear to have happened mostly here, where people do things wrong.

    It's better in phone now, and my only restriction with Discourse would be that it requires a larger server than php-based forums, so it cost more.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @abarker said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Discopædia

    If only the links would actually work.


  • Impossible Mission - B

    @RaceProUK I haven't forgotten about it; I've just forgotten where the thread is. Plz send me teh linkz?


  • SockDev

    @masonwheeler I don't have a link, sadly. But the deets are in the Discopocalypse thread, or whatever it's called.


  • :belt_onion:

    @masonwheeler i doubt jeff will personally come to their discourse setup and start re-organizing on his own. I think the reason he ended up having the power to do so here was his connection with alex. At that point in time, :disco: :horse: was a fledgling software that was buggier than :poop:, to which we were actively trying to contribute fixes. I don't know how much that applies anymore - at this point any bugs that remain are more likely "working as designed" using a flawed design. Of course, if you expect to have any input or get any of that fixed... well Good Luck With That, You're Doing It Wrong*.

    By the end of :disco: :horse: 's run here, I thought it was a mostly fine platform, but jeff had soured the relations so bad that I think most of the people here would rather have chiseled posts into tablets to mail in to a central authority to put on a wooden table, take a picture, and post into html pages... than remain on :disco: :horse:

    TL;DR: Jeff's a jerk-off and a bit of a moron, but their forum software is as usable as most other steaming pile of :poop:s out there that call themselves forums, so i don't see how it's much more of a "bad idea" than adopting anything else.

    *jeff thinks he's the steve jobs of forums





  • This post is deleted!

  • mod

    @asdf said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    @abarker said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Discopædia

    If only the links would actually work.

    I occasionally go in and fix some. It's slowly getting better.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @groo
    Especially this screenshot:


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @masonwheeler
    Feel free to disregard this counter-opinion if you so desire.

    Assuming they're intending to go with paid Discourse hosting somewhere, Discourse is likely to be the best option available for upgrading their mailing list / forum. It's better than NodeBB on standard user discoverability, the mobile composer is MUCH better for discourse, and it's got a larger more visible development effort underway. Discourse PM support behaves like a standard topic and supports having more than 1-to-1 conversations, whereas NodeBB's chats are a bit of a dumpster fire.

    Unlike the memes that circulate here, they really do care about performance issues. It's true that they've deprioritized fixing some performance issues that only manifest in what are really corner cases for most forums (general chat topics that get really long). But that sort of bug triage is going to happen in any software project ever - you have to fix the MAJOR problems that effect EVERYONE first, and MINOR annoyances that effect a few people have to suck hind tit.

    And since I doubt they're going to be adopting Discourse partially as an "early adopter to help them test their forum" like we did (especially since Discourse is well past official release now and presumably isn't taking on beta-test customers any more), there shouldn't be any real reason for them to invite Mr. Atwood onto their moderation team, which would preclude the possibility of "Jeffings" to begin with. Not to mention, I doubt their moderation practices are as aggressively anarchistic as WTDWTF's to begin with, so it's not like splitting off topic posts into new threads is going to cause WW3 on their forums.

    Ultimately, from a technical perspective, I wish we were still on Discourse here. NodeBB is functional, but Discourse offers several features that I've really missed in ImpMis (wiki posts, filtering a thread for responses by a single user), and is just simply much better to fully interact with on mobile (read-only mobile is fine on NodeBB, but replying is a major pain point).


  • :belt_onion:

    @izzion said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Unlike the memes that circulate here, they really do care about performance issues. It's true that they've deprioritized fixing some performance issues that only manifest in what are really corner cases for most forums (general chat topics that get really long). But that sort of bug triage is going to happen in any software project ever - you have to fix the MAJOR problems that effect EVERYONE first, and MINOR annoyances that effect a few people have to suck hind tit

    If the SDL forums have a few 50k+ post topics, then :disco: :horse: is DEFINITELY not for them.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @izzion said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Discourse PM support behaves like a standard topic and supports having more than 1-to-1 conversations, whereas NodeBB's chats are a bit of a dumpster fire.

    But the PMs are not actually private. Which is illegal in Germany, BTW, unless you put a huge disclaimer somewhere in the PM interface.

    And since I doubt they're going to be adopting Discourse partially as an "early adopter to help them test their forum" like we did

    You're still supposed to use the latest nightly. You're still told not to use stable whenever you report a bug on meta.d.

    And the upgrade process is a PITA.


  • :belt_onion:

    @izzion said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Ultimately, from a technical perspective, I wish we were still on Discourse here

    I would take anything that fixes post streaming to be at least semi-functional. Discourse failed about once every 10 or so loads in a heavy traffic topic. NodeBB fails an impossible 5 times for every 2 loads.



  • @darkmatter said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    If the SDL forums have a few 50k+ post topics

    Just delete/split them


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @asdf
    Spoiler alert: PMs on any forum ever are not actually private! Anyone with root access to the server or even just db-owner access to the database has access to your PMs!

    And I'm pretty sure at this point their interface doesn't call them "Private" messages anymore, anyways -- from meta.d:
    0_1490717609650_upload-c2a1228f-4010-462e-b632-439567be798b

    Sure, there are nits of various size and validity to pick with the way Discourse does things. But, from a technical perspective, overall forum choice should be a total comparison of costs versus benefits, not just a religious experience over which one doesn't include Jeff Atwood.

    If you want to argue for a boycott of Jeff Atwood's project because he's a terrible person, that's fine. I don't shop at Target any more because I disagree with some of their corporate policies. But that doesn't mean I tell people that Target isn't a price effective place to purchase a Nintendo Switch.



  • I made a post in the last "help our idiot CEO is moving us to Discourse" thread someone started.

    The jist was "let the CEO sign up for a meta.derp account, and let nature take it's course".

    I can't find the post. It might have been in the lounge.



  • Yes, it was in the lounge. There's nothing doxy, and it's my post, so I'm copypastaing it:

    --

    More specifically, what brand of phone does your Chief Sociopath Officer use? Say specifically "It doesn't work on iPhones / Androids / Blackberries".

    Now, if your CSO is totes in love with Discourse for raisins, no matter how many FACTS you bring up, it won't dissuade him. FFS, if even our own Chief Scotch Officer @apapadimoulis was won over by the Jeff Distortion Field, what chance does someone with a tiny mind have?

    Which is why you have to hit them in the feelz and wants. And then the monies. And all the while use Jeff's weight against him like judo-fucking.

    First thing to do, talk with your bossmonkey about his vision for the forum. What he wants it to do. Let him ramble. Eventually he'll bring up some sort of "far out" feature that he'd totally love to have and is absolutely critical to His Precious Vision. Now, think for a moment. If that feature was pitched on Meta.Derp, what would the result be? If the answer is "fodder for the Discopocalypse thread", then you have a winner. Latch onto that. Get the boss to tell you more about that feature. Nod and smile. Make sure he's IN LOVE with this feature.

    Then go "I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think Discourse can do that out of the box. BUT they do have a Discourse instance called Meta where people can post feature requests. The owners of Discourse are always on that forum reading and responding."

    Have the CSO create a Meta.Derp account and post. You may get an easy victory here and he'll give up in frustration at that process. But let's just say he gets the account and can post-- or even wants you to type up the post for him. Great. Do that. "I want Discourse to do XYZ."

    Do NOT, I repeat do NOT in that post mention that you are thinking of implementing / purchasing Discourse. Just a casual, friendly "hey, here's this feature that is TOTES THE BEST".

    Wait for the inevitable Jeff tantrum occurs and your CSO is personally insulted, his baby is shit on, and he's possibly banned and told THIS CAN'T BE DONE FOR LESS THAN $50K YOU FUCKING MORON, then your work is done for you.

    Now, should this post somehow NOT result in a complete meltdown-- or somehow the idea of Discourse is still on-- then you go to The Monies.

    You've already seeded doubt based on exposure to the product and the vendor. Now you bring up maintenance.

    "So, as part of this project, we'll need to hire a full time admin."

    wat?

    Yes, of course. Like all good platforms, Discourse is extremely robust behind the scenes. There's lots of different modules and moving part, all of which are being developed and maintained independently, sometimes be (dirt word alert) third-parties! Everything updates on it's own schedule, so someone needs to champion the backend and be the project leader for handling the update process. It can be very delicate and require significant knowledge and attention, so we'll probably want someone above junior to be the project leader.

    Note: I never said "it'll break", because that's too vague, and because CSO just ignore tech people when they say that. "You're overreacting". Nope, instead you're painting a wonderful picture. You, the tech person, is IN LOVE with the idea of something very complicated and fiddly. THAT worries a CSO. And when you start talking about 24/7 uptime and having a intermediate/senior person on payroll-- wait, the TCO just shot up in his mind. That's an extra, what $50k per year?

    NEVER say "it'll be too expensive or complicated". Pitch the complication as a positive for you (and thus a negative for him), and also it's just a matter of fact that you need an expert on staff to champion the CSO's project. Never mention cost or dollars. The CSO's tiny brain can handle that concept on it's own.

    If you still end up with Discourse, nuke the city and flee to Mexico.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @izzion said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Spoiler alert: PMs on any forum ever are not actually private! Anyone with root access to the server or even just db-owner access to the database has access to your PMs!

    Yup, but you're not allowed to use that access to actually read private messages whenever you want, so exposing any such functionality via the admin UI it a :wtf:.

    And I'm pretty sure at this point their interface doesn't call them "Private" messages anymore, anyways

    Doesn't really matter, since the interface still gives the impression that you're only communicating with the chosen users.

    BTW: I'm pretty sure I told Jeff exactly that, and he didn't give a fuck. At least he didn't throw a temper tantrum, like the time we told him about the EU cookie law.

    In general, he doesn't seem to care at all whether his software meets the legal requirements for non-US markets.



  • Let them try. Let them land on meta.d and get a few bug reports closed with a WONTFIX. If they're sane they'll scoot off Discourse faster than you'd persuade them to, and if they're not then, well, they deserve the Discourse experience.


  • mod

    @abarker said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    @masonwheeler The Discopocalypse thread is a good start. Then there's all the terms we invented in the Discopædia, many terms have links to ciatations of where they came from, as does the Dsicopædia Meta thread.

    Here's some more:

    • Jeff closing unresolved bugs that were "open too long" [cite]
    • Bug (opened by my now anonymized account) took 7 months for a workaround. Final workaround included a comment that it needed more work, but was still closed by Jeff a month later with no real fix. [cite]
    • The original Vote of No Confidence topic
    • There's a couple issues that came up in here
      • The initial topic, a user asking for a tag cloud, showed Jeff's true colors. Supposedly Discourse is run on "complaint driven development." But based on the linked meta.d topic, that only holds true as long as you don't ask for something that crosses Jeff's sensibilities.
      • A few posts into the WTDWTF topic, I mentioned that I had filed a bug on meta.d. It led to me getting banned primarily because I just didn't take Jeff's asspull statistics lying down and asked for hard data. In this event, I was banned from May 28, 2015 until "a 11, 2015".

  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @asdf
    a) If your argument is "it's illegal to make private messages visible to moderators" then it definitely matters if your software calls them private messages or not, since, you know, legalities.
    b) Either your privileged user is malicious, in which case they're going to do things they shouldn't no matter how hard you make it, or they aren't, in which case they're not going to do things they shouldn't no matter how easy you make it. As long as the software isn't presenting the @mods with a list of my PMs that they must read through and make salacious comments on in Turn Left before they can proceed to the rest of the forum, I don't really care how easy their UI is for checking in on my PMs if they need to do their job.

    "Oh, well, my PM is only private if the @moderator has to go out of his way to read it" is just a silly argument. What's to define sufficiently out of the way? Sacrificing two chickens and dancing naked in a counter-clockwise direction under a full moon?



  • @Maciejasjmj said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Let them try. Let them land on meta.d and get a few bug reports closed with a WONTFIX. If they're sane they'll scoot off Discourse faster than you'd persuade them to, and if they're not then, well, they deserve the Discourse experience.

    As an addendum - if you really want to take them off Discourse for some reason, focus on the most embarrassing bugs and their response to those. Like that time Discourse went all George Carlin on a user and their response was "oh, yeah, that list of 100 curse words is really badly formatted".


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @izzion said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    If your argument is "it's illegal to make private messages visible to moderators" then it definitely matters if your software calls them private messages or not, since, you know, legalities.

    I don't want to derail this thread with an argument, but: Trust me, the name really doesn't matter at all. The privacy of private correspondence is a constitutional right here. You'd need a pretty huge disclaimer to be able to legally eavesdrop on those conversations.



  • @asdf said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    The privacy of private correspondence is a constitutional right here. You'd need a pretty huge disclaimer to be able to legally eavesdrop on those conversations.

    Isn't there some threshold of communications somehow to trigger those protections? Does "inter user messages on rando intertubes forum" really get that level of protection? If so, does anyone actually host forums on German servers?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @boomzilla said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Isn't there some threshold of communications somehow to trigger those protections? Does "inter user messages on rando intertubes forum" really get that level of protection? If so, does anyone actually host forums on German servers?

    The exact legal status of forum PMs is probably not entirely clear. But let's take this discussion elsewhere if you want to continue it, this is not the right thread for that.



  • @asdf said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    But let's take this discussion elsewhere if you want to continue it,

    Like PM? :trophy:



  • @asdf said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    @masonwheeler said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Thanks, can you provide a few linked examples?

    Which, surprisingly, he hasn't deleted or hidden.

    Atwood complaining about bikeshedding? Oh, the irony!



  • @Groaner said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Atwood complaining about bikeshedding? Oh, the irony!

    This part doesn't make sense to me.

    I guess if you want to carry forward with this, you are proposing a redesign of poll UI. So the thing to do is copy and paste examples of how polls work elsewhere, ideally on sites that do nothing but build polls, to propose that we adopt that design.

    Why on sites that exclusively build polls? Do those sites build polls for use in forums? Don't you think you're overlooking a usability requirement when you don't focus on the cross-section of poll and forum.

    It's this, "you can help, but only in this specific way I have in mind" that throws people off.

    Politically liberal, but iron fisted when it comes to his own shit.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @xaade said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Why on sites that exclusively build polls? Do those sites build polls for use in forums? Don't you think you're overlooking a usability requirement when you don't focus on the cross-section of poll and forum.

    QFT - which is exactly why JDGI about the OP's complaint. His UI made perfect sense on a site dedicated to polls, but not on a site that isn't.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @xaade said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Don't you think you're overlooking a usability requirement when you don't focus on the cross-section of poll and forum.

    No, obviously a poll site, a Q&A site, a bug tracker and a web forum are exactly the same thing.



  • @sloosecannon said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    @xaade said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Why on sites that exclusively build polls? Do those sites build polls for use in forums? Don't you think you're overlooking a usability requirement when you don't focus on the cross-section of poll and forum.

    QFT - which is exactly why JDGI about the OP's complaint. His UI made perfect sense on a site dedicated to polls, but not on a site that isn't.

    Where is your evidence of these problems? I have literally never heard any of these complaints before from our 400+ hosted customers, or here on meta.

    Yeah, where is the evidence that people don't recognize a poll as a poll and never participate. Where are they complaining about how difficult it is to recognize the feature they don't know exists.

    This is like the crap where, "we won't let you look for fraud, because we know it doesn't exist" arguments I get sick of.



  • @sloosecannon said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    . His UI made perfect sense on a site dedicated to polls

    Because a poll site isolates the function of polling, therefore there's an implicit expectation that the user has.



  • @izzion said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    just simply much better to fully interact with on mobile (read-only mobile is fine on NodeBB, but replying is a major pain point).

    My experience is exactly the opposite. I have no serious trouble using NodeBB on mobile. There are plenty of inconveniences — crappy keyboard, tiny screen that can't display the post being replied to at the same time I'm writing the reply, making multi-quote all but impossible, can't copy/paste images — but these aren't NodeBB's fault.

    OTOH, posting on Discourse+mobile was literally impossible for me (I think I managed to make one, single post from mobile the entire time we were on Discourse), despite iOS being the One And Only True Supported Platform. Admittedly, I was using an old device and old version of iOS, but as the One True Platform, I expected it to work better than not at all.


  • area_pol

    @masonwheeler said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    "if not Discourse then what? It's the best alternative we've found."

    Thats the key point. All the warnings are worthless if no alternative is provided.

    I am hosting an instance of Flarum and I am happy with it.
    It seems more responsive then TDWTF, but maybe its because my instance is small.
    It is quite basic so if you need advanced features, these may be missing.

    Sadly, I do not see any outstanding modern forum software. Maybe its because many people migrated to hosted solutions like reddit or facebook :(


  • mod

    @Adynathos When we started working on finding a replacement for Discourse, Flarum was an early favorite, with a concern that it was not yet developed enough to support our unique forum habits. We spoke to the flarum development team, and gave them some insight into our unique forum culture. They advised us that, while they would one day love to have us run on their platform, they did not think they were ready to support us at the time.



  • @abarker said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    @Adynathos When we started working on finding a replacement for Discourse, Flarum was an early favorite, with a concern that it was not yet developed enough to support our unique forum habits. We spoke to the flarum development team, and gave them some insight into our unique forum culture. They advised us that, while they would one day love to have us run on their platform, they did not think they were ready to support us at the time.

    Love the honesty, rather than insisting you're the best.


  • Impossible Mission - B

    So it seems that the main concern that Ryan (the SDL guy running all this) has is over Jeff's access. Of course, Jeff's claiming that he did nothing wrong and he just used "normal moderator tools," but I never claimed he didn't; just that we never made him a moderator and he took that upon himself, uninvited and unwanted.

    Can anyone clarify how the "Jeffing" that he became so infamous for around here got started?


  • area_pol

    @masonwheeler Well at least :doing_it_wrong: provides arguments for you:

    :doing_it_wrong: said:

    lol the guy from The Daily WTF. Those people are disturbed misanthropes.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @masonwheeler
    BTW: I suspect the TL0 restrictions still apply and cannot be configured? Because that's a strong argument for me, personally. Multiple times, I've signed up on a Discourse-based support forum, started a new thread about an issue and then couldn't reply anymore.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Adynathos said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    Those people are disturbed misanthropes.

    We are disturbed misanthropes, but that doesn't mean we're wrong about Discourse.


  • area_pol

    @antiquarian said in Help, they're moving us to Discourse!:

    We are disturbed misanthropes

    I do not deny, but it is not cultural to say that publicly in official communication.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.