Big Changes Coming to the Forums!


I’ve had at least one person tell me they’ve had an email from the test server. Apologies for that. Please ignore for the moment.

(Hanon Ondricek) #22

Discourse essentially just by default floats active topics to the top of every list, and you can filter by category. At the end of a topic thread when you hit the bottom, it recommends similar topics - is that what is coming across as “incomprehensible chaos”? From the feedback about search not working on here that sounds to me how most users tend to interact with this board most of the time.

Frankly, I never saw sufficient activity on the .com board to make it really that confusing. It allows you to bookmark topics you want to read and just follow that list.


So no more just listing things in the order they happened? Isn’t that what everyone hates about the social media sites these days?

(matt w) #24

I think this is just listing things in the order they happened–looking at the ChoiceScript development forum, except for the sticky thread the threads are listed in reverse chronological order of the most recently updated ones. That’s how the forums currently work under phpBB, too. This is a filter-by-category rather than a forum per se, but it seems like it amounts to something similar.

I usually access the forum through “View Unread Posts,” so I’d be concerned if there wasn’t a similar facility there.

(Hanon Ondricek) #25

All the posts are in chronological order by date. Discourse sets a pointer to your last read post and defaults you there, but nothing stops you from scrolling to the top and reading all posts in the order they happened. Here’s a shot of what it looks like.
If you look on the right (might need to scroll sideways to see depending on your default view) you can see the sliding elevator indicator with the chronological timeline that shows the time-period range you’re looking at for the entire thread.

(Brian Rushton) #26

So Discourse is the same engine as Choice of Games?

I think that would work great. I’ve been really intimidated by that forum before, but only because they get 2-3 posts a minute, it seems like, with thousands of posts on some threads.

With intfiction’s traffic amount, it would be much more manageable. For Matt W, I just went to Choice of Games and it had an ‘unread topics’ for my account, as well as ‘Latest’, ‘New’, and ‘Top’.

(Hanon Ondricek) #27

Choice of Games’ forum is so busy, I can’t imagine browsing it without the assistance Discourse provides!

In my experience testing this forum, it actually manages to surface a lot of older but relevant posts - a good thing since there’s a wealth of information here.

I remember posting a piece for feedback on CoG and I was surprised to get the “link followed 1000+ times” badge for it. I really like how Discourse works and encourages positive participation.

(Hanon Ondricek) #28

In my testing, every single post in the history of this board was initially categorized as “new” for me. I was able to mark everything “read” with one button press - I believe in my profile - and there were options to further mark whole threads and categories as “stop watching” individually or globally so it wouldn’t notify me of new posts in threads I’m not interested in.

Once you get past the idea that there are separate pre-built forums and “slots” that messages go into, it makes sense that all the messages are in a database and tagged with categories and timestamps and read records that qualify it as something it offers you to read, either randomly via association or explicit user-filtering.

Other fun features: You can @HanonO my or any username to notify about a thread - users can set if they are emailed notifications about this specifically if they aren’t active daily on the forum but want to keep up if they are mentioned.

Also, readers can “like” posts, which has been a requested feature here.

Dannii installed the plug-in that allows blurring of spoiler text inline, and there is a summary tag that folds text behind a customizable header that reveals more with an arrow-click (similar to the spoiler and rant tags here). Making invisiclues-style hint posts will look really cool!

I know some of the things I have been enjoying exist and are possible on phpBB, but Discourse makes them a lot easier to find and utilize.

Someone mentioned that the original post keeps getting repeated over and over. I’ll have to check, but I believe the individual user sets whether posts they reply to are automatically quoted in full or not, and I think it’s set to not do this by default.


This one has a simple solution: press Ctrl-F again and it will switch to your browser’s search.


The best solution is to disable the behavior in the first place :slight_smile:

(Dan Fabulich) #31

I strongly disagree. I basically never want to search exactly one page of a thread. The Discourse Ctrl-F widget searches the whole thread at once, and that’s pretty great.


Out of curiosity, what have you used to migrate all the messages from phpBB to Discourse? I guess Discourse provides an official converter? Thanks.


Intfic looks downright horrible. And I’ve always loved that this site, a phpbb site, is completely lovely when viewed in links/lynx/w3m/netsurf. That will not be true of a javascript-heavy discourse-based site…


Natrium729, yep there’s an official importer. Brings almost everything across, except groups. Comp authors will have to apply again for their private boards unfortunately.


My initial reaction:

I exaggerate a little, but the UI in Discourse looks like a horrendous mess, and a bad UI (at least bad for me) is a good reason to stop visiting a forum.

(Dan Fabulich) #36

There’s… not a lot of specific criticism here to go on, but I will say that the CoG forum (which now gets hundreds of posts a day) went into hypergrowth mode shortly after switching to Discourse. A lot of people seem to like it!

(matt w) #37

What objections do you have to the UI? We are still considering the move and any specific input you have would be helpful.

(Hanon Ondricek) #38

That’s easily done. Remove the batteries from your keyboard (or cut the cord if you’re old school) and you’re all set! :smiley:


There’s no obvious order or structure. It’s a massive pile of posts. It will not ever work properly in a text-only browser.

PHPBB simply has a cleaner, more efficient, and structured UI. The front page of these discourse sites look like messy piles of random stuff.

Discourse looks like something a twenty-year-old put together for a final project in a programming class. PHPBB has a tried and tested forum UI that simply works. (In general, I don’t like UI changes that appear to be for nothing more than change. Nothing I see in the discourse UI improves anything over the simpler and cleaner UI in phpBB)

I don’t do things on my phone, so I really don’t care which is “better on a phone” since everything is worse on a phone compared to on a real computer. :wink:

In the end, it’s up to the mods what they’d like to do with the forum and I understand that. I just know myself and to me discourse is completely offputting. I suspect there’s a high chance I might login once or twice to say I did, but I won’t stick around for a noisy, flashy, “real-time updates” site. It’s the same reason I never bother with discord (or Facebook groups).

It doesn’t feel like a bulletin board or a place of discussion. It feels like another social-media-soapbox-site and conversations don’t really happen on social media. Social-media-style sites are very much geared towards one-speaker-some-comments rather than “I bring up a subject and we all discuss as equals.”

More people showing up to shout on soapboxes doesn’t really make a better community and I’m pretty sure that’s what the move to a UI that mimics social media will accomplish…

Anyway, long winded…

TL;DR? – Discourse offends my sensibilities when it comes to the feel and purpose of a BBS. It feels messy and that will make me step away from the forum. I suspect it will result in less “forumy” behavior.

(PS - The above is an unrefined collection of my opinions. You can feel free to ignore.)

(David Griffith) #40

For what it’s worth, there is not complete agreement on the choice of bulletin board software. There are still significant problems that need to be resolved.