All communities are built by the people involved. We do have a great community here and I personally am thrilled that we mostly get along with only occasional issues.
Discourse is a company built by people who have specific ideas and philosophies about how to streamline software used to build forum communities and support how they believe online discourse works the best. They have been very successful as there are hundreds of Discourse forums across the internet. I personally find that the software is great: we’ve been able to do new and interesting things. The background mechanics used to customize and set site settings are discoverable and self-explanatory. Most of the admin and moderation functions all make sense when you experiment with them without needing to read a technical manual and most of us were able to jump in based on how we knew forums worked without needing to explicitly learn something completely new. Discourse automates a lot of functions and moderation processes to keep a community healthy based on how the creators think a forum works best.
They run their own site, referred to as Discourse Meta, which supports those who run Discourse sites, their admins, moderators, and people who modify it via plugins, components, themes, etc. The site is very busy and that’s where everyone including us go when there’s a problem to ask other Discourse users and sometimes the creators for advice and best-practices, report bugs, or make suggestions and requests for changes and modifications regarding how it works.
As they are a busy company, their main focus is maintaining the default Discourse builds, incorporating fixes and improvements, and taking on jobs for companies that pay them to make specific changes. As stated before, they also have a core philosophy about “how Discourse should work.” Because of that, sometimes they will respond to requests for free major mainstream changes or updates with a polite but relatively blunt “No, we don’t want to do that because…” usually with recommendations that Admins can modify the code or hire them for a customized build. In most cases they are receptive to good suggestions, or at least they will say the equivalent “That’s not feasible now, but it’s a good thing we can work toward for future modifications.”
Discourse is not a garage-app built by one person; they make money supporting and customizing special builds for hire - say for companies who have special requirements that are different from the out of the box build, such as a company who wants to use it as an internal support knowledge-base, or a customer facing support forum with trouble ticketing and issue resolution, or a company with alternate privacy concerns, for example. They won’t implement major fundamental changes to the default Discourse build for free. The system is very customizable if Admins are knowledgeable, but they’re not going to implement - say customizable emoji reactions as an option since the “like” system figures majorly into user-trust and there are community-created plugins that can do things like that cosmetically, so they don’t need to make that change to the build.
So as they are their own community, it makes sense there will be individuals and factions of people who might make a request, and they’ll respond “No, because [feasibility][Discourse philosophy],” and that denial to what the poster thinks is a reasonable request may be interpreted as blunt and rude and they may develop negativity since their idea was rejected.
If you look at this thread, this is a standard type of “working as intended” response where Sam says “no” and a tech elaborates.
Any time someone is given a no-answer there’s a chance they will take it personally and feel they are dismissed in some way, which can lead to hurt feelings and general negativity. I believe it’s akin to those of us who’ve had beta testers give what they consider helpful feedback like “I think your game would be better as a Western. Right now it’s a cozy New England Mystery and you should implement a combat system since in the finale with Mrs. Firthersby I’m holding the murder weapon and it would be quicker to take her down myself instead of presenting my case via the dialogue options…” Everyone’s had those “thanks but no” suggestions that would fundamentally disrupt your vision that you must politely wheel to the parking lot instead of explaining why their potentially good suggestion just won’t work.
Side tangent - this is why you don’t argue with testers and defend why you’re not taking their suggestion. That takes more effort than saying “Okay, thanks, I’ll consider it!” and moving on.
We had a bit of that - when we did the changeover there was a vocal minority who hated the “stretching relative timeline” feature of Discourse and wanted all posts compartmentalized and time-stamped like it was in the old forum instead of being in a constant flow. As this is a major part of how Discourse works, there was no way to change it. There were a couple of instances where it came down to “Sorry, if you don’t like this, we can only constructively suggest you start your own forum using different software and build your own community of people who agree.”