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 Post subject: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:36 am 
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Anyone have experience/opinions about http://www.discourse.org/?

I like how they position it as a way for members to grow into community leaders and all that but does any one have practical experience with it? Looking to hear if people think it might be a good switch for osdev.


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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:55 am 
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Rust and Elixir both use it. In general I *love* that I can write in Markdown and the UI seems fluid. With that said, I don't mind phpBB at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:02 am 
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Markdown is a nice feature. One thing I don't see from the examples is how topical subforums work - but maybe I just haven't figured it out yet.

In general I like phpbb, because of its simplicity. But I wouldn't mind using something else that has at least the same plus some additional features, as long as no important features are missing.

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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:17 am 
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Hi,

XenOS wrote:
Markdown is a nice feature. One thing I don't see from the examples is how topical subforums work - but maybe I just haven't figured it out yet.


From what I remember (from other sites that I've used); in Discourse topics are tagged with a category (by its creator), and people select categories to filter all posts. For example, the "OS Development" sub-forum might be a category and if you might set the filter to only show topics in the "OS Development" category.

XenOS wrote:
In general I like phpbb, because of its simplicity. But I wouldn't mind using something else that has at least the same plus some additional features, as long as no important features are missing.


I also like (and prefer) phpbb, as it's leaner and more efficient and has served us well so far. Discourse (and "infinite scrolling" in general) might be more suited to smartphones though.


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:49 am 
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Brendan wrote:
From what I remember (from other sites that I've used); in Discourse topics are tagged with a category (by its creator), and people select categories to filter all posts. For example, the "OS Development" sub-forum might be a category and if you might set the filter to only show topics in the "OS Development" category.

Ah, that explains my observation. So that would be something I rather don't like about Discourse.
Brendan wrote:
I also like (and prefer) phpbb, as it's leaner and more efficient and has served us well so far. Discourse (and "infinite scrolling" in general) might be more suited to smartphones though.

I agree - I would also prefer phpbb because it's leaner, and it does not make so heavy use of Javascript. It might indeed not be the most convenient on a smartphone (which I cannot comment on myself as I don't use one). If this is an issue, then my personal approach to solve it would be looking for either a phpbb style, or if that does not exist another phpbb-like forum software, that uses adaptive CSS to get a good user experience on different devices. The Discourse approach rather seems to treat every device as a smartphone and optimise for it, while phpbb is the opposite.

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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:40 am 
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chase wrote:
Anyone have experience/opinions about http://www.discourse.org/?


I mentioned all of this the last time the topic was raised (and the time prior to that), but I might as well say it again. I've used Discourse on a number of sites, and it is horrible. Worse, the person primarily responsible for it, Jeff Atwood, refuses to listen to bug reports and advice, and has a habit of banning anyone who criticizes the software at all - constructively or otherwise.

TBF, I am far from unbiased on this. My experience with it was from when WTDWTF (warning: NSFW doesn't even begin to cover it) used it, and were its testbed site - which, if you know both the Daily WTF's rampantly toxic fora and Jeff Atwood's egotism, made for a volatile mix. They didn't mince words about its flaws, and quickly gained Atwood's enmity - on the Discourse main forum, he gave a blanket ban of everyone who had ever had an account on WTDWTF. He was also known for a number of Richard moves on the WTF site itself, and again, getting that group to say someone is over the line with their bad behavior is itself a remarkable accomplishment, give the level of vitriol that is SOP there.

That ended almost three years ago, and they still excoriate Discourse on a regular basis. They have a whole Discopaedia (NFSW, again) thread just to list their terms of abuse for it.

Mind you, they did come up with NodeBB as its replacement, which in many ways is "Discourse with fewer bugs and a semi-sane development team" (Still NSFW - and trust me, when Ben Lubar beats you in a sanity contest, that's bad; he's as crazy as I am). It shares some of Disco-Horse's advantages, and several of its flaws, but unlike with Dis-Curse, they actually listen to bug reports. Since the worst bug in Discourse is Jeff himself, this accounts for a lot.

To quote myself quoting myself (yet more NSFW) on this topic:
Quote:
To me, that's the real pi--er about the whole D--ksores debacle. Discourse really did have the potential to be an improvement over existing forum software as it existed in 2007. It was ambitious, it took risks, it had some real thought put into it. The problem wasn't the design or the implementation (well, not the main problem, anyway, both had some serious problems but most could have been fixed or removed eventually), it was the messianic attitude Jeff developed while creating it. After his involvement with SO, and the mild popularity of his CodingHorrors blog, he concluded that he knew forum software and moderation better than anyone, and he was determined to sail right into that iceberg - bug reports, jellypotatoes, and server cooties be damned.

Adding infiniwhine [InfiniScroll] to [Discourse] was one of Jeff's best ideas. Making it mandatory was one of his worst. Even as a default setting, it is likely to p--- more people off than it would please (though informing users of it and getting them to try it if it isn't the default is tricky), but not giving any choice at all was a disaster.


And again:
Quote:
To be fair, Jeff did care, he just had a very different idea of what 'works' means; assumed that the majority of bug reports were whining rather than actual bugs; put his vision of 'civilized discourse' over all other considerations; and just generally treated the users with a high-handed contempt that was anything but civil. [...] Jeff Atwood is pretty much the physical embodiment of one of Perdition's paving stones. His good intentions took him straight off the deep end into fanaticism.


Now, I have no idea if Ducksauce (probably the least vile of the nicknames they WTF folks gave it) has improved much since then (which was from 2010 to 2016) but from what I have seen of it elsewhere, nothing has changed - at least not for the better.

I wince whenever I see that a forum supporting something I need information on uses it. We need to avoid it.

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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:49 am 
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I thought I would also share that Discourse supports a feature whereas it sends emails when updates are posted to a thread (or PM) and you can reply via email. Quite useful if you ask me.

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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:30 am 
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I tend to like phpbb. No experience with discourse, though supposedly modern stuff often seems to come with new problems. I did grow up with this forum software though, so I am biased.


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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:36 pm 
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Conceptually, I like discourse (lots of shiny new features, better formatting, ...) BUT, the infinite scrolling (and requisite reliance on javascript/AJAX for content delivery) is a huge turn-off.

A better solution would be to find more mobile-friendly themes for PHPbb and maybe see about upgrading/obtaining more useful plugins. (I have no idea what featuresets are available for phpbb)

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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:42 am 
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Hi,

I have no problem with phpBB other than that it "feels" a bit antiquated now. I'm happy with the feature set too and for the purposes of this site I think it does the job.

Cheers,
Adam


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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:45 am 
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Well I guess I'm leaning towards just updating phpBB at this point. Only problem with that is that themes from this version are not compatible with the new version so we'd lose Ponies, Mega-Tokyo, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:44 am 
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thepowersgang wrote:
A better solution would be to find more mobile-friendly themes for PHPbb and maybe see about upgrading/obtaining more useful plugins. (I have no idea what featuresets are available for phpbb)


My time of knowing forum software's internals isn't up to this decade (or the previous one, really...), and I haven't used Tapatalk myself so far, but heard enough about it to toss the name in the ring at this point as far as mobile accessibility is concerned.

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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:08 am 
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I'm not a huge fan of apps for forums, I think a forum should just be mobile friendly. The only site I use an app for is reddit (Joey) and thats mostly because they've made their mobile web experience annoying in an effort to force you to use their app.


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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:16 pm 
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chase wrote:
Well I guess I'm leaning towards just updating phpBB at this point. Only problem with that is that themes from this version are not compatible with the new version so we'd lose Ponies, Mega-Tokyo, etc.


If that's a deal breaker, I could offer to port over the themes or make similar-enough ones (license depending) in the interest of upgrading the forum and giving back to the community. The content here is A+, but this old phpbb sometimes feels like stepping into a time machine.

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 Post subject: Re: Discourse as a replacement for phpbb?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:07 am 
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A newer version would be a welcoming change. This forum should definitely be more modern looking and feeling.
Mobile experience on the other hand...just doesn't exist, this site is a pain to use on a smartphone.
Ponies, what, that must be a joke? That is like the single most unimportant thing ever, in the entire observable universe.
I wish there was a plugin that would enable users to upload their own themes (locally).

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