I think it’s safe to say that the choice of Discourse for our governance forum software is working out pretty well. I’ve always been pleased with Discourse, and I think it is a good piece of software. There are something things, however, that I’m less pleased with. These things may be specific to our instance, but frankly I don’t know enough about the software to say one way or the other.
- I can only maintain one draft at a time. This may work for some people, but I’ll likely be working on multiple posts at once (I try to think out the longer ones, before making a fool of myself anyway ) and being forced to finish one before I even start another is not great.
- Markdown is okay. I use it because it’s quick and for the most part it does what I need to it do. I wish there were more options in the editor, and I wish there was a “default-HTML” mode so I wouldn’t have to type out HTML tags when I do need them; I hand-write my website’s HTML (check the page’s source), I don’t want to do this while debating.
- This one, I know is local to ours. We don’t have a dark mode for the forum, which causes me (and others, for sure) some eyestrain, especially late at night.
I don’t know if these issues can be addressed with Discourse, but in lieu of that, I do know of one project that may function as a more-than-suitable addition (following an extensive review, of course):
If you think about it, it would seem to be nearly perfect for our needs. It provides a familiar forum-like interface for posters to work with, and it also rolls in the needs identified in the SourceCred discussion without us having to scotch-tape two pieces of software together like we would with SourceCred. Sure there are questions, like how the service itself is hosted (I really wanna know that; can I host a node myself?), but overall the project seems very promising, and it would clearly be in our interest to explore it.
Let’s discuss this, I’d like to hear other people’s thoughts on it.
EDIT: The original notion of this post was to suggest BBS as a replacement for Discourse; it turns out that Discourse provides some organizational infrastructure that would be lost, and that would be bad. I still think that BBS would be a valuable addition, and maybe it would be an alternative to SourceCred that still fills the same niche.
Case in point: This post. That one has been slowly refining away in my brain for weeks, but I couldn’t store it anywhere on the forum because the software forces me to finish one post before I can store another. I am certain that the quality of that post was significantly reduced because of that. Infinitely infuriating. I could have stored it offline, sure, but then if I want to work on it from multiple devices it introduces a whole hell of a lot of overhead, and I shouldn’t have to do it to begin with.