Proposal idea: switch the forum to Discourse

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In last month's "Concrete5 - state of the ecosystem" video address, Franz mentioned that the forum was on the todo list for being updated. Instead of creating a new forum from scratch and dealing with large numbers of user expectations, requests, and requirements, I propose looking into using Discourse. Discourse is loaded with features and is super easy to use and read. This would free up the very limited core team resources to work on the core instead of something non-CMS related. We could offload the task of creating a forum to people whose passion, day to day focus, and experience is creating forum software. Also, a modern easy to use forum would be attractive to new users and prospective users.

Discourse is an open-source project co-founded by Jeff Atwood who co-founded StackOverflow and StackExchange. It is currently being used on many high traffic sites.

A working live example of a Discourse forum:

In addition to what the current concrete5 forum has, Discourse offers:
- translation
- mobile support
- moderation
- advanced search
- Wiki-style posts that can be worked on collaboratively
- SEO optimized
- real time notifications
- all posts can be "liked"
- it supports plugins
- automatic drafts
- polls
- rich links
- embedded images
- linked topics for replies that diverge from the current topic

From my inexperienced perspective, it looks like all current concrete5 features are supported, it has import tools for existing forum data, and has an API for adding concrete5 specific features.

- great readability
- easy to use
- tons of features
- 3+ years of active development
- large community of project contributors

- it doesn't support old browsers
- it is a Rails app

I do know that there are trusted concrete5 community contributors with Rails experience who I bet could help with this (if help was even needed).

I would be interested in others opinions on this.

View Replies:
appliculture replied on at Permalink Reply
Funny to see that nobody answered you.

I would love to have a more standard forum as discussed in Franz speech.
Discourse look great! In fact any forum would be better than this one it's too tricky to understand anything here and the infinite scroll make me crazy.
MrKDilkington replied on at Permalink Reply

I believe the current plan is to use the Conversation block as the base for a new forum.
JohntheFish replied on at Permalink Reply
There is a lot of old wisdom amongst old forum posts that switching to another forum software could loose. Even bulk filling old posts into new forum software is full of hazards.

As an example, when the docs were moved to the separate documentation site, author identities and cross links in all the howtos were broken. It is unlikely that authors will go back and fix them (even with motivation, it is hard for authors to even find them). Imagine a similar mistake made with the authors and cross links between forums posts when they are moved to a new forum.

The release of 5.7 could have been used to split 5.6 (old forums) from 5.7 (new forums), but that opportunity is now long gone. So its not an easy problem to solve. Loose all the old posts and start from fresh. A half-hearted attempt to keep them, but bugged. Or a lot of work involved in learning from the mistakes made with the howtos and getting the transfer right.
MrKDilkington replied on at Permalink Reply

You make very good points. The current forum posts are too important and should not be put at risk. They contain vital information.

With a new version 8 due later this year, this might be an opportunity to leave the current forum as is for 5.6 and 5.7, and create a new forum for version 8.

I also think it is important to restore the original How-To authors. A concrete5 profile helps establish your business brand and serves as a resume/CV. How-Tos are part of this, they help demonstrate your skill and knowledge and show how well you can write and communicate.
siton replied on at Permalink Reply
It could be awesome.

In this forum you don't have options to design more readable posts (add inline pics. H2-H3 headlines. lists, indent Etc.)

Also the Categories in this forum is "to wide" ("editing" for example)
& you don't know from the post itself the category of the post (The solution is: breadcrumbs or write this somewhere)
Example to more specific categories (version sepertaion for example):

Discourse "fix" this small ui problems and look great (of course we need to add some design and adapts).
SmoothPixel replied on at Permalink Reply
Discourse gets my vote.

It seems to have a lot of useful features, like being able to read other posts in the thread you are replying to while you're writing your reply. The pop-up used in the current forum is quite annoying in this respect.

Having an RTE built in would be useful too.

Implementing this to coincide with the release of C5.8 would be great as this would separate the new from the old. One of my current bugbears is that I have clients on both C5.6 and C5.7 - often it's not immediately clear which answers are relevant to which flavour of C5.
sk01 replied on at Permalink Reply
this the current forum you can't find anything anyways.
google index is quite bad since 5.7 release, so there wouldn't be a big impact.

as appliculture mentioned already: everything is better than this forum.
I have the feeling that the C5-pros are now only on github and irc.
to keep them here and also the not-so-skilled users, this forum should be switched to MrKDilkingtons proposal asap and also needs some moderation.
datasouth replied on at Permalink Reply
This is an interesting topic. I must admit that I don't use the forum as much as I'd like because of the poor threading.

I agree that there's a lot of good content here which must be retained. Most of the time, I find my way here via a Google search.

However, there's no reason we couldn't just retain the information and post a heading on each existing forum page advertising a 'new and improved' forum elsewhere.

I've not used discourse, but I've been pretty impressed with phpBB.
sk01 replied on at Permalink Reply
*** PUSH ***
pekka replied on at Permalink Reply
Seconded. A switch to Discourse would be awesome. The current forum leaves a LOT to be desired - starting with formatting options (quoting, italic, emphasis, images, links) and proper guidance for them. I'm still not sure how to do anything beyond insert code samples - and I know that only because it says how to do it underneath the input field.
PineCreativeLabs replied on at Permalink Reply
I like to use the free Disqus addon for whenever I need comments.
sk01 replied on at Permalink Reply
one year ago...

nothing happened. this crappy forum is still online. I really hate it and I don't want to use it.
my c5 skills are now good enough to give beginners some guidance and help, but not with this pain in the ass.

sorry for my wording. but.. yeah..
MrKDilkington replied on at Permalink Reply
The current forum may have issues, but it does work. Please don't let the forum issues prevent you from contributing and helping other users.

The core team's time has been spent working on the v8 core and follow-up updates. Perhaps when the v8 core is stable and more time is available for other things, then the forum might be addressed. Most would agree that working on the core should be the priority.

To help put things in perspective, just remember that the core team is just a few people. There is only so much they can handle at once.
sk01 replied on at Permalink Reply 1 Attachment
I can't even see what i'm replying to..
ajax-loaded threadlist so you cannot go into a thread and use the back-button..
the marketplace-performance is the best indicator that something is totally wrong here.

I have the feeling that c5 is drifting towards a techy-feature-thing hunting for the newest coding-must-haves.

So what's the point of having a feature-rich Core without a community?
bcron replied on at Permalink Reply
I agree about c5 beiing drifted away from a real great cms to a techie coding rigging system.
Hopefully the core team will focus on documetation, usable community features and website interface instead of packing the hell into concrete5.
Unfortunately we had to abandon this cms because of that and are working now with a mainstream cms which isn't fun to work with.
We hope to return to C5.
pekka replied on at Permalink Reply
The current forum does work, but it is arguably a sub-optimal experience in so many ways.

Perhaps this can be solved on the community level? I might be able to chip in some time to get a Discourse install running. It's fairly easy to do on, say, a Digital Ocean droplet.

One thing that I can see that might take a lot of effort integrate is the badges/points system that this forum has. Discourse has similar features, though. I haven't followed their development very closely recently, but it might be possible to set up a badges/rank system that comes close to what we have now.
sk01 replied on at Permalink Reply
2 years ago....