Suggestions for future improvements to our forum software

You go girl!


Why did you listen to @malkav11? I really liked likes. It was a way of saying I agree without the stupid “I agree” post. Was this discussed somewhere, I only just noticed it was gone.

Likes being on at all was a month-long experiment by our benevolent overlord, @tomchick. They were always going to turn back off on the 15th. Then Tom will revisit the issue roughly mid-June and see where things are at in terms of a more final decision. Personally I am hoping they stay off.

My inclusion of it on the list here was mostly a jokey way of suggesting that I think Discourse would be better if it didn’t have likes built in as an integral feature, here or anywhere. (It’s currently being hidden with CSS and a 0-like-per-day limit, as I understand it, but all the functionality is still there.)

Ahh ok, thanks for the update. (I would have just liked your post.)

I would prefer to see them remain, but I agree that Discourse should have a simple setting for “Disable Likes” in the admin panel. It’s simply not appropriate for some forums. For example, right now I’m using Discourse to coordinate 20+ high-level academics around the sharing of resources pertaining to the weaponization of healthcare in Syria. Discourse works great for this. Likes and badges do not. I can easily turn of badges in the settings, but I’m stuck manually hacking CSS to turn off likes.

I disagree; when is a “great work on this” button inappropriate? Never.

Trust me: with this crowd, if I don’t disable them, the best I can hope for is that they don’t notice. It takes something they’re dead serious about and adds levity that would cheapen it in their minds.

I enjoy likes here and elsewhere, but they are not always appropriate and the inability to quickly disable them limits where Discourse can be deployed.

We will just have to disagree on this point.

I literally cannot find a single topic on meta asking for likes to be disabled. That’s strange in 4 years of public feedback. Try searching yourself; maybe I missed something.

Just curious, but why don’t you allow likes to be toggled on or off? Why are they so important?

You can simply delete like from the available post actions in the site settings, so what you are saying isn’t even correct.

Press the X on like there.

As to why likes matter, it’s because the concept of empathy is central to discussion. At least the kind that does not break down into the howling of wolves…

Ok, sorry. I didn’t know that. How do I get to that setting so I can turn it off on my view?

Have @stusser build a user theme with likes hidden. It’s about 5 minutes of work, tops. Assuming you know basic CSS.

I think you hit on the main point here. I love Discourse. It is flexible, powerful, and easy to use. Because of that, it is suitable for deployment in some situations that are not discussion oriented.

For example, we are using it as a metadata archive where every topic follows an data source or article (oft created through the API) and includes all of the metadata about the data source. There are tens of thousands of these data sources. Often, they also are uploaded to the first post and subsequent posts may contain updates. We use categories and tags to organize the data sources. Only three people post to this instance of Discourse, keeping things organized. Hundreds of people use the search features and tag system for discovery of resources relevant to their research. One category has a mail-in address where the people who don’t post can send an email to request additional data, etc.

The beauty is that Discourse works perfectly for this, almost completely unmodified. It solves a problem for this group of researchers that they have struggled with for a long time.

However, there is no discussion on the site. Likes there are an artifact of the opinionated intention of the software. They are unnecessary, would never be used, and would raise questions about whether the platform is suitable for the deployment purpose. Furthermore, we actively do not want any type of algorithm providing preference to content. We want it all to be considered equal, allowing the subject matter experts to form their own opinions without the bias of likes.

In your mind, this is a super niche deployment. Yep, it is. It doesn’t necessarily have to be, though. I would argue that you could make a pitch for the platform being useful it a variety of more flexible situations and not just for discussion (as you already do, for support boards, etc). I could see a situation where one discussion-oriented category in this deployment allows likes but the primary archival/metadata categories disallow them.

None of this makes me angry or anything. I know how to turn them off and already have done so. All I’m suggesting is that the power to turn them off has now been useful to me both here at Qt3 and on another (unusual) deployment. If you take a step back and consider there may be others with ideas about alternative types of deployments, I think you’ll find that turning likes off gives power to admins that could lead to additional creative uses of your platform. How is that a bad thing?

I’d like to be able to fullscreen embedded YouTube videos on mobile without Discourse immediately overriding it.

That’s a bug. I had a fix for it in the past but it didn’t last long. YouTube handles video fullscreens weird.

Hmm yeah I suggest middle clicking the video (long tap on mobile) to open in a new tab as a workaround.

You’re using Discourse as a database? :P

It’s works well for the purpose, has all the features we need, and is secure. Why reinvent the wheel?

I would like the ability to set a user preference to increase the size of the loaded window of posts by at least an order or magnitude if I’m on a desktop computer. (A phone too if it didn’t mess up performance.)

Very often I want to jump to a post or word I saw recently and on other forums I can do this with a quick in-page search. It’s incredibly fast. Now it requires either doing a full thread search which takes longer and doesn’t default to newest first so requires fiddling and clicking, or spamming my mouse or page-up keys to force more posts to be loaded at once and then doing an in page search.