Ok, I had a look and can say

…that Discourse is not for me.
I can be so clear as I didn’t discover anything which was actually new to me.
All aspects of this framework have already appeared in Forums from old fashioned phpBB to Stackoverflow and Social Networks from LinkedIn to Ning.
Concourse is just a refined concentrate of what I find uninteresting and annoying in all mentioned formats.

I disllke Discourse for its underlying understanding of requirements for communtity management. It isn’t limited to the usual Forum Rules, no. It’s whole universe is built with the assumtion that a “community” has to get strictly organized and structured so that it can further exist and grow. An arsenal of measures is in place to defend the forum against “Trolls” and Spammers and every new user needs to go through a phase of probation.

I think I understand perfectly well why all these elaborate structures were invented.
Of course we are dealing with a problem which is comparable to the Virus problem on Windows vs. some niche OS. As web forums have become so popular they also got popular for spammers - something which is no issue with NTTP, They obviously also got more attractive to idiots. A whole army of ambassadors with different hierarchy levels got invented to take care of this “threat”.

As well as I understand the problem - I still can’t help to find all this all plain ridiculous.
I mean - where do we come from? The existing Rhino Newsgroup is the best proof one can have - that all the rubbish they propose in order to manage the crowd and to protect it against aggressors actually isn’t neccessary. Does using something new which is approachable without custom software really mean having to change so much?

I dislike Discourse for the chosen presentation architecture. One hardly can use more space for less information. The Layout does not even reward the reader with with beauty, playfulness or any other enjoyable fact. It is clearly not geared towards people who enjoy reading long text, the whole thing is optimized towards display of a few hundred characters only.

There is hardly any smaller data in the web than text, but even tex tloads hesitatingly and in fractions.
“You don’t want to wade through all this, will you?” is the underlying assumption this sort of presentation makes.
Sequential loading may be programmatically efficient but it’s also Design for people who prefer gaining an overview with search patterns of I don’t find useful or adviseable.
How many Likes did this posting get? Who says what, what “trust level” does this person hold? How often did this get quoted?

One can not get a quick overview about the direction of a discussion with hundreds of contributions like in the newsgroup: By glancing over the whole thread at once and by checking posts which are days or even weeks appart with many dozens of postings in between. Not so in Discourse.

One can not turn off irrelevant GUI elements in Discourse.
I don’t want any content grouping and popular discussions being featured, I much prefer the linear stream of the NG, without questionable indicators about qualities of content or posters. One get’s tons of notification Emails but one can not answer them directly. One needs to log in each time. Not only to post - one also needs to do this in order to raise in status. Only from a certain “trust level” on one may use the forum fully.

I realize that McNeel needs a replacement for NTTP.
But found foolish to exchange the Newsgroup with this framework as it currently is.



Yes, these are the primary things I find unfortunate. I thought the current NING implementation was not very readable, but this is actually harder for me to read and follow.


Why does this post not have a category?

Why does this post not have a category?

Probably because I did not care to assign one.
Some trusted member will fix this.

Bad boy, Holger… :slight_smile:

I do not agree on most of your points.
I finally can easily find what I’m looking for, I can read the forum from work, from home, on my phone (with synchronized “read status” between devices).
I can see at a glance if there’s a new post in a thread that I’m interested in even if it’s an old post that would be buried ten pages down in the NNTP NG.
I find the layout quite readable and fast, with features thought for the user, like the nice way threads can be branched.
Have you seen somewhere on the web a better community? Do you have ideas about how this would be improved? It’s time to speak up; the developers are working on this right now.


[quote=“mgibeault, post:6, topic:155”]
Have you seen somewhere on the web a better community? Do you have ideas about how this would be improved? It’s time to speak up; the developers are working on this right now.[/quote]

I found the thing Willem had found and set up as a Web interface for the newsgroup not too bad as a starting point. It was not as elegant as using a Newsreader but it was acceptable and could be carefully extended. The only thing I like about this framework is that Search seems to work well.

I used this interface for the last year. I had to, it was the only way I could get access to the NG (besides the web interface, argh!) and it was not so good, lot of limitations and slow. And it was rendering the NNTP server data anyway so if this was obsolete there’s no point to continue building on top of it.

Sorry, I did not want to suggest building on top of this very tool and go on with the NNTP server.
One certainly could build an equally effective tool with contemporary means, running in a Browser.

The Usability aspect is just one of things which bug me.
The “philosophical” foundation" is just as much a complete show stopper for me.

I could too with the old newsgroup - yes even on my iPad or iPhone with NewsTap - but yes, the read status did not follow… that never bothered me all that much - I know what I read. As an aside, I’ve never understood why people who work in Rhino mostly with a 15" screen or larger and sometimes two or three screens want to try to read the associated forums on their 4" smartphone screen. That’s why the type is so big with so much space around it on these forums, it has to be readable on a smartphone.

I can see ALL the threads that have been posted or replied to in one day on one page in a newsgroup format.

In this case it’s the choice of the lesser evil, rather than the better format. Some have mentioned the Python forum, it’s very simple and sober, but I’m afraid it’s not exciting enough for most.


I tried to evaluate all your complaints one by one and, besides the readability, I think it would mean compromises and that the good choices have been made.

I certainly agree on the use of screen estate;
Most of the page is filled with white space and grey borders.

Apart from the bloated interface that really could use some compacting truly miss the threaded structure of posts like it’s possible in any NNTP reader.
But apparently Jeff Atwood @discourse disagrees
Jeff I’m reading your article and your first 2 objections are about getting lost in a fixed tree structure. Well I’ve been working with the tree-structure of an NNTP reader and I can tell you un-threaded view will make me get lost: All coherence is lost when posts from different branches end up as one big list. Imagine untreaded posts on Reddit.

Coming from the McNeel newsgroup, I think not being able to have a threaded structure on topics is a major downside of Discourse and indeed makes me wonder if it is suitable for in dept discussion; in depth trouble shooting and support.

Your argument of needing to add left-right scrolling to accommodate a tree structure is IMO invalid.
Have a look at this screenshot:

There is much more to be wished for with regards to Discource functionality compared to a good NNTP reader but that will come later as I’m back to some other work.


I’ve been desperate for a mobile version of the newsgroup to catch up on it when I’m not sitting at my computer. And I tried newstap. Hated it. Searching the newsgroup was worse than useless. Hated that. Replying via my phone (as I’m doing now) was impossible to me. I miss the tree structure and file attachments. But that’s about it. The other complaints are minor. The wasted width complaints… I don’t get. I never set my newsreader to the entire width of my 23" screen, it would be impossible to read lines that long. The “probation” period is ridiculously short, overcome in one extended session. Yes, with NNTP there was little spam (though some did get through), and only a couple trolls. But the community was self-limiting due to being a largely old, ignored technology. You can avoid computer viruses by using a Commodore 64, but I don’t think that means that computer is better than modern ones. It just means nobody cares enough to target that OS.

If spam does actually become a problem, I have no doubt that McNeel could limit (or manually approve) each new user request based on “I want to try the product” or “Here’s my license key”.

Give Discourse a month or so before throwing it out. I think it’s the closest thing we’ve had a modern replacement for NNTP.


Sorry, you don’t understand.
I actually dislike all measures for regulation/approval which are weft into the genes of Discourse (through “trust level”) the most. I have no interest in participating in a Forum which has such built in. There’s no similarities to Newsgroups that I can see.

There’s no similarities for sending messages via carrier pigeon, either. :wink: It’s an incredibly mild necessity in a web format. You’re already past that hump. It took, what, a day?

Sorry Heath, I need a translation. What’s your point?

I believe I understood in the meantime.
Sorry, I don’t find this whole setup mild or even tolerable, also if I’m now “over the hump” and may post pictures.
There’s a system built in which is always on. I don’t want to get a choice of “best” answers served in a long thread
(based on votes and User status). Man, that whole setup is nasty.

Holger, most of the “trust level” features in discourse are settings that we can tweak. If the forum is heavily used and has plenty of moderators online all of the time, it may make sense to lower the trust requirements. I just chose to use the default settings as a starting point.


That’s not true. Web pages know when they are being viewed on a large screen versus a smaller screen and can change the styling based on on that.

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