Hey Discourse gang,
Firstly let me say that I love discourse. I really do. I pulled my community of 30 members over to discourse, imported the old PHPBB forums, reskinned the site, and found different plugins and enabled/disabled plugins until they felt comfortable with it.
However, my community, like some of the other “smaller” forums listed in the links below, like to jabber excitedly in all caps. I get what you’re trying to do by disallowing all caps posts. In most cases, it doesn’t help a conversation, or add to it in any way. And for the most part I agree with what you’re trying to do here. But even so it’s been nagging me every time someone PMs me and rants about not being able to use all caps in their posts. I’ve reasoned out why today.
Discourse’s entire platform is based on self-moderating done by a community. If the content of the post is attacking a user, members can flag it, and the community is self-healing. Based on community rules, users would also be allowed to flag posts written in “l33t” speak or OtHeR AnNoYiNg CoNvEnTiOnS, for readability. If the community deems it as “unacceptable”, these sorts of posts should be flagged by the very nature of how discourse works. With Discourse, the community moderates the content. It comes as a surprise, then, to see that for some reason, all-caps posts and titles are handled differently. Why is it in this very specific case that Discourse deems that this is not appropriate content.
It doesn’t even tell the user this. It gives an unhelpful error message that you should write something more descriptive. You could write a novel, run it through an all-caps function, attempt to post it, and Discourse would tell you, wrongfully, that it’s “not descriptive enough.” This is a terrible user experience.
Furthermore, the current workaround is elitist. Discourse has done an amazing job lowering the bar to allow users to post embedded content without knowledge of arcane bbcode incantations. I’m grateful for this. But why do we require users to throw a
incantation to be able to post an all caps comment on a forum? Why do I even need to tell my very capable users to go learn HTML stanzas if they wish to post in all caps? The software is strongly stating that you are only smart enough to confirm “Yes I understand that I am posting in all caps” if you know HTML.
For reference, here’s a few of the other posts that touched upon this, but I hope that this puts the issue into a more compelling light. I really hope that you think it over, and at the very least, simply require the user to add a checkbox when an all caps post is detected that says “I agree, I know my post is in all caps.” But this sounds like plugin territory.
Please don’t make forum software decide my users’ content should or should not contain. That’s up to my community.