+1 from our community as well.
my community is also interested in this.
My community would be extremely interest in this. Especially since it’s 2018 and this is a commonly used feature in just about any cms.
Just going to jump in and say that if the feature could seem interesting. I wouldn’t want it if I was the owner of a forum.
Following basically mean you will reduce discoverability in your community which I think is a massive mistake. Let me quote this for example:
If you just browse the forum by looking at the following tab, your chances to discover other investors and participate to other discussions will be considerably lower, resulting in less discussions and less activity.
I see 3 cases:
- A very identifiable group of people: ask admins to create a group for them.
- Very random people: I feel like you are just hurting discoverability by trying to follow only these people. Get involved in discussions, track discussions you want to follow, seems way more valuable.
- Other specific/niche cases: might be valuable but it’s probably too niche for Discourse to be interested in this.
If there were a way to automatically Watch the categories and topics the followed member was Watching - rationale being interest in a member indicates interest in discussions they’re interested in - I think it might even improve discoverability.
Discourse isn’t a CMS though…
But it is made for social interactivity, no?
It’s a discussion platform so sure, that’s social interaction.
My response was tongue in cheek because a CMS is designed to manage content, which Discourse is not.
That said, our focus here isn’t on relationships – it’s on discussion – but how others use it is totally up to them, hence the #pr-welcome
I’ve been thinking about it in terms of my local neighborhood association. Anyone from the neighborhood is welcome to attend and we take time to listen to anyone who wants to talk. We intentionally design our meetings to be inclusive, and seek out ways to involve others who may not know about the meetings. There’s some informal leadership, but it’s in place to plan and keep things on track, their personal issues are just as valuable as everyone else’s.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have friends, but we’re specifically there because we want to hear from everyone… friend or not. If we want to hang out with existing friends, or make new ones, the community meeting isn’t the right venue for that… and there are no shortage of ways to accomplish that elsewhere (and we do via email, phone, facebook, etc).
I’ve seen some similarities to discussions on Meta — for example: there are people I’ve literally never seen before who have come here and report bugs or post great ideas that we implement. If it were too easy to simply show up, only look at what people I “value” had to say, and then leave… I’d likely miss out on some of the quieter voices with these great suggestions.
And just like in my neighborhood, If there are people who I’m more interested in for one reason or another, I already tend to follow them on individual-centric networks anyway… because they’re better designed to prioritize various types of individual relationships.
What would it take to replace Facebook with Discourse?
+1 for this feature as a plugin
What about following particular people for their content? ie. getting notified if they generate a topic in a category just like you get notified about activity in a category or a topic? It could be a particular person or a category of people (trust level). Is there concern that if this is possible people will develop clicks and not give their attention to people outside of members they particularly benefit from? I might want to welcome level 0s or follow a theme developer or follow a person’s post in a particular category due to the useful content above and beyond the feeds that I peruse. I favor notifications over feeds when in a rush already and that would still hold true with this added function if it was available. It is kinda the flip side of blocking people.
Would giving forums this option be a big coding commitment? Would it damage the topic-focused (versus people focused) culture? Would it attract the type of people who might otherwise choose Mastodon for the ability to follow people (I have no idea if that is the case). This just came up in the community category. Just throwing it out there because there appears to be an exodus from Facebook and discourse might not register as an option with people like me who are going for alternatives to Facebook and Nextdoor for community groups. Yet discourse is a great alternative platform and even stellar if you put in the time to tailor it to your specificatioms.
It’s already possible to subscribe to the RSS feed on a particular user’s page in Discourse – point the RSS reader of your choice to their user page. That would give you alerts any time that user posts something.
Otherwise, this feature is not on our roadmap for the forseeable future.
What would it take to replace Facebook with Discourse?
Good to know. Thanks.
So, summarising these ideas:
a Stage 1 plugin to achieve this might:
- Allow users to create their own groups, consider initialising with a single default group ‘Followed’
- Add a Following tab as standard that would display the topic list, which appears with a drop-down to select a specific group and will look similar to what this currently does (without the unnecessary additional nav UI):
Stage 2 might deal with the opposite direction:
- Scope/Privacy Level of posted Topics
Who can see your Topic? Needs an ability to hide from anyone not in specified Group.
This leads to a potential implementation-dependent performance challenge as to display a list of Topics in this scenario, even the vanilla ‘Latest’ list will need to join with user groups list to determine if the current user is included the in the permitted group for each topic live (or perhaps you’d bake this into a topic as it was posted).
So in summary, with stage 1&2 of this plugin, a user would be able to:
- Define and edit the constituency of their own group(s)
- Select a Following ‘tab’ and select from a list of own group(s) to see a list of appropriate in-scope topics.
- On posting a topic, can choose to restrict those able to see it to a specific group
Or a Newsfeed page to show all content by the people a user follow?!
Sometimes we need to provide personalized content for users in order to keep they active. Not on the frontpage, but a newsfeed page linked in the menu doesn’t sounds wrong for me.
Or at least to leave they to create groups, somehow to able to organize they’r content based on interests.
Thats easy enought to do if you have a WP site using the Frenzy RSS plug in. We have about 50 discourse communities and are adding a WP landing page to each heres an example: http://www.livingwithraynaudsdisease.org/ The latest discussions is a feed from latest topics. We have it set for 5 but you can do any number.
In this community (not completed) which we are tailoring as a landing page for our entinre group of communities we have this page: Latest Posts In Our Communities – Living With Rare Disease
You can add a link from your discourse community to any of the feeds. Not sure if thats what you are looking for, but it works (well) for us
I’d still like to have basic functionality to follow users within Discourse.
My main reason is to support the issue of authority. All sources are not equal and some voices are more expert and authoritative than others. This particularly applies within a forum that has a more narrowly bounded area of knowledge. I’d like to be able to follow those authorities without having to use software other than Discourse.
I’m reminded of this issue, yet again, when I read Richard Millington at Feverbee blog on " The Hidden Costs Of Pursuing High Engagement ":
Members want to be able to follow and easily find the discussion that matters to them. …
Highlight key members they might want to follow, share the best expertise ever created in the community, and make sure they know the community is a place they go to resolve an immediate problem they have or opportunity they need to pursue.
A workaround is to give each user a group that they are the owner of, and then they can add whoever they want to the group and be able to track those users through the group.
Interesting as an admin-heavy workaround for site owners which isn’t quite the built-in basic functionality that all users can access.