I’m hoping others have good examples of Discourse or similar programs being used in communities for women or other groups that fall outside “techy” types.
I work mainly in the nonprofit and political sector and e-mail lists are still king, despite all their problems and Facebook is probably where most new communities are started. Some are starting up new communities on Slack, but adoption hasn’t been great as there starts to be a Slack overload.
I find Discourse far superior for meaningful discussion and institutional knowledge, but I haven’t seen examples of success in the sector. It seems that there is a cultural type (often gamers and tech community) who are used to the modes of conversation in Discourse and link sharing. They spend time on Reddit, Hacker News, Stack Overflow, and have been on various forums for years.
Many of the Facebook groups and email lists to which I belong are usually sharing links with a comment. I and others have attempted Reddit clones (like Telescope), which are amazing tools, but lose users.
One simple UX example, every user in testing was confused by links from the homepage taking them to an external site (the actual home of the link). They couldn’t fathom why that would be the standard behavior instead of taking the user to the full link description and comments. Of course, this is standard for Reddit and Hacker News, those users would be annoyed if they didn’t get to chose whether to open the external link in a new browser or if clicking the title on the homepage just took them deeper in Reddit. A simple, standard user behavior for many of us is massively confusing for everyone else.
I’m wondering if there are similar examples within Discourse that could be having a similar effect on new user adoption.
My testing, of course, isn’t extensive and this is just my observation, but I’d love to see examples of thriving Discourse communities that fall outside the boundaries of the norm and have diverse user bases.
I’m curious what others who interrogate these issues more deeply and consistently think.
And please don’t take this as a slight in any way to the amazing work of the Discourse team and contributors. I just want to see more communities benefit from it and keep their conversations about sensitive activism out of corporate hands when possible.