Can we have a General Discourse Chat section please?

(AstonJ) #1

I’ve always felt we are missing a section for more light-hearted or general talk about Discourse. I know we have uncategorized, but it is somewhat negative and doesn’t encourage the sort of discussions a dedicated section would.

The sort of topics we could discuss:

  • What are your favourite plug-ins?
  • What are your favourite Discourse features?
  • Which Discourse sites do you use (apart from your own!)
  • Where would you like to see Discourse go from here?


If the powers that be are not convinced… why not trial it for a few months?

(Mittineague) #2

You don’t think the Lounge category is enough for this?

(Michael Downey) #3

Not all of us have access to Lounge.

(AstonJ) #4

No @Mittineague :stuck_out_tongue:

2 reasons

  1. I can’t see it!
  2. It’s ‘restricted’ so would be less appealing for people to use.

Just a regular section like all the others for general Discourse Chat would be nice.

(Sam Saffron) #5

I think what @riking came up with an awesome pattern to follow.

First, start posting in “uncategorized” if there is a common thread that ties all of the posts together we can add a tag for it, this is step 1.

If the tag gets to a certain size we can consider adding the category.

So, I say, just start the discussions you want and help us tag the existing similar discussions.

(Sander Datema) #6

Don’t know where @riking mentioned that, but I love that pattern. Makes me wonder: is there a way in admin to get statistics on that? Meaning: how to easily see how often a tag is used so an admin can press a button that does this:

  • convert tag to category
  • add all those posts to the category
  • remove tag from posts

(Kane York) #7

I didn’t come up with it (… I think), just wrote it down ;)[quote=“Sander78, post:6, topic:40473”]
Don’t know where @riking mentioned that, but I love that pattern.
Create a “community management” category

(AstonJ) #8

That is a really good strategy when splitting sections :slight_smile: and on my forums we tend to only create a new related section when a topic in an existing one starts to dominate or become popular to a degree that warrants it.

However there are exceptions. And one of those can be for things that you want to encourage talk about.

For example we have an Introductions section on many of my forums - the number of threads in one is greater than a quarter of our members, on another it is just under a quarter. I’m pretty sure there would be much, much fewer introductions had we not had those sections.

Many times I have gone to post something here and thought that it may not be the kind of thing you want here because no section covers it or actively encourages it. In other words the categories set the stage.

On top of all that, ‘uncategorised’ has a negative feel to it - it suggests that you should try and stick to the other categories and only post uncategorised if you really have to.

I feel that you are missing out on interesting and valuable discussions by not having a general chat area to talk about anything related to discourse that doesn’t fit into any of the other sections. Members are also missing a place where they can network/make friends/get to know each other as well - the community is part of Discourse too.

Up to you of course, but I’d love to see you trial such a section for a few months just to see whether it works for you or not. (I think it will! :p)

(Kane York) #9

Meta hasn’t had much chat in the past, I’m just not feeling the need for this.

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #10

I think this misses the point of @AstonJ’s post. As there isn’t currently a category that fits for “general chat”, people are hesitant to do so. Considering that off-topic topics tend to get closed fairly quickly, I would guess that many people would not start a topic just to chat, even as uncategorized, as they feel it doesn’t belong.

Most forums I know have some sort of “off-topic”/“general discussion”/“everything else” category. Discourse has “uncategorized”, but as @AstonJ said, I feel that #uncategorized has a negative feel to it, so most people likely won’t post “random” things there.

(Michael Downey) #11

Why not allow admins to specify the access level of Lounge? Maybe that would handle the need for these types of discussion areas not only here on Meta, but would also help other communities that end up having to create an additional space like @jomaxro mentions.

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #12

The lounge is a built-in category, and changing the permissions on it is not permitted. To change permissions one would need to delete the built-in category, and create a new one.

Here on Meta, the lounge is used for other types of discussions, so opening it up to “general chat” (if that was even possible) wouldn’t be a good thing.

(Sam Saffron) #13

Sure, the feature already exists :wink:

  • Create a new category, allow users in the group “loungers” access to it.

  • Add the people you want into the “loungers” group.

(Michael Downey) #14

But seriously, why can’t an admin change the permissions on a category on their forum? (This site is surely an exception.) That restriction’s rather anti-freedom if there’s no good reason to do so. “It’s always been that way” doesn’t really seem like a valid reason.

Communities with a low number of TL3+ are not going to have much activity in the lounge, and there seems to be a non-trivial demand for the same type of category open to a wider audience. It seems wasteful to have to create a duplicate category for the same purpose, just because the first one can’t be removed or changed.

(Sam Saffron) #15

Of course they can … just delete the stock lounge category and create a new one. You can do anything you want then.

The reason we don’t allow people to muck with it, is cause if we did we would never be able to fix configuration issues etc that we had with it.

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #16

This is getting off topic for this thread, but you did use to be able to change lounge permissions, this isn’t an “it’s always been that way” issue. That caused issues as TL3 users got access, but changed permissions could be a problem. If a staff user tries to change the permissions in the Lounge, they see this:

That is quite clear and explains why it can’t be changed, and tells you to simply delete it if you don’t want it.’

Edit: Whoops, ninja’d by @sam.

(AstonJ) #17

In addition to what Joshua said the comment below is just proving my point. People are reluctant because of how the stage has been set (by using the word ‘uncategorised’ and not having a specific section that legitimises such talk).

Of course if the DC team would rather not have that sort of chat here that’s their prerogative - but I feel they will be missing out on valuable and interesting discussions, particularly those that are community-orientated. (Which is kinda ironic since Discourse is a community platform.)

@sam is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to trial it for a few months? I can’t see any negatives in doing so, you could just include a sticky (or post a topic in it) to say it’s on trial.



I don’t sense community here. Discourse or new cats won’t change that given folks assemble here to focus on platform issues and it’s very effective within that scope.

Have you taken a look @AstonJ ?

They’ve recently added a small talk category and they’ve done a great job of ramping up involvement. I was very impressed with their willingness to identify issues and ability to act swiftly and decisively.

(Sam Saffron) #19

General Chat, sets the stage for a much wider type of topics.

  • Introduce yourself
  • Post something funny you saw today
  • What do you think of forum platform XYZ
  • How are people abusing Discourse
  • What is the worst Discourse site out there

Now… its not that we hate fun or hate discussion:

But… pretty early on we decided that certain types of topics do not belong here. This may be open to being revisited, but ultimately is completely @codinghorror’s call.

I do not want to open an “Off Topic” section on meta … it will only end in clown tears. I am also not 100% sure that I want to open the floodgates to general “getting to know you” type of topics. It’s not that I hate these kind of topics, its just that I do not really feel the need for them here. I am already struggling to keep up with meta.

Adding large volumes of low value posting, with the goal of encouraging the community feel here, is not my top priority.

(Michael Downey) #20

If only there were a way to mute/hide categories these days… :wink: