Codenames for post-2.0 Discourse releases

Well, it’s finally happened. We’ve worked on Discourse long enough to have ten official releases in slightly under four years! :tada:

Discourse 1.0 – Aug 26, 2014
Discourse 2.0 – May 31, 2018

Harkening to classic roman/greek era definitions of “forum” …

… we chose the list of ten Attic orators way back when to tag the releases with something kinda fun and Discourse-y.

Try to imagine this person is pressing the Reply button with his free hand:


And this is also why our staff pictures are styled as classic marble statues / busts.

Discourse is fundamentally about human communication, which funnily enough literally translates to “running to and fro”:


So we now need a new set of release codenames, which I’ll describe in a reply.



So combining these two lists handily takes us through 3.0 and even a bit beyond:

  • petroglyph 2.1
  • pictogram 2.2
  • ideogram 2.3
  • writing 2.4
  • alphabet 2.5
  • telegraph 2.6
  • telephone 2.7
  • radio 2.8
  • television 2.9
  • videotelephony 3.0
  • satellite 3.1
  • internet 3.2

To make it a bit more interesting we will be selecting specific examples of said innovation, rather than the general concept, so rather than

  • Discourse 2.1 Petroglyph
  • Discourse 2.2 Pictogram
  • Discourse 2.6 Telegraph

we will have

If anyone wants to propose specific examples for releases 2.3 - 2.5, or 2.7 - 3.2 feel free to do so :wink:


For Discourse 2.5 I propose Ugarit
as it’s the region of the Ugaritic Scripts, a better known antecedent to our modern day alphabet.


Anyone opposed to calling 2.9 Nipkow, and 3.1 Sputnik?

  • ideogram 2.3 – Maybe ‘arobase’?
  • television 2.9 – Slow-scan although Nipkow Disk is also a great choice, and Slow-scan can go to videotelephony as well (I have fond memories of poetry readings in the mid-90s with the Electronic Café in Santa Monica from the basement of a cybercafe in Paris using a PicturePhone mod I and flashing puppets that were stored in the basement…)
  • videotelephony 3.0 – PicturePhone. While I’m at it, I also remember a really funny 1996 experience with a 5 ISDN lines PictureTel (3 were used for video, and 2 for audio): we were waiting for a call and the lines started blinking. It took about a minute for all five to light up and show the picture of a corporate guy who looks at us, a bit puzzled, and goes: “Sorry, wrong number.” before he hanged up.

@codinghorror I’ve noticed that 2.3 was given a name. Has a list of names been set in stone yet for releases not yet named?

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Feel free to suggest names for future releases, following the patterns defined above.


Discourse 2.4 Calligraphy

Some notes on the history of the Latin alphabet


I don’t think that’s quite a fit … 2.4 is “writing”, so going with

Some idea of timeline:

2.1 petroglyph Bhimbetka ~30,000 years ago
2.2 pictogram La Pasiega ~15,000 years ago
2.3 ideogram Vinča ~4500 BC
2.4 writing Cuneiform ~2600 BC

Next up, alphabet is also looking clearly Greek, at 800 BC

By at least the 8th century BCE the Greeks borrowed the Phoenician alphabet and adapted it to their own language, creating in the process the first “true” alphabet, in which vowels were accorded equal status with consonants. According to Greek legends transmitted by Herodotus, the alphabet was brought from Phoenicia to Greece by Cadmos. The letters of the Greek alphabet are the same as those of the Phoenician alphabet, and both alphabets are arranged in the same order.

So let’s plan ahead for future releases :partying_face:

2.5 alphabet Greek 800 BC
2.6 telegraph Baudot 1870 AD
2.7 telephone Strowger 1891 AD
2.8 radio Audion 1906 AD
2.9 television Nipkow 1920 AD
3.1 satellite Telstar 1962 AD
3.2 videotelephony PicturePhone 1964 AD
3.3 internet Arpanet 1983 AD

The very first coded symbols – this would be ~15,000 years ago in the “pictogram” era, our previous release 2.2.


The history of the letter W



Amazingly, forum, forest, foreign, forfeit, hors d’oeuvre and thyroid all come from the same root: for meaning ‘outdoors, outside’.

  • Forum in Ancient Greece was outdoors
  • A forest is obviously outside
  • A foreign person comes from outside the borders of your country
  • To forfeit something is to lose it because of misconduct, but originally forfeit meant the misconduct itself: something outside the bounds of acceptable behaviour
  • An hors d’oeuvre is a little snack served outside of the normal meal

And these all come from the proto-Indo-European root dhwer, meaning door (door → outdoors). Your thyroid gets that name because it’s vaguely door-shaped… and -oid always means ‘shaped’, as in humanoid, android (man-shaped) and asteroid (star-shaped).