Discourse central hub questions


(Kuba) #1
  1. Where can I get the API key for global nicknames from discourse.org?

  2. Is the Discourse Hub service open-source? It seems to me it’s not in GitHub - discourse/discourse: A platform for community discussion. Free, open, simple..

  3. Can I run my own Discourse Hub service?


(Jeff Atwood) #2
  1. I don’t think this is ready yet @neil?

  2. No, it’s not open source since it is only intended to run on discourse.org servers as a public, global username registry service to all Discourse forum instances.

  3. I don’t think that makes sense. One of the primary roles for the Discourse Hub at this point is to be “Gravatar on steroids”, that is, a centralized place for all your forum subscriptions. So this is like saying “I want to run my own Gravatar service”. OK, but if there are dozens of different gravatar services all calling themselves Gravatar, doesn’t that kind of defeat the point?

How is Discourse going to make money?
(Kuba) #3

I think there are two valid reasons to run the Discourse Hub service:

  • testing/development
  • when you have a multiple-forum service (e.g. Stack Exchange), possibly not related to the “global” namespace (e.g. private), but you still want your users to have a single login for all your forums

Although I can see why you wouldn’t take the second reason – the Discourse Hub is meant to be global. But IMO all frequent nicknames will be quickly registered, which will make it difficult to transfer another forums to Discourse.

(AstonJ) #4

Is this this same as Single Sign On?

If so yes I would want to have my own SSO service so that if someone joins one of my forums they can login to them all. Will that be possible without my users having to register (or their details being passed to) a third party site/service?

A project called Zoints tried to be the ‘mother’ of all forums a few years ago - any forum wishing to join the Zoints network effectively meant the users of that forum could log into any other Zoints forum. They tried to lure forum admins to join them by providing things like SEO hacks as part of the deal. They quickly found that forum admins do not want to give away userbases that they have worked very hard to build up over the years, and so it was shunned almost unanimously by the admin community and flopped.

If the ‘Discourse Hub’ will mean that the users of a forum taking part can then browse Discourse forum categories and then log in to what is essentially a competing forum, then you will probably only attract ‘new’ forums (like Zoints did) - because established forums are, understandably, very protective of their userbase.

(Valts) #5

As I understand it, the Discourse Hub service is an opt-out thing. You can disable it when you install your discourse. Couple that with custom authentication plugin and there you have it!

(Jeff Atwood) #6

No, it is not single sign on any more than Gravatar is single sign on.

(AstonJ) #7

I’m sorry but I don’t see how it is similar to Gravatar - that is a service for the end user - there isn’t a middleman (i.e forum admins).

I have to admit this Discourse Hub thing concerns me greatly. I see no use for it for an established admin (why would they want to share their memberbase?). Zoints tried it - it didn’t go down well at all. Sorry.

(Neil Lalonde) #8

The Discourse Hub API isn’t published yet as it will probably change a bit as we get to Discourse v1.0. But if you look at the Discourse code in lib/mothership.rb, you can see how the api is being used.

I want to get a sandbox Discourse Hub setup for development, or maybe something that runs locally on development machines.

(Jeff Atwood) #9

You misunderstand, there is no sharing of users.

The username registry at discourse.org – which you can opt out of by flipping a Boolean in your site config – just means that when you type @codinghorror on forum.foo.com, there is a very high probability that it is the same @codinghorror as on forum.bar.com. Assuming both are Discourse forums obviously…

It is a username registry just like Gravatar is an avatar registry. Does gravatar own all the emails of your users? No.

(skomorokh) #10

As a forward-looking platform, do you forsee Discourse being one of the first to offer federation via something akin to the Salmon Protocol?

(AstonJ) #11

Does it collect and store the emails of users?

What is the purpose of that? If someone signs up to one of my sites, someone from another (most likely a competing) site can @ them and say ‘hey come over here’ - basically advertise the other forum?

Gravatar doesn’t own anything about any of my users because it has nothing to do with me or my site - users sign up to Gravatar directly, not sign up to my site and I pass their details on.

Sorry if I’m being negative btw - but I have to think about what’s best for my sites - not someone else’s.

(Jeff Atwood) #12

The purpose is exactly what I said: so when I type @AstonJ on meta.discourse.org I can be reasonably sure I am talking to the same @AstonJ that I talked to on forum.foo.com. That is all. There is nothing more. It is a username registry keyed by email in exactly the same way Gravatar is an avatar registry keyed by email.

If you do not wish to have this functionality, simply change one value in your forum settings from True to False. It is that simple.

(AstonJ) #13

Maybe I am over-reacting, but I still don’t get it Jeff.

Why would anyone care that the username is the same on two completely separate sites? Most people treat each site as a separate entity.

Forum admins generally don’t want to share anything about their users with other sites - most have rules where competing forums are not allowed to be ‘advertised’. Many will not want to give their users details to a parent registry either - you could use the info to see which niches are popular and start your own competing site by (or share that with your affiliates or partners) and then go on to email my users. Or even use the details of my users to promote your own goods or services.

I just don’t see any benefit for a forum admin (especially one with an established site), but lots for you.

I know you say you can just turn it off - but the fact that you want the user details of other people’s forums just makes me highly suspicious.

Once again I am very sorry for being negative, but this parent database of users harvested from everyone else’s forums seems to go against what’s in the best interest of forum admins and their forums.

(Bill Ayakatubby) #14

I think you’re over-complicating the Discourse Hub concept. The intent, I believe, is to provide some consistency when it comes to identity on a Discourse forum–not to act as a SSO provider or to “own” any one forum’s membership list. Here’s my understanding of what it currently does:

I register on meta.discourse.org, which is (obviously) a Discourse instance linked to the Discourse Hub. Now the Discourse Hub has associated my email address with my chosen forum username (BhaelOchon).

You go to forum.foo.com, which is a Discourse instance linked to the Discourse Hub. You try to register there with your email address but my forum username. The Discourse Hub should say, “Nay nay! This username has already been claimed by someone else.”

However, forum.bar.com is a Discourse instance that is not linked to the Discourse Hub. Either of us could go there and claim the username BhaelOchon with whatever email address we wanted.

I believe there are also plans in the works to have a “global profile” that lists all of your Discourse Hub-connected forum memberships, as well as possibly consolidating notifications from them all.

(AstonJ) #15

But why should Discourse, you or I care what is going on on someone else’s site? It’s none of our business.

That’s what worries me! That’s what Zoints was and it didn’t go down well with the forum admin community at all.

I don’t appreciate a forum software platform ‘wanting’ my users :confused: and almost all the forum admins I know would feel the same. The only ones that would be keen to be part of such a system are those that can gain members from the bigger more established forums.

(Jason) #16

Discourse doesn’t care about what’s going on on your site, and it doesn’t want your users on other forums. It just makes it so people can’t steal your username and use it elsewhere.

Personally I have a fairly unique name I use in a large number of (not “jpeg” like I’m using here) and I would be fairly upset if someone started posting on a forum using that name. People who know me from other websites would assume it’s me when in reality it is some other person who likely just for whatever reason decided to steal my name (even if accidentally, not knowing I use it).

All the Discourse Hub does is associate the username with a specific email address so that it can only be claimed by someone using that email address and gives you a user page that will optionally list the various Discourse forums that you have an account registered with your username (the other thing about shared notifications was just a feature request, no dev has said anything about that happening). Note that I said forums where you have an account resistered, it’s not a SSO for all Discourse forums but rather just restricts certain usernames to a single email address when creating an account on a forum.

If you don’t want people to have their username protected on other Discourse forums then you can just opt-out of the Discourse Hub. Though I do have some concerns about how migration would work unless opt-out is default in that case, like what happens if there’s a jpeg on your forum and I already have the name registered with the Discourse Hub?

(AstonJ) #17

But why would Discourse or any admin care what’s going on, or who’s registered at another site?

In all my years of running forums that has never been a problem. Locations, avatars, sigs usually accompany a user name on most forums, so to be a case of mistaken identity all would probably need to match.

How would anyone know they are on another Discourse site anyway? My members know we have a forum - they don’t necessarily know (or care) who developed it, and most admins will have little interest in promoting other forums indirectly via a ‘forum-ring’.

(Peter Stoinov) #18

Well @AstonJ, this avatar of yours http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/03af361cc843bc56e95cb6c406d06f80.png is not hosted on this particular site. Actually, discourse.com doesn’t even have a copy of it - it just provides you with a means to use already uploaded picture by YOU on some OTHER, third-party, website. And it only uses it, if YOU choose so by enabling the setting on YOUR profile. If you do not, it automatically generates a random pattern to identify you. Or it will let you upload something of your choosing in the (near) future.

Now replace avatar and picture with “username”. This is what discourse.com is doing. You will be free to choose to use centralized store with usernames for your forum, so your users will be able to login and use some benefits, like trust and profile info. Or you could, as @codinghorror said, disable it, and let your users register anew with whatever username they want.

(Jeff Atwood) #19

OK, so easy solution, on your Discourse forum turn the “enforce global username uniqueness” option from the default of True, to False. This is in no way required. It is just a courtesy for users as @jpeg (IF THAT IS EVEN YOUR REAL NAAAME) noted.

(Bill Ayakatubby) #20

I understand that you have some privacy concerns, and I’m not trying to demean them; but I think you’re being alarmist about this. As has been stated more than once in this thread and others, there is a choice with every installation of Discourse to disable Discourse Hub integration. If you prefer to not have your forum installation talk to the Discourse Hub, then disable the function.

[quote=“AstonJ, post:13, topic:2544”]Why would anyone care that the username is the same on two completely separate sites? Most people treat each site as a separate entity.

Forum admins generally don’t want to share anything about their users with other sites - most have rules where competing forums are not allowed to be ‘advertised’. Many will not want to give their users details to a parent registry either - you could use the info to see which niches are popular and start your own competing site by (or share that with your affiliates or partners) and then go on to email my users. Or even use the details of my users to promote your own goods or services.[/quote]

I like my username. I chose it purposefully. I’ve established a reputation associated with my username. You might not recognize it, but someone else will. I want them to be reasonably certain that they know who they’re talking to when they’re talking to @BhaelOchon.

The only things that are shared with the Discourse Hub are email address and username. Not demographic information, not what your site is about, nothing. Email address and username. There is no advertisement of other forums. There is simply a username registry keyed by email address.

Neither of those is the point. Not advertising the Discourse-ness, not promoting other forums. As I said in a previous reply, the Discourse Hub has two purposes:

  1. To enable me to claim my preferred username on all Discourse Hub-connected installations. It is not an SSO service. I still have to register at each forum individually.

  2. To allow me to see all of the Discourse Hub-connected installations to which I belong. There is no master list. There is no forum ring. There is no sniping of users from “competing” forums.

Finally: If you’re really so concerned about it–and keep in mind, I’m not saying you don’t have a right to be–then dont’ use Discourse. Or, you know, offer some constructive feedback, such as, “Please provide a privacy policy for the mothership that outlines the ways in which my data may be used.”