Discourse for Collaborative R&D


(Tristan Copley Smith) #1

Hello Discourse!

I am a big fan and user (at www.community.aker.me and www.opensourcebeehives.net). I wanted to ask if you guys think Discourse is the right tool for the job below, and if so can recommend any plugins:

We’re bringing together a community of Ecologists, Designers and Engineers to collaborate on ecological conservation technology (open source).

I’ve been looking at collaboration platforms that are the right mix of intuitive and well featured, since Scientists, Engineers and Designers are very different kinds of people with different needs. I looked at some of the “Scientific research platforms” our there and they look ooooooooldschool and not user friendly. I think Discourse mixed with tools like Google Drive (docs, spreadsheets etc.) and Slack (IM) might work well.

Has anyone has conducted large scale collaborative research or design projects using Discourse, and if so, could they share their experiences? Also, any plugins you think could be worth looking into?

@codinghorror


(Michael Downey) #2

Yes. Do it. :slight_smile:

Not sure what exact experience you want, but check out my comments here:

Discourse for open source communities

Traditional open source software projects communicate a combination of mailing lists (which are increasingly seen as archaic and difficult to use) and wikis (which are notoriously difficult to navigate and a haven for spammers). Discourse allows you to take the best of both words into a unified communication platform for your community.

  • Keeping all your project communication in one place allows contributors and customers to “cross pollinate” and better understand the thinking of both groups.
  • Single sign-on means you can use Discourse with your community’s existing ID system, or with 3rd party sites like GitHub.
  • Categories allow communications about different projects, teams, and groups to be brought together into a single hub. Content can be easily moved between categories to ensure the right people are involved in the conversation.
  • Email integration allows your contributors to browse communication on the web or work completely from their inbox, keeping them in the mode that they prefer most.
  • Oneboxing allows inline expansion of links to GitHub files and pull requests, Stack Overflow answers, and other sites frequently-referenced by open source contributors.
  • Badges allow recognition of different types of contributions, and can be granted based on activities in other platforms like GitHub.
  • Wiki topics allow your community to edit documentation-style content together, and reply with follow up discussion.
  • Because all of your communication is in one place, both customers and contributors can see a holistic picture of all activity happening in your community, and you now have a single source of activity metrics to understand how your people are interacting with your project.

#3

If you’re trying to bring people together to talk about things related to the topic of your choice, of course you can use Discourse.
Discourse has multiple things in it to help you with your website.
I’ve been using two Discourse websites for a time that I know if I ever would like to make a website to discuss a certain topic, I’d put Discourse as my top option.