Docuss: an experiment on how to embed discussions in web pages


#1

Docuss intends to be a solution for embedding discussions in web pages, to allow for massively collaborative work.

See a demo here (click an orange balloon to open the discussion panel).

I’ve put some more use cases and demos here.

Any feedback on this? Do you think such a tool would be useful? Do you know about other options for massively collaborative work? What could be built from here?


New plugin build: Discourse 2-way API Comment System
Wordpress integration by iFrame instead of sync
(Bas van Leeuwen) #2

Cool!

Feedback, unsorted, both important and trivial :smiley:

  • Animate the opening of the right-hand bar, currently it’s jarring.
  • How many topics do you expect per paragraph / script?
    • Currently you have an interface geared for many / many
    • I would consider creating one topic per paragraph instead of having the intermediate page that lists all topics
    • An overview of all things discussed on the script would be nice
  • I don’t see a log in button; you have a collapsed floating header that is non-obvious to new users; consider to remove the collapse (at least for non-logged in users).

(Christoph) #3

This is great! Howdya do that?

Am I misunderstanding the idea if I say: what you are implementing are web annotations, but only for a specific website? If not, I’d say hypothes.is already offers that functionality and probably in a better way. Except that hypothes.is is not so great at the discussion part. It’s good for annotations and a couple of follow up replies, but when a fully fledged discussion evolves, discourse would be so much better.

I’d love to see a better integration between discourse and hypothesis. How well does that fit what you are doing?


#4

@Bas, thanks a lot for your feedback.

Yes, animation would be nice.

About the overview you’re talking about, any idea how this could be done?

Having only one topic per section, as opposed to multiple topics, really depends on your use case. If you only need simple annotations for each section, then one topic is enough. If you need, in each section, full debates on specific subjects, debates that could then be turned into votes, then you might need multiple topics. I guess this could be an admin option.

The collapsable header in the right panel is a quick hack. If done properly, the web site should have a unique fixed header (with a login button) and the two panels underneath. I did try to remove the collapse, but then the browser looks like it displays two different web sites side by side. That’s why I’ve finally opted for the - not so nice, I agree - collapsable header.


#5

Thanks @tophee.

The current prototype works by putting the grabbed web site in an iframe on the left, and a Discourse instance in an iframe on the right. The Discourse instance runs a specific plugin that changes Discourse display and exchanges data (user actions) with the left iframe. There’s also an external database to store the section-topics associations.

Hypothes.is and Open Annotation sound great! I’ll have a deeper look at them.

This is how I see annotations vs. discussions for working on a document:

  • Annotations/comments:
    • Supported by many tools
    • Can be put directly inside a document → nice and easy UX
    • Suitable for a small amount of comments → ok for traditional (small teams) collaborative work
  • Discussions & votes:
    • AFAIK, only supported by a few specific tools in the field of participatory democracy
    • Can’t be put directly inside a document → problematic UX
    • Suitable for thousands of comments → ok for massively collaborative work

(Andy at Focallocal) #6

certainly an interesting approach. doesn’t seem to be set up to work on a mobile site yet. i guess the discussion topic would need to appear on the bottom half of the page.

can this be automated to create a new forum topic each time a blog post or event is created in a cms? or does code need to be dropped in each time?


(Andy at Focallocal) #7

oh, also the balloons didn’t appear in Brave browser, i had to open it in Chrome to find them


(Andy at Focallocal) #8

also;

  • is this intended to sync with existing forums or would users need to create a new forum especially for each site it’s added to?

  • how do you add the balloon’s into the areas you want them. viewing your source code i couldn’t see anything dropped in to call them to the point you wanted them. Are they set to appear on every paragraph?

  • what license are you thinking of releasing it under?


#9

@AndyatFocallocal, thanks for your comments and questions.

doesn’t seem to be set up to work on a mobile site yet.

Nope, you’re right.

can this be automated to create a new forum topic each time a blog post or event is created in a cms? or does code need to be dropped in each time?

The current prototype needs additional code in each new page added to the system. Such code could be part of the “blog post” template within the CMS. However, I’m currently working on a new version where target pages don’t need to contain additional code.

the balloons didn’t appear in Brave browser,

Good catch, I’ll have a look.

is this intended to sync with existing forums or would users need to create a new forum especially for each site it’s added to?

One forum can support multiple web sites (see my demos: all demo pages use the same Discourse forum).

how do you add the balloon’s into the areas you want them. viewing your source code i couldn’t see anything dropped in to call them to the point you wanted them. Are they set to appear on every paragraph?

In the demos, I add balloons to every header. But this should be up to the user.

what license are you thinking of releasing it under?

I didn’t think about that yet. I’m still trying to figure out what to do exactly with this experiment.


(Andy at Focallocal) #10

If you wanted to implement it into a live site to have users and other devs help develop/review it, i’m part of a community of volunteers creating projects to build a world with more peace and well-being in it. Here’s one of our projects aimed and transforming homelessness through community connection, it’s launching next month: https://brightertomorrowmap.com

You’d be welcome to join in the build and add Docuss to create a comments section and give it a test run, I’m not a big fan of the other options we’ve found so far which is why i created that post to try and find people to build a new plugin


#11

@AndyatFocallocal, I will think about it. Would you please PM me some URLs where you would like a comments section? Thanks.


(Andy at Focallocal) #12

sure, click any of the icons on the map for our homelessness project, the forum would be at the bottom of the page to give users a place to communicate with the person who posted it, and other users who know about that resource we’ve also just had a high level app developer join in and i was thinking of challenging them to integrate the forum more central to the user experience to increase collaboration. i imagine that would be something akin to a slide open user profile widget with the forum, their stats from the forum, and Trello (which we use for project management). I haven’t yet proposed it, but if you both liked it that would bring an app specialist in to look at Docuss’s mobile integration.


(Andy at Focallocal) #13

@syl i guess with your system we could create a tag at the bottom of each page when creating an event/page, which Docuss would respond to and create a forum thread.


#14

The new Docuss prototype can be found at www.docuss.org

You can now add discussions to existing web pages by creating a Docuss Link.

A Docuss Link is a short URL pointing to the target page and adding the discussions dynamically.

image


#15

Really interesting! This could be even cooler if it can be used with media content whether it be pics, gifs or video


#16

@subtenko: although I didn’t try, I think you can attach Docuss balloons to media content (in order, for example, to comment images).

Announcement: Docuss will be down today and tomorrow (Oct. 7-8) for maintenance.


(jon r) #17

How is this different from https://hypothes.is/?


#18

Answered above:


(Vincent) #19

Did you yet? :smiley:

I’d be thrilled to try it out anyway, but I can’t access the login page (500 error).


#20

Sorry @_vincent, the login issue should now be solved.

During the past month, I’ve worked with my two first “customers”, and the fact is they don’t use Docuss the way I had in mind initially. I identified two use cases:

  1. People who want to massively work on documents. This is the showcase I’ve put on www.docuss.org.
  2. People who want to integrate their own Discourse forum with their own web site, so that parts of their site are “connected” to specific Discourse tags (think a “Discuss this page” link opening a side panel).

I’ve decided to provide “use case 2” under an open source license. I’m still thinking about “use case 1”, which is a more technical offering and more complex to deliver to users (as it contains a code injection proxy).

Also, still looking for developers to join :slight_smile: