We have an enterprise pilot deployment of Discourse with a handful of sites. A significant challenge is that the current Discourse user base of several hundred people doesn’t have an easy means to draw people into discussions from the thousands of people in the overall company.
###Sending Individual Invites via Built-in Invite Feature is Not the Answer
We discourage people from sending invites to Discourse via the built-in invite feature because that feature results in a username that is not aligned with our standards.
More importantly, even if the result of the invite via email feature was more aligned with our needs, it still forces a person to stop authoring a post and do something else that includes manually entering someone’s email address.
###@ Mention Incorporates LDAP Results?
It would be awesome in our enterprise context to have @ mention perform a search against our corporate LDAP service so that current Discourse users could more easily reference anyone in the company.
Since many users in LDAP won’t already be joined to the Discourse site, the @ mention method would be a simple means by which other people could be drawn into both the conversation and the site.
I’d see the @ mention listing both already signed up users and users from the broader directory.
###Invite to Topic Too?
I suppose a similar enhance could be applied to the “Invite” feature on topics.
###What About the Backend of the Invite?
Even if augmenting the lists with users from LDAP was feasible, there’s still the issue of what the rest of the invite workflow would look like. Again, in our case, the auto assigned username from the current invite via email workflow does not work for us given that the username is not compatible with our standards.
At least as an initial UX, I’d be satisfied if the invite email led the user back to the topic, but did not auto generate an account. As long as our sites make it clear how to join, the user could opt to sign up.
Once we hook our sites into enterprise LDAP or SSO, that process would become even easier in that clicking “Login” would be a pretty simple affair and would entail much, if any, data entry.
###Alternative - Bulk Load of Staged Accounts?
Perhaps an alternative is to bulk load users as inactive (staged?) so that they aren’t bothered by digests and other automated notifications, but their username/full name could be on the radar of @ mentions and other username/full name based lookups.
However, staged users aren’t mentionable, are they?
In any event, this solution just seems wrong in that there’s no real value in attempting to keep the large user base reflected in each Discourse site.
Has this feature come up?
What do people think about UX-wise?
Would it be tough to implement?