Exploring ways to partition a forum

My question is more exploratory than well structured — so apologies in advance for the poor framing.  :pray:

I admin a site for folk who model energy systems transitions and who prefer to work with open source tools and open data:

Our user base is currently just over 1200 and the site has been up since January 2017. Originally self‑hosted, the site now runs on paid hosting at Communiteq.

More latterly, specific modeling projects have been using the forum for support — a practice that turns out to be double‑edged. Those projects present on the forum may gain some implied community endorsement — with the converse also true. Then the traffic associated with providing detailed support can swamp more nuanced discussions within the community about broader topics of concern (say metadata standards as one example) — which are now lost in the frenzy over bugs and features and broken packages and faulty datasets.

So we probably need to partition the core activities of the community from the churn of this equally essential project support.

My first thought was create a second forum for these support activities. So is it possible for two forums to share the one database of registered users? Those two forums would have unique and different URLs but with registration and approval processes managed through the primary site alone.

Another thought is to somehow use Categories on the existing site to achieve a similar outcome. With users needing to opt in to those categories covering software support.

Comments and suggestions welcome!.

Finally, more on the kind of modeling frameworks being developed within our community:

You can configure the original site as a DiscourseConnect server and have the other site use DiscourseConnect to authenticate against it.


@pfaffman Thanks. I just scanned the DiscourseConnect material. Our screening processes are thorough, so compromised email accounts should not be an issue. R

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This is useful, since then a user can stay on the same site and just customize the parts of the community they are working/interested in. :+1:


@maiki Thanks. Another albeit secondary consideration is that of splitting site maintenance overheads and responsibilities. Possibly cleaner with two separate sites in this hypothetical. Again, just thinking out loud. R