How would Discourse be a better community solution than an FB group?


(Neil Cocker) #1

Obviously the functionality and UX is better here, but in terms of keeping people engaged, getting them coming back etc etc, which is what FB does very well (partly because 90% of people hang out there anyway).

I run an FB group attached to a community. It generates a huge amount of useful info every day which gets lost because it’s not searchable. And some don’t like using their FB account because it’s a very personal thing to some.

We experimented with a Ning, but it died a quick, painful death. Nobody ever used it, mainly because they actively had to come to a separate location each day (whereas they normally go to FB ten times a day anyway), even with stuff like OAuth.

Any ideas?


(F. Randall Farmer) #2

This is a key point. I know why I think this is so - but we’re very interested in what you’ve learned - why do you think the FB integration works so well for your community? What specific features matter the most?


(Neil Cocker) #3

I think it’s primarily that people tend to log in to FB several times a day anyway, so it’s easy for them to be notified of new threads, replies, files etc.

Other than that, I can’t put my finger on any other element on which Discourse (or indeed many other forum software options) couldn’t beat it hands down for functionality.

I’d love to have forum embedded into CardiffStart.com, but I fear that it just wouldn’t be used a fraction as much, even though we’re crying out for a better solution than FB, and one where the knowledge generated isn’t just effectively lost after it drops off the bottom of the page.


(Neil Cocker) #4

Oh, and to answer your question - factors that matter the most.

Engagement.
Searchability.

I think that’s it.

FB is brilliant at one, and sucks at the other.


(Chris Hanel) #5

Your question speaks directly to something I had been brainstorming and crunching hard working out some ideas on, right up until I heard about Discourse and said “Oh, someone beat me to it.”

I’m a member of several online communities, almost all of which are groups of creatives who congregate to serve as their own support network. Share ideas, advice, brainstorm, ask questions, find solutions to problems that everyone else has had at one point or another.

The problem that exists almost universally across all of those communities is that whether they’re a Facebook group, message board, or email list, the format exists to facilitate communication. Which is great! They’re a fine tool for doing so.

The problem, however, lies in what happens after that conversation is over. A lot of GREAT information has been shared, but it still exists in the format of a conversation. Coming to this community after the fact, or trying to go back and find something weeks later, you’re either being completely unable to locate the information (such as being on a FB group or on an email list), or using wildly uneven search tools to locate information in a sea of content that is 95% irrelevant to you because it only existed as part of casual dialogue that never needed to be archived for an outside observer.

If you look at the About page for Discourse, it discusses the goals of Stack Exchange and how it attempts to address this issue head on by minimizing the conversation and getting straight to the info you care about at that moment, but obviously, it doesn’t support building a community because there’s a complete inability to interact normally.

So, Problem: “How can the valuable information that naturally arises out of a community stay visible and navigable once the conversation is over?”

For me, that’s where I see the value in Discourse, and why I’m scrambling to learn what I need to in order to start developing plugins for some of the concepts I still have that would sit nicely on a system like this. :slight_smile:


(sparr) #6

I would expect to see Discourse plugins that connect to Facebook and G+ apps so that Discourse notifications can appear to you on those sites if you want them to. I prefer to get email notifications.


(Igor Polyakov) #7

I don’t even go to the Facebook group for my own conlang, lol. So it depends, some people like me don’t like FB, but would go to a neutral page.


(Don Sassi) #8

Is this technically possible?


(sparr) #9

Certainly. Facebook apps (like games) can put notifications into your FB notification list (and even trigger emails from Facebook to you, if you want).