I have a Discourse instance where people tend to use the forum in quite surprising ways. At first, the forum was organized by groups-categories, where each group (reflecting an actual human group in a shared physical space) would have its own “private” category, and there was a common category where all groups would maintain a single topic to “publish” their own state.
Lately, the organization evolved under peer pressure to allow everyone to see all categories, and (ab)using mentions as a mean to force notifications. Of course in practice this does not really work because one cannot mention more than 10 users or groups in a single post.
I realized that a lot of discussions go through private messages, back-channeling categories and overriding group discussions. I’d like to find a way to expose statistics to demonstrate that this back-channeling is actually influencing the community in wrong ways, to insist on using categories limited to groups instead of pseudo-transparency that defeats the purpose of notifications and self-chosen level of engagement.
So the question is actually double:
- do you have similar experiences and how do you handle them?
- did you come up with special requests to gather such statistics in a useful way?