Coming here as someone who runs a community on Circle and is looking for an alternative…
Because Circle has become extremely cluttered with features I don’t use (events, video streaming, courses, etc…). My community is around creative writing, so the focus is on long-form text discussions.
I’ve spent a couple of hours looking into Discourse and I can say that I’m very intimidated by it. The curve to get into it looks huge!
Maybe that’s the reason that Discourse is not top-of-mind when thinking about communities for modern “makers”.
You can just avoid them, which is fine. The problem is that they have lost focus on the core features to have actual discussions (text editor, text posts, threads, etc…). They feel half-baked as they have clearly spread too thin in their effort to be “all-in-one”.
I guess Discourse is better suited for communities that are more “textual”. That is, people who like to write a lot.
Thanks! Doesn’t seem to be about writing per se, but rather this concept of Interactive Fiction which appears to be a text-based game of sorts. Interesting stuff.
As someone with plenty of github and linux experience, it was extremely easy to set up. I can see how intimidating it could be if you’ve never used a command line before and you went the self-hosted route.
Compare it to discord and slack where the barrier to entry is a few clicks and you have a new server up and running.
I agree very much with @Jagster with his “Maintaining is the easiest part, after installing.”.
I installed Discourse when I had never used Linux in my life. I only had to grasp concepts that were unknown to me, like renting a server, connecting via SSH, how to register and use an email provider…
And honestly, it was no big deal. It was even kinda fun, I learned a lot of things that helped me in my everyday life as a computer user and Discourser user/admin.
Plus, #support is an amazing place. There is a lot of free help both from the developers, even for people who are not official customers, and other Discourse admins/users that have a lot of knowledge to share.
But for the tasks you mention, including maintaining the forum, if you are willing to pay someone (since you mention that you’d like to see a “starter” plan) to take care of your needs cheaper, there are several ways:
1-click install from several self-hosting providers like Digital Ocean (but that falls under #unsupported-install
Post on #marketplace to find someone that will take care of the steps you need on a self-hosted server. There are a lot of people here, including myself, that are happy to take various gigs or long-term work.
tbh, I log to the server once in a lifetime every 3-4 months (and usually that has to do with removing/adding a plugin)
I was also quite surprised by this. The default Discourse theme is the best forum theme I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen many forums, even from the phpBB era). And personally, I dislike pretty much every custom theme (unless it’s an expensive one), as they usually have much more noise or questionable design choices.
Don’t intend to undermine @renegdn’s expertise, just wanted to share my own perspective, and will definitely be eager to hear more details.
Dashboard.literatecomputing.com, which I will soon try to make a “big” announcement about, takes away most of the hassle (but for a limited time, if you create an account and join the free trial group you can try it for free). It does the installation and then handles rebuilds, plugin management, and also handles tricky things like doing postgres upgrades (for both 1- and 2-container installations).