We’re mulling over whether we made the wrong call using ‘discourse’ in our URL. Yes the word has a relevant meaning, but in hindsight there were better and more obvious options.
There are plenty of examples of accepted uses of product names as DNS records, plenty of orgs still run their webmail at exchange.corpname.com - the big difference of course is that the users are employees, they’re told where to go, choice and interpretation or meaning aren’t a factor.
We’ve been using optimizely to A/B test alternatives in our site navigation and ‘community’, ‘forum’ and even ‘meta’ score higher than ‘discourse’. Maybe once Discourse develops a reputation beyond the community this will change. The stats we’re seeing from this test suggest that we’ve almost stunted the growth of our community by using a fancy word.
I think the question (and lesson) is to know your audience, if they’re a cerebral bunch who really really understand the use of the term, it might be an ok signpost. If you’ve any doubts whatsoever it’s probably wiser to stick to a more conventional alternative.
It’s my fault of course, as a big user of the boards at omnigroup it felt quite logical at the time. Now we have to consider a DNS change, new SSL cert and updating a whole load of WordPress database entries. Yuck.