The original basic idea of the Discourse Hub
have a reserved @username across all Discourse instances, so when someone sees @username on any Discourse forum, they’ll know it is (probably) you!
… seems like kind of a bad idea in retrospect. Why?
Well, if you run your own Discourse, and your name is
@david, you probably want to be called
@david, even if some other David reserved the name in Feburary 2013 here on meta. It is your community, after all, who are we to tell you that you can’t use your own name on your Discourse?
This becomes much, much worse if you’re paying us for hosting. Now you have to pay us a monthly fee for your Discourse and you can’t be
@david on your own damn Discourse that you are paying us for?
But you know what would be useful? If, when you joined a new Discourse forum you’ve never seen before, all your common settings…
- profile avatar (if custom)
- profile background
- long non-unique name
- short unique @username
- About Me
- user preferences
… were loaded automagically into your new profile right after you registered there?
Now that’s something I think the Discourse Hub can and should do.
How would the settings get to the hub? There’d need to be a “publish” button on every Discourse profile that would talk to the hub, and when pressed, transmit all those settings up to the hub, keyed on your email address.
So the next time you log in to another Discourse forum with that email address, your settings would already be there waiting for you!
I’m sure there are other things to discuss here like:
- should some settings be private? which settings can go to the hub?
- does it make sense to key off the email?
- what if you don’t want these settings to automatically populate? (I guess you’d just never push the Publish User Settings to Discourse Hub button?)
Gravatar on Steroids
Which I think was always one of the original design intents of Discourse Hub, but we never quite got that far, or maybe we got distracted by this relatively useless idea of username uniqueness. Personally I blame the Venture Capitalists.