Tools to "aggregate" many Discourse forums?


(Michael Downey) #1
  • The good news: Discourse is popular, perhaps the fastest-growing forum software out there.
  • The bad news: I now have a ton of Discourse forums that I need to keep tabs on, on a most-daily basis.

Does anyone else struggle with this information management challenge?

  1. At one point there was a working Chrome extension called “Discourse Forum Notifications” that helped (a little bit), but it was last updated 13 months ago, and doesn’t seem to work any more.

  2. And the “official” Android app allows multiple forums, I think, but that doesn’t really help me with quickly understanding what kind of “roll up” of new/important stuff (and/or notifications) I should be paying attention to, either.


Are there any other tools out there to help with a high-level view of multiple Discourse forums? Has anyone been thinking about creating one?


What would it take to replace Facebook with Discourse?
(Jay Pfaffman) #2

I’m working on a Discourse management tool that will help with tasks like installation, upgrades, and plugins.

What kind of information do you want aggregated?


(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #3

Isn’t the summary email digest exactly this?

A weekly magazine with the top discussions you missed.


(Michael Downey) #4

I’m more thinking about the “typical user” experience, reading, private messages, unread/new notifications, etc.

Basically it’d be great if I didn’t have to keep 10+ tabs open every day and/or deal with stuff coming in through email. I’m not entirely sure what this would look like visually, but kind of like a “Multiple Discourse Dashboard for Readers” …

@Falco, in a way it’s like the summary email. But that doesn’t come frequently enough (even daily), and my email inbox is already a nightmare. :slight_smile:


(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #5

What about


(Michael Downey) #6

This is on the right track; I’ll take a look. :crossed_fingers:

But the cynic in me fears it’s just moving the problem to a different window. Not unlike my current fight with proliferation of Slack teams.

With Slack, at least, I’m able to run everything through one IRCcloud client/instance, which aggregates all the notifications & channels in a single tab and/or standalone app. (As opposed to multiple tabs, and/or the Electron model, which is basically tabs rendered vertically with system resources increasing as the team/forum count grows…)


(Joe Buhlig) #7

I use the Discourse iOS app. Let’s me drop all of them into one place and quickly see new, unread, and notification counts. That makes it a lot easier to keep tabs or quickly check a bunch of them when I have a free minute.


(Michael Downey) #8

Yeah, the mobile app model is on the right track … although I’m hoping for something desktop based. If I could have a single tab or window like that mobile-app view, and then click through (and go back to the master multi-forum list), it would be pretty sweet.

(I suppose I could use a Chromebook and run the Android app, though, if it’s compatible!)


(Blu McCormick) #9

Michael,

I am very interested in how to integrate forums with discourse status quo more from the standpoint of pooling knowledge and linking communities that administrating them from one platform. Have you come across anything interesting along these lines?

For example, I wonder if it’s possible to feed multiple topics’ comments into the one linked WordPress blog. That is one way, for example, that communities can contribute knowledge to the one blog/topic across forums. A guest blogger’s blog linked to your forum as a topic for people to reply to is doable but it doesn’t give that linked/between communities feel.

A desktop app similar to the mobile app would be awesome. I do use the mobile app to switch between discourse meta and my forum currently.


(Michael Downey) #10

I haven’t seen this done, but it ought to be possible with either some combination of the Discourse WordPress comments plugin, and/or RSS feeds … A lot can be done in that direction. See https://digitalprinciples.org/community/ for an example from one of the sites I’ve worked on. It’s a 1-to-1 ratio of sites to forum, but could also feed in multiple forums in a similar way.


(Blu McCormick) #11

Cool. Thanks, Michael. I will check it out and get back to you.


(Jay Pfaffman) #12

It’s possible to configure one Discourse instance as the SSO master and a set of other ones as SSO slave/clients.

I don’t pretend to know about SEO, but my understanding that duplicate content in multiple places is a no-no.


(Tobias Eigen) #13

Took me a while to find this mighty old topic, but @etewiah’s Offcourse app might be interesting to look at for this. It provided, if I recall correctly, an aggregator interface for discourse. I have no idea where he is these days and his sites are offline (hope you’re well, my brother!) but the git repo is available if anyone wants to try to fork it and get it going again.


(Christoph) #14

I would love to be able to copy over my site settings from another one of my discourse instances when setting up a new one. Perhaps even keep certain settings in sync between instances.


(Michael Downey) #15

Quite an interesting concept. I think it’d be pretty important that it weren’t necessary to install any plugins on the server side to make this work, as everyone would have their own set of existing forums they’d want to roll up. And we don’t always have a say on what the admin installs. :slight_smile:


(Jeff Atwood) #16

Didn’t Slack deprecate their IRC support?


(Michael Downey) #17

Yes, but IRCcloud (now) has an API-based integration that allows me to use their client to interface with Slack teams workspaces that have enabled the “app”.

Edit: They are apparently using the new/work-in-progress IRCv3 standard to do this in between Slack and their client, so it’s a nice preview to demonstrate that IRC will be able to accommodate all the bells and whistles of slack, eventually.


(Jay Pfaffman) #18

Done.


(Christoph) #19

Whaat? :astonished: How did you do that so fast?

Will try it next time I setup a site. I just realized, though, that while it’s good to copy site settings, the real pain is in text content customizations…


(Jay Pfaffman) #20

I’m just that good! (unless you check the dates of the repo in github).

That does sound painful. I’m generally much too lazy to change those, so I’ve never bothered. I don’t know what that API interface looks like or an easy way to download all of them, but that’s because I haven’t looked.