Unfortunately I had to pull the plug

(Gunnar Helliesen) #73

Just to provide a counter-point, for any future readers of this thread:

When we moved our community to Discourse in November of 2016, we had ~110,000 registered users and close to 2 million posts. The old forum was at that point exactly 20 years old, and had been running on the same home-grown software the whole time (with incremental fixes as we went along, of course).

Our community is one of Jaguar car enthusiasts. The type that will argue for months over the correct color of the sticker inside the factory tool kit bag for a 1961 E-Type OTS. You know, people who care about the important things in life.

Needless to say, the differences between our 20 year old cottage industry forum software and Discourse were dramatic. Of course we had complaints, and yes, contributions slowed for a while (we’re based on voluntary contributions, not ads). But it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

One of the things we did was to set up a “demo” Discourse site in parallel with the old site, and import about a month’s worth of traffic into it, so it didn’t look too much like an empty mockup. Then we invited our users to log on to the demo site, play around with it, and give us feedback. I think that step alone saved us a lot of misery.

We also had a volunteer (now one of our moderators) play around with Discourse before we went live, and then be on hand to answer questions from those who just couldn’t figure out how to use the new software. Lo and behold, after a few months, the complaints had ceased and the contributions were back up to their old level.

Of course, your community could be very different from mine, I have no idea. I’m just saying that it is possible to get a community of mostly grumpy old men, all of whom are averse to change, and most of whom wouldn’t know the difference between a modem and a modal dialog box, to get comfortable with Discourse. In fact, I think now they enjoy it. Not only that, but we’re growing again as a community, after having stagnated for years.

So, it is possible to have a successful transition to Discourse, but it may require some planning. Also, getting feedback from the community before making the plunge can be crucial.

Gunnar

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(Evgeny) #74

I will try to write using the translator. IMHO, it’s not even in the technical details. The number of clicks when tsetirovanii there, I think this stuff. The main thing is that people are very difficult to rebuild. We in Russia have a question and answer site https://otvet.mail.ru/ is not even a Q & A site, but it is more used for communication. He is terrible. But people do not want to change anything. They will “continue to eat cactus, cry, but continue to eat” and remain on the old software, which is absolutely not convenient.

202570365_1302920a025a3e5f4bd119da7fea4ef2_800

This is inconvenient, but people will still be there. This is what I encountered. Apparently we need more time and more efforts to promote Duscourse, so that more users would understand the obvious things.

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(Jeff Atwood) #75

I really do feel this was the most technically actionable of the issues raised. It’s too bad we couldn’t help you drill into this bit. It’s surely incredibly frustrating if you keep encountering errors as you use the site every day.

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(Blumiere) #76

Even if pagination is against the intended design of Discourse, it would be appreciated for many I think to have a means of easily navigating through very large threads or digesting them in more than one sitting. The post scrollbar is convenient for most threads but post numbers and dates become indecipherable noise in very large threads. “Page 75” is a lot more useful than “Post 1,512”. Introducing post units somehow in very large threads would help a lot with navigation and mental bookmarking.

1 Like
(Jeff Atwood) #77

So press the # key and jump to any post number (or time) you want…

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(Alan Tan) #78

Page 75 and Post 1,512 doesn’t provide any useful information actually. On the scrollbar, we provide a close estimate of the date for the nearest post which I think is much more valuable when scrolling through a topic.

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#79

I would like to say au contraire! Imo having someone say just look 2 pages back or the answer is on page 72, the third or fourth post is a misleading advice, since most of the paginated sites and forums will let the user customize how many posts per page are shown.

2 pages back @ 100 posts per page is totally not the same as 2 pages back when having 20.

I am 100% in favor of saying “post 6666” which can be interpreted as exactly/specifically that one post no matter what pagination or lack thereof is used. I have met this these stupid “situations” so many times (eg. on xda, snbforums, or ahk boards) and having in discourse only a single way to address the posts feels like a very big improvement.

The sidebar on the … side… helps with this navigation even more, as it’s so easy to search for the post i desire.

(i did give this advice, although maybe in a different form to multiple persons arguing that having infinite scroll is a stupid and bad idea, after asking them to look 2 a few pages back for something – i always use the highest number of posts per page, while most people don’t even know there’s a setting for that)

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(Stephen) #80

I’ve been following this topic for days. Each time I return Discourse uses my read progress and brings me back to the post I last read. I can’t imagine anything easier that “takes care of it for you”.

The great news is that if the team finds something even more intuitive, they’ll probably implement it.

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#82

Unfortunately I have been in the same boat. I had an old community which started in 1999. Started with BBForum software, then migrated to Vbulletin till it became too big to upgrade in a timely matter.

The Discourse team was incredible in their help of converting the forum from Vbulletin to Discourse. But once running, older forum users easily got annoyed, despite us pointing out the useful features of the software.

Even worse, revenue declined terribly, only 30% of ad revenue was left after the migration.

For a new community I would not hesitate to use Discourse, for an old community you should carefully consider whether Discourse would be a good fit.

Many people simply don’t like change and a forum is just a hobby for them, so they don’t want to spent much energy on learning new things. Others will embrace Discourse and never switch to anything else.

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(Bart) #83

I would be very interested to have a separate conversation about this, because I noticed the exact same thing. I have two websites, one Discourse and one WordPress. The RPM of my Discourse is also only 30% of what I see on WordPress. I’m not saying this is Discourse’s fault, but I’d like to look a little deeper into this with other Discourse admins, figure out which factors contribute to this, and see if we can find ways to improve that.

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(Jeff Atwood) #84

Perhaps @neil can ping you about this? We are looking for sites to go in depth on this so we understand it.

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#85

I’ve recently sold the site, so I can’t help much anymore. But I think it’s the combination of infinite scroll and the limited number of ad spots in the ad plugins.

With Vbulletin I knew all code pretty much by heart (as I know the infamous PHP/MySQL combination well). Discourse, being Ruby and Ember, appeared to be a too steep learning curve to get it right myself. I hope for OP (and others) that the team finds ways to increase revenue for everyone…

#86

Could sidebars be marked with 4 divisions, no numbers, just a visual cue so people can see roughly where 25%, 50% is, especially on a topic that’s into the high thousands?

Or would this not be possible?

(Stephen) #87

I’m sure you could do something with CSS if you really wanted to add it to your site. I don’t think it would make a lot of sense for the majority of communities, because the percentage along the bar doesn’t necessarily translate to anything.

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#88

I think we can do better than that if we’re going to start adding things to the timeline across all of Discourse.

Not a bad idea, to be clear, just a low bar if we’re going to be doing timeline improvements.

(Mariano Rodriguez) #89

I migrated from SMF to Discourse, I did had an ad revenue decline (and visits). But currently, after almost a year I’d say I’ve recovered all my revenue, my community is more active, specially for the improved performance on mobile.

I did the migration between February and March 2018, when the steep decline shows. From there, you can see an upward trend that hasn’t stopped.

The hardest part was the reindexing of all the topics back into Google.

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#90

I can understand why would you want that? The (is it called timeline? i remember there was a “nomenclature” post somewhere, but i lost it :frowning:) timeline is very easily usable right now. nothing is loaded as long as you keep it clicked (no needless resource usage), you have the back button easily reachable You have the date (in case someone says “March 1989”) Everything feels really nice and “at its place”. Adding the 25% markers would bring unnecessary noise.

Btw, @ staff, why did the “Back” button disappear at the end?

#91

I don’t, apologies for not making that clearer, I was just wondering if 3 markings on the bar would be an easy way to make it feel more navigable for some people. It’s not a personal request though.

#92

Nah, it’s my fault here, shouldn’t have said that YOU want it, i was talking generally, just that i used the bad addressing.

#93

The bigger problem is that if they were percentage based, the posts they took you to would constantly change. But they look like static references.

1 Like