Using Discourse as a base for a Social Network? Am I crazy?

(To The Tick Llc) #1

Anyone considered using Discourse as a base for a social network?

Essentially forums probably were the first social networks, We’re looking at developing our own social buttons much like the facebook like, or twitter share. Would be really cool to integrate data from the interaction users have with our buttons around the web into the users profile.

Discourse ticks almost every other box for facebook like site.


(Luke Larris) #2

Well I guess that would be interesting. The button could start a new topic on the forum about the webpage it was clicked on.

(To The Tick Llc) #3

That’s something we are actually working on, we’re making a more ‘direct’ integration of our site with DC, DC authentication is what users will have to use to enter the the site. Looking forward to showing you guys what we have been working on.

Would be great to use this thread to explore extensions and add-ons that can be developed to turn DC into a forum/social network hybrid…that would be very powerful.

(J. Bruni) #4

I see Discourse as an octopus! :octopus:

They “squeeze through tight places” and “are among the most intelligent and behaviorally flexible of all invertebrates”! :smile: [Quotes from Octopus - Wikipedia]

Discourse’s “Octopus” arms not even started to grow… but when they did, they will embrace the whole web!

At the moment, I am strictly focused on translating to Brazilian Portuguese, but meanwhile I wonder about the possibilities, and imagine possible uses… I feel the software has so much potential… it is the missing tool to make the “quantum leap” over what we currently know as “mailing lists” and “forums” and bring effective new-reality-construction based on the forthcoming “civilized discussions” it will empower! :sagittarius:

I plan to use it a lot, making it the base for everything else at several domains. I foresee plugins, add-ons, extensions to make every imaginable and unimaginable use case possible…

So, @tothetick, you are not crazy! Or both of us are! In the future, a single “Discourse” login will be the option of choice to login at every DC site around the world!

(To The Tick Llc) #5

lol Octocourse…well it certainly is a powerful platform, we’re working on this…keep you guys posted.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #6

I recently wrote a blog post relevant to this:

I wanted to give two stumbling platforms (bbPress & IntenseDebate) a renewed common purpose. It stirred a lot of good debate but it didn’t seem to catch the attention of anyone with real pull.

The core idea would work for any modern forum platform though, and was greatly inspired by Discourse. I’m talking about something quite different, but I thought you might find it interesting.

(To The Tick Llc) #7

cheers @erlend_sh will have a read!

I wonder how complicated/difficult it would be to introduce a ‘follow’ feature into DC. If you like a particular members posts and want updates for those posts, that would be a cool feature. anyone thought about that?

(To The Tick Llc) #8


I found this interesting

Forum-powered Comments

Power charging your comments with dedicated forum backends. Now
there’s an evolution of comments if I ever saw one. When done right,
every blog post has the potential to spawn several new conversations,
branched out from the same seed. This new trend is gaining a lot of
traction, and at the forefront you’ll find Vanilla Forums and
Discourse. Here’s the kicker:

They both work great with WordPress. Each of these forum packages
offers an official WordPress plugin that lets you seamlessly replace
your default comments with a slick, forum-powered comments section.
Here are some examples: – Vanilla Penny Arcade
Vanilla – Discourse

What we would ideally love is our forum be the forum of choice for the entire niche, with blogs in our niche using us for their commenting. What would be cool is if the initial comment is placed on the blog site and then a duplicate of that comment placed on our forum (with the article) where another branch of conversation about that article can be created.

(Jeff Atwood) #9

FYI you don’t need to @ mention someone’s user name when you are replying to a single post-- just click the reply button on their post. As I did here.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #10

It’s “on the cards”. I don’t think it’s high priority though, so if your strategy depends on it you should probably look into implementing it yourself. I’m sure the devs would be happy to give you pointers if you take the initiative.

I wouldn’t want any duplication happening. I really like the way the WP-Discourse plugin works already, which simply pulls data from Discourse (via JSON I believe). When you say duplicate, did you mean something different or are we actually on the same page here?

What I’m missing is support for branching of conversations like we both seem to want. In my ideal comments area, you would have 3 sections to choose between:

  • Comments: The top comments to the article.
  • Conversations: The back-and-forth happening amongst the commenters.
  • Reactions: The 3rd party activity, i.e. Twitter, Facebook etc.

I made some mockups for it. Nevermind the traliing lines to the left, they’re just a bad first take on visualizing conversation threads. It’s just there so you can see how it’s reorganized in the 2nd mockup. Also the excerpts are just so I don’t take up too much space.

So with the above, by clicking on “Conversations” you’d get this:

(Jeff Atwood) #11

It’s a nice mockup, but that system has the same problem all threading systems have: if you don’t get in on that first conversation “thread”, which is at the top, you are screwed. Nobody scrolls down and reads stuff at the bottom, there is zero incentive to do so.

And since replies can come at any place in the tree – but statistically are far far more likely to come in that first conversation because nobody scrolls down – there’s no single, unified, coherent place to look for new replies.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #12

Although I think there are ways around that, even if that’s true, in the forum view almost everyone scrolls down to the bottom and conversations are made and continued. As long as the comments area has a “conversations” tab you can jump to, it doesn’t matter if the on-going conversations aren’t immediately obvious through the default comments view.

Another great “connecting” feature for comments would be if while writing a comment Discourse could compare my post against the ones in the thread already and tell me if anyone has already posted something related to what I’m writing. I might want to make my comment a direct reply to theirs.

(Jeff Atwood) #13