Using Discourse as a social media platform

Thanks for the links! You made some interesting discoveries that’ll definitely help out.

How customizable is that #plugin/#theme-component? Do you think it could allow for users to “like” and “share” posts directly from their feed? Maybe even a dedicated “reply” button? :thinking:

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TLP comes in both plugin and TC flavours.

Currently supports like and bookmark actions from topic list. For that you need to have a plugin to modify the back end, either by using the plugin flavour or adding the small “sidecar” plugin to complement the TC.

Replying would only make sense if you could see the last reply? The excerpt is as per the native discourse approach: from the OP regardless of the length of the topic.

I had thought about integrating Babble directly into the Topic List on individual Topics but that plugin is no longer supported and in any case would be very tricky, especially since, for performance reasons, the Topic Lists are currently powered by hbr templates which have minimal javascript support (helpers only?)

A major challenge there would in any case be funding: quite a sizeable piece of work initially and quite expensive to support. If a third party were to develop it it would probably have to be a subscription based product. There would likely need to be a business case.

So currently the only pragmatic solution for interaction with the discussion is to click into the topic view. I appreciate the option of an in-place interaction could be really nice.

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Maybe forums should be different from social media, as well as from strict Q&A sites? I don’t know, I’m just thinking. What if, for example, a feed is added to Stack Overflow, or discussions are allowed? I think about WP a lot. What happened to him. And do shops on it, and forums, everything. He almost stopped doing well what he started with. However, this does not prevent him from remaining popular.

Maybe forums should remain a forum, social social networks, social networks, and strict questions and answers by them. Let Wikipedia remain, I don’t think there is a desire to make a forum out of it. What happens if mix everything.

I just want to say that they are all different tools. They have different tasks, you can of course make a plane and a submarine out of a tractor, but the tractor will be a bad submarine and a bad plane. The forum (like everything else) can be remade, but it loses focus for what it was created for.


Replying to the post topic from your feed wouldn’t be possible?

Isn’t Discourse planning on creating their own implementation of Babble?

Yeah, it would need proper business funding (and a lot of it). Besides, where would you theoretically get the funding from? Investors?

They become more and more similar by the day. Forums will always remain separate, but doesn’t that limit their future?

I don’t think all forums need to be converted per se, but it would be interesting to see what happens if somebody were to build a social media network on top of Discourse. How successful would it be? Well, I guess that depends on a couple different factors… :slight_smile:


My point was the excerpt only shows the OP so it’s not possible to provide a sensible reply action if you can’t read the last reply, let alone the entire topic.

Anything is possible but within the context of how Discourse currently works and the performance trade offs this is a tricky piece of work. Definitely possible though.

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I was thinking of something in line with Twitter.

The Google+ approach might be a good compromise though.


Yeah that was my understanding. Moving even a good subset of post controls to a topic list view is far far from trivial, however. It would be the ‘ultimate’ customisation though, so there’s that! :sweat_smile:. If someone is prepared to put up the significant funding to do it you can approach us at Pavilion.


Well… :kissing: :notes:

How much would it cost? :sweat_smile:

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Some more information on that subject (which is worth taking a good look at)…

Here’s my source…

As a side note, Google+ was a social layer, not a social media network (according to Google themselves).

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One of these themes would probably serve as a great design basis. After all, they both have that little “post” button in the bottom right corner (just like Google+ from late 2015 onward), which can actually be poached separately anyway!

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This #plugin could come in handy! :eyes:

Actually, @keegan seems like a guy who could really help us out with this project, don’t you think? :grinning:


The “In-feed ads” option would work extremely well with what we’re doing!

Oh, and along with that, this would probably serve us better than the “Top” view ever could.

Also, @Justin_Vega recently submitted a feature request to Pavilion that would be a perfect fit. Make sure to go vouch for his suggestion! :clap:

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We should use the Discourse instance linked in this topic as a model. What do you think?

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Here’s another gem I found. Sharing here for future reference! :blue_heart:

I simply couldn’t resist! :grin:

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I’ve found another #theme-component that would be perfect for us to use!


I have a gut feel about a core difference between topic/forums and systems like Facebook/Twitter/Instagram:

On forums the discussion is almost always led by an OP. The person with the most vested interest to gather insight and move the conversation forward. Much like in a face to face group conversation. With more than 38% of posts, the OP on this post has ensured this topic continues to live.

The key on social networks like Facebook and Twitter is to incent a much wider participation from a larger more random community. The OP rarely is part of a viral discussion. So on those networks the algorithm is tuned to bump up topics that have a much flatter long tail of responses. They are short, pithy and meant to be controversial to gain momentum.

And the other type of topics/posts gather literally zero response. They are mean to signal and gather a passive viewership without any real discourse. The huge majority of posts are like this I think. Facebook is an archive of virtue signalling and bragging.

Have you ever seen a viral discussion on Twitter? Eventually the OP plugs a product or some SoundCloud link. It’s like a meme to do that.

If you want to build a competing social network you’ll need to adopt this interaction mode somehow. It requires an algorithm to put a discussion in front of people who would rarely ever even bother looking at something. And making sure that many respond so that the OP can just eat popcorn and watch. This is social media’s best (and of course worst) feature - getting people to talk who normally don’t say anything. I call this a “forced discourse.”


And Instagram of course. Even LinkedIn! It’s insufferable and a huge turn-off from using those platforms.

I would agree that replicating this is not desirable.


I wonder if a “relevancy algorithm” #plugin could be created?

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Of course it could. But let’s start with identifying what would be the algorithm to identify relevancy to me on a particular forum.

  1. the semantic and meta data of content I liked, posted

  2. who I am connected to in the social graph

  3. items that have a large set of likes and responses

  4. more

Then what do you prioritize? Is it the same for everyone or shift based on other factors.

And the most important thing: is it any different than just me visiting and using my own head to select what to read and respond to based on my notification settings and basic browsing?

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I’m not interested in tracking my users outside of my website.

As for the whole “do it yourself” idea, why wouldn’t you want the process to essentially be automated?

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