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.”
I heard from @hellekin that NLnet NGI0 grant to add Fediverse federation support sadly did not come through. Does that mean that you will shelf your plans until the next open call, or is federation something you have in your roadmap for Discourse plugins anyway?
PS. I just posted on fediverse to NGI0 to ask if this indicates a change of direction, as a related grant to federate Gitea (who started federation impl via forgefriends) was also not honored.
I think Hashnode might be a great example of what we’re looking for here. It’s a blogging network, but its user interface is superb and might be of some interest to those who’ve been following this topic for a while now.
Discourse published a really good blog post that could definitely help us out in identifying the differences between social media and Discourse. If we want to progress any further, then we need to more or less “bridge the gap” and find a reasonable balance.
Speaking of tags, it’d be awesome if there was a #plugin that suggested various tags (relevant ones) that a user could put into their post while typing it. Not only does it generally fit well in a social media platform, it would also simply just encourage users to use tags more often. This is definitely worth looking into!
Changing “topics” to “posts” and “posts” to “replies” might be much more difficult than originally thought…
We should also look into how many tags a Discourse instance can handle without bringing it to its knees.
I totally forgot about widgets! We should definitely take advantage of them if possible.
There was a ton of discussion in this topic surrounding a feed view in Discourse. We should learn to avoid certain caveats.
Would be super to give this another try. Note that Gitea I mentioned got funding too in the meantime, and a bunch of FOSS forge federation projects are well underway to open and democratize code forges, bring them to the Fediverse (and who knows, break the dominance of Github).
This project is archived. Due to circumstances, the project as planned did not take place. This page is left as a placeholder, for transparency reasons and to perhaps inspire others to take up this work.
Somebody recently created a topic that I felt would be worth sharing here due to its relevancy towards this whole “social media” discussion.
Also, despite what I originally thought, there actually is a way to allow for users to interact with topics directly from the main feed. Despite being a major breakthrough, this companion #plugin somehow went under my radar! With some minor modifications, it could fit my needs perfectly.