Visual diagraming to add visual dimension to Conversations?


(Diogocsc) #1

I’ve been finding that many people these days prefer visual communication, and I was just about starting to go and write another text-based topic when it suddenly popped…

How great would it be if I could represent what I’m trying to say through a flowchart ?
(In particular, I’m trying to go and recommend specific software according to context, while wanting to have a discussion around it, to be able to address more contexts).

For flowcharts I found http://flowchart.js.org/ and there are probably more out there…
What do you think about this library? Any other that you consider better for this? Would you find value on having it integrated in discourse?

What kind of visual representations could be used to improve conversations?
Have you ever thought of this or think that something like this could bring value for you or someone you know?


(Jay Pfaffman) #2

How great would it be if people understood flow charts? :slight_smile:

If you’re someone who understands flow charts, you could probably write a plugin to do this. Easier would be to use such a tool that supported oneboxes correctly and people could just paste in a URL.

But I’m so old-school I mostly don’t even want pictures.


(Andrew Waugh) #3

It would be great as a way to represent troubleshooting flowcharts on our site, but somehow… I have trouble imagining more than a few of my user base mastering the creation of them.

But they look cool as all get out!


(Diogocsc) #4

What makes you consider “people” might not ?

Might be an interesting project actually. I just don’t know I have the time to go into it rigth now
I jumped to Rails from Outsystems, and only now I’m getting back on Rails while flirting Meteor, so it may take some time to actually start working on something like this.

What skills would you say are required to do something like this?

When I read all this, i feel happy for addressing the need of feedback and about knowing self-entitled "old-school"ers who don’t want pictures actually care enough for those who might and give some feedback on this. :slight_smile:


(Jay Pfaffman) #5

Since 1987 I have taught people to use computers in schools. I have a PhD in instructional technology and taught graduate courses about technology to teachers for close to a decade. Not many of those people know about–or want to know about–flow charts. I think that those people are in the majority in most Discourse communities. That’s waht makes me consider “people” might not.

And as someone who has more than once been misguided enough to try to teach Normal People how to use LaTeX, it’s really hard for me to imagine those people willing to learn to use a text-based tool that builds flow charts. It would be cool as hell if you could, though. :slight_smile:

If you want to see what’s involved in developing a plugin, check out this beginners’s guide.


(Diogocsc) #6

Thank you for sharing your struggle. It would be interesting to understand more of context of the target audience you mentioned (teachers), and of the context they live in. What are they teaching? How is their relationship with computers? How and why would flow charts be useful for them?

I understand your concern for people learning the logic and giving themselves the time to learn how to build a flowchart with text and so love the LaTeX part :-). I was one of those that was almost obliged to use LaTeX while in university to write our thesis…I eventually got to learn some of it back-then (now forgotten). Yet the time I took to learn it was not evaluated when I mentioned it to the evaluators, as beyond enforcing LaTeX they would only really care about the end result.

Yet i do understand that forcing people to write text/learning new language to get a flowchart on the screen might not be so motivating and that such a tool that makes drawing flowcharts easy and lets referencing flowchart urls and onebox them might actually be something great.
Maybe this would not need to be something to export links but to export text - like embedding videos… well, not to say a plugin to draw diagrams in-line.
Wonder how it might be done…

Something like this: Flowchart, yet embedded on the post editor window.

Any ideas on how to implement it in a lean way?


(Jay Pfaffman) #7

These were primarily k12 teachers in schools in the US. None of them had particular reasons to use flow charts.

It’s likely that people who need flow charts might be willing to learn that cool text-based tool, so a plugin could have an audience, but I daresay that feature won’t be making it into Core any time soon. :slight_smile:`

Not me. My plugin died a couple Discourse upgrades ago.

Best would be if that site would implement embeds. You can see here that it doesn’t. If it did, you could paste in the URL and a pretty picture would appear right here as when you paste in a youtube page (or similar).