Continuing the conversation from this thread.
(Posted this in feature, wanted to post in plugin but don’t think i have the rights to post in the category - feel free to move this topic to the most appropriate thread. This is a plugin request)
Why we need a hacker news plugin
Forums and communities are different. Some communities are all about long, written content. Others, such as Dribble, very visually oriented. Some are mainly about things that happen other places on the internet, such as Reddit, Hacker News and Designer News. A link is a representation of something else and can just as easily create conversation as a text post - which is why we think Discourse need a plugin for this.
In our case, we’re building a community for graphic, ux and web designers in Denmark. We anticipate the site will mainly be used for:
- Posting links to what is going on in the design scene in Denmark and rest of the world (link posts)
- Asking the community questions, such as ‘What tool do you use for prototyping websites?’ (text post)
- Showcasing work for critique, e.g. posting pictures from a recent project. (text and images)
Basically something very close to Designer News who have appropriated the format of hacker news to design news.
Discourse is an amazing platform! It comes with every possible feature you would ever need out of the box. Except a content type / category for links. What we’re hoping to solve with this plugin is:
- Make it even easier and faster to simply post a link: One line of text and a link - that’s it!
- Make it easy for viewers to visit the site, click a bunch of links front the front page and leave.
- Maximize engagement by making it easy to vote on a good post from the front-page.
Why is Discourse a great platform to build a hacker news kind of site on top on?
We spent a long time considering using other platforms: build it ourselves vs. using reddit’s source code vs. using drupal vs. using telescope. We decided on Discourse because:
- It is so smooth, fast and well made for discussions and community!
- It already has a way to display top posts
- It has a built in digest email engine (great for sending top links and questions to inactive users - almost like a mailing list)
- Has a voting (like) system in place
- Has wonderful notification system in place
- Just needs that special content type / category!
New features needed
See wireframe section for details
- A special category/content type called ‘Links’
- Links category only has a one lined content field for posting a link. Before posting, Discourse checks if it is an actual link that has been pasted in the field
- Links are shortened and displayed on front page. Link posts are clickable from front page and users are taken to external link when clicking the title of a link topic.
- Users can vote on topics from the front page (basically moving the like functionality of first post onto front page)
- Title and link is embedded in first post of a topic within the links category.
- Link embedded in popular topics in digest email
Creating a new topic - nothing different here. I want to tell people about this awesome tool called ‘Slack’.
User selects the category called ‘Links’ - “Ok, i am posting a link here - not writing a text post”
The text-editor collapses, removes the WYSIWYG editor and i am presented with this single line field where i can post in my link.
Woops, forgot the ‘ht’ part of the link. (Plugin does a simple check to see if this is actually a valid link)
Here we go!
That was easy! We’re planning to make posts a bit simpler. Biggest feature here is the fact that likes has been styled as a score counter (as seen on reddit, hacker news, etc.) and moved out to the left
** The post is basically the title of the post with link.*
** Category is displayed in top - this category is a link*
** Likes on replies are disguised as ‘points’.*
Back on the front-page. This is what it looks like.
A bit information on how to navigate the front-page
New feature:Upvote/like topics from front-page
You can basically just like/unlike – Press to give it one point, press again to remove that point you just gave it.
Basically same look and logic in the digest email: if a popular topic is from the link category the user can click the title to be taken directly to the destination link. He/she can also click the comments icon to be taken to the discussion about this link.
This is great because it will serve as a mailing list filled with the most popular links for our less active users.
How to build this?
I am posting this in the feature / plugin request section, hoping this could be built as an official plugin for Discourse as this fairly simple plugin can enable Discourse to serve even more types of communities.
We’re very interested in hearing the opinion from the community in here - and get a better sense of how difficult it would be to build something like this.
I live in the Bay Are, so I am also willing to meet up in person if people live here. I volunteer to support with design and UX support to build this.