What would it take to replace Facebook with Discourse?

There’s this …

If the original global username idea from Discourse Hub were reworked to be more federated like Mastodon, maybe watching/following users across Discourse instances would be possible. Of course, this isn’t possible on a local level yet, either…



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Sounds to me like what you really want to join is Friendica, since it’ll interoperate with Diaspora and it’ll interoperate with Mastadon. You can even subscribe to a public Discourse topic or feed with it, since it’ll pull in bare RSS feeds.

Edit: Or hubzilla


Now THAT sounds interesting, thanks Michael!



The ability to follow other users is not on the radar for discourse, but Jeff kindly outlined a round about way you can do it.


Related topics:

In particular, since we are already discussing the combination of various platforms, I think hypothesis is HUGE:


Mmm I’m think you are. :allthethings:

Discourse = Board (Forum)
Facebook = Different animal

Why are you trying to merge them?
Are not compatibles.

You could make modifications and create addons to forum to have similar “social behavior” that occurs in a social network. But you will never achieve (that) this platform created to be a “forum” behaves like a social network.

Again, two different things.

Just enjoy the best forum experience with Discourse :smiley:


Here are some potential problems with sharing categories/topics across forums. I’ve been thinking of how matador permits people to follow other users across platorms. That actually wouldn’t be as fraught with some of the problems Joffrey outlined above for sharing topics between forums. But then there are concerns for following people, like:


Discourse has done a brilliant job of moving the culture towards the content (versus people) and it makes for a productive, professional environment. People do follow other people in a professional setting like linked in for example, but in that instance, you join linked in to network with professionals and find jobs. There are clear goals for joining linked in. You usually aren’t joining it to find buddies or develop insulated cliques that exclude other people.

I think a lot of us in here would agree that turning Discourse into facebook culturally and functionally is a horrible idea. But reading this topic has got me thinking about one aspect of Facebook that could be the next step in the evolution of Discourse (and I see this topic of linking forums is nothing new).

Linking across instances of Discourse. Just, wow. It could take the pooled, moderated, fact-checked knowledge up to a whole other level, bigger in scope and an extra draw for people setting up reputable forums or wanting to buy out Discourse for bucco bucks. I am sure there are very good reasons for not linking forums. Discourse staff knows what they are doing and have created something very special here. But, I can’t help but discuss it in here with people who see what I do just cause the idea is so cool.

Here is one of the original discussions on this:


No need to limit this to discourse forums. Or any forums, for that matter. What tou want is Web Annotations:

Since a year, it’s an official W3C standard. And the people at hypothes.is are working hard to put it into practice. The question is, how well discourse and hypothesis interact with each other. What I would love to see is that discourse at least oneboxes hypothesis annotations and that hypothesis links the post with the oneboxed annotation as a reply to the annotation.


Awesome explainer video. Ha! I think I clearly have a ‘thing’ for explainer videos.

I think that discourse is going for the same kinda culture as Hypothes.is. So, the video gets me excited for the product but . . . still not clear on how it works. Oops. I will look into it further. If I understand you right, sounds like Hypothes.is in a dream scenario might act as a stand-in for plugins facilitating embedded comments from forums into blogs expanding the scope of that type of embedding functionality.

Surely the solution for notifications across instances is the Discourse app? We can already filter notifications on a per site/category level. The app would do a good job of aggregating notifications across instances, right?

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I find the app very handy, Steve. Would be nice to have it on my desktop, too.

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Not sure what you mean by that. But look who’s on hypothesis’ list of “advisors and collaborators”.

Not sure which of these clipd below does the best job. It probably depends on which aspect ypu’re most interested in. I’m betting on te first one, though:


Well, for a start iOS should allow web notifications, like Android (& macOS!) already does (and is rumoured to be coming) … but that’s digressing.

What we really need is a server side solution, no?

Why, Chrome and Safari both support notifications natively, what else would a Discourse desktop app add?

It is a digression for sure, I’m not sure how it addresses any of the above. Signing into the iOS app is far more straightforward than logging into each discourse notification and manually accepting browser-based notifications, right?

Whether the goal is central identity and CSO, or just the ability to treat multiple instances as part of a single interface, the idea of having to maintain sessions manually across a handful of sites sounds really unappetizing.

For sure … but I have a huge dislike of apps … sure the Discourse one may be an elegant solution … but the architecture … why do we need such fat clients with so many great open source web app frameworks out there now? If we had had web apps all along, would Windows Phone have survived? Discourse proves, imho, that you don’t need proprietary apps for most things … save perhaps games? But I digress…


I meant that both platforms are content rather than people focused and naturally condusive to fact checked, crowd sourced information. Thanks for all the info on hypothesis. Very cool. I am playing with it right now.

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What happened to the idea of a Federated Discourse? You can make it so that the admin can add other Discourse to their trusted list, and have their post show up on their forum, and also share membership.


It’s an idea that we like but … is :mount_fuji: worth of work with :mountain: worth of edge cases to worry about. Not planned at all for now, but someone from the community could whip something up and show us how it can be done.