Discourse and MetaFilter February 19, 2013 2:45 PM   Subscribe

We love the MetaFilter audience to bits, but we're not sure where Discourse -- a next-generation, 100% open source forum -- can fit in, if anywhere, in the existing MetaFilter empire. Are there any super-technical folks willing to dive in and host a Discourse instance for mefites?

Yes, there has been a MetaFilter topic on Discourse already:


We've had off and on discussions with Josh and Jessamyn for quite some time about some kind of relationship with Metafilter and Discourse. They were also Discourse alpha testers before we entered public beta. Did I mention that Josh was on an early Stack Overflow podcast, too?


We learned a lot at Stack Exchange from MetaFilter and Mat's admin video was a huge influence:


With Discourse, we also want to learn about the non-Q&A side of the world.

Perhaps the best way to do that is for a particularly technical metafilter community member to host a Discourse forum? As Josh noted:
What might be plausible is someone wanting to organize an unofficial spinoff project being inclined to use Discourse -- mefites have started the occasional dedicated discussion forum for one topic or another or for general chatter, with varying outcomes (long-term boutique successes like Metachat.org or mefightclub.com; a lot of things that didn't end up taking off or staying around for long), so of course I can say who knows if there would be some interest there in the future.
We can of course assist with and support any such effort, as we do all the early adopters, through http://meta.discourse.org and http://github.com/discourse/discourse

Just throwing that out there for discussion!
posted by codinghorror to MetaFilter-Related at 2:45 PM (26 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Pepsi Grey?
posted by Talez at 2:48 PM on February 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Pepsi Grey?

It seems like this has been discussed in advance with the mods, and it's a reasonable enough question.
posted by brennen at 2:52 PM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

This is, for context, something Jeff has been picking mine and Jess' brains in particular about on email recently, and we felt like sort of broaching the idea of fiddling with Discourse from a user-side perspective was an okay way to go.

Like he says, I've been beta-testing it a bit and it seems awfully nice compared to my past experiences with e.g. phpBB stuff or trying to hack WordPress into a discussion forum (rest in piece, Big Big Question), but we don't really have any directly mefi-related projects that it makes sense for since all of our stuff is part of our very custom-built mefi codebase and involving some other architecture would be kind of a crazy headache of an idea.

But as something for a mefite who's been quietly thinking "well, I had been meaning to try and start up an EscalatorFilter discussion site since we've got so many escalator enthusiasts here and it's sort of clogging up the front page", it'd be kind of a neat possible platform from one of our own.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:54 PM on February 19, 2013

Larp Trek filter?
posted by ocherdraco at 3:02 PM on February 19, 2013

Girls filter?

(Which I would totally read)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:04 PM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Cortex: mine brain
posted by heyho at 3:13 PM on February 19, 2013

Might be a good place for all of the breaking-news-type stuff. Much as I love the idea of a special place for the Metafilter Bird and Bug Brigade, there are other places online for that sort of thing.

Less the rarefied atmospheres of The Green and The Blue, of course.
posted by jquinby at 3:30 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

So one website that I read just sent another website I read a post about a third website.

"Blogs are people, my friend."?
posted by benito.strauss at 3:55 PM on February 19, 2013

Might be worth doing something for the NYC metafilter group...hmm.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:52 PM on February 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Cat filter?
posted by she's not there at 5:26 PM on February 19, 2013

I'm vigorously disinclined to split off any MeFi discussion to another site with different software that would require re-registration, especially if it is just another messageboard (and i'm sure Discourse is a Very Pretty Messageboard).

Splitting the discussion leads to all kinds of headaches, i would imagine especially for moderators.

That said, there may be specific areas in which outsourcing more robust functionality may be a boon to the MeFi experience (i'm thinking specifically about the IRL section), but i would much prefer to see that integrated into metafilter.com rather than "for more talk, go to this other officially sanctioned site!"
posted by softlord at 6:27 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

The tone of this sort of sounds like it would be offical, but I don't think that is true.
Why not just say, hey, we have this software, any Mefites want to use it to discuss some topics?
What is the benefit of a Discourse instance for Mefites?
posted by bystander at 6:40 PM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

This kind of seems like picking up a cool and shiny tool and then wandering around the house searching for something to fix.

Echoing bystander, what is the Mefi-Universe need that would be addressed with a Discourse instance?

That said, a new unofficial spinoff site like Metachat or MefightClub, if someone were planning to make one already, might be a good fit for the platform.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:46 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am unspeakably pleased with the lo fi here.

Now a mefi gopher server...
posted by ead at 7:12 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

It would be nice if Discourse didn't degrade into neckbearded pedantry like SO has, but unfortunately that's the thermodynamic end state for everything on the internet.
posted by scruss at 8:25 PM on February 19, 2013

How's TVfilter going these days? I am ashamed to admit that I haven't logged in for quite some time (not least because Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad haven't been on). But it might be a good candidate?
posted by harriet vane at 11:54 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

It might be worth reaching out to the owners of some of the metafilter spin-off sites like MeFightClub, Sportsfilter or metachat - See if they want to move over to a shiny new technology.

Otherwise, there's been suggestion recently about a Writers subsite. I can't see it off hand, but maybe the person who suggested it might be worth chatting up about this.
posted by zoo at 3:26 AM on February 20, 2013

but unfortunately that's the thermodynamic end state for everything on the internet.
Your use of the word "thermodynamic" here is unnecessary. Maybe you should reframe that comment without the off-topic hyperbole.

posted by zoo at 3:31 AM on February 20, 2013

harriet vane: "How's TVfilter going these days? I am ashamed to admit that I haven't logged in for quite some time (not least because Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad haven't been on). But it might be a good candidate?"

I've been meaning to ask about this for weeks. If it's still active can someone please post the URL? (And yes, I was also thinking the same thing about it being a possible candidate for this.)
posted by Room 641-A at 6:25 AM on February 20, 2013

Be still my heart. Can we get it back if we mail you a 4gb stick?
posted by ead at 7:59 AM on February 20, 2013

I don't want to for-sure commit to this, but this interests me strongly. I can go ahead and set up an install in one of my dev areas to see if it's something I'd want to devote real time towards.
posted by gilrain at 8:13 AM on February 20, 2013

It would be nice if Discourse didn't degrade into neckbearded pedantry like SO has...

I'm trying to imagine a forum for discussing programming questions where you would NOT want neckbeards or detailed accuracy.

As for Discourse: It looks pretty sweet. The FAQ gives the impression that it can also stand in for a mailing list, which isn't quite true yet but I hope they get a gateway feature set up in the future. Plus a way to switch editor bindings or better yet use my own directly.
posted by DU at 9:51 AM on February 20, 2013

I'm rather sad about seeing this, it seems like a nice forum upgrade that we should have seen five years go, not now. To give the proper contrast, also in the news today are Google Glasses.

Metafilter and SO are the closest I get to forums anymore. People might still use forums, but not in my corner of the world.
posted by Folk at 10:36 AM on February 20, 2013

I don't get how Google Glasses and forum software are opposites on any kind of continuum. One is a way for people to share pictures and text in a multi-user discussion, the other is marketing vaporware from a corporate giant.
posted by DU at 2:24 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

All right, well for anyone seriously interested in setting up a Discourse instance, feel free to ping us at the usual places: Or email me directly at team@discourse.org
posted by codinghorror at 3:48 PM on February 21, 2013

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