Discourse Discourse

Here’s a topic to discuss how we like Discourse so far! I’ve just started, so I don’t have any opinions yet.

I’m a little concerned about user levels, which I don’t see how to reset even for those of you who have logged in (possibly because I myself am currently a “moderator” but not an “admin”). Users can’t do a lot of things unless they’re moderators, and in fact I think you have to be an admin in order to do some of the things that I think I want everyone to be able to do, like creating categories. I’ve asked Vince about this, but in the meantime, let’s see what we can do with the access that we have.

Wow, you have to be an admin to make categories? Maybe I’m in Slack mode, but that seems like overkill. I guess it’s closer to typical forums, though.

And I think that categories are used something like channels here, which would mean that we definitely want it to be easy to make them. I’ve asked Vince if we can all be admins!

Or would we use topics in place of channels?

if i was an admin i would change this topic to “discourse discourse”

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The more I think about it, the more I think that this will be the way to go. Or at least, topics will be somewhere in between Slack posts and channels.

It should be sufficient to have some overarching categories, like we had when we first started Slack. Things like Research and Push Development and things like that.

Here’s one concern: I just visited this Discourse without being logged in, and I could see everything. Is it possible to make the site only viewable if you’re logged in?

I’ll check. WTF I can’t say just that because it says that posts must be 20 characters. Now this one is.

I asked vince for admin status and to require login to see anything. Maybe when I have admin status I’ll be able to get rid of the 20 character minimum too.

From Vince in email to me: “You now have the ability to create categories. The site has also been set so that only logged in users can view the boards, and the minimum post length is now 3 characters instead of 20. I think it’s a good idea that only you (or you and one or two others) are a moderator. You can create categories as you need them and anyone can create topics in the relevant category.”

This all seems good to me, but what’s the set of categories I should create first? Tom suggested “Things like Research and Push Development and things like that.” On Slack we have some more specific channels… but maybe those will become topics here, rather than categories? Can someone suggest a list of categories and I’ll create them?

So a couple of quick questions:

  • Do you want to create categories a priori, or let you know emergence and self-organization and stuff happen and then create categories so stuff can be categorized? :cop:
  • So one thing I’m noticing is that it looks like (?) there are no web notifications for Discourse; it’s just emails. I never ever ever read email (it’s awesome), so I’m looking for plugins or some kind of push notifier besides email. :alien:
  • Hey, emoji palette! :chestnut: :mushroom: :snowman: :hibiscus:

I think a single topic can have multiple categories, which is nice. Tozier’s suggestion of just letting categories manifest themselves seems like a good plan. But, there might be some things we’ll definitely be discussing a lot. Some things that come to mind could include (don’t feel like you have to make all of these, just brainstorming, and maybe these can wait until we have topics to stick in them):

  • Parent Selection (or Lexicase Selection)
  • Autoconstruction
  • General program synthesis / classification / symbolic regression (if there are hierarchical categories, these could all be nested under “Applications” or something)
  • GraphDB
  • Publications
  • Literature Discussion
  • Epigenetics

So what’s the plan for bringing material over from the Slack channel? Or are they both still in a kind of completion with one another?

The plan is to just use discourse for now, not slack at all, to see if we can make it serve our needs at least as well as slack did. If so then we figure out some way of putting the stuff that went into slack into some sort of browsable amber. The difficulty of getting stuff out of slack in a nice and usable way is one of the reasons we’re trying to get out of slack, so we shouldn’t make “getting stuff out of slack in a nice and usable way” a prerequisite for giving discourse a full go.

I’d like other kinds of notifications too.

Aha. I just got a browser notification popup saying “The Website &c would like to send you notifications.” (But that’s a Safari thing I think)

I’m also getting notifications in Firefox. Are those the type you wanted? Or phone notifications?

With slack I’d get phone notifications with sounds and I think also also MacOS notifications. These showed me that discussion was happening without having to remember to check to see if discussion is happening, and also without checking email… and I think that that was one of the things that made it a more “live” experience for me.

I think that Discourse is going to be a bit less of a “live” experience simply because of its nature as evolved from forums instead of chat rooms.

That said, I’m getting OS X notifications (or maybe they’re Firefox notifications) when I’m not in the Discourse tab. I don’t know what the phone options are. Otherwise, to my knowledge there are just email notifications you can turn on.