Do you like Discourse?

Recently we’ve come up with the idea of replacing our current O2 support mailing list,, with a more modern system, hence we are now testing Discourse as a possible solution.

The reasons leading to this test are (and note, we are taking into account our Run1+Run2 experience too):

  • Misleading mailing list name. The name of our current mailing list contains the word “support”, but it’s not really a support channel: this turned out to be confusing to some users.
  • Mailing list archive never accessed. Users do not browse the mailing list archive for previous problems; they tend to write when they have one, making the “mailing list” approach less collaborative than intended.
  • Too many emails. Users are annoyed by the email volume. In most cases they set up filters to trash support emails, or they just ignore/miss them.
  • Unclear whether a problem has been solved. Some emails remain unanswered. It’s unclear whether users found a solution for their problems.

Discourse is becoming increasingly popular. CERN IT is offering us a Discourse instance, meaning we do not have to deal with the service and its dependencies ourselves. Discourse is already used at CERN by ROOT, for instance (however the ROOT team manages the service on their premises).

Concerning the problems above, what we like about Discourse is:

What is under investigation is how to directly post new questions, or answer to existing ones, via email. It seems fairly easy to do so.

We would like to hear your opinion on that!

One point. Seems the mails we get are not nicely formatted (or is it only my mailer ?), see screenshot.

Both I and @mconcas seem to receive notification emails just fine. It also seems that every email generated by Discourse has also a text-only payload, but that’s for older email clients or for automatic processing. It seems the problem’s on your mailer :frowning:

Is there a way to mute certain topics?

Yes, you can unwatch them, there’s a button at the very bottom of the thread :slight_smile:

Is there a way to preview the final layout of a text (like on github)?

It’s automatic, you see it on your right :slight_smile:

Didn’t see this in my case … because it was shadowed by another window. Thanks for the remark.

Sylvain @sy-c asked me questions about the notifications. It made me realize it was not very clear to me.

@dberzano do you know whether people receive notifications for every new topic ? (not desirable in my opinion)
Can people specify the labels or categories they want to receive notifications for ?

If you don’t know I will look into it myself.

By default users receive notifications for all categories, and for all new topics. Under User Settings > Notifications > Categories it is possible to select the categories of your interest.

For the moment we only have O2 and Meta, but the more categories we add, the more might become interesting for users to not watch automatically all topics.

I think that we will get complaints about that. It seems to be similar to what we discussed for the mailing lists. Many people do not want to receive, and are not interested, in others’ questions.

Now, I do not receive notifications for posts in the SFT forum so there should be a way to disable this behaviour by default. Or maybe users do not receive notifications for every new topic.

Yeah, although it’s quite counter intuitive that one needs to click on “tracking” to mute. +1 for the categories, by the way.

Seems also to lack threading in the GUI, albeit I did not check the emails…

I have disabled the option that made discourse send notifications for every new post to everyone. New users will not have this behaviour but current users have to disable it (if they wish). See here for instructions.

One can also follow a category : preferences -> notifications [subcategory categories] -> watch : specify a category.

There is a threading in the sense that a post can be a reply to someone else’s post. Or maybe I did not understand your remark. As it is GUI related maybe have a look with Dario who is sitting in front of you :slight_smile:

It tracks who you replied to, but it does not show it in any way in the GUI. Just look at this topic to understand what I mean. Every reply is flat in the web GUI.

I see.

There is a little icon at the top right of the post if you replied to a specific person/post :

Otherwise indeed there is no visual representation of the threading. I guess that you would end up with a big tree and this is why they did not do it ? not sure. We can look if there are plugins for that. a

As I have just done, even if Discourse thinks flat, one can always select the text she wants to reply to, and hit the Quote button that pops up :slight_smile: This does not solve Discourse’s flatness, but it might improve readability when several discussions cross each other.

The above image is what I get in my email box. Why do I get it twice?