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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by HAWK
    We haven't used PHP for quite some time. We've been a Rails house for the last few years. That is one of the benefits of Discourse for us – we have resource on hand.
    Given a significant of amount of SitePoint resources know Ruby it does make sense to stop dilly-dallying and migrate software to Ruby. I will definitely give you that one as a value add. Now moving to a system running on Ruby makes much more sense from all perspectives.

    Quote Originally Posted by HAWK
    You've hit the nail on the head a couple of times here. Firstly, it is those hundreds of hours of customisations that are the issue. Every time we upgrade, things break. We are sick of rewriting them. The system is such a mess of hacks and plugins that it has become unmanageable. Which brings me to my next point. We dont NEED to do it all over again. We are taking this opportunity to look at our processes. We've been doing things the same way for such a long time that we've lost sight of what is actually necessary in a modern forum.
    After embarking on my post previously I did play around with Discourse somewhere. To that end I will take back some of what I said about the forum being bare bone. I think for most *basic business needs the software would suite a forum well out of the box. It does make sense to review business practices in a technology realm after an extended amount of time of doing the things the same way. It is nice that you guys are able to sell that to upper management because more companies than not keep doing things the same way until everything burns to the ground.

    I would think that the largest advantage of doing this is the marketing SitePoint forums will again in getting in bed with Discourse as a partner. That seems to be a huge business perspective realm. Especially when you consider the target audience of these very forums.

    I guess when you think about it it makes sense so long as it can all be sold upstairs.
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  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddz View Post
    I would think that the largest advantage of doing this is the marketing SitePoint forums will again in getting in bed with Discourse as a partner. That seems to be a huge business perspective realm. Especially when you consider the target audience of these very forums.
    Ok, I didn't realise that Sitepoint has "priority support" from Jeff Atwood himself. I guess it really is like they say: "It's not what you know it's who you know." The risk then is more of a marketing risk than a technical one. I'm not sure what I think but I can see now that Sitepoint is betting all it's chips on Jeff Atwood's cards.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    And those who've been around longer attest to how much more of a community it was years earlier.
    I can attest to that, eh!
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  4. #29
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    I'm not sure it's a good idea; I think the forum system works fine as it is. If it ain't broken and all that...

  5. #30
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    That's it exactly. Some works great, some is broken, and a whole lot works only because it has been tweaked and patched.

    I'm not saying that something else would work 100% out-of-the-box, I'm sure there's going to be a lot of work needed.

    Kind of like owning an old car, continue to sink money into it as it decays or take the risks of getting another.
    You have a good idea of what's wrong with what you have and you don't know what will be wrong with the other. But there comes a time when the potential benefits outweigh the risk.

  6. #31
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    Personally I am not sure I follow why you believe Discourse will be a good choice for sitepoint with a community built up around technology.

    I can see Discourse being a good match for forums which mainly contain basic conversations on various topics, but the majority of your forums are technology related with code examples etc.

    The main flaw as I see it, is the lack of clarity of what is posted where, and the ease of getting to the content.

    With the structure Discourse has, I fear your trying to "simplify" it to a point that actually finding valuable content can be difficult.

    Personally I stopped visiting that often back when you migrated to last version of vBulletin and removed the majority of the sub forums (the ones being more specialized), right now what you see on the forums (programming) is mostly basic questions, trying to find an advanced topic is very difficult since you need to sift through everything else.

    I wish you good luck, and will of course come by to check it out, but as mentioned I fear you are running into a similar issue as last time, sitepoint was one of the "go to" forums several years ago to discuss PHP, that is no longer the case.

  7. #32
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    Ok, I am hearing a couple of things in this discussion:

    1. We know ruby and rails so we want a RoR software base for our forum.

    2. Jeff Atwood is famous. We want to be famous too.

    Ok, I get the first point. My personal forum is myBB. There are lots of bad things about it. I don't even try to write plugins for it. I would go to a Python/Django forum if I could but there is nothing around I consider mature enough.

    The second point I get but ... and it's a big "but". You see that approach would be more likely to work 5 years ago. Google is focusing more and more on content and less and less on "Oh, he must be important because he is standing next to someone who is important". Link building schemes are working less and less and I believe that trend will continue the way Google is going. So getting a link on Jeff Atwood's site probably won't be as beneficial as what you think.

    I think the "marketing mistake" is to think the reason for low sales can be overcome by putting the product in a prettier box and having flashier advertising brochures. At the end of the day it comes down to providing what people are wanting, not what you think they should want!! That's why I believe you should have asked the community for their input on what they wanted.

    Yes, I understand you felt you needed to leave vBulletin. Just that we should have been more community focused on how we go about it.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic
    I think the "marketing mistake" is to think the reason for low sales can be overcome by putting the product in a prettier box and having flashier advertising brochures. At the end of the day it comes down to providing what people are wanting, not what you think they should want!! That's why I believe you should have asked the community for their input on what they wanted.
    I would say the problem is that Sitepoint is a cesspool of basic, beginner questions. The fundamental issue is professionals get sick of answering those questions and don't ask questions themselves because it is not necessary. I can solve most problems myself much faster than waiting for someone to respond to a thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic
    The second point I get but ... and it's a big "but". You see that approach would be more likely to work 5 years ago. Google is focusing more and more on content and less and less on "Oh, he must be important because he is standing next to someone who is important". Link building schemes are working less and less and I believe that trend will continue the way Google is going. So getting a link on Jeff Atwood's site probably won't be as beneficial as what you think.
    I disagree. I think there is a lot of business value in partnering with known name in the industry. Any partnership is much more than just a link on a website. It is referrals and indirect marketing to boot.
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  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    2. Jeff Atwood is famous. We want to be famous too.

    The second point I get but ... and it's a big "but". You see that approach would be more likely to work 5 years ago. Google is focusing more and more on content and less and less on "Oh, he must be important because he is standing next to someone who is important". Link building schemes are working less and less and I believe that trend will continue the way Google is going. So getting a link on Jeff Atwood's site probably won't be as beneficial as what you think.

    I think the "marketing mistake" is to think the reason for low sales can be overcome by putting the product in a prettier box and having flashier advertising brochures. At the end of the day it comes down to providing what people are wanting, not what you think they should want!! That's why I believe you should have asked the community for their input on what they wanted.

    Yes, I understand you felt you needed to leave vBulletin. Just that we should have been more community focused on how we go about it.
    I'm not sure where you got the "we want to be famous too", we don't care about fame, we want a thriving community, one that participates better than what we have now. The community is consistently receiving less and less participation. We need to change that, otherwise, this forum will become non-existent and closed down for good.

    The partnership with Jeff is more of a technological partnership. He has a team of bright individuals who have taken a different approach to how the core functionality of a forum works in a language that our developers know very well. This gives us two advantages that we don't have now. 1) We can build on it without a lot of headaches, and 2) we can push ideas upstream and let them build them.

    We've already had a few ideas pushed upstream that have made it to fruition and there are more in the pipeline. We are already seeing benefits and that was actually before we made the decision to partner with them!

    Sure, we'll get marketing benefits out of this partnership for a short while, but it won't last forever. Eventually the buzz will die down and we'll have to stand on our own two feet like we do today. I don't see that being a really difficult challenge, as we gain new members daily. What I do see this change ultimately leading to is the ability to retain users better and to keep them engaged by showing that the more you engage, the more you can interact with the forums (you gain higher privileges; plus there will likely be more added too that would give some motivation to engaging in discussions).

  10. #35
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    It's interesting that railsforum evaluated it and decided against it. You would have thought if anyone had reason to jump on that bandwagon they would.

    https://railsforum.com/topic/4-welco...w-rails-forum/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    It's interesting that railsforum evaluated it and decided against it. You would have thought if anyone had reason to jump on that bandwagon they would.

    https://railsforum.com/topic/4-welco...w-rails-forum/
    Oh, come on now! That was in August 2013. A lot has changed since then.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddz View Post
    It is referrals and indirect marketing to boot.
    What referrals and direct marketing are you referring to? Are you saying you know something about the arrangement that Sitepoint has with Jeff Atwoods? I'm honestly scratching my head on this one.

    I can't see Jeff Atwood's referring people here who are looking for answers to php questions seeing he despises the language so much.

  13. #38
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    Their reason for not back in Aug 2013
    .....
    It didn't have the flexibility or maturity which we needed.
    ......
    True, the Discourse Team seems to be inflexible as to adding many features to the Core, which will mean needing a lot of addons (Gems?)
    But they have been responsive and quick to implement many of the tweaks and fixes we've brought to them, and as said, the SitePoint devs (and others) will be able to write code where need be.

    And though somewhat more mature now a few months later, it is still in Beta with all that implies.
    This has been one of the concerns many of us (Staff) have discussed extensively and the decision was given much thought.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mittineague View Post
    And though somewhat more mature now a few months later, it is still in Beta with all that implies.
    This has been one of the concerns many of us (Staff) have discussed extensively and the decision was given much thought.
    To be fair, the beta status will be removed when they meet the 1.0 version (which isn't far off).

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic
    What referrals and direct marketing are you referring to? Are you saying you know something about the arrangement that Sitepoint has with Jeff Atwoods? I'm honestly scratching my head on this one.
    It is an assumption from reading through the Discourse website. I tend to think when developers are quick to respond to people they are probably working with them to some capacity. That capacity probably being a partnership but I don't know.
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  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpradio View Post
    To be fair, the beta status will be removed when they meet the 1.0 version (which isn't far off).
    How many years was gmail in beta
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  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMaxwell View Post
    How many years was gmail in beta
    That's comparing Apples to Oranges. Discourse publicly mentioned the 1.0 would release the Beta tag, in fact, I'm fairly certain they already updated their FAQ to no longer read "probably not", but now "Maybe" to the question: Should I switch?.

    I can't seem to remember where I saw they mentioned removing the beta status, so I may have imagined it, but I'm certain I read it somewhere.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    .....
    Just that we should have been more community focused on how we go about it.
    I hear what you're saying. One of the many things we have been discussing is what we can do to make finding one's way around better.
    I'm interested in your views Forum hierarchy - opinions wanted

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpradio View Post
    Oh, come on now! That was in August 2013. A lot has changed since then.
    Oh? How do you know? Is there a roadmap that they have made public showing which milestones are completed? If you have that link please post it here. I would be very interested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    Oh? How do you know? Is there a roadmap that they have made public showing which milestones are completed? If you have that link please post it here. I would be very interested.
    Which part? The August 2013 was based on the dates in the thread you linked us to on the rails forum. They discussed Discourse in August 2013...

    As for how I know a lot has changed since then, look at their Github repo. You can see the whole history, the software is open source, so feel free to browse it.
    https://www.github.com/discourse/discourse

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpradio View Post
    As for how I know a lot has changed since then, look at their Github repo. You can see the whole history, the software is open source, so feel free to browse it.
    https://www.github.com/discourse/discourse
    No, that's not what I mean. I think its obvious that the forum is in active development and that's all code commits really show you.

    I mean how do you really know how close it is to coming out of beta unless you know what's on their "to do" list and how many are checked off and how quickly they are being checked off.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpradio View Post
    Which part? The August 2013 was based on the dates in the thread you linked us to on the rails forum. They discussed Discourse in August 2013...
    All I did there was go the railsforum and so a keyword search for "discourse". What was more telling was what didn't show up in the search. For instance I only got 4 hits and as you say, probably nothing since August, which tells me its not really a popular topic on railsforum.

    What I did find interesting is that they support Tapatalk

    Seriously guys, it helps to know your competition. If you're not doing as well as them do some market research. Find out what they're doing differently.

    As commented about earlier, even in this thread, it seems that Jeff Atwood has simply taken what he considers the best ideas already out there and combined them into a single platform. Does that really make him a visionary? Or simply someone who has a flair for marketing?
    Last edited by Kiwiheretic; Feb 13, 2014 at 15:12. Reason: grammar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    All I did there was go the railsforum and so a keyword search for "discourse". What was more telling was shattered didn't show up in the search. For instance I only got 4 hits and as you say, probably nothing since August, which tells me its not really a popular topic on railsforum.

    What I did find interesting is that they support Tapatalk
    And how ironic that a "railsforum" doesn't use a forum written in rails? It's amazing that there aren't more rails options available.

    It does look like there's a tapatalk plugin/gem (aw...how cute. gem/ruby) which might be viable - we're collecting a list of plugins which might be helpful for the forums, I'll be sure to add this to the list of ones to be considered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    Seriously guys, it helps to know your competition. If you're not doing as well as them do some market research. Find out what they're doing differently.

    As commented about earlier, even in this thread, it seems that Jeff Atwood has simply taken what he considers the best ideas already out there and combined them into a single platform. Does that really make him a visionary? Or simply someone who has a flair for marketing?
    Trust me, I'm not a fanboy. We've been discussing the pros/cons of a possible move for quite a while. I think it comes down to simple economics - the forums as they stand cost a ton to maintain. The vBulletin platform is hurting, and we've got enough customizations here to make it difficult to keep up with new versions on a constant basis, simply due to the nature of the design of the software. Add to that the fact that SP is now a rails shop, and maintaining the forums becomes that much more cumbersome, or expensive if they have to go out and hire outside help to work on it.

    With discourse (which looks to be the most mature ruby/rails forum out there - at least from what I've been able to discern), the existing developers can work on plugins, reintegrating the forums back into the rest of the main site (article commentary, etc), and perhaps other opportunities which just aren't available to us right now.
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  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMaxwell View Post
    And how ironic that a "railsforum" doesn't use a forum written in rails?
    .....
    Trust me, I'm not a fanboy.
    .....
    reintegrating the forums back into the rest of the main site (article commentary, etc)
    .....
    Very ironic, like the Magento dev offering his services on a WordPress site.

    I like Ruby fine, Rails not so much. and keeping up with Gem versions can be a hassle
    I prefer the flexibility of configuration over the limits of convention. But that's me.
    Besides the benefits Rails has from being written in Ruby, I think a strong point is that once learned it allows for churning out websites quickly. I don't, so that point is moot for me, Maybe @markbrown4 ; could provide more insight.

    I really think that integrating the forums with the rest of SitePoint will be a very good thing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    No, that's not what I mean. I think its obvious that the forum is in active development and that's all code commits really show you.

    I mean how do you really know how close it is to coming out of beta unless you know what's on their "to do" list and how many are checked off and how quickly they are being checked off.
    Read their blog... They are approaching their 1.0, all it takes is a bit of "research" the thing you keep hounding us on...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    All I did there was go the railsforum and so a keyword search for "discourse". What was more telling was what didn't show up in the search. For instance I only got 4 hits and as you say, probably nothing since August, which tells me its not really a popular topic on railsforum.
    I'm not seeing the connection... Why would I go to railsforum instead of posting my issues/questions on meta.discourse.org? Obviously the latter is far more beneficial. So I don't see your point as a valid argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    What I did find interesting is that they support Tapatalk
    Who? RailsForum or Discourse? There is a tapatalk grudge bridge available, but it likely needs some refining, but if you are referring to RailsForum, that's because they aren't using Discourse, they are using IP Board. We looked at that, along with Xenforo, etc. The biggest issue was, all of them placed us in a similar situation. Lots of plugins/hacks in a language we have very little resources in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    Seriously guys, it helps to know your competition. If you're not doing as well as them do some market research. Find out what they're doing differently.
    Hence the move, so we can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiheretic View Post
    As commented about earlier, even in this thread, it seems that Jeff Atwood has simply taken what he considers the best ideas already out there and combined them into a single platform. Does that really make him a visionary? Or simply someone who has a flair for marketing?
    I think you don't give him enough credit. You should really read his blog.


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