My initial impression is you have something really quite nice that reminds me of a modern proboards. I’m wondering though if you built it to scale and facilitate the type of traffic that a production level modern proboards would need to support. What is the software architecture - front-end, back-end, and hosting technologies that has been used to build this? Do you have a demo of admin console that would be used to manage the forum? How long have you been working on this?
It’s obviously forum software, but beyond that it gets a bit fuzzy. You claim to offer “The best features from StackOverflow, Discourse, Slack, Reddit, Disqus”, which is a bold claim, but you don’t go into much detail as to what these are.
I also found this claim off-putting. We get quite a few people on here asking how to build the next WhatsApp or Facebook. For me, initially, this sounded a bit like that.
At first glance, it feels like Talkyard is trying to be too many things — a forum, team chat, blog comments — these are three very different use cases.
The fact that there are established solutions for all of these things. What makes Talkyard any different? I would also be hesitant to invest my time in a new solution where I have no guarantee that your company will still be around in a year’s time.
Also, coming from Europe, some information on GDPR compliance would be nice. This will (or at least should) be a concern for anyone over here considering using software such as yours.
It wasn’t obvious for me that you could click on the boxes under the sub-headings. E.g. under “Questions and Answers” if you click on “Everyone gets help” you see a different gif than if you click on “Avoid repetition, save time”. I only discovered that by chance.
And sorry if all of the above sounds negative. I spent a fair while clicking through both the website and the demo forum and found Talkyard to be a visually appealing and professional looking solution.
My main suggestion would be to rework the project’s home page to make it clear(er) what you are offering and who you are aiming at. And I would probably lose the comparison with “StackOverflow, Discourse, Slack, Reddit, Disqus” from the strapline.
I find the home page very off-putting. Just a brief description and two buttons: view demo and create a forum.
If you can’t be bothered to describe what the system is, why would I want to press either button?
It is clearly forum software, but what features does it offer? “with the best features from StackOverflow, Discourse, Slack, Reddit, Disqus” might sound good, but what does it mean? SO and Discourse have a lot of irritating features as I’m sure do the others.
The purpose of “site-review” posts is exactly that: for members to review and give feedback on a site.
The forums are not a place for promotion of any kind. I believe our policy is clear in the FAQs. If you feel otherwise, then feel free to start a discussion in #community, with some suggestions as to how the guidelines could be clarified.
It’s Nginx, Scala, PostgreSQL, ElasticSearch. There’re in-mem caches (Redis) so most requests don’t touch the disks or not much at least. — Right now it’s vertically scalable. And as traffic grows, I do expect to run into performance issues, and I expect them to be not-too-hard to deal with.
(Horizontal scalability would / will be a bit more tricky, in that then some synchronizaton between different app server instances is needed, so they don’t write to the same parts of the same Postgres tables at the same time and thereby cause Postgres serialization conflicts (write conflicts) and transaction rollbacks. Also, I might need to move some in-mem caches from the app server process itself, to Redis.)
Do you possibly use iOS or macOS? I think then the scrollbars are hidden, and, with some bad luck with the page layout and screen size, it’ll look as if there’s nothing more below, and people don’t try to scroll down. — Maybe I could / should add a scroll-down arrow? I’ve seen some sites have this.
Or how else can I prevent bad-luck-layout+screen-size to make it look as if the page ends at the edge?
Thanks! That’s good to know. I now changed to “The main features from …”.
(“main features” instead of “best features”.) — I’m hoping this sounds less lofty (?).
I still didn’t write anywhere what I think those main features are. Not sure where to do that. I’d say: Slack: the sidebar with chat channels / topics, + the chat itself. StackOverflow: Question-Answers topic structure, good answers shown first. Disqus: threaded blog comments, best first. Reddit: threaded open-ended discussions, best comments surface to the top.
At first glance, it feels like Talkyard is trying to be too many things
Hmm. Maybe this can be a marketing & how-people-percieve-it problem. I’d say it’s not a tech or coding problem. E.g. adding support for blog comments, in an iframe, wasn’t that much work, and the chat also didn’t take that long to implement when everything else was done. — Coding wise, it’s just one thing, visualized in some different ways. — Maybe I need to think about how I write about this, so people don’t get the impression that it’s a bunch of separate things glued together.
The fact that there are established solutions for all of these things. What makes Talkyard any different?
Right now, I’d say 1) Talkyard’s Question-Answers is similar to StackOverflow for Teams, but open source and more broadly usable (e.g. for “open” communities with external people). And 2) like Disqus (blog comments) but no ads or tracking. … Later when the chat works well, it can be: 3) One tool for everything, no need to spend time searching for integrations and connecting different things with each other, or wondering “did I write about this in Slack? or was this in an email? or in Discourse?” — there could be just one place.
But right now, people seem to use Talkyard either for primarily 1: Q&A, or 2: blog comments.
It wasn’t obvious for me that you could click on the boxes under the sub-headings
Good to know, maybe I can add a bit colors to make them look clickable. [edit: Now done]
rework the project’s home page to make it clear(er) what you are offering and who you are aiming at.
Ok, yes this is the feedback I’m getting from others too. I think I need to ask the one’s who use the software, what they like about it, so I can create a page that uses their own works and terminology and use cases.
(Probably there’ll be different pages, e.g. one for startups, another for mid/large biz, another for schools, one for non-profits. And the main homepage — it’ll either focus on the most “important” type of users, or there’ll be buttons that link each user type to their own landing page.)
Thanks for having taken a closer look, and for the feedback :- )
@sibertius, Thanks for the idea. Hmm I’ll need to think about how to phrase this in a positive way. … Oh, maybe by informing people they can contact me if they want to join & help out in the future, maybe as a freelancer or employee. I can write something like “Right now, we’re a small team (it’s mostly just me actually), and, would you like to join, some day in the future? E.g. work with software development or tech support or as a Customer Success manager? Then go here (link to Future Jobs page)”
Maybe this’ll actually work, and I’ll meet talented people to work with in the future, via the About page, … And, some time later, there could be a “Future jobs” link at the top, … (I’m not looking for anyone to join exactly right now, but in 4 or 6 months hopefully).
(Hmm, or I could exclude “… we’re a small team …”, and instead only include this: “Would you like to join the team, some day in the future? …”)
Can I ask what impression do you (and others here?) think all this would give?
Personally, I don’t want to hear that you are a small team, or that it’s just you, as then we are back (in my mind, at least) with the problem that your company might fold and the service will vanish. Of course this is probably an incorrect perception, but nonetheless, I would prefer a more assertive marketing approach.
I would also like to read case studies/testimonials on two or three companies or organizations that are running your software and what they think about it.
As I said before, the website and the software itself looks polished and professional, but it might be worth sitting down with someone with marketing experience to help you frame your product in the correct way.