Things to improve on Discourse - making forums more useful for learning!

Here is an ongoing list of things I’m thinking about that would make discourse a friendlier space to be.

Some of these things are more achievable than others, as this list represents a weird mishmash of what I would do given free reign to rebuild it from the ground up and what I would tweak to make the current stuff better

Main Goals

  • To make the forums navigable to people new to discourse
  • To make people feel more at home and at ease in a new space
  • To better reflect the hyperlink system (relationship btwn courses and cohorts)

Top Level Hyperlink Discourse*

  • Split the courses out from the general Hyperlink stuff
    • Make it easier to skim and navigate without needing to go back to our UI
  • Make Course topics card based
    • Keeps a consistent visual language between main site and forums
  • Better color usage
    • Set up some better color system (color = subject matter of course, or time until next instance beings or activity etc)
  • Include more Illustration or animation or some kind of background image
    • To add more fun to the whole thing
  • Perhaps find better names for topics, categories, and posts. The names themselves don’t clearly explain what they are… but naming is hard :pensive:
  • Would prefer to have text input boxes to have rich text in them rather than showing rwa markdown + rich text preview
  • mobile app
    • We’re our here in the modern world, and lots of people do most of their communicating on the subway or in a car, or while they’re pretending to be doing their day job. Ya gotta have support a mobile app for that.
  • more obvious DM / Group chat functions
  • Feed vs Categories
    • Would want to explore a “feed” type of thing for announcements and events rather than a category. That keeps the most relevant stuff at the top and doesn’t hide them

Course Category

  • Some obvious indication that posts on this page are public to everyone in hyperlink
  • More illustrations, or a banner or something with the course illustration to make it more visually consistent
  • Again, the discussion tops separated from the cohorts
  • Cohorts displayed in cards using color, or something is differentiate them

Cohort Topic

  • Visually different than the course category
    • make it as immediately obvious as possible that this is a sub-thing of the course.
  • offer lots of group customization options, like colors or emoji sets
  • Note who is online at the same time
  • Group chat options