This is not Blender news but is BlenderArtists.org news. I wanted to get some eyeballs on it and this section has the most people watching.
There was some discussion in a recent thread which was moved to the site support forum. Unfortunately the mod neglected to post a link to it and I’m not sure anyone noticed or maybe thought the discussion was deleted. That support forum is apparently not watched by many. At any rate, the thread died.
The reason I bring it up here is this bit of news provided by Fweeb.
Everyone should know why:
A lot of threads on these forums tend to drift off into endless discussion between two parties that aren’t interesting to read for the majority of users. I’m obviously guilty of fueling some of that, but since I don’t really care enough to restrain myself, there need to be technical measures.
With threaded discussions, arguing users will be able to happily veer off into oblivion, while the rest of the users won’t have to scroll through 20 pages of quote battles.
That “solution” is worse in practically every way. For one, it requires human time, which is way more expensive than computer time. What should be the guidelines of determining when a quote battle goes too far? Why should they be prohibited in the first place, when threaded discussion pretty much solves the problem?
If you care about “quality”, you want threaded discussion. You also want upvoting/downvoting. You want the good information to rise to the top, you don’t want to give the most screen real estate to the guy who can type the most. There’s no way you can achieve this by moderation alone, if you have a substantial amount of users. Stackexchange and Reddit work on this principle, and they’re very successful with it.
Three trends I’m not sure about when it comes to retooling forums.
1). Round avatars - seriously, it’s a format that just doesn’t work with most types of images other than photos of yourself. 2). Smaller avatars - In an artist’s forum? Shouldn’t avatars be seen as seen as a way to showcase a personal favorite out of your CG work (especially since newer OS versions don’t even work anymore at the smaller resolutions people used to use? 3). Auto-loading of more replies - Why are pages going out of style, can you imagine the Cycles thread in one massively long list of replies :eek:
I have to agree with BeerBaron about the upvoting/downvoting. Let’s face it most of the people that coming to this site are looking for information on how to do something, the best way of doing something, getting ideas and the what’s coming up in Blender. These people are artist and programmers which are in the creative and to themselves. Another thing I have seen on this site as well as others is very negative feedback. There is a big difference in constructive criticism and negative feedback. That’s were the upvoting/downvoting would help.
I can’t find anything good about Reddit. It’s like a social media of forums. Wait… it IS a social media of forums. So it’s like any comment thread on youtube with bunch of guys hitting those vote buttons like they were likes. It just doesn’t work. Anything that social media has introduced never works in context of real discussion. Reddit is actually some kind of meta-forum with focus on the discussion itself, of who is the wittiest and who is accepted by other hipsters trying to be clever. It’s surely among the worst things internet has produced.
This site doesn’t get no were as much traffic as Stackexchange or Reddit. There’s just not that many people out there wanting to use Blender or any other CG software. Most people feel they are not smart enough to learn it.
From what I’ve seen on other sites I don’t think I like Discourse. Too busy with too much whiz bang awesome stuff that I’m not sure would work any better here than what we have. Seems like a recipe for less participation and more work for the mods here.
Btw why do all or most of the sub threads appear to be duplicated on their parent threads at the cookie site?
I think it would be useful to lock threads after ten or so pages and open a new one if the discussion continues. The reason is that if you search for a keyword or phrase the search function will present you the thread which contains this keyword. However, this is useless in case of a thread that is several hundred pages long.
Either that or implement a better search system which at least presents you with the page your keyword is on.
Nothing was being hidden… just properly place in the most appropriate forum.
That said, yes, there is an active plan to move BlenderArtists.org to use Discourse rather than Vbulletin. There will be an announcement thread about this soon that will detail more specifics. However, since this thread exists (thanks!), let me drill down on a few topics:
Discourse is open source - There’s a vibrant community behind it and the source is easily available to review and make changes. It also means that any aesthetic issues (round avatars, etc.) can easily be overcome… so don’t sweat that too much.
Threaded discussion - I’d like to avoid quote-battle back-and-forths altogether, but as has already been mentioned, this helps members of the site avoid reading irrelevant off-topic debates (I’d still need to read threaded discussions as a moderator, though)
Up/down voting - In its current form, it’s a “nice to have” feature that doesn’t do more than that. However, I have some ideas about they might be used to help foster and promote a more positive vibe in the General Discussion forums. Just gotta convince everyone else.
Forum structure - A lot of Discourse forums (like the CG Cookie one), have a malleable layout where subforums are more like organizational groups. I’m not convinced that’s necessarily the best approach for BA. Fortunately, Discourse does offer the ability to have a more fixed structure that resembles the way our forum currently works. That’s likely to be the default we choose for the conversion.
Site history - While we will migrate the user database for BA, it’s unlikely that we’ll be migrating all of the threads as well. While this is certainly an inconvenience for any existing discussions, it would take a monumental effort to migrate all threads from Vbulletin to Discouse… and it’s likely that many, many things will break while doing so (BA has a thread history that is greater than 10 years). The current plan is to archive all threads from Vbulletin (so they’re still readable) and start fresh with Discourse. Granted, that’s still just a plan, so any feedback would be appreciated.
Sounds good. I was frustrated trying to develop an informed opinion about Discourse. The documentation is lacking and installing a local site to play with is much different than a php site. I couldn’t make time for yet another learning experience.
So if good settings and styling will give us a great experience I’m all for it. Thanks for the info.
-LP <(Btw, about this tag. Oldschool habits die hard.)
Absolutely. We definitely want to keep that information around. BA results come up frequently when I do my own google searches for techniques I’ve forgotten (or never learned) how to do.
As mentioned, everything will be archived and read-only, so nothing will be lost in that sense. And with any luck, the incredibly great threads in the support and art forums will shine even brighter than the general discussion forums.