If you look at the recent topics, you’ll notice that the blog post from my site was published here. This is an experiment to see how that works, and if it is scalable. I intend to post in detail about this, but the gist is that I really like the email subscription and interaction from Discourse (the forum software), and I dislike email newsletter software and services for WordPress (including Mailchimp).
My proposal is that we create a category called something like Peeps, and sub-categories inside with the name of the person, so they can collect all their posts in a single category.
Or, we don’t use categories at all!
So besides weighing in on those (and by default we won’t use categories for them), I’d like to know from ya’ll if this is something you are okay with, or if you are against it. I’d love to hear your opinion.
Oh, the reason I suggested categories for peeps is because then we can subscribe to those categories. But that may not outweigh how weird that whole setup is; categories are essentially mailing lists, and our site makes everyone essentially equal, which means rather than subscribing to a person, it is a discussion area.
Sleeping on it, I think we ought to move forward without categories. The reason is that a person just puts in a category in the settings screen, and it isn’t automatically populated or anything, so I think this may ultimately be kinda weird to encourage, let alone enforce. Keep in mind, we will be using this plugin for multiple folks, rather than what it is mainly for, single sites (with SSO, no less!).
Also, a couple ground rules came to mind.
Let’s not spam the forums. Basically, share posts that you cross-post anyways. I say this now, in case we eventually get someone that ties their Twitter account to posts, and ends up flooding us with 140 character messages.
These forums are CC0, so if your site is not the same license, please put it in the header message (the default says, “Originally posted at…”). I would even be okay requiring CC0, CC-BY or CC-BY-SA… although now that I think about it, I think that by cross-posting here, one is licensing it under CC0. So maybe that works itself out? We have any feelings about that? Because I sure don’t!
It took me a few days to digest everything, but I now feel that this isn’t a great idea. I really love the way Discourse handles mail interactions, but it isn’t made for the thing I am trying to make it do. I will try to break it down into reasons why, but ultimately I have a bad feeling about it, and I am going with that:
User auth isn’t manual, so each person would need to be approved
It silos everyone into one place that requires an account; useful for our friends, not useful for others
Native comments kinda suffer, become second-rate citizens
The plugin hasn’t really been updated for 2 years; not a bad thing, but could be an indication that WordPress isn’t a focus
I want people to join talkgroup because they want to talk, not to comment on one-off blog posts
I am sure there are other reasons. Taken all together, I am going to remove this plugin from my site, and go with Subscribe to Comments Reloaded instead (until something better comes along). Oh, also looking into creating an educational resource to help folks learn about and use feed readers.
More thoughts: aggregating to this space automatically is a pattern that diminishes expression as it balances it with safety. That means I want a safe space to discuss things here, and the things I post may not fall into that category.
This isn’t as clear without the promised code of conduct for talkgroup, but as an example, say I want to blog about a crush I have, and it includes sexually explicit images. I wouldn’t want talkgroup to hold those (and the software amazingly downloads linked media for various reasons).
I don’t see myself blogging like that any time soon, but it opens up this space where folks feel compelled to censor themselves to accommodate the forums, which I am against, or we end up making all kinds of rulings going forward about what is acceptable, and I am not interested in that.
Mute point given the above technical issues, but worth pointing out for further discussion of information sharing.
somehow i feel like i’m just happier flitting among other people’s topics, BUT if i did have a category of my own, it would respect chosen pronouns without indirection, yes this is a subtweet
more generally, i like the current category as sort of an organic structure that’s emerged, like the labels fit to the data not the other way around. but those names can be tweaked as the category contents evolve thru peoples posts.