Re-design for this forum (please submit your thoughts)

Continuing the discussion from Hey staff, thinking about better ways to manage Discuss:

Re-cap on further discussion for re-organizing and streamlining Discuss…

Simplifying number of Categories publicly displayed.

Limit number of public categories to as few as possible. These are what a new person will see when first visiting the forum if we merged and archived duplicate categories:

All categories displayed by default as a simple list containing:

  1. General Discussion (could link to #general channel on Slack and / or Discord.
  2. Classes & Events
  3. Projects

There will no longer be a default category (“Discuss”). Instead one must be chosen when posting a new topic.
Tag creation can be restricted to Trust Level 3 or 4. This is so the tags we do want are actually use. Tags only used once can be merged into overall relevant tags such as Community, etc. so they are actually indexed. This will allow tags to play an integral role in organizing posts so they are easy to organize and find in searches.

  • One off tags can be merged with other tags meaning the same thing.

Finance can simply be split as a tag across General and Logged-in Users.
Weekly Meeting will be merged with these simple public channels above. What is the best way to do this? Most likely, assign current categories to a group of tags available to whatever public channels are related.
Merge newspace / moving / general
#safemode re-named to Logged-In Users

  • Merges with Newspace-sensitive.
  • Drama posts migrated to Bravespace.
  • If users request a post move to Bravespace… it should move there. This assumes those users are acting in good faith and being excellent to each other.
  • Honestly, this category could well become totally redundant if groups are used. See below…
    >Guilds category doesn’t actually need to be public at all as it can merge with Logged-in Users.

Breaking this down concept down further…

Following categories can be become visible based on joining / leaving groups.

Event-support category can be converted to a tag, even combined with @help group
Discuss re-named to Discuss Legacy Mailing List group. Read-only mirror of the mailing list. Discussion happen entirely on that literal email list, but users of the forum can opt-in to see posts here.
Bravespace is opt-in via group.
All specific Guilds become tags. For categories, a group such as @MetaGuild can have their categories visible only once you join their group.

  • almost all guilds are really just tags, which often correspond with Slack channels
  • You can connect with any specific guild groups through mentions on any post or topic. Just write @metaguild
  • Each specific guild sub-category effectively become their own “Safe Mode”. To make posts fully public, just move or post them to a public category: General, Projects, etc.
  • About category becomes viewable to Site Feedback group. Opt-in to learn more about how the forum setup was done. Otherwise, people can avoid hearing about bike shedding this forum.
    • Site Feedback becomes a tag anyone can simply apply to discussions in place of needing an “About” category.

Another thought @themanmaran
Re-write of our forum theme. It could obviously be cleaned up. Adjusting spacing / color palette / placement would go a long way towards making the forum friendlier.
Focus of the forums becomes topics as opposed to categories,

I think this opens a huge can of worms for all sorts of problems. When does a post get defined as “drama?” Who makes that decision? I think this is not a great idea and could lead to censorship and other problems.

If general discussion would be the same thing, then I guess this makes sense. If not though, this seems awfully weird. “Discuss” has been a part of our community and our mailing list for over a decade.

What’s the reasoning behind this? I would think tagging finance is pretty important for financial transparency and other issues related to treasury.

I disagree with this. Having weekly meetings as a subsection that’s public is very important. People need to know when meetings are happening so they can participate.

There are some good ideas here. However, I don’t have time to comment on all the different changes here, but needless to say there are a ton of them.

I really recommend against the frequent updates to this forum.
It makes accessibility much harder for people, extends the learning curve further, and over complicates things. I think we should stick to what we have. Or, if it’s absolutely necessary, make substantial changes once every 1-2 years (at most).

Not everyone is great with navigating these forums and websites. I think it’s important that we have a a set standard for accessibility and go through a consensus processor for making substantial changes to one of our primary ways of communicating with each other.

Continuing the discussion from Keeping this Forum Updated:

Next Steps for forum maintenance:

  • Add color or emblems to our Tags so they match the previous color scheme of the categories they’ve replaced.
    • add hardcoded url re-directs from the old category urls to their current tag urls.
      Update: Tag icons added to differentiate those x-posting to particular Slack channels, etc.
  • Fix our broken forum theme, which I struggle with since I have minimal skills in CSS. #help-wanted
  • Do we want upcoming calendar entries to auto-populate the top of #general? Makes the most sense for them to so people can quickly know what is coming up.
  • Remove all old pinned topics from the forum
  • Fix up Kanban view for #projects
    • This means restricting to particular project-related tags, used for organizing each Kanban section
Click here to see a Kanban projects example using help-wanted, unicorn, electronics tags

  • Restrict Tag Creation. If we want tags to be used in place of categories, we’ll want to stop making them up as we go, so those available are specific to #rack, etc.
  • Tag descriptions would be awesome. I believe this will be via CSS, but it would be useful to display descriptions along with our tag groupings.
    • Example: explain to user#rack will notify our Rack Slack channel

Hamburger menu is looking super clean!

Click here to see it


We could remove some elements and add some others to the menu.

A lot of these entries aren't particularly helpful


What should we remove or add?

Group Moderation

Regular moderation flags actually normally requires other moderators to confirm or deny the moderation flag request; we could use this as-is.

Leftover on current forum setup and maintenance:

  • Calendar functionality on this forum is unresolved. It is installed, but still unclear on how it works so no one uses it.

    • Discord integration will allow notifications from this forum to reach that massive chat group of gamers related to #gaming and #vr. We could also integrate our calendar to list their events.
  • #projects is still not using Kanban view by default. Hopefully others will post their suggestions here. Eventually we should have it running as the default view via a tags group.

  • Deployment for this forum (and all other Unicorn services) should be re-written for ansible so it can be maintained by #rack via our infrastructure repo on github.

  • If specific groups do wish to moderate this forum or specific categories within it, at least one will need to appear and take charge.

  • Adding emojis from our Slack will require Slack admin assistance

  • I’ve enabled latest topics as default view. Let me know what you think or follow the link to change it back to categories.

  • #classes and events category is redundant since people don’t use it by instead posting to #general with particular tags instead. We could simply migrate all existing posts over to General and get rid of it. Thoughts @staff ?

2 posts were split to a new topic: Improving our forum Badges

Good points. This is handled by people requesting a post be moved from x channel to bravespace. This has been a successful precedent on Slack for years now. Also, all of our posts x-post to Slack and other chats based on their specific categories and tags, including Bravespace -> Bravespace Slack Channel.

I agree. Discuss itself continues to live-on as a mailing list. It only makes sense to fully embrace that list. It would live in the forum as read-only. Anyone responding to the list does so by emailing it, just as they always have.

This would allow the forum to also adopt a “General” channel, which can link to about 1,000 users on the corresponding Slack channel, plus a similar number of users on Discord who are also discussing Noisebridge matters. In order to reach these users, they expect a Bravespace channel will exist as described above.

Exactly why this is important. Our treasurer has always split financial posts between public and logged-in only, see #Logged-in-member-only. Tags would simplify this process even further. @themanmaran is explicitly requesting simplification of the forum, whether finance remains a specific category or not.

General Discussion at Noisebridge has become a multi-channel affair (General, Bravespace, etc), wholly seperate from the legacy Discuss Mailing List. That is why it makes sense to embrace both, plus differentiate both within this forum.

It can continue as a category, or be treated as tags across multiple categories. Making category distinction less important means tags will be more important! Tags will not be any less visible, actually even more visible. Right now it is confusing and unclear.

The idea is all categories will actually be displayed on the forum as a list by default, or as an optional / selectable theme. You won’t have to browse around between the categories on the left hand side, but can join or leave specific ones via groups as it is expected on Slack. Groups / Guilds of people will moderate their own categories, or even moderate other categories as well! This takes the pressure off of me or any other @staff volunteers to moderate the forum. :slight_smile:

Absolutely, which is why this re-design is done after asking for extensive feedback from the volunteers and staff who have worked on it, both here and on Slack. Hopefully this will help me to no longer focus on this project, which has already really accomplished many of it’s goals. :wink:

Agreed, which is why all of the above considerations are super important. You can follow many months of discussion about this forum at, plus ask others who have worked on this for almost three straight years. We are deeply committed to making this as accessible and friendly to use for all users as possible, while encouraging the open design which inspired Noisebridge to begin with.

My thought and concern as well. I need groups of specific interests and users to manage their own sections of the forum, plus guide this forum in the future.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Every step of it has been designed with you explicitly in mind. Even when I had this server donated almost three years ago, I thought of you at every single step @zach. Cause you deserve it! And so does our community of varied and unique users. :heart: