Are you tired of the usual clunky and designed circa 1999 forum boards that take a software engineer to implement, update and modify? Jeff Atwood, the creator of Stack Overflow has a solution. Discourse is his version of a modern discussion board. He claims that it’s going to do for forums what WordPress did for blogs. Remember Live Journal and how ugly other blogs were in the late 90′s?
“Forums are the dark matter of the web, the B-movies of the Internet. But they matter.” – Jeff Atwood
Going back to the WordPress analogy, Discourse will allow any John Doe to instantly set up and promote (via a discourse community) a beautifully designed forum and have access to 1-click hosting.
At the moment however there are no migration tools to shift say a current vBulletin community over to Discourse. But like all open source software, contributors and developers do eventually come up with solutions. So don’t go trying to migrate your 100,000 member community just yet!
Notable Discourse Features
- No pages, just scroll!
- Anytime your name is mentioned, you get notified
- Simple and flat design with retained context
- Discourse remembers your place where you were reading
- Reply while you read
- Reply with linked topics
- Real time topic updates
- Links expand automatically
- Easy to invite friends and get them involved
- Drag & drop images into a post
- Log in with any account
- Intelligent self moderated community
- Simple metrics
- No app required for mobile devices
I would definitely have to agree that it is time for a change in the world of forums. If anything has a shot at that its Discourse. Being an SEO guy though I have to wonder what they’ve done to accommodate the usual SEO concerns with any platform as there is no mention of that on their website. Can you actually rank a Discourse forum #1 for a given competitive keyword. Only time will tell I guess!