Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?

  • Community Rep

    @julian said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    I used to read Jeff Atwood's blog, I really liked it back then, and he said a lot of things I agreed (and still do, sometimes) with. He has a huge following and that's what allows him to speak his mind and be heavily opinionated, because lots of people will listen and change their minds. That same audience lends Discourse a whole heap of validity simply because of the name recognition factor, and all the power to them, really!

    What's hilarious is how you just described the lack of discourse as being what makes Discourse viable 😉

  • Community Rep

    @julian said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    FWIW if I tried to be as opinionated as Mr. Atwood, I'd get flamed incessantly.

    I'm at least as opinionated, and I do get flamed incessantly. But hey, that's how it goes.

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    No knocking the guy when good content presents itself. He's the reason I have dual monitors (not three though), and have a USB drive on my keyring.

    That said, the USB drive came from China (hooray Amazon FBA!) and doesn't actually work, but that's a story for another day.

    He might also be a major reason I use a mechanical keyboard 🤔

  • Community Rep

    @julian said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    That said, the USB drive came from China (hooray Amazon FBA!) and doesn't actually work, but that's a story for another day.

    Probably disabled by US sanctions!

  • Community Rep

    @julian said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    No knocking the guy when good content presents itself.

    I read and listened to all of his stuff in the StackOverlow creation days. Lots of good thoughts back then. That was a lot of where I did my early pondering on community and forum behaviour, trends, metrics, and such, and why I was able to advice Spiceworks so heavily to keep them from disaster... to which they totally ignored me and did everything that research, industry knowledge, Jeff, and I had documented made no sense to do.

  • GNU/Linux Admin


  • Regarding our experience, NodeBB is more appreciated than Discourse for the visual aspect, and works well for us.
    However there is one feature Discourse has that is missing in Nodebb : it is the possibility to delegate the sub-category management to moderators.

  • Community Rep

    @cfrancois said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    However there is one feature Discourse has that is missing in Nodebb : it is the possibility to delegate the sub-category management to moderators.

    That would definitely be a really nice feature.


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  • @gotwf's claim that Ruby on Rails is somehow history is absolute nonsense. So is the claim that it's somehow hard to customize and scale.

    Most people who make such claims have no idea what Rails actually is. They've never used it, or at least never developed anything substantial with it. In addition they've often spent most of their lives learning something else and is therefore reluctant to vouch for anything new regardless of what it is.

    Having said that, I think Discourse is crap. Way to many features, and from a Rails perspective it's an absolute mess. Plus, the fact that the community refuses to help you unless you run Docker is just sad. NodeBB is by far the better alternative. However, if you want to see a Rails forum done right, check out Thredded:

    https://github.com/thredded/thredded


  • quite interesting to read part of this thread today... i must have bookmarked it 5 years ago! 😁

    i still can see some value on forums. in practice. no other written communication platform allows for continued and effective async communication of large groups.

    i haven't ever really used slack, but i'm assuming that most of you have, and you're still here, so there must be something more about the forums...

    but in theory i can see how a compromise among irc-like slack and telegram, emails and scuttlebutt, and forums can emerge. it's the old holy grail quest, i know... the only reason i bring this idea here is because i think some might understand and either share this view or get some idea out of just thinking about it...

    if so, we should probably create a new topic and see if we can further think about it...

    perhaps (this is a big perhaps), among every other communication tool project out there today, nodebb is in the best position to give birth for such a thing, with some radical changes on code and roadmap.

    which is better? there's no comparison if this is really the case! 😘

    dancing unicorn rainbow

  • Community Rep

    @johnsonjohnson said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    Ruby on Rails is somehow history is absolute nonsense.

    Have to agree. I don't use it much now, but overall I think it's a great platform with a lot of value and we always consider it for projects.

  • Community Rep

    @cregox said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    i haven't ever really used slack, but i'm assuming that most of you have, and you're still here, so there must be something more about the forums...

    Slack is like an advanced instant messaging platform. It's great for real time "meeting replacements". But it's all but useless as a forum.

    I think of it as ephemeral posting vs. archived discussion. Slack is for shooting the poo or finding a quick fix to a team's problems. It replaces sitting around a table with a coffee (or a beer.)

    But a forum allows for a knowledge base, with peer review, and updates. And good ones, such as this one and others, can be so fast that they effectively allow for instant messaging as well.

  • Community Rep

    @cregox said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    which is better? there's no comparison if this is really the case!

    While I'm a huge NodeBB fan and use it in multiple places, I don't feel like there is a "one tool for all cases" potential out there. We tried replacing some internal corporate tools with NodeBB and it just didn't work for us that well. And even my biggest NodeBB community still hangs out on Telegram for the most random of chats.

    Just like email, instant messaging, and traditional telephone calls (and now the resurgence of teleconferencing) have all survived alongside each other all this time with none being obviously able to replace the others, I think forums are just one of those tools. Each serves a purpose different enough that they can't overtake each other.

    Similarly... books, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, fold out maps... all printed words, but each format survived because it served a different purpose. Hundreds of years of mass printing, we never merged formats. I think digital words will remain the same.

  • Community Rep

    @scottalanmiller Exactly. Forums are but one arrow in the quiver. Be pretty silly to expect a single arrow to handle all duties. And if, by some miracle, it could, I bet it would do so in a pretty mediocre manner as a consequence of trying to be too much for too many applications. Despite the ever increasing pressure towards homogeneity, there is still much wisdom in "the unix way".

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    @scottalanmiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    Just like email, instant messaging, and traditional telephone calls

    Hell, I know some projects I follow still use mailing lists and IRC to communicate. IRC is not that much of a stretch, but I think I'm a little too young to have experienced the hey-dey of mailing lists... showing my age 😊


  • some tools persist because they're useful and nothing really replaces some of their core features (smtp), others because of people inability to move on (whatsapp, myspace, flaming).

    but keep in mind that outdated tools are replaced into oblivion all the time (altavista, geocities, 8 ball), even if some of them resurrect later (vynil).

    i might have underplayed scuttlebutt quite a bit there, though, when i said nodebb might have the edge on this view...

    in any case, thanks for vocalising some opinions there! i'll leave that idea on the "big perhaps" for now.

  • Community Rep

    @julian said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    Just like email, instant messaging, and traditional telephone calls

    Hell, I know some projects I follow still use mailing lists and IRC to communicate. IRC is not that much of a stretch, but I think I'm a little too young to have experienced the hey-dey of mailing lists... showing my age 😊

    God dude, these are still my preferred modes. I marvel at the latest and greatest new fangled gadgets of the day marketed to the unwashed masses. And then I kick myself in the arse that I did not repackage one of those functionalities for those either unwilling or incapable of utilizing command line driven tools and/or focused more on bling than function.

    Quick one off question? Hit the dev channel on Freenode. Something more involved? Maybe need to be "documented" a bit more than a pastebin? Hit the project's list server. List servers are the preferred mode for some of the largest FOSS projects in the world, e.g. LKML. I hate having to get on Slack, google groups, etc., all of which require accounts and involved in big data collection. No thanks.

    Quick example: Julian et.al. use slack for company, internal use. I would have just thrown up a ZNC instance and had folks jack into a "party line" and kept it under my own roof. But... I guess that would not have necessarily worked out well for non dev/geek personnel who depend on clickery to get pretty much most all things done.

    Oh snap! Not a good option. Maybe we can think of another? Hmm... ah, bring up an in house usenset server that you do not connect to usenet. The original groupware.

    Alas, we crave new and shinny things. Even if they're not necessarily all that much better. They're new. Hip. Cannot get caught wearing last year's fashions in modern times, eh?

    My $0.02.

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    @gotwf said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    Quick example: Julian et.al. use slack for company, internal use.

    Quick bit of history... We used to use Skype. Then I forced the guys on to Slack because I could set custom emoji.

    Of all the ways to convince a team to switch, you couldn't have thought that'd be why... but alas 🐶 🐱

    They like their Skype emoji, so the first thing I did was upload all the Skype emoji onto slack

  • Community Rep

    @julian said in Which is better NodeBB or Discourse?:

    They like their Skype emoji, so the first thing I did was upload all the Skype emoji onto slack

    I've seen the behaviour many times.

    Now it is GIF support more than emojis!

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