Guinea Pigs Required

Guinea Pigs Required


Interesting thought, although I really like the starkness of Discourse - on the basis that anything else just gets in the way of the conversation.

Worth thinking about though - IF we were to move to Discourse.


I’d agree with the point about user-friendliness and I currently use the Discourse version to see what’s changed because it’s brilliant at that.

Discourse learns what you read, what you ignore, what you want to monitor loosely or what you want to track explicitly so for some threads you get no notifications and for others you get notified if you’re mentioned whilst every post on a thread you want to monitor might be brought to your attention.

It’s really smart and it’s saved me a lot of time.

Do it @pap

Touching on your question of other issues…yes there are loads of things to consider and discuss.

tl;dr we have little real-world experience of running and managing Discourse when it’s under pressure, and neither do we have deep experience of how to extend it, how to stop it being hacked or generally manage it day-to-day. IF we go over to Discourse then we’d need to make sure that we learn quickly and that our membership is understanding of the problems we’ll undoubtedly face in the short term.

History lesson. Cast your mind back to the beginning of Sotonians-time. @pap took an obscure and half-finished piece of C# forum software running on a Microsoft platform that did the basics but as soon as it was put under load it went bang.

@pap has nurtured that code, broken away from the main development community and created something quite specific to Sotonians that gives us all the stuff we enjoy today. It performs, it seldom goes bang and if it does it’s normally our service provider’s fault. He even wrote the addon that allows us to get Optimus Trousers’ mental ramblings posted here. All of it tuned very specifically to our needs. All here today. All working.

I am not an expert (some say I could finish that sentence there) in Microsoft’s web technologies and I know even less about C# (one of the languages that our forum is built with). So @pap has given me enough information, training and access to put the technology equivalent of a defibrillator on’s chest if it ever goes bang. Outside of that, I have no real clue how works but, because it’s very stable these days, we manage to keep it going.

Discourse runs on a Linux platform (inside a Docker container if you’re interested) and is written in Ruby (on the back-end*) and Javascript and HTML (on the front-end*) and it stores its data in a PostgreSQL database. It is as different from what we have today as it possibly could be. Neither pap nor I have experience of Ruby* and @pap is working 8 hours each day now. If we encounter any performance problems or bugs or whatever, it’s going to be a strain to get that fixed.

I’m happy to become the expert and I believe @btripz has volunteered to become more involved if we were to move over, but to make the leap we’ve got to know that we’re doing it for good reasons and that where we’re going is going to give us something much better.

In addition, Discourse’s main philosophy is to promote, well, discourse. It does this by letting the community self-moderate and achieves this by promoting to moderators users that have proven their worth by how much they read (really!), how frequently they post, how regularly they post and how liked their posts are by the community. The same promotion process goes in reverse if you stop reading, stop posting, etc.

To achieve all this, Discourse promotes users to moderator positions based on some software parameters we can set, it also automatically silences users or locks threads based on some more parameters. Getting these parameters correct for Sotonians’ use will take time. Threads will be locked too early or too late. Users will be silenced too soon or too late. It will take time for us to learn what is needed and that will take patience from our membership The Soviet and the owners.

That said, Discourse is a very professional piece of software with a very active community behind it so we would start with some of the advantages @pap didn’t have all those years ago.

As I say, lots to discuss but I personally believe it would be worth it.

*I bet you sniggered then, @tokyo-saint Grow up.


So it looks like we have the details already in Discourse - all user have access to these reports.

These two videos show the top users and top posts respectively.

You can change the timescale (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually) and you can choose the metric you want to look at.

What is missing is that this isn’t currently front-and-centre on the forum.

I would envisage creating an automatic daily/weekly/monthly post from Optimus Trouser Two Dot Ohh that told everyone the current leadership standings and linked to the full report.

Top Users

Top Posts

*Ignore the actual stats. They’re skewed by data import/scraping problems that I’ve had getting the content from


All I took from that was ‘Users will be silenced’. If silenced with a ball gag I could live with that, if silenced with a nerve agent of a type developed in Russia I’m not so sure.


Can everyone on Youtube watch those videos? We could go viral!


As long as it didn’t actually come from Russia I’m sure you will be fine. This stuff is piss poor if not officially sanctioned by the Ruskies.

Hope that answers your question @gavstar





FFS this isn’t the Net is it??


I am out of here with Duterte this end sanctioning extra Judicial stuff and the Ruskies your end

See you on the flip side.

Or sunday which ever is earlier.


A quick update on the move to new software following an impromptu bored (sic) meeting at the pub on Saturday.

We’ve decided that following positive feedback by the guinea pigs we will be moving to Discourse.

The move needs to be planned and I need some time to migrate the current data and configure the new server. This means I’ll be aiming for next half term (about 6 weeks).

I’ll keep you updated if things change.



It still uses SQL.

Unless it is full on Django and Python don’ do it!!

Oops sorry went geek there.


Can I keep both usernames?

Nobody will guess who I am on there


Well the stuff that scrapes the current Sotonians and posts in the new Sotonians is written in Python and uses MongoDB. No SQL anywhere near it.

(As is Optimus Trousers BTW)

But there’s no way I’d write forum software without a SQL engine.


Yeah, I mean, just who could GolfStory be?


Dang, I’ve been rumbled :lou_facepalm_2:


Internet identity theft.

Bloody Russians again.


@btripz is a Russian ?

Does he have any Vodka?


Hmmm…This migration thing:

  1. Will we need a Blue Passport?

  2. What about holders of the current EU Passport…will they have full rights to the NHS ?

  3. Can I still collect my pension at the Post Office or will I need to open a Bank Account?

  4. Can I also use my other username “youngfella-m’lad”?

  5. Will Bazza still have to undergo the castration process agreed upon in the private exchange of views with Mr. Pap?


OK funsters, I need some volunteers to test out a few new features of the Discourse forum.

We will now allow new sign-ups to login (authenticate with Sotonians) using Google, Facebook or Twitter accounts.

If you’ve got a login with one of these platforms could you try to create a new account?

IF your Facebook, Twitter or Google account actually uses the same email address that you registered with Sotonians with, then instead of a new account you might actually just log in as your old self.

Please let me know what happens.

The Process

Firstly, ensure you are logged in to your account on either Twitter, Facebook or Google. Then visit

Next, click on the Sign Up button at the top next to the Log in button.

On the next screen, click the account type that you have - Google, Facebook or Twitter.

Follow the instructions that you are given and please report back here what happened.

Let me know the account type (Google, Facebook or Twitter) that you used, what device you are logging in from (PC, Mac, Android phone, iPhone, other phone) and what happened.

Thanks for your help.

Time-wasting twats (That’s you @fatso need not apply.



Tried logging in from Google and it went tits up.

Hopefully screenshot attached.


Google error for Bletch