Please help us organize this Discourse

Hey there, SourceCred Discourse Reader! We need your help!

This discourse is badly organized:

  • As a new user, it’s hard to find good introductory content that lets one orient on the discussion
  • As a regular user, the categories don’t do a good job of organizing the discussions we have, with the result that many discussions are uncategorized, or organized somewhat arbitrarily. It would be great if we had a better category system.

So far, I’ve been the “Champion” for the Discourse, but I’m championing a lot of things, and haven’t given this forum the proper attention. So, my ask is:

  • If you have ideas on how to make this forum more accessible and better organized, please share them!
  • If you’d like to champion specific changes, please propose them!
  • If you’d like to champion the discourse in general, let’s talk about it! :slight_smile:

A few ideas and a few questions:

  • Is it possible to pin a thread to each category? If so, we could create an Overview/Welcome page in each category. This could introduce the category and also link to key posts with important information.
  • We could create a “Getting Started with SourceCred” post. This would provide an overview of SourceCred, links to key media/resources, and an overview of the forum categories with links to the welcome thread in each.
  • We could start leveraging lots of the cool features Discourse has. I just discovered a few days ago that Discourse lets you create polls. Polls! Who knew? I certainly didn’t… Since Discourse is really the heart of the community, and we have a strong integration into it, and it’s open source, might as well learn how to leverage the platform as much as possible.

Also, this synergizes nicely with the Supernodes initiative.

We could go through the entire forum top to bottom, create the missing initiatives and artifacts, and organize them into a friendly and welcoming format for new community members :slight_smile:

Also synergizes with the Historians and Curators and Documentation initiatives. We could organize everything, document everything, define everything, create initiatives and artifacts, and create a light-paper describing it all in one place.

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By default, every category has one of these “about X category” topics pinned. They’re not very visible at the moment, because we’re using the /latest view as homepage. It’s possible to switch this to /categories to make more use of the category structure.

Example of this being used well:

Mostly though, we need someone to champion it :] Between recent excellent posts I feel like my forum bandwidth is pretty saturated again and will focus on keeping Write the Initiatives Plugin going.

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Cool. Thanks for that info. TBH I’m not sure exactly how much effort/time organizing the SourceCred discourse would be, but I really like this community and would love to help out. If there isn’t a hard deadline or anything I’d be happy to do my best to champion this initiative.


@burrrata, great to hear that you’re interested in being a champion on the Discourse – I had you in mind as a good candidate. :smile:

IMO, there are a lot of related questions here:

  • what categories do we want for the Discourse?
  • how do we want to maintain documentation?
    • having a wiki post authored by 1 particular person is a bit weird–i think it feels like other people shouldn’t edit it / won’t get cred in it.
    • maybe we want a “documentation” user who is the nominal author of the docs posts, but everyone can edit it and we assign cred based on the wiki history
  • what “getting started” materials does the discourse need that we can point people to? (and how will we keep these ‘getting started’ materials up to date?)

If you want to be a champion, I recommend carving out one of these specific projects to tackle, rather than trying to do everything at once. Once you have an idea on which problem you want to focus on and how to address it, I recommend creating an initiative describing your plan. That way we can do a good job of flowing you cred for those contributions. :smiley:

Are we ok with just creating more as needed, or do we want to restrict the categories?

My vote would be to let them happen when they need to happen, but open to being convinced otherwise.

Yeah everyone should def be able to contribute. Since we’re still in the early days it can be everyone, but eventually we might want to implement a Wikipedia style system where you need reputation and/or trust levels to do this. I think Discourse actually has a Trust Levels system built in right?

Materials we need:

  • SourceCred Manifesto
  • High-level SourceCred overview
  • how to guide for the SourceCred Discourse community (best practices around commenting, how cred is earned, and eventually how to boost and stuff)
  • getting started guide with open initiatives or discussions that people can get started with (like the “good first Issue” tags on GitHub)
  • SourceCred lightpaper
  • SourceCred glossary/wiki for key terms and concepts
  • links to all SourceCred social media
  • links to projects using SourceCred

How do we keep these materials up to date?

  • Aggressive boosting! The SourceCred community is going to grow, and as it does it’s going to need to scale. boosting combined with reputation/trust levels will allow the community to naturally engage with the process
  • Until we have boosting and whatnot, there needs to be a champion. I volunteer as tribute under the conditions that I can work on this during nights and weekends, the expected timeline is that things start to look better in the next month or two (probably earlier, but sometimes life happens), and that anyone who wants to participate can also participate :slight_smile:

Regarding how to tackle all this, honestly I kind of just want to figure it out. I already have tons of concrete tasks and deliverables in my life, so here I want to explore and participate as I feel inspired. Currently I’m feeling very inspired so this is good.

  • The first thing I want to do is better define what SourceCred is and how it works (manifesto and lightpaper)
  • then I want to make sure that everyone can easily understand SourceCred and contribute (getting started page, SourceCred Discourse how-to guide, glossary/wiki, open Issues/Initiatives (GitHub/Discourse)
  • then I want to make sure that all the categories and things are organized so that the long-term contributor experience (beyond a casual user) is awesome and people really love this community as much as they love anything (historian/curator stuff)
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@decentralion Can you please pin a Welcome thread to every category and make that thread a Wiki?

Speaking of permissions, as the community grows Discourse will become more and more important, esp as Cred flows through it. We’re going to need to organize Discourse, maintain Discourse, and make it clear who to reach out to for Discourse related requests and/or changes. How are we going to decide on who does this work, and once we do, what will be the process to add/remove Discourse maintainers?

If we had Cred weighted voting this would be easy. Just let people vote with their Cred. Assuming that lots of people with Cred will be engaged on Discourse, it could be assumed they might have an opinion regarding changes to Discourse related things. Do you think that would work, and/or did you have something else in mind?

Linking a relevant post so that all Discourse organization stuff is here in a single thread.

Created a Mega Thread to start to wrap my head around everything going on in this forum and project.

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I’ve promoted you to TL4, so you can now do this yourself. :slight_smile:

Hmm, this is a good governance question. I generally like models where areas of responsibility are assigned to concrete owners, versus having a “run by committee” style of approach. So maybe we could have a formal leader for the Discourse, who is elected by the community with fixed terms, or something?

Do you imagine people voting to elect the “Discourse President”, or voting on our moderation policies, etc? Using some sort of cred-weighted voting makes sense to me overall.

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I’m fine with creating categories as needed. We can let a thousand categories bloom, and then later on figure out which ones have staying power. Experiment and iterate and whatnot.

It seems that only admins can create categories, but once they’re creating others can re-categorize topics. So please just message me with any categories you want made, and I’ll create them for you. (E.g. we should come up with a category for the manifestos.)

Yes, I believe we could make it so that you need, e.g., trust level 2 to edit a wiki post.

Can you elaborate on how the aggressive boosting will keep the materials up to date? You basically mean, people will be incentivized to keep improving the materials because of the cred-and-grain rewards for doing so? This is more than just about boosting, we also need e.g. wiki edit tracking integrated into the Discourse plugin so we can flow cred to wiki editors.

Cool! As TBD, I support your being Champion of the Discourse. I was tempted to write “by the power vested in me as TBD, I proclaim you Champion of the Discourse”, but I wonder: is Championship conferred by me, or is the mantle of Championship simply claimed by you? I suppose we’ll need to think about the rituals of Championship. :slight_smile:

BTW, that’s an idea for a badge–the Champion badge.

It’s an honor and a pleasure :slight_smile:

Yeah death by committee sucks. Totally onboard for having champions/leaders for projects. For something like Discourse, however, it might get complicated. A few thoughts:


  • Does being a Discourse champion also include being a Discourse moderator? Maybe. Initially that seems important so that the person shaping Discourse is also on the ground floor engaging with users to understand what’s working and what’s not.
  • Another way to look at forum moderation is as a community effort. Those with higher trust scores and experience could/would be expected to help out and/or take action whenever they see something amiss.
  • Perhaps to combine the two the Discourse champion could be the primary moderator, but then also have the responsibility to recruit knowledgeable community members as moderators if needed?

Feedback & Signalling

  • While having a single champion/leader/director for a project generally enhances productivity and accountability, we also want the community to have a voice. Discourse is, after all, the heart of the community. People come here to discuss, design, and take action on things they care about. Some of those things might involve meta level upgrades to Discourse and/or the community. It’s important that community members have a way to signal their preferences and/or engage in the work of improving their community/home (even though it’s online). Cred weighted lists and/or voting could help with this.


  • It’s important that the leader of any initiative, esp one as meta as managing our Discourse forum, can be deposed. Power corrupts. While it’s silly to think of someone drunk with power managing an online forum, it happens frequently. Before electing someone to a place of power a protocol for governing that power must be put in place. Currently the TBD has that power, so that’s ok. In the future, however, we should figure out a more community driven model. Could be via trust scores on the forum (because that’s a Discourse specific thing). Could be via Cred weight. Could be a combination of both. We’ll figure it out, but we must not lose sight of this important goal.

Yeah that would be great. My experience with open ended voting systems is that initially they’re great, but they balloon in complexity exponentially, and they do so alarmingly quickly. There should only be a few things that can be voted on to keep it simple and reduce voter fatigue. A few ideas of what that might include:

  • electing the Discourse Director,
  • reducing or expanding the Discourse Director’s powers
  • deciding on the moderation policy

This way the Discourse Director couldn’t arbitrarily inflate their own powers, and if a director isn’t going in the direction the community wants they can get a new one. Deciding on the moderation policy seems important to give the community agency, but in reality I expect we’ll use a fairly boilerplate mode policy. The Discourse ones are really good.

Sounds good. We could add that to the getting started guide too so that people know how to request help for things like that.

Awesome. Is everyone here who’s actively on a weekly basis already trust level 2?

Yes, that was the idea. I thought that Wiki tracking was already integrated, but if not then it would be great to develop that.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Kind of depends. If you’re championing your own initiative, then that’s great. All day long. If you want to champion a meta-level initiative that’s infrastructure for the community, then that requires being elected (either by TBD or the Core Cred community). Maybe we should have a list of ongoing initiatives that require election and more project related initiatives that anyone can volunteer for?

Another question, for ongoing roles that have certain responsibilities does it make sense to have a certain amount of Cred flow to that champion? This would kind of reflect the way that many positions are compensated via salaries as well as bonuses. Kind of on the fence about this one…

  • On the one hand, taking on extra responsibility and committing to consistent ongoing contributions is really important and may also involve lots of work (or thinking) that isn’t reflected in the day to day actions of posting, commenting, etc… Maybe a Supernode could help with this?
  • On the other hand, the whole point of SourceCred is that it automatically rewards and recognizes contributions. The more we force ourselves to dogfood this core mechanism the more it forces us to think through all the ways it could be used. This might result in discovering novel reward and organization mechanisms that we would have overlooked if we took the easy route. This is especially relevant because one of the coolest ideas about SourceCred is that it “just works.” Plug it in and it’ll reward and recognize contributors. The more roles, responsibilities, and mechanisms we create the more complex (and potentially the less usable) the protocol/product might become.

I dunno, at this point it’s early days to be defining concrete roles and responsibilities for “positions,” but it’s important that we start thinking about these things. Also, maybe it would make sense to delineate the the “core SourceCred product” vs add-on features and mechanisms. This way people would have a version of SourceCred that “works out of the box,” but then they could customize it with add-ons. This might be similar to how browser extensions allow you to customize the functionality of the web.

Yes! That would be great :slight_smile: Then you could see who’s actively working on stuff. That would A) be fun, B) maybe incentivize people to champion more stuff to get the cool badge, and C) it would raise awareness of championing for new users

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Could we create a Getting Started category for threads with info for new users?

Also, is it possible to add multiple categories and/or tags to a single thread?

@burrrata, I like your use of the term “director” for someone who has executive responsibility over a domain of the project. I think it is a useful distinction from Champion–as I imagine, a Champion is focused on accomplishing a specific goal, initiative, milestone, or improvement, where as a Director has ongoing responsibility for keeping a section of the project healthy.

I agree that champions can self-nominate (esp. for their own initiatives, or “low stakes” initiatives) whereas Directors need oversight from the community.

This resonates with me, because I think once we are confident in cred-weighted voting, the first limitation we can put on the TBD is to allow for there to be a vote of no confidence, followed by the election of a new TBD.

Done. See here and you should be able to spruce it up the way you like.

I believe a thread can only have one category. Not sure how tags work.

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Awesome! Creating a page explore and explain what Directors are.

We could also have a split voting system where 50% of the vote is determined by Cred and 50% by TBD. This way either party could veto the other. Then, if we want we could transition to an 80/20 model or something where the Cred Core community is mostly in charge, but TBD still has influence.

Awesome! Thanks :slight_smile:

Ok cool. TBH I don’t even know if there are “tags” on Discourse, but a la Cunningham’s Law figured it couldn’t hurt to ask lol

UPDATE! Tags are totally a thing. The Discourse New User Guide explains them :slight_smile: