Homepage    |    GitHub    |    API    |    FAQ

Moving the forum to a different provider?

+1 for Hetzner -- it's an amazing webhost and traffic probably wouldn't even be an issue there. A Hetzner cloud instance with one of their volumes would be great -- has support for Infrastructure-as-code (via terraform, pulumi), so write that once and you're good (you can make it open source if you want and others could help, since all the credential stuff is private obviously).

$300/month is a BEEFY instance that you will mostly waste -- a smaller instance that you can possibly scale horizontally (if you really need it, 99% of the time you won't, just add more bandwidth as you need extra).

Should be mostly set & forget though initial setup might take some time, it's even faster if you use discourse's official docker image -- then the steps are:

  • provision a cloud instance w/ a nice big volume
  • do basic hardening (ufw, fail2ban)
  • install docker
  • install caddy (could be a docker container)
  • point caddy at docker container running discourse (caddy will handle your HTTPS cert retrieval)
  • take backups and send them to a Hetzner storagebox w/ a cron job
1 Like

For another project i now trying Zulip... It’s quite interresting.

Just my 2 cents:

  • I think Reddit (and similar platforms) are horrible for general forums like this one. Due to the way it works, it invites a different type of discussion.
  • I haven't tried the GitHub discussion thingy yet, but in my mind, GitHub is for the technical bits, not a place for "normal" people to have a general discussion
  • I like Discourse whenever I run into a project using it. I wasn't aware of the hosted version and its limit, but luckily you can at least self-host it!

Personally, I'm more partial to keeping things under your own control, but that's just me, and I don't have to provide a stable forum for such a large group of people. :wink:

5 Likes

Perhaps this might be enough for a start : Serveur dédié Dedibox Start | Scaleway

image

1 Like

I really hope we don't end up on Reddit. Over the years, they are pushing way too hard to force their apps and accounts on you. Seriously, have you tried just browsing the thing? Especially via a mobile browser?
Endless popups, app prompts, content loaded a few posts at a time... sometimes, they just cut you off after a certain point on mobile and tell you to use the app.

This, and any other walled-garden services, are the worst-case scenario imo.

Discord is not much better, and it just sucks as a knowledge base. Searching for answers in the past on there is just bad.

On the other hand, there's a lot to love about this forum: not only is it open enough (with the export) and works as a knowledge base (search! topics!), I think over the years we got ourselves a nice, friendly community. It's not just hyper-nerd techies; but "normal" folks, too! :smiley: I'm not saying this can't be maintained on other platforms, but I'd really hate to risk losing this community.

I can, like, increase my monthly donation by a dollar if it helps. :joy:

13 Likes

:+1: Well said!

5 Likes

This is something I was meaning to mention as well, and I don't think it's off topic. Discourse was designed to create healthy communities. When I look at other software communities, I find this one here to be the most friendly and the most helpful. Not 100% because of Discourse, of course. Lots of credit goes to the leaders and active members.

8 Likes

One additional problem with Reddit: the platform is literally designed to promote groupthink. Every bit of content is voted on to be promoted or suppressed, encouraging only conformist thinking. That's not good for a FOSS project.

9 Likes

@ laurent Does Discourse have any drill-down stats to see what User-Agents, or types of traffic is generating all the pageviews? e.g. I wonder how much of it might be bots, monitoring, scrapers, etc. that might be artificially inflating the number.

Discourse is a great platform for this use-case, and it'd be a shame to lose its benefits due to this.

I'm also wondering if they offer any sort of caching or CDN to put in front of the forum? e.g. maybe a chunk of these "billable" pageviews could be off-loaded to a CDN service.

Just thinking out loud here.

-Eric

2 Likes

That's our stats:

although I'm not sure what to make of it. Otherwise we generally have no control over the infrastructure, what gets cached, etc. since this is managed hosting. I assume that indeed a good part of the forum could simply be cached and served as static pages, and I'd expect they are already doing something like this.

1 Like

I'll try to respond to several comments at once:

  • It makes complete sense that different tools will be better suited to different problems. Just like there are (at least) four types of documentation depending on the audience, there are different platforms best suited to different problems like usage questions, bug reports, feature design, and announcements. Expecting one forum to serve all of these audiences equally well is naive.
  • @zblesk has no problem making an account on Discourse, but Reddit is a bridge too far? "content loaded a few posts at a time" -- have you seen Discourse? Literally the same problem. I think this really demonstrates the rose-colored glasses some people are wearing.
  • Many commenters are swooning over Discourse as "not like the other girls" because it is fresh and new. Redditors have had the same sentiments about Reddit for years. I can find the same comments being made on Reddit today. "I love our little community in our secret corner of the internet." Every fresh, small community loves their fresh, small community while its still fresh and small, then becomes disillusioned as it grows. It has nothing to do with the technology, and everything to do with community size and novelty.
  • I can appreciate the irony of telling me "Reddit is literally designed for groupthink, encouraging only conformist thinking" when I'm the only non-conformist in this thread endorsing Reddit. :joy: Voting is a good way of separating signal from noise at scale (see The Wisdom of Crowds). It is the reason Stack Overflow and Reddit became so successful.
3 Likes

Seems you've missed the intent/point in a few places, but I only want to address this one:

I, of course, don't care about the technology that makes the platform run. So what if discourse loads posts by parts as I scroll along; I couldn't care less. However, it does it automatically, so the only thing I need if I want to read is to keep scrolling. On reddit, however, I have to keep clicking on things; the thread structure is annoying enough, but the incessant ads and popups are just the worst.
(And yes, I do have an account on both. I just think reddit went down the drain lately.)

3 Likes

Reddit's new design is awful, clunky and not comparable to Discourse. I don't know about you but Discourse is so smooth for me. Luckily old.reddit.com and mobile apps works great. But as somebody pointed out above, Reddit posts gets archived after some time. Which could be a problem for some threads like Share your css that almost became like wiki pages and are growing over time.

I love Reddit's voting system and nested comments, but I think this forum is clean enough that voting system is not necessary.

3 Likes

I don't understand what you are saying here. Endorsing Reddit hardly makes one a non-conformist. You simply have a different opinion. But here on Discourse, your opinion will be treated equally with others. It won't be downvoted into invisibility.

I disagree. Technology has a serious impact on how communication happens.

Voting can just as easily amplify noise. Reddit is popular because it's a free-for-all.

6 Likes

A fun observation of several things at once:
Consider tagline creation currently going on in the lounge. It started as "submit your idea" thing, turned into a poll where your idea would be voted on. In the end, the requirements for the tagline had changed yet the poll choices stayed the same.

As a life experiment it shows in my opinion that some ways of engagement with audience clearly benefit from a certain tech. The same poll would be better if it would be in reddit because you can collect, in real time, best gems submitted by the community. Currently requirements changed, poll has an irrelevant result and as a author you need to nullify the poll results and ask people again for submissions. Puts both voter and poll author in a weird position.

Yet on reddit your very post, @thejohnfreeman would be downvoted heavily due to less than humble tone and I'm as a user wouldn't be able to see it. That would be unfair. So, in order to judge each post we would need more complex system that would allow to evaluate content and a form of the input separately (not just upvote/downvote). I believe in that case the community would be better off regardless of its size, wouldn't it?

However I'm not aware of such developed platform.

At the moment I have no opinion in the question what's the platform should be. I think the plugin system has shown wild success and I could piggyback on its premise:

I believe If people like their platform of choice, they can create their own unofficial community and see what flies and what doesn't. Those who'd like the forum to be on the paid platform could create a cash bounty for sponsoring the switch or offer server resources/admin services for maintenance.

Let me know what you think, be critical if you must, I don't mind

3 Likes

This community is tiny. Judging based on views and replies in Discourse, this community would be lucky to break 10,000 subs with its own subreddit at this moment. This thread has 44 comments, and most are replies, not top-level. Unless this community is filled with people who would downvote me only because they disagree, then my comments would show up just fine and you wouldn't have to scroll any further than you do on Discourse.

Reddit is a no-go for me. So, if we moved to reddit, I would definitely not be contributing to any discussions anymore. I mentioned that before. I'm not saying that I should be the reason for not moving, but I am pretty sure that others dislike Reddit as much as I do.

9 Likes

Yep, hate Reddit though I won't go as far as to say I'd leave this community of it came to that. Discord on the other hand, I'm probably giving away my age here but I just don't get that at all.

Just give me good old forum software, if need be even a free ad supported platform such as Proboards would be preferred over those.

I just can't imagine a cheap dedicated server can't handle a forum like this... Have a look at Hetzner or even OneProvider for some great offers and unlimited bandwidth.

3 Likes

This doesn't solve the problem forever (or maybe even for now), but it looks like Discourse is 50% off hosting for Open Source projects, so the Business Class would seem to be $150 vs $300.

(found here: https://free.discourse.group)

It also seems like they might help with moving to a VPS

If you exceed our bandwidth limit (for several consecutive months) you have two options:
We’ll help you move to self-hosting, either on your own server or any Docker compatible cloud (a $20/month Digital Ocean droplet should suffice).
Upgrade to our Standard hosting plan at 50% off.

(found here: Free Hosting for Open Source v2 | Blog)


I am for sticking with Discourse if possible since there is a lot of history here. One thing I would like to figure out is an easier way to make "wiki" pages that answer common / evergreen questions. I know that discourse calls one page type a wiki, but it looks like a normal post and doesnt have any sort of hierarchy so I never bother. Maybe if we moved more of this content to structured pages, the page views to the forum itself would decrease?

5 Likes