Fixing this forum: principles & proposals

So… this forum was launched rather experimentally in early 2019 and it has grown more or less like an untended garden until now.

It would be great to have some co-operators step up to help design and tend these beds… er, threads.

In the meantime, this can also be a thread for collecting desires for forum functions and purposes.

Some Context:

As you may know, the co-op has received EU funding to develop the ‘badging’ component of the forum software into a decentralized credentialing service for members. This opens the door to many potential opportunities and services members may be able to make to each other, individually and collectively, in a secure, privacy respecting way. Among these will be the ability to transfer their profiles and reputations from co-op to co-op without creating a vulnerable centralized data store or putting their credentials and activities into the hands of privately-held validators like Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, etc.

One consequence of this is a significant commitment to this forum environment. The good news is that Discourse is a well-supported and widely-installed open source product with good capacity for customization and modification. The challenges are that it will take time, attention, good governance, and design sense to make this work for the co-op and its Members.

This is where you, dear Member, are encouraged to participate in the design, governance and general direction of this community space on behalf of us all.

Please consider checking out the Forum Governance Circle for more opportunities to contribute to the development and operation of these services.


Here are some links to the sort of look we could have on here… ‘the art of the possible’

It has some examples to show what is possible:

…but before then I think we need to focus on a ‘purpose of this forum’ statement and derived from that, some simple, high-level categories… My vote would be to cut it right back to 4, plus ‘other’:

  1. Music… artists, releases, opinions
  2. Co-Op and Co-Operation… us and the way we govern together and reach out in the co-operative world
  3. Support (including faq, operations issues)
  4. Platform and Projects - where we talk about features and enhancements to the platform and allied projects

I’d make all these public, but only members able to post

‘Other’ could for now be a ‘private’ category visible to members only, that would contain the majority of historic posts, submitted when forum was accessible to to members only. We could copy across a selection of great previous posts to the new public categories with the permission of the OP and contributors.

anyway… just a suggestion :slight_smile:

There are some other hassles on here we need to fix… I can’t see why iframes like this:

<iframe src= style=margin:0;border:none;width:400px;height:600px;border: 1px solid #000;></iframe>
do not render on here.

the artist links show up nicely in a ‘onebox’

But the track links are boring:

@angus can you see what we are doing wrong here? Woud be great to get our player embed to work on here.

(Youtube and other media links come up nicely in a onebox with an embedded player)

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I also like the look of the quick messages plugin. User to User messaging is available on Discourse: Quick Messages Plugin - plugin - Discourse Meta

A bit like ‘pings’ in Basecamp. And this would be GDPR compliant if we added the Legal Tools Plugin as well. Legal Tools Plugin - plugin - Discourse Meta

@Nick_M Do you know if there a way with that plugin to block unwanted messages or to restrict direct messaging to users that have reached a certain level of trust in the Forum?

Yes, this is one of the great strengths of Discourse. Can set the minimum trust level to send messages and then set rules for behaviour required before that trust level is reached.

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A nice thing we could do is to integrate Discourse with the website blog …i.e. to use Discourse as a commenting system on website blog posts. Discourse has an “Embed” feature that lets you use it as a commenting system on any framework. That approach means you can keep your blog, but start to build discussion around it. See in particular

Embedding Discourse Comments via Javascript - developers - Discourse Meta.

(Reposted from a comment by @angus on Basecamp)


I’m not sure if this is the place for notes on improvements to our Discourse forum and the ‘art of the possible’, but here goes:

First impressions are important - I think when people join this forum it’s very hard to navigate and find a ‘home’ place. It doesn’t appear immediately welcoming either. There are lots of things you can do to create attractive ‘landing / home’ pages for a Discourse forum, or customisable pages within it for a particular category or group - say an artist’s home circle.

Our co-op mates at ThePavilion have just added their landing page, built using one of their plugins, take a look at it to see the type of thing that is possible.


@Nick_M, I love the layout options and all of the design possibilities that you mentioned above. Having more icons and images and subcategories are all great ways to help people find their way around the forum.

@richjensen, @Hakanto, and I had a good conversation during the community call today discussing some ideas for the organization of the forum, and I was given the task of coming up with some ideas for listing and then re-arranging some of the forum categories that we currently have to try to make the the forum categories a bit more user-friendly for people.

With that said, here is a draft that I put together trying to organize the categories better. Some initial thoughts, but I am not the most in-tune with all of the descriptions and reasoning for all of the forum categories, so I open this up to anyone to spend some time pulling this a part and offering your edits and suggestions.

Let me know if this is the right place to post this, or if I should start a new topic in this category. Thanks!


Looks good! Would the Co-Op category potentially be visible higher up and quick orientation, site feedback or bug reporting be consolidated with it?



I didn’t even think about the order of the categories, so yes! We could probably basically reverse the category order, with The Resonate Co-op category most-likely being first with a quick orientation specified within the category (this could maybe be the purpose of the wiki?).

As for site feedback and bugs, maybe I could separate the two so that bugs are things that straight up don’t work, and need to be fixed, but site feedback may be more opinionated and up for debate leading to more community discussion?

Interested to hear thoughts from others, but thank you for your suggestions @RobertaFidora!

I’ll switch some things up now.


Sam, thanks for the time you’ve spent pondering this! Looking forward to reflecting on it soon and sharing feedback.


@Hakanto, no problem! Happy to help!

Also, to everyone else as well, I will probably have more on this tomorrow, but @richjensen brought up the great idea to potentially collect some user stories as well, so maybe I will make a new topic for those soon.

It’s one thing for me to sort of just organize by what makes sense in my head, but I think it would be great to hear from others on what you all want out of the forum (categories/topics), and how you would like it organized/presented to you as well.

Will be in touch on this probably sooner than later.



Great! By the way, some basic high level user stories (‘epics’) and ‘personas’ across all Resonate services would be great… we need to ensure the UX and language / terminology is reasonably consistent across the new player, the new website, the new sign-up flows and the community forum, so it would be good to share and work on those together and help the UX team.


Okay, that sounds like a plan.

@Nick_M, what would be the most efficient way to do this? Thinking I could start a new forum topic for each project and if initial participation is low, I could just start tagging people to leave their thoughts?

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I think we should have just one doc or thread for all the main personas and maybe an ‘epic’ for each main Resonate service (not project, I think):

As an artist I want to use the player so that I can review my artist page and releases and find out how they are doing (plays and earnings)

As an artist I want to use the player to get social media links…

As an artist I want to use the forum to reach out to my followers and hang out / collaborate with other musicians

As an artist I want to use and contribute to the Resonate website as a source of reference and new articles on Resonate and the wider music and co-operative ecosystem

As an artist / curator I want to use the player to explore new content, add it to my playlists and find links to reference podcasts…

As an occasional lazy / passive listener I want to use the player to listen in background and maybe find some good picks

As an active and engaged music community activist I…

As a spotify listener and complete noob to co-ops I landed here and want to find out if it is worth staying

As a gardener I put on loud EDM to scare my neighbour’s cat away from my vegetables

and so on… all above are just silly examples.,

Not too many… just the big ‘archetypal’ / ‘epic’ ones to start


Put a ton of thought and work into the forum design doc today.

:hammer_and_wrench: See Proposal B2.

Forum Design - Principles & Proposals

Folks are invited to leave comments and thoughts either here or on the doc.

@Sam_Martyn @LLK