Opening up the forum to a broader community

:point_right: This plan will go live on December 1, 2021

Since its founding back in 2019, this forum has been a small, private community of some of Resonate’s membership – with a few non-member guests.

The forum is the main way for members to meet others, get involved, and influence the co-op’s direction. However, something has been missing: a way for potential members to get to know us and get involved.

While these folks aren’t part of the co-op yet, they are still a key part of our community.

Being welcome

Let’s say you are an artist who just discovered Resonate. You want to upload your music and become a member. If the forum is open to non-members, then this means that you can join the community right away. Not sure how to upload music? Head to Help desk and ask. Maybe someone asked the same question in the past. Want to get to know some folks in person first? Come by the Community Call.

Right now, potential members who are exploring Resonate have to go through our inbox or social media to get answers and make connections.

Well, this has downsides:

  • new artists are outsiders until they’ve uploaded music, with little to do in the meantime but wait in silence
  • folks who want to contribute work to help build Resonate can’t investigate what work is going on and can’t take initiative
  • Resonate’s communications workers answer familiar user questions over and over, creating a lot of repeat work

As a result, connections at Resonate have tended to get scaffolded around the most involved players – those who have had the time, luck, and resources to figure out how things work and what’s going on.

We can democratize this knowledge. Spread it out. All throughout the co-op should be able to help others and take this agency for themselves.

Opening the doors

The Handbook area of the forum will soon be going public – a wonderful step forward which will make it significantly easier for everyone (here and beyond) to learn about Resonate and how stuff works. A new project by the Board – the Handbook Committee – will be writing these guides and materials.

However, for both transparency and practicality, I believe we should take a step further, making most of the forum public.

The proposal

  • make most of the forum public and readable by passersby – a common setup; example: Blender Artists
  • when joining the forum as a new user, you won’t be able to post in all categories right away – you’ll be limited to the Help desk and perhaps another category or two. After exploring a while, you will unlock the ability to post in more areas (pretty standard to how Discourse is designed)
  • however, members can post everwhere right away – even if they have just become members
  • categories pertaining to formal voting processes and general meetings will be viewable only by Resonate members
  • there will continue to be some worker-oriented private categories used for coordination; users who want to contribute work regularly can request access

Eventually, our new ID server will remove the distinction between creating a forum account and creating a user account on Resonate.

In the wind

As we’ve been building Resonate, much of this work has been private. It’s tender material that can feel fragile. To open up the forum means that past conversations among compatriots will be exposed to the wild winds of the world wide web. This can feel scary – I myself am a bit nervous at the thought.

Nevertheless, within the strength of those same winds is pure potential – a resource and a gift – new friends that can fill the sails and lift us far beyond where we are. I for one am ready to see where we can go with those winds at our back. Please share your thoughts on this vision and where you see the good and the bad at this fork in the road.

Current List


  • @everyone: See, Reply, Create


  • @everyone: See, Reply, Create
  • #handbook
    • @everyone See, Reply
    • @staff See, Reply, Create


  • Parent (#music itself)
    • @everyone: See, Reply, Create
  • Artist categories (e.g. #music:kallie-marie)
    • supporter group: See, Reply, Create



  • Parent (#co-operation itself)
    • @members: See, Reply, Create
    • @everyone: See
  • Working groups (e.g. #community, #communications (previously story))
    • @members: See, Reply, Create
    • @everyone: See
  • Member meetings (e.g. #co-operation:member-meeting)
    • @members: See, Reply, Create
    • @everyone: See
  • Private Working groups (#story)
    • @Story: See, Reply, Create

#boardroom: @board: See, Reply, Create
#forum-staff: @staff: See, Reply, Create
#lounge: TL3 >=: See, Reply, Create


Thanks @Hakanto for putting this together. I definitely want to sit with this for a bit, but my initial thoughts are similar to yours.

I think opening up the forum to the public can be a great benefit, but I would look to only make certain topics/categories available, at least at first.

Categories/topics that can generally inform people about Resonate and its vision (like the handbook) would be great ways to increase interest and understanding that can build early relationships and encourage people to join as a member.

The only reason I would start with these types of categories, at least at first, is because I wouldn’t want any of the following to happen upon letting the public in.

  • People from the general public disrupting valuable conversation within the forum.

  • Membership feeling less valuable if the public is able to access basically the same things, but for free.

  • A lack of knowledge or experience with Resonate by the public preventing decisions from being made, or actions from being done.

These are all hypothetical “what-ifs,” and with the amazing culture & community that Resonate has already built, I don’t think these “what-ifs” would be that prevalent, but just something to mention.

That’s why my initial thoughts are to start small, gather feedback, and then expand or retract categories/topics from there.

Again, just some initial thoughts here, but this definitely goes well beyond just a few opinions, so I am interested to hear what others will say.

Thanks for starting the conversation, and hopefully my few cents can help.


I propose the following permissions structure for the public. Just a first draft; comments welcome!

See: you can see topics
Reply: you can reply to topics
Create: you can create new topics

#general: See, Reply, Create
#helpdesk: See, Reply, Create




  • Parent (#co-operation itself): See, Reply
  • Resources (#handbook): See, Reply
  • Working groups (e.g. #handbook-committee): See, Reply
  • Private Working groups (rare; e.g. #story): Hidden
  • Member meetings (e.g. #co-operation:member-meeting): Hidden (members only)

#boardroom, #forum-staff and #lounge remain as they are (i.e. private)

Thanks Angus! Just checking I have understood this…

2 ‘levels’ or 3?

Public visitor and Sign-up/Member

Public visitor, Sign-up, Member

I think we need to consider 3 levels. The permissions set above would work OK for Sign ups. Members get full access to everything other than the private groups.

Public visitors can see everything other than the private groups but cannot reply to anything, or create, except in ‘help’. Otherwise need to sign up to reply / create.

We will need to allow extra volunteer / paid moderation effort to support this.

Does that work?

The context here is that I’m talking about Discourse access permissions (sorry should have clarified that)

Two levels, but they’ll be

  1. Public visitor/Sign-up ← aka “everyone” in category security settings
  2. Member ← discourse group(s)

For the latter, we’ll create a group containing all members (all current users on this instance).

Generally communities don’t distinguish between having an account and not having an account in terms of visibility. That comes into play when you talk about groups. You need to have an account of course if you want to post anything.

That’s the crucial point here. Casual visitors hearing sample plays or browsing the website and forum can’t post. The restricted visibility thing doesn’t really matter, but we don’t want visitors to be able to post without having signed up.


If y’all have thoughts on this, join the convo :blossom:

@boopboop @thehouseorgan @KallieMarie @LLK @topshelfrecords @datafruits @peter @sganesh @terry @chriswhittenmusic @RobertaFidora @CPacaud @Iamupinthecloud @melis_tailored @onapoli @MorAir @agaitaarino @auggod @richjensen @brndnkng @tamimulcahy @charlie_B @Fabsozlo @nphilmasiakowski @dogmaskmusic


I would like to see all the music discussion and general topics open to all.
i don’t believe the co-operation categories should be open for those outside the co-op - even those who are resonate listeners.

#general: See, Reply, Create
#helpdesk: See, Reply, Create


Parent (#music itself): See, Reply, Create
Artist categories (e.g. #music:kallie-marie): Hidden (supporters only)

Parent (#platform itself): See, Reply
Working groups (e.g. #platform:player): See, Reply
Private working groups (rare; e.g. #platform:community-credentials): Hidden

Parent (#co-operation itself): See, Reply
Resources (#handbook): See, Reply
Working groups (e.g. #handbook-committee): See, Reply
Private Working groups (rare; e.g. #story): Hidden
Member meetings (e.g. #co-operation:member-meeting): Hidden (members only)

#boardroom, #forum-staff and #lounge remain as they are (i.e. private)


Nothing to add really, agree with opening the fora up more publicly but also with keeping some stuff back as relevant to membership.

I’m getting bogged down in the see, reply, create stuff but surely a non-member listener would still need a forum account to reply and create so perhaps there’s two discussions. What should be publicly visible without a forum account (or user account etc. noting that this distinction will disappear in the future), and what should be user contribuable without membership, e.g., as a user/listener only?

In either case, and I think inline with what others have been saying above, general, helpdesk, and music forums should be open to public/listeners and reply/create for non-members.

I’m unsure what would work well but perhaps for the rest, some could become visible to non-members upon creating a forum/user account, to encourage deeper participation/recruitment, but reply/create only comes in as a member.

1 Like

Thanks for engaging here guys, it’s important we work this through.

Yes, this is a possible distinction to make, however you don’t see this distinction being made in most communities because most people use their content to attract people to sign up.

In that context, it doesn’t make much sense to stop guests from seeing content that folks with a user account (without any special group membership such as co-op membership) can see. Guests can’t create topics, reply to posts or do anything else, they can only read.

The only time you typically see some version of that is when folks need to agree to some form of terms and conditions before viewing certain content, which would require a user account. I don’t think that applies here.

The thinking on making the #platform category public is to make it easy for folks to see what we’re working on, encouraging people to become members in order to get involved. Keep in mind that the work going on in here is connected with open source repositories in github, which are also open to the public.

The handbook category will need to be public as it contains how-to materials.

I’m fine with @melis_tailored’s other proposed changes (i.e. making #co-operation readable by members only), albeit I can see arguments either way.

Now’s the time to have you say guys! I might make this topic a banner for a few days.


cool with the handbook being public.

i think the lack of reply function is fine… gives that final incentive to join the coop if you want to reply. same with any other forum or community.

I mostly mean in the sense that, for example, the lines forum ( is readable without a log in, whereas the Resonate forum isn’t.

In terms of encouraging more membership, engagement, sign-ups, etc., I was thinking that some (not all) of the forum might be publicly visible?

Then, as to the other aspects, whether you can reply or create topics is based upon membership or non-membership as others have indicated.


not much to add here, but i’d just like to echo the seemingly overarching sentiment here that i think opening up the forums for public read access regardless of member status is a good thing!

would these pages then become indexable in search engines as a result? an unintended consequence of that could be people coming across resonate via search engine backdoors into conversations in the forums, getting curious and signing up to kick the tires.

overall, i’m into it! build in the open as much as possible imo


Yes they will be, and yes, good point. Public communities associated with organisations are an additional “funnel” for user onboarding. The community team has been discussing this a bit, but we’ll need to give it more focus in the run up to making this public as part of the “Renewal” (aka “relaunch”). See further Community Team

1 Like

I’ve updated the OP with the current proposed list (see the bottom)

The only current undecided is the visibility of the #platform category.

Platform category visibility

The current situation is

Additional thoughts on that point (or anything else on the list) welcome!

1 Like

Happy to take back my objection as the overall concensus is that more visability will drive engagement, traffic and knowledge outside our coop member community @angus