Features & benefits of this forum

Some of the benefits and features that this forum offers will be immediately apparent, others may not be so obvious. In this thread we’ll cover a few of them - if you spot any yourself or have any favourites you’d like to share, please feel free to!

Firstly, this forum uses the Discourse forum software (albeit customised). Discourse was created by the same people who made Stack Overflow :003:

###A wonderful UI

And a refreshing design. It’s probably the first thing you noticed - that it just ‘feels nice’ here. Well, I mentioned that the creators of Discourse are also the makers of the Stack Exchange sites… so they know a thing or two about good UX. We’ve just taken things a little further on the design front, drawing on a decades worth of experience of running online communities. This all results in a clean, uncluttered look that helps focus on the things that matter; you and the conversation.

###Automatic forum search when posting new threads

A common problem faced by chat rooms, mailing lists and older forum platforms is that you often get a set of questions that get asked over and over again. While this isn’t a problem in the early stages of a community it can start to grate on members after a while. Often search isn’t available (or when it is, isn’t great) so it’s difficult to blame the user.

The search here is actually very good, and whenever anyone goes to post a new thread, the system carries out a search while they are typing and displays it prominently over the preview box (until the user dismisses it). It works, but don’t take our word for it - give it a whirl!

###A search engine friendly public space

Everything you say or do here offers tangible value to the Elixir community - because the forum is publicly viewable and search engine friendly.

###You can use Markdown to format your posts

Yes, we know, awesome! (See the guide here.)

###Mailing list feature

There are two ways to use this forum as a mailing list:

  • The entire forum as a mailing list.
  • Or you can subscribe to individual sections (just go to a section and set its option to ‘watching’).

You can also mute category sections or individual threads, which is not something you can usually do on mailing lists.

By default the system tries to not bother you by sending email notifications regarding a post if you have recently been active on the forum, but this can can be turned off by a setting in your preferences: ‘Send me email notifications even when I am active on the site’.

###@Mentions and notifications

You can @mention people, and they’ll get a notification. Users will also get a notification if anyone quotes them, PM’s them, likes any of their posts, or replies to a thread they are watching.

###Browser notifications

You can get browser notifications so you don’t even have to keep checking the site.

###Automatic embedding / Onebox

Post a link to a photo, a video or a tweet and they’ll automatically get embedded into the post. The forum can also automatically extract information from blogs, github, news sites etc. (Uses oEmbed and OpenGraph.)

###Wikis

You can post Wikis - that anyone at Trust Level 1 or higher can edit.

###Trust levels = community moderation

Where good members are valued and rewarded. The system keeps tracks of all sorts of things, even the number of posts you read. See this thread for more info.

###Group Messaging

Want to take something off the forum? You can! Just start a PM and add multiple recipients - add more even during the conversation.

###Download your posts at anytime.

You can download your posts at any time via your control panel.

###Our Twitter account tweets every thread

Whenever anyone in the community starts a thread, our Twitter account tweets a link to it and gives it the #ElixirLang tag :slight_smile:

###Intelligent quote system

Just highlight some text in someone’s post and you’ll get the option to ‘Quote text’ - it couldn’t be easier!

Also, when viewing a post with a quote that has been made this way, you’ll see a down arrow, that when clicked, shows the full original post - and even - highlights the bit that was quoted! Awesome!

###Automatic code highlighting

Post some code enclosed in backticks at both start ends and the code gets highlighted. Post three backticks on a seperate line before and after the code block for blocks of code. Put the name of the langauge after the oppening ticks to specify a language (if you don’t the system will try to guess the language)

###And many more…

Here’s a brief look at a few more:

  • Users can mark a post as an ‘accepted answer’ in their threads
  • Threads can be tagged (and subscribed to)
  • You can upload photos
  • Drafts of your posts are saved as you type
  • Edit histories are public (unless muted by staff i.e for spam)
  • Off-server backups are carried out every day

And much much more! We’ll let you discover the rest :lol:

If you find any features or have faves you want to share, please feel free to mention them in this thread.

5 Likes

Which markdown-dialect is used? GFM, multimarkdown, something else?

As you see, it is missing the formatting of the original text.

It’s the official CommonMark spec - have a look here: http://commonmark.org/help :slight_smile:

Agree that quoting could be improved further. I guess they could add a traditional ‘quote’ button that copies the original post with original markup in tact - thus offering the best of both worlds; highlighting and ‘quote text’ for a cleaner look or ‘quote’ to quote full original post and allow the user to edit as they see fit.

Personally if I had to choose between the two I think I would prefer what we have now, perhaps with a ‘show raw’ option (for when people are working on things together and need to copy posts with formatting in tact - although in those cases they could just make the first post a wiki - allowing others to edit).

1 Like