The "Front Page" - Poll: Who Gets to Blog?

In a few different threads, the question has been raised what the “front page” of this site should be; is the front page this discussion (bbs) or is it more like a blog?

Personally I like the idea of having a blog. I think that it would give us more opportunity to share and talk about current events and goings-on, and give users a more concise way to access that content. It would bring in new members, without which I fear this community will die on the vine. And it would give our members an opportunity to publish to a wider audience, which may in turn produce more thoughtful pieces of writing and interesting discussions.

So the first question is:

What should the front page of this site be?

  • BBS
  • Blog
  • Something Else

0 voters

If the answer is “blog” then we’ll have to continue the conversation about format, style guide, who has privileges to post, etc. And if your choice is “something else” please be as specific as possible.


I was thinking it should just be a BBS, but you convinced me.

Although how you award posting rights is tricky… Voting on whether something should be posted after somebody’s gone to the trouble to compose it is problematic.

Maybe anyone should be allowed to post, and a vote should be had only if anyone objects to it.


Maybe tie it to having TL3? Anybody can achieve TL3 by not being a shithead and reading/liking/making posts for a while, with a shot at being promotes early by community vote.


If we don’t have a blog how are we going to tell the world about the latest VPN tin opener cum lockpick set we’ve just added to the shop discovered?

I’m with Kimmo, you’ve sold me on the idea of a blog, but content is going to be key - can we generate enough of it to be worthwhile?


I think with 100 or so opinionated, prolific writers, content won’t be a problem. I expect that there will be a few that really contribute a lot, some who contribute a little, and a bunch who don’t contribute or only do so occasionally. But that’s probably fine.

As for who can contribute, I think there are a few options; we could completely open it up, though I’d be worried that we would run the risk of abuse, and that being completely open would make it hard to find a “voice” for the site. We could let everyone with TL3 post, or we could have a new TL just for people who want to post - we could even make this something that someone would have to request or “try out” for by going through a trial period where other people on the “editorial board” would have to approve articles before giving someone full posting privileges, or as @tinoesroho suggests, have the editorial board remove an article after it’s published if it doesn’t fit the guidelines for publication.

However we handle that, I think it’s important to have a content and style guide making it clear what kind of stuff goes on the front page, and what kind of stuff is better suited to the forum, and how any content on the front page should be written (i.e. reporter style rather than opinion style).


Snark Journalism, once the province of Gawker solely, is now dominated by Wonkette and Gawker Gizmodo/Fusion. Cracked fails to maintain a consistent tone and fails at comedy more often than it succeeds.

There’s also the question of whether we even want to attribute our blog posts, or go for a more collective/anonymous front ala The Economist.


That’s an interesting idea, though I imagine that would require a much stronger style guide and editorial board. Also, it might inspire fewer people to contribute.

I’d like to find a way to bring the commentary in to the blog as well; perhaps on the front page, feature one comment from the discussion - that might be the one that gets the most likes, or one that the author of the post chooses, or some other methodology. Sort of a point-counterpoint structure. That would make this blog a little different, and it would reinforce the idea that this site is really about discussion not just about dissemination.


Cat gifs it is then!:smile_cat:


I get the problem. You come here out of the blue: what is this place? where’s the content rather than just the chat?

what I love about discourse is that you can make your posts look really blog-y if you want. pics, headlines. but you have to click into them from the list view.

I’ve always HATED the separation of the blog from the forum on BB, though. It doesn’t flow well and there’s a lot of clicks involved.

couple (half-baked) solution ideas:

some system for pinning or bumping content that we deem original or timely or both, something above our chat, in-jokes, or gif bank. content that reflects the best we have to offer.

or it could simply pin/bump the stuff that gets the most traffic. or likes. but that’s gonna be pet threads, potentially. but maybe that’s ok?

you still have to click it open, though. Or, do you? @gwwar wrote what I thought was an awesome script that let you see the OP while in the list view just by mousing-over the title–a frame popped up with the OP in it. maybe this, in tandem with a pin/bump system, we could make the BBS something more blog-y?


Is there any chance it could be a kind of optional thing? Defaulting to a blog view, but once you create an account you can switch it to BBS if that’s more your thing?


Discourse’s own @sam uses it as a blogging platform. It’s quite brilliant actually.

There’s no need to keep a blog separate from discussion. Just open up some categories to TL3 or higher users only to originate posts. Bing bang boom, done.


This is what I’m considering, at least as a start.


If you couple that with the idea that only certain categories can be seen at certain trust levels then you have a very simple way to slowly introduce readers to the community. This can pair nicely with the desire to replicate the safe space that we enjoyed with the select membership at the other place.

unregistered readers - blog view, one or two categories of articles that can be be posted to only by trusted users with the appropriate group permissions
registered - a whole new community opens up
Trust level 1 - more categories, etc…


I think it would be better to have editors review submissions beforehand than remove to them after the fact. Having a published post taken down would feel punitive to the author, whereas receiving a rejection with input (“thanks, but we’re declining to publish this in its current form because…”) is more standard procedure.

That having been said, I’d favor staring off with a more laissez-faire approach. We’re more likely to find a unique voice if we give people the freedom to improvise. The comments section itself can serve as a sounding board. How many likes your posts get, how (or whether) people respond in the comments will give you a sense of whether or not you’re hitting the mark, and you can adjust accordingly. Over time we can codify things, based upon what seems to work and what doesn’t. It’s easier to adjust a work in progress than it is to prognosticate about what type of post will be popular.

Personally, I like BB’s architecture and would love for the front page to look like the blog version of that site, but obviously that would require a hero to come forward and generously donate his/her time and expertise.


It’s nice to have it all on one platform, but I can’t say I’m in love with Sam’s solution, at least as it’s presented. My issue is that the “article” is still buried in the board - to get a sense of what it is beyond just the headline, you still have to click through. That’s cumbersome for the reader and ends up reinforcing the clickbait problem of having an enticing headline with poor content. Or worse, an unenticing headline that conceals informative content.

I’d like to see more content on the front page; a headline, a first paragraph, and a pic at least. And if there were a way to highlight the discussion that’s going on around that topic to draw people in, even better.


dood, I’m telling you

and this script is more complicated than we need since it’s pulling the post from the Wordpress main site into Discourse.


Huh? Not sure I understand. We’re trying to pull the inside out, not the outside in. But are you suggesting we use that code as a base and “put that thing down flip it and reverse it” so that it scrapes from Discuss and outputs to Wordpress? If that’s what you’re saying, I have to ask, is it worth it? Can you work it?

There’s a number of plugins. Here’s Blog View by @Sam GitHub - SamSaffron/blog: blog plugin for Discourse

Portal View

1 Like

maybe we oughta ask Missy Elliot.

We’re trying to pull the inside out, not the outside in

maybe you are. I DON’T want a “front page” separate from Discourse. I’m trying to say that we can have Discourse BE the front page, better than Sam Saffron’s way–we can see the stuff you asked for right in the category list views (new, unread, joy, etc)

what I propose is to make Discourse itself the blog, as outlined in my prior post, and skip Wordpress altogether. As I said, I hate clicking back and forth from Discourse to WP and back.

You want something that can show

a headline, a first paragraph, and a pic at least.

and you’re right–I do to.

The OP of any post made on Discourse will have those things. The cap I posted shows how Gwwar’s script can show these things right from the the Discourse category list view with just a mouse-over of the topic headline–no click-through needed, mouse-over all the headlines, the op’s pop up right next to them damn near instantly. if memory serves, you can scroll and read the whole subsequent thread right in the iframe, or click through as usual.

Gwwar’s script had to go the extra step of going from the discourse OP through to the Wordpress permalink since BB’s forward-facing “front page” is WP

Since Jeff was able to integrate her similar script, which was initially written to be a bookmarklet, into the board-specific Discourse code as a show full post button, then I assume the same could be done for the script in question.

But to answer your question, no. I cannot work it. I don’t code. If it can be done, and if we want that as a “front page” solution, then a smarter person than I has to put it into HMS BBS code. Also, I haven’t run the script in a while but it used to break when Discourse would update so it can be assumed that the script is not current (when Rob made the WP blogview, I reluctantly switched so I could get a chronological view, which BB Discourse won’t do.)

If we do it this way, there is no need for integration with separate publishing software. and, the fucking youtube embeds will show up normally–they would never come through the show full post button.


I think we’re on the same page - I guess I just misunderstood what you were saying, or what the plugin did. Hope you didn’t take offense at what I was saying - just being a little bit silly.