Mon 28 Mar 2016 12:38AM

Using Discourse forum platform as the main means for Sensorica communication

VN Von Neumann Public Seen by 303

Many of the recent issues surrounding governance have arisen due to a lack of transparency and traceability in communications.

The renovations of the Montreal lab space is a prime example. We are using various tools to plan, discuss and organize (Trello, Doodle, Loomio, emails, phone, in person, etc) and it has led to some confusion that could easily be avoided if all Sensoricans had a centralized place to start conversations.

It has also been mentioned that the volume of emails sent to the Sensorica Google group can be overwhelming, especially for casual observers, and it allows for email sidechains to get started that are never seen by the community at large.

I propose to use a forum tool like Discourse (https://www.discourse.org) to manage the community's conversations.

Discourse has many key features that suits Sensorica's needs perfectly, namely:

  • The ability to create a polling thread to vote on decisions (makes Loomio redundant - https://blog.discourse.org/2015/08/improved-polls-in-discourse/)
  • Tracking the reputation of users and the possibility of including forum activity as an NRP contribution
  • Mailing list management and forum activity newsletters (doing away with Sensorica-wide emails for every topic whilst still keeping everyone informed of all ongoing discussions)
  • Designed for cross-platform compatibility (desktop, tablet, mobile)

  • Many more features

See https://www.discourse.org/about/ and https://www.discourse.org/faq/ for more details about what this tool can do to solve some our existing problems

Francois-Eric was working to get an instance of a Sensorica/Discourse forum running so we can give it a trial run.

Feel free to propose alternate solutions. We're not tied to Discourse, it just seems like the simplest, most complete and open source remedy.


Poll Created Mon 28 Mar 2016 12:40AM

Should we centralize Sensorica conversations through a forum tool like Discourse? Closed Sun 1 May 2016 12:08AM

by Von Neumann Tue 25 Apr 2017 5:39AM

There is a trial of the discourse platform being conducted over at http://crm.sensorica.co/ please log in and give it a try.

Update: we are currently using discourse as our main communication platform / work repository / voting mechanism for the Blockchain Access Feasibility Study project. This is a trial and we will determine if/where the tool is lacking and where it presents improvements over the current way of doing things.


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 66.7% 2 RS VN
Abstain 0.0% 0  
Disagree 33.3% 1 FB
Block 0.0% 0  

3 of 36 people have participated (8%)


Radu Seserman
Mon 28 Mar 2016 1:26AM

I was thinking how useful such a application would be for Sensorica, though I did not search for one.


Fabio Balli Mon 28 Mar 2016 9:22AM

I agree that we should use a platform to centralize discussions. However, I think we should envison an open source, integrative solution on the long term.

Installing our own sandstorm.io server would offer a set of open source apps such as wecan (vs proprietary trello), framadate (vs proprietary doodle), etherpad, ethercalc, hackerslides (vs proprietary google drive) and many others. Loomio and Mikorizal (VAS) are discussing an integration in sandstrom.

Thus, we would go from users of one platform to contributors to a network of people building a common set of tools. As different apps are being developed, we could also contribute to them by sharing our needs, and even develop our own app.


Bob Haugen Mon 28 Mar 2016 12:16PM

Is DIscourse embeddable? For example, could you add discourse threads to NRP processes? Or connect discourse threads to Trello boards? (Or maybe to Wekan, the open-source Trello knockoff?)
And would all of those embedded threads still be visible in the main Discourse space?
In other words, could Discourse unify conversational threads across many other apps that Sensoricans might want to use, now and in the future?
If not, does such a system exist? Or should it be created?


Lynn Foster Mon 28 Mar 2016 12:52PM

We (Mikorizal / NRP-VAS) are working with FairCoop in Europe on a project that may involve integrating Kolab with NRP. Kolab: https://kolab.org/. Unsure of timing yet. And I haven't studied it so am not making a recommendation myself, just FYI.

Thus, we would go from users of one platform to contributors to a network of people building a common set of tools. (from Fabio)

This is an awesome goal, and there seems to be more momentum towards this now out there than there has been in recent years.

In terms of the proposal, makes sense to centralize Sensorica conversations more effectively than done today. But if there is a way to consider that question and at the same time build towards a common set of tools for OVNs and other networks, that would be a good thing for the movement. Even if it is piecemeal.


Valentin Gomez Mon 28 Mar 2016 1:07PM

It should centralize conversations while still in open source. This is a major challenge. I do not know the tools available.
So I'm not very useful.

I think we come to a turning point in the infrastructure level , but we don't have the resources (financial, time , personnel) to get there. Now, I'm trying my best to find some investors and some ressources to put on different projects.


Von Neumann Fri 1 Apr 2016 9:59PM

Other open-source forum tools

https://nodebb.org/ - Not open-source but freemium and made in Canada

This is a non-exhaustive list and Flarum seems like the only a serious contender, it's more lightweight but has less features than Discourse