Should we move high-volume discussions to Reddit?

Maybe we just need to do a better job of anticipating subthreads and create more fine-grained topics from the start

Yes please! And also react to developing threads. Discourse admins can split topics in a way that moves existing posts and makes the two topics clearly link to one another.

For example, in each of several recent threads about implicits, a topic about naming and trivial syntax changes could have been split from the topic(s) about semantics.

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I think this is counter to the way discussions naturally develop, where many topics and sub-topics appear “organically”, without foresight, and where it’s not always possible to predict what will be controversial and spur debate or not.

Personally, I think of an official SIP discussion, for example, as a process meant to create some form of an actionable summary of arguments for and against each SIP. The process should produce a clear document that can be referred to in order to be debated by the SIP committee productively.

This document can’t just be a huge, unstructured dump of messages in chronological order that mix threads, topics, sub-discussions, and trivialities. You often can see, in SIPs meeting, the SIP committee members puzzling over the Discourse topics trying to synthesize the main points with great difficulty, failing to be exhaustive.

Ideally, the result of a SIP community discussion should be a structured summary of points in favor and against, with voting enabled to rank them, and where one can “dive” into and expand each point and sub-points at will. I think this requires at least a thread-like structure. In my view, it would be closer to a wiki than to a chat history.


For the information of everyone who doesn’t use that feature: if you use the mail forward and a real email client (not Gmail), the discussion are correctly threaded. And obviously you see witch posts you read or not. And the reply just work as expected.

Hope it helps.

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True but nevertheless, sometimes having more threads can help each thread be easier to understand.

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I’m not sure about the question you’re answering but would like to know. Could you edit your post and quote @lihaoyi’s question. Thank you for your reply.

I ask that we stick with Discourse.

It’s not perfect, but Reddit has substantial drawbacks too.

I agree with Martin that the implicits thread isn’t typical and shouldn’t drive our decision here.

And, I think it’s important to 1) keep the official SIP discussions in an official, officially-moderated venue, 2) not unnecessarily proliferate the number of online media people need to register for, learn to use, and follow activity on.


I really like the threaded discussion style of Reddit/ News, but like others have pointed out, Reddit also has its downsides.


  • It’s hard to see the “diff” of a conversation since when you last viewed it, except if you are a mod or have reddit gold subscription (which highlights new comments).
  • The data is “owned” by Reddit, not by us – at any time Reddit admins could just up and delete our whole board and we’d have no recourse, there’s not even backup functionality, aside from calling their API ourselves.
  • Threads are automatically locked/archived after some months (I think 6 or 9 months?), whereas threads on this forum ought to be able to be revived years later. In Reddit, even if you could comment forever, the thread would have long-since fallen off the front page into oblivion.

While it would be adding to “the number of online media people need to register for, learn to use, and follow activity on” there’s also, which people might want to check out.

Not to mention how many Reddit comments have you seen like this:


And even worse, the replies to that comments still stay around so you have no clue what the context of replies really are.

Instead, is it possible to just tweak Discourse itself to make it display threads the way we want? Get consensus on how our conversations should look, and then try hacking Discourse to see if it’s feasible.



What I see:


I believe this thread can be closed.

I missed this thread the first time around, but for what it’s worth, this gets discussed in the Discourse Meta too. Here’s a post from Jeff Atwood:

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This (old) post from Jeff seems extremely slanted. He writes:

Reddit isn’t really about conversational paragraphs. Reddit is a race to the shortest, funniest response or image.

And gives as an example a thread in a huge news-commenting subreddit with hundreds of participants.

If anything, this just goes to show that Reddit can handle very-high-throughput discussions without people losing interest. (I am pretty sure discourse wouldn’t even come close to allowing the same kind of experience for such crowded audiences.)

But the comparison is entirely moot in the context of smaller communities discussing technical matters like the ones typically on Discourse. In such contexts, Reddit does just fine. For instance, looking at a thread on r/haskell, what I see is not remotely “a race to the shortest, funniest response or image” but rather a collection of informative messages that get into some details in the respective threads, so I can easily skim it to see what was discussed overall, but also read more in detail what I’m interested in.

By comparison, the Discourse thread you linked is very hard to skim and summarize, although it has fewer messages. The only way to get an idea of the discussion that took place is more or less to look at every single message posted in it, which is less than ideal.


I had the same impression. The post isn’t merely opinionated; it’s just plain wrong in several ways. Maybe Atwood has mellowed somewhat, but that just reinforces my impression that Discourse is willfully mediocre and will stridently maintain that status.

The downsides of Reddit may sink it for now, but I’m definitely onboard for a change once a better alternative appears, which seems highly likely. Zulip, despite being targeted at chat right now, seems as promising as anything these days. It wouldn’t take much of a tweak for it to be a great forum platform too.

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(We don’t normally close threads. 99.9% of the time, we just let them die down of their own accord.)

How are the abnormal 0.1% cases handled?

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on a case-by-case basis

Yet another great example of the inane non-threaded discussion format, where different sub-topics interfere and drown each other: a remark from github by @smarter:

This is one of the thing that should have been discussed in Proposal to Add Implied Instances to the Language but got lost in the never-ending quest for the perfect keyword unfortunately.

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(thread locked because of off-topic posting)