New Forums Software: Your Thoughts

Hello delicious friends,

Hopefully you’ve noticed our new Failbettergames.com website design! You might also have noticed that the comments section of the blog has been retired, in favour of pointing people to these forums (and discord, depending on their personal preference; we link to both as a matter of course).

It’s been nice to see new people making accounts to discuss the blog posts, and we’d like to encourage this new forum activity by updating the forum software. This is something we’ve considered for a long while, and which we now have some developer time for. These forums, much-loved but well-worn as they are, use software which is no longer maintained by its developer, and have numerous faults which we can’t do much about - at least not without taking time away from our game projects.

We’ve done some research, and we’d like to move the forums over to Discourse. You can have a play with their sandbox version.

Some of the reasons we like the look of Discourse:

  • Modern UI design, making the forums better suited to mobile devices.
  • Useful features that we can try out, which will hopefully make the forums easier to use - like drag and drop images.
  • Good customisation options, so we can potentially make the place look somewhat fancier and easier on the eye!
  • Discourse has a large install base so there are plenty of technical support and resources available; likely to be updated for a decade to come. That’s the kind of longevity we’re looking for!
  • And it’s open source, so we can even make changes to the code if we particularly need.

Your account and posts will be transferred to the new look forum. It will function slightly differently, but we’re hoping to retain the spirit that everyone has enjoyed here for so long.

We’d like to hear what you think before we proceed. What is important to you about these forums? Is there anything about Discourse which wouldn’t fulfil those things, do you think?

Thank you all for any feedback!

My biggest question is whether the new Forums will remain self-hosted the way the current Forums are. The biggest reason I’ve stayed on the Forums instead of moving over to Discord is because I don’t want my communication with FBG or other players to be mediated by a third party if it does’t have to be. I get the sense this is something that Discourse does but a shallow perusal of their site doesn’t quite confirm it.

On the inessential-nicities end of the spectrum, would it allow some type of connection between Forum accounts and character accounts? A profile link would be convenient; an “add contact” link or pulling in Mantlepiece items would be fantastic, although probably unlikely.

I also want to confirm that long-standing “Achievement” threads will still be possible. The original post in the Paramount Presence thread in the Salons has been actively updated for close to five years, and the Christmas Guide thread for a little longer; the Overgoat thread still sees regular activity after ten. Maybe Discourse even offers more tools for supporting these types of things, I don’t know.

Not a huge fan of infini-scroll myself, but I’ll live.

Just had a brief look (work day isn’t over yet) and first impressions are that it’s closer in feel to this forum than to reddit, and certainly preferable to discord. I can work out what the original post is and how to reply. The threads have coherence. It would seem that longer discussions such as we have here would be possible.

I agree that being able to maintain long.term achievement threads is something to aim for.
It’s been obvious for a while that this site is falling into abeyance. If it can be replaced by something better, I’m all for it.

Perfect, that’s really all I needed to know. Let’s move! :D

Sounds good to me! Progress! Onward and upward and outward! Or downward? Some direction, at least.

[color=#0066ff]Thank you for your thoughts so far, gang.[/color]

[color=#0066ff]Absolutely self-hosted, which is another benefit that I didn’t mention. Social networks are fickle and we want to maintain a direct line to everyone that isn’t subject to grim things like, I dunno, going all in with Discord and them suddenly getting into NFTs or whatever. Ugh. :)[/color]

[color=#0066ff]I will see what’s possible, though you’re right that the latter ideas are pretty unlikely. A little something to include people’s profile links would be cool and more likely.[/color]

[color=#0066ff]I think what we’ll probably do for that specific instance is tag them with ‘Achievements’ and then people will be able to browse all of the Achievement-related threads when they have attained something they want to share. Figuring out the best way to make all of the existing threads findable will probably take a little while, and ideally we’ll all be able to help with it! [/color]

Another type of thread that I return to frequently is the old Exceptional Stories. It’s invaluable to be able to check what other people found tricky or which elements / routes / choices to avoid or take so as not to be prematurely ejected. Though I appreciate not everyone will want to spoil them in that way.

I was about to mention this as well!
Even with the limited search function of the current forum, Google helps point to the thread of very old ESs. Looking for discussions that took place years ago, when the story was fresh, is a great way to check for information without making posts/threads/etc, but also check if there’s something buried there. One example, is Court of Cats which has 2 endings that aren’t actually endings; a card becomes available after Nightmares 5. Not many people knew about it, but in some later ES threads I saw it mentioned. Besides that, not once!

So having such ES history is mandatory!

Wow – really? I’ve played it and never seen a card. I need to have a few more bad nights, clearly. Thanks for the tip!
edited by Ragnar Degenhand on 2/24/2022

Discourse is an excellent choice. I’ve been active in many forums using it, and it’s pretty much perfect.

@ Skinnyman
That explains it – I have 1000

A forum upgrade has been overdue since I originally started playing on my previous account back in ~2016. Very happy to see it coming, and Discourse is a pretty fine choice! Especially looking forward to a better mobile experience, as the current forum’s is very… iOS 6.

[color=#0066ff]Good point on the Exceptional Stories thing. I imagine what we’ll do is port everything over, and then open a thread for suggestions exactly like that (plus the ones in here), and just work through them until we’re happy.[/color]
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[color=#0066ff]I’m really pleased that you’re feeling positive about this idea! [/color]
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[color=#0066ff]I’ll pass these thoughts back to the team and we’ll begin work. I imagine doing all of the sorting and customising will take us a number of weeks, as we’re working on it around FL and Mask of the Rose, plus Unannounced Project, but I’ll keep you updated.[/color]
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Let us know if you need beta testers, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would volunteer some time to help you make the new ones more better.

Is this the one with the Wisents?

[quote=PSGarak]Let us know if you need beta testers, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would volunteer some time to help you make the new ones more better.

Is this the one with the Wisents?[/quote]
Fnord

As someone who’s suffered heavily from out of date software being incompatible with things I want it to do, I’m all for a change. Let’s do this.

Hopefully the new forums will have a less eye-searing color for the posts marked as answers.

Not much need to ever mark a post as an answer anyway.

[color=#0066ff]Hey gang. We’re doing a test run for migrating the data from this forum to the new one, so things are progressing! I’ll let you know when there’s more news.[/color]