Initial thoughts

Looking good so far. Bot seems to be happy, 2FA was added OK. Categories seem pertinent.

May I suggest that on the user support section that the actual text from “discussion guidelines” and “code of conduct” are made into their own sticky posts within the forum at the top (or perhaps the actual text directly included in “read before posting”). Rather than just links to the main docs?

In terms of the user support category, depending on how busy things get you may want to consider splitting out into sub categories.


I agree with you. The support will need sub categories.

I would also suggest adding more language.

Hi! I’m @deeplow!

I think having a discourse instance can be quite helpful as a lot of people are not familiar with mailing-lists and the whole experience might be a bit daunting.

Some ideas

Some things that I could also improve this:

  • Mirroring announcements - on automatically to #news with discourse RSS polling plugin - this way people can comment on that

  • category for discussion - I think it could be useful to have a section where people can share best-practices, new ideas, etc. as opposed to one with just user support.

  • theming - I think the forum colors could be matched to the qubes website.

Also, regarding category structuring it is my experience that things often grow organically. It may be good to have some base categories, but as people make use of the forum, we’ll see what categories are needed and which ones are under-used.

Hi @deeplow

… and the people who want to use it like a mailing list can do so
easily. All my concerns about Discourse are alleviated.

I do like very much that this will allow us to have categories for
different languages. This will avoid every language having their own
destination and increase discoverability for all.

I recently realized that the Whonix Forum runs Discourse and it seems to
work quite will for them.

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Hi @Sven!

Yes! And the signal community also uses discourse and I quite like their breakdown of categories and styling. This forum can take some inspiration from there.

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hey all, thanks for your feedback! I’m sorry for being slow on implementing suggestions, I’m trying to spread the responsibility out a bit more so please let me know if you are interested in helping out.

I’ve implemented all suggestions here and in the related email thread I think, please flag anything I’ve missed. I emailed the Discourse support team and got the discourse-rss-polling plug-in enabled, it should be pushing new content to the News section. I haven’t changed the color theme because honestly I don’t know how to make them match more the website (which is white & blue) – please check out the theme options and see if you find something better.

re: other discourses, my initial understanding was that we don’t want development discussions to be happening on the forum since the dev community prefers the qubes-devel mailing list. so maybe feature requests and development discussions stay off the forum for now? they can also exist on Github.

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Thanks a lot @michael for taking the time! The plugin is already doing its job :slight_smile:

Yes, that makes total sense.

Ok. I’ll look into the theming.

DiscoTOC may also be useful for well structured posts like Read before posting.

It allows you to have a table of contents on the side like this


I’m not sure if this already comes installed on the official hosting (if it is just skip to step 5.) If not it’s pretty easy to install since it is a theme component and not a plugin. All you have to do is:

  1. go to the Admin Panel -> Customize ->Themes
  2. Click Install (bottom left corner)
  3. Then From a git repository and paste
  4. Click Install
  5. Enable that theme component on the current theme

More detailed instructions here.


Then to add this table of contents to a post all that is needed it to click the :gear: icon when editing a post like so:

What do you think about this? In the instance I am am an admin for I find this quite useful.

Just to throw in my $0.02 on plugins.

They are always useful and nearly all recommendations have great functionality. My concern from my past of adding plugins to boards is concern around the increase in attack surface 3rd party things can bring. Qubes has always been about minimising the attack surface, and I dont see why the community forum should be any different. While im not outright saying my opinion is “no plugins for teh securitiez” and certainly I am not saying I have concerns about the plugins already suggested. What I am saying is that I think that if we are opening the floor to plugins at the community level then we need to have some kind of framework devised that both ensures the integrity of the community and offers reassurance to users.

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That’s a fair point. One think I’ve kept in mind when making the recommendations was making sure the plugins I recommended where developed by members of the discourse team and not third-party developers.

But yes, this is an important conversation to be had.

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that is always a good place to come from. I was not specifically calling your recommendations out and tried my best to remain agnostic in the wording of my post. I was coming from a point of plugins in general, as the majority of board based compromises I have seen have been plugin based (even in some cases those developed by members of the platform core devs).

My attraction to Qubes has always been the top down planning to attack surface, and I can imagine a typical user would always appreciate that ethos to be applied across the spectrum if they were to interact with any component of the Qubes offering.

Discourse plugins are encouraged from beginners (rightly so) here,. Thats great as we can all appreciate the need for new thoughts and innovation,. All I’m proposing is we come up with some kind of published vetting framework before adding something. I’m sure anyone who is part of the setup of this board can at least get a few ideas of where to take that.

I guess it just comes down to being open about surface and what we have done to asses that to ensure end user confidence. I sometimes waste a lot of foil on my hat, but i find it’s better to waste foil than other outcomes. Maybe I’m being too over conscious here, and I appreciate input from all members, mods and admins on their thoughts. If I am over thinking, please shout. At the very least, we had the discussion and reach a consensus.

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I understood. And event if it was, I would welcome the adversarial skepticism :slight_smile:

That sounds like a reasonable idea to me, though I don’t know how to go about implementing it. Does the qubes dev team have some sort of protocol to decide which features are added? That could work as a basis.

But I guess the easiest path would be just to stick to vanilla discourse as possible.

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thanks for the great recommendations deeplow!

i have installed it and enabled it in the theme, you can see it in use here: Read Before Posting

regarding our approach to plug-ins, since we are on free hosting from Discourse, they limit us to only using the most common plug-ins & theme components, and if we want something they don’t offer then the only solution is to self-host. so that will keep us from installing any 3rd-party plug-ins or theme components for now. obviously is there is something that we think is essential then we can re-evaluate the decision to use Discourse’s free hosting.


You’re welcome :slight_smile:

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Thanks @michael for outlining that. I would think that covers off having the conversation and provides consensus then. cheers!

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