App Suggestion: Simple Forum

Hi,

Know this has been mentioned before, but the threads I have seen are a few years old, and haven’t necessarily opened a broader discussion.

I’d quite like to see something akin to a forum in the official Nextcloud apps. I know there is some amount of Discourse integration available, but this still required deploying a large piece of software, with features we don’t need, and doesn’t offer the full set of integrations that would come from an internal app. Ultimately most forum software out there is for an externally-visible site. It needs to manage logins, profiles, emailing users, and all sorts of other features more suited to a public forum situation. When we are just discussing things internally, and we have this implemented already, I think a lot of this complication can be stripped away, and actually I’m not necessarily sure “forum” fully captures what I am thinking. “Discussion board” or similar might work better (details below) in the context of an internal environment. So for me this is one feature where a simple, integrated solution that we can get from the official apps would work better than re-using an existing piece of software and then trying to tie everything together in an integration. For some user stories, that might still be preferable, but in a small working organisation I think a KISS solution would better facilitate the type of discussions about our work I want to bring to this app.

Chat can be good for having ongoing discussions; but I’d like something where members of our time can post longer threads of discussion, ask questions, explain some of hat they are working on, brainstorm ideas for known issues, etc. Direct linking to files, kanbans, todos, messages, etc. would then work really nicely.

I think a basic level of interface would be sufficient. Nestable subfolders for different topics. Then people start a thread with the content of their discussion, and each post or comment below inserted using Markdown, re-using an existing rich editor for the web UI. My thinking is we need something that offers more visibility of ideas than Chat, and might ideally serve to replace the long email threads that have been the status quo in my organisation, and I would like to bring to nextcloud instead. Instant messaging has a lot of advantages, but some discussions are more structured than this. Some of our clients use Jira, and this is overkill for this situation, but we have these structured discussions around issues encountered, feature requests, etc. - and the core features of this are potentially similar to what I am thinking, if this provides another angle on the “forum” concept. Alternatively, something closer to Deck may make sense to some people. Pinning cards on a board, and allowing others then to add a thread of comments to these. People may want to draft ideas, presentations, diagrams, visual displays of something they have worked on, and open the floor for comments - e.g. in an organisation where a product design, marketing presentation, that sort of thing would be relevant to discuss. Really any app that allows a structured discussion on a topic ,that is visible/editable/etc. to all in a specified group, I think covers my thinking. Chat does not allow this same kind of structure, and requires making breakout threads and lots of scrolling back to locate messages.

Extra features could include:

  • Re-using tags from the todo app, deck app, or other tags that might be in the system might be a nice option. So topics are in a tree like filesystem; tags to help filter.
  • Managing indentation of comments and replies. Much like sites like Facebook have adopted - not doing this in the first place I think has made it harder to implement later. But a decision between a simple linear chain of replies, or a tree of subdiscussions that have replies to specific comments might me good to make early on.

Any thoughts?

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