I was not thinking that the users will start to directly write to it - although this might be great for testing and those who only have command-line access
There is no reason you can’t have multiple different UI’s to work with the same data for the benefit of users with different needs like your friend - that’s true of any discussion site. Discourse has an API, we could do a CLI tool
The problem is how do you do access control to the repository, whether it is hosted. There will need to be some kind of server access component. (And you can’t just have open access, if there is that and it gets popular it will get spammed.)
I was imagining all that we need to is to convert JSON data coming from the front-end to structured data in Git.
JSON is structured data That’s what we store our data as - https://github.com/org-id/register/blob/master/lists/gb/gb-coh.json
Yet another possibility might be to have a client that has the cloned git repo in itself for superior text search capabilities and archiving and off-line capabilities!
True, and I’ve seen several issue trackers that work on that basis. But then your back to the tech barrier issue again.
It’s true the forum has a system that gathers very basic metrics on user behaviour
That also provides a very nice user feature where it keeps track of what I’ve read and shows me new stuff. “if you don’t trust the organisation running a site” - I would hope that us co-ops of all people could work on this trust problem
There are a few key issues I think that would be a challenge to crack with a git based system
- Notifications - how does someone get notified if someone replies to one of there posts?
- No access levels like Discourse has and no post-moderation - once someone has access they can change everything. And if you rollback spam/abuse, it will still be in git history. In Org-id we pre-moderate all submissions using GitHub pull requests but you probably don’t want that for a discussion site!
- No private chat messages - a feature we have used on this board
I think to take this project forwards, the first thing is to decide what level of tech knowledge it will require from it’s average engaged user (not a sys-admin). Because what is chosen there will go on to affect a lot of the system and design choices.
Honestly, I kinda feel that if the answer is “no special tech knowledge should be required” I suspect that by the time various components have been added to provide the features people expect your going to be back to something that’s just as complex to install as Discourse anyway [ the original problem statement ]
ps. This other statement about “forking” discussion sites - I’d think carefully about how that would be perceived by users before pushing that too heavily. People feel a personal ownership of things they write on discussion sites in a way they don’t about code they push. I know that technically once something is on the public internet, it can be copied, but that’s not how a lot of non technical people see things and you will get some odd reactions from people around that.
TL;DR I think I’m basically saying if you want this to be accessible to non-tech people, use Discourse or an alternative like Flarnum and if installation is still a problem lets work on that.