I forces you to question exactly what you’re adding to the discussion, and to clarify points that otherwise might have been misinterpreted.
Yes, exactly. I think it makes sense for us to enforce a 20 characters minimum because we want people to add something meaningful to the discussion when they reply.
And instead of just writing short replies saying: “+1”, “Awesome”, “Thanks”, users can use the Like button.
It’s all explained in the forum guidelines
Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.
Don’t post no-content replies.
Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button.
For some type of discussions though, it’s nice to be able to post short replies. That’s where I see the line between a forum software and a chat software.
In some cases, I think we should encourage people to use the chat instead of the forum for certain types of discussion. In order to do that, it needs to be obvious where the chat software is located. That’s why I am planning to add a navbar to the forum very soon, as discussed in this topic. One of the links in the navbar would point to the chat URL.
At the moment many of us are using Slack to chat but Slack actually has many downsides such as not keeping a full history of the messages (only the last 10K messages are accessible and so far we have sent 171K messages), enforcing a maximum limit of 7500 users and requiring users to create an account before they can browse a text channel (the only way to create an account is to first receive an invitation from an admin and so I have to use an open source app called slackin which uses the Slack API. People can go here and enter their email to receive an invitation). Slack also made it clear that they don’t care about open source projects being able to use the free plan.
Recently, I found a much better alternative called Discord. It’s mainly targeted at gamers, but it can definitely be used by open source projects too. I learned about it on the blog of React.js, where Reactiflux announced that their community had reached the 7500 user limit on Slack and had no choice but to move elsewhere. After studying a ton of different alternatives, the conclusion was that Discord was the best possible option.
Discord has no user limit, the history of all the messages is always accessible (unlike Slack which limits you to the last 10K messages) and creating an account is optional. It’s possible to create invite links for any of the text channels and people can join simply by clicking the link and entering a username (no need to enter email/password, it can be done later instead). So for example you can join the #general channel on SAFE Network Chat by clicking here.
Discord also has some additional features that make it even more useful. For example, it’s possible to create voice channels. So we can Discord for voice chats instead of going to a separate application such as Mumble or Skype.
TL;DR 20 characters minimum limit is good for forum discussions and for conversations where it gets in the way then it’s probably better to use a chat software (such as Discord) instead
Ah ha! Yes, integrated chat software would be perfect.
Practicing what we preach though, have you looked at Tox lately? It seems to be coming along quite nicely, despite everything. I doubt it would be easily integrated into Discourse, but it does rep privacy, security, and freedom.
I’m a terrible WebDev - and maybe something based on WebRTC, or Discord would be more appropriate. Taking a look at Discord, running that on a VPS might be fun. Not totally decentralized, but baby steps, right?