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Show HN: Webwide – a discussion community for web designers, devs and makers (webwide.io)
90 points by xadz on Oct 13, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 55 comments

Extraordinary that we're coming full circle with the internet. Slack is the new IRC and "communities" are the new forums.

Makes me think how much collective human knowledge we're losing as all the old forums go extinct (Archive doesn't backup everything).

I hate the overuse of the term community nowadays. All it is is an attempt to prod users into contributing more whilst the "community" will never even once consider contributing back to the user(s).

Live streamers are guilty of this. Its become a standard for Twitch broadcasters to call their viewer base a community in, what I guess is, a way to get viewers to think tipping the broadcaster is benefitting the "community" while only the broadcaster benefits.

I hope we get a pass with the word. At this stage any revenue made from supporter memberships, the only revenue stream atm, is being funnelled back in to the platform and documented transparently in monthly updates.

Completely agree. It's nagged in the back of the brain as something scummy. As if the collective comes before the individual viewer. We don't have generic communities. I am not unified with some average Joe watching a twitch stream. I may be looking to gain information whilst the Joe is looking to socialize.

We have player bases, viewers, commenters, categorized in action, but not purpose.

Some even go to the extent of calling them 'family'.

This is nothing compared to how much knowledge we're losing when placing it inside someone's walled garden like FB groups which are not accessible to crawlers, not accessible to users without account and not accessible to users with account due to garbage UI and search.

I love it! Forums were my first experiences on the internet and I'm thrilled to be able to share that passion with others now.

Ahh good old flame wars. I'll never miss them.

That said, in the past it was more generally accepted that forum moderators would rule with an iron fist.

Seems more recently, if you're being a dick and you are moderated it's interpreted as censorship and an attack on free speech.

Related. One thing I have noticed in the last decade is people no longer pulling people up on their spelling and grammar as much as they used to in the early days of debating the internet. I like this.

I pretty owe much my career to a couple of forums. Learned so much. Probably wasted a lot of time too.

No, Slack isn't really anything like IRC. Slack is more of an upgraded Instant Messengers.

Slack is almost exactly like IRC

Hi HN! I launched Webwide this week. A bit of a throwback to the traditional forum. About time they made a comeback in this space I think!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments at all.

Curious about how this is different from https://www.designernews.co and dev.to? :- )

B.t.w. I'd suggest including a link to https://webwide.io, otherwise people (incl I) might believe everything is behind a login wall.


> Get writing \n Start sharing writing without the pressure of a blog.

Is there a place for "blog posts" over at Webwide? Like posting to Medium? But for web things? Or how does / will it work?

I had the same impression about the hello.webwide subdomain, thinking that a person had to sign up to see everything.

I'm certain that impression is intentional. They're using it as a conversion page, which is of course why it was the page posted to HN. Dark pattern in action.

Hi, sorry! Didn't want to mislead. I am of the impression that not knowing it's all in the open is a bad thing so definitely not something I wanted to hide away.

Of course the page was built with conversions in mind, for the good of the project I want to spell out the benefits and convince people to sign-up but certainly not in a dark way.

I've added some more links including the logo, a view all discussions button and a browse as guest down by the bottom CTA to communicate this better.

I noticed the "browse as guest" link as I was about to (begrudgingly) sign up. Thanks for adding that.

After poking around a bit, I felt like I could use a very brief introduction, like "what should you do first" suggestions.

Good point! Found it difficult to get out all the ideas and features of the platform within the public discussion board system without being intrusive to people who just wanted to lurk. I've made some clearer routes from the landing to people who just want to browse as a guest.

My ideas for writing benefits would be both that people can make their replies and new threads as long/short form as they want.

There's also plenty of categories where we welcome blog style posts whether you want to write a tutorial, development log, share an achievement, etc. Self-promotion rules are relaxed because as an industry we're creators and I think platforms such as Reddit can really stifle this.

> Self-promotion rules are relaxed because as an industry we're creators

That's a good point. I think there are somewhat many people who develop software or designs, and would post mostly their own things to a place like Reddit or Webwide — and get upvoted and appreciated by the community.

Congrats on launching. How does your custom(?) forum software create something different/better than existing communities on Reddit, Discord, Spectrum, Stack Overflow etc?

I longed for an active traditional style board for many reasons. There’s pros and cons to every style of community and they’re all great for different things.

A bit down this post I did a pros and cons of Webwide vs. Reddit style, Twitter style and Slack/Discord style


User beware: "You are granting us with a non-exclusive, permanent, irrevocable, unlimited license to use, publish, or re-publish your Content in connection with the Service."


"We may remove or modify any Content submitted at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice."

It’s my understanding that covers us to actually display your content on our website and distribute on social etc. which is sort of the bread and butter of a discussion community.

The latter is surely standard across any community for moderation.

Users have the ability to edit and remove their own content to take it off the platform.

Happy to receive any advice on how this could be more palatable!

IANAL but doesn't `irrevocable` means that user legally can't remove their own content from the platform?

Me neither, the wording is referring to the license to display the content rather than the content itself. I couldn’t go back and check all social posts, newsletters, quoted messages etc. every time somebody edits a post or changes their avatar, for example.

I think I can do more to guarantee certain rights with regards to a users content though and will get some advice on communicating that.

Thank you!

IANAL either, but I do not read that as a lack of permission to remove your own content. It sounds more like a statement that the the user cannot expect the site owners to remove all their content on demand.

Which sounds like it is in direct conflict with GDPR.

GDPR applies to personally identifiable information, this may apply to some content posted. Of course no ToS can override your rights under GDPR and there are tools built-in to comply with any data requests.

GDPR grants you control of your data, including the right to have it removed. And if you have tools built in to comply with such requests, then you absolutely can remove the "irrevocable" clause from your TOS.

As I say I am no lawyer but will be getting some more personalised advice on wording since we seem to be growing! I hope you can see there are no ill intentions but I understand that it is good to have these things in black and white. Many thanks. :)

Actually, GDPR apply to personal datas and not published content. If you can "anonymize" the content (meaning: taking out the author name and any pseudo-identifiable information) then GDPR won't be a problem.

However, taking out the author name from a content could be seen as a kind of copyright infringement... so the content produced need to be co-copyrighted by the platform

that first clause is what gives them the right to distribute your messages, images, profile pic, etc, to other users of the platform.

Just a feedback on registration. I used github connect, then you ask for me to type both username and email, but you should already know these info. I'm using a lazy third party sign in just to avoid this and skip the activation email procedure.

I mean for this comment to be constructive, but it is steeped in my personal opinions about the web and the rise of social networks within it, so I would like to emphasize that any apparent animus is not directed at your product, which seems nice and good intentioned. That said:

I personally wish that any forum for discussions about the web and related professional and/or creative work would be (wait for it) open and readable by the entire web. To me, the advent of walled-garden / login-gated content silos was a milestone in a long, degenerative process for the web overall. This forum seems to follow in that mold, preventing me from viewing any of the related content without first creating an account, signing some TOS or EULA and logging in. To be honest, this whole arrangement reminds me of ExpertsExchange, which some might recall from the days before StackOverflow was a thing.

I completely agree with the premise of this product, but I will always caution my colleagues to avoid closed forums like this.

[Edit] At the time of writing, there was no obvious way to view content in the site without logging in. OP has since shared a link below showing how to browse the content without logging in.

All public discussions are available on the main domain without a login: https://webwide.io/

Sorry that wasn’t clear! I’ll add a browse as guest button to the landing page.

Thanks, I definitely looked through your landing page more than once trying to find something like that.

No worries thank you for your thoughtful comment and feedback!

i would be much more interested if it was built on open source forum software that we could all improve and use to build our own communities. in fact i wonder why OP didn't use an open source alternative like phpbb, flarum, or discourse but instead went with a proprietary solution?

Great question! XenForo is mature software developed over almost a decade by a great team in the UK. It is unfortunately proprietary and this was a decision making factor when choosing a platform.

The only other contender that matched my vision for a revival of a more traditional style forum was phpBB and I don’t think it would have been up to scratch for the eagle eyed and fairly demanding tech community.

Discourse, Flarum, Vanilla are all great options but I don’t think they were well suited to what I wanted to build. Not enough to set them apart from other communities in this space.

Building a bespoke solution wasn’t an option when time commitments and budget are considered.

The data is all well portable and neatly organised so if those needs change and can be reconsidered as we grow what is the best decision.

> Not enough to set them apart from other communities in this space

That sounds interesting to me. Was looking different, a goal in itself? (if I interpret you correctly?)

(Interesting that going back to the "old style" forums, is the way to look different, nowadays :- ))

Sort of! For starters, Discourse, Flarum & Vanilla all share a similar structure of a single feed of posts organised by tags which is quite different to an "old style" forum where there are individual boards. These kinds of set-ups are possible in those ones but aren't highlighted as much. But not only that...

Flarum is not at v1 yet and isn't really recommended for production. It's also quite feature light and I would be hesitant to expand upon it while it's not stable yet.

I've never seen a Discourse forum that doesn't look like another Discourse forum, have you? They all look the same! I had a pre-launch landing page up where something like 75% was on desktop. Discourse seems to have a mobile first, desktop never approach to its design and appears to be difficult to customise. I felt it was a sub-optimal experience suited better to communities centered around a single topic or perhaps support.

Vanilla is the most mature of these new style options but just wasn't doing it for me.

I don't think going a bit "retro" is a bad thing. I thought XenForo had a great balance between retaining that classic, nostalgic, familiar vibe while still providing lots of nice QoL features to go with it.

Another silo I can’t know how it works, contribute to, nor host it myself.

No thanks!

Tbf this is a prime case of software that is justifiable as a service as it's inherently non-local.

Aside from that isn't HN also a silo like that by your definition?

@m_b the discussions are publicly visible here: https://webwide.io/

(Took a while before I found them :- ))

HN source is available and there are some hosted clones out there.

Nice, I didn't know that. Makes me wonder, is there anything like HN but for more niche communities? Like subreddits but with a greater focus on link sharing and discussion and less original posts.

A sad reminder of the Geeklist old days. I'll give it a spin, congrats on the launch Adam!

Looks really nice, but so did Medium when it started, and look at them now.

On one hand I'm excited, on the other, I'm cautious not to funnel too much time into something that may Mediumify (i.e. turn into absolute garbage).

I hate Medium with a passion! I totally understand your reservations and I would be the same. Running costs are low and I've enjoyed the forum world for 10+ years so I don't foresee there being any need to undertake any of those awful tactics.

What makes your community inclusive?

I like inclusive in many senses of the word. No matter your background, technology, skill-level, etc. Inclusive to those who share our values that is. Trying to achieve this by:

- Clear messaging from the start setting this tone to hopefully attract people who share those values

- An enforced Code of Conduct with zero tolerance on hate speech and growing enforcement team

- Spaces for people using any and all technologies including code-free

- No areas off limits to free users

I anticipate there being many lessons learned along the way but very excited to see where we can go with it. Thanks for checking it out! :)

Do examples of communities which are not inclusive to those who share their values exist?

Ha, I see what you are saying. I’ll look at how I can word that better. Thanks for your feedback!

Care to share the tech stack behind the forum?

Nvm, I see that it is a forum using xenforo.com. I was gonna say I was pretty impressed if it was built from scratch.


You should post this in a separate Show HN.

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