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Show HN: Tavern, Next Generation Bulletin Boards/Forums (Product Idea) (asleepysamurai.com)
15 points by chaosprophet 1695 days ago | hide | past | web | 32 comments | favorite



Those slides are horrible, they are too fast for reading and worse, it seems that manual clicking on the arrows do not reset the timer.

Not sure if I'm particularly slower than others at reading or something, but I closed the page after 3 "slides" when the site made it abundantly clear that it didn't want me to read its content.

One note though: you should use mockup pictures for the visuals rather using screenshots from existing websites, as it is now it sort of give a "Chinese knockoff" feel.


Same here. I am not a native speaker of English and reading is not any easier. But as it's written using reveal.js you can reload the slides.

And when it comes to security, I think all the things listed there is almost like a requirement in current-day web development.


Well, I did not really spend too much time on the visuals, since this was just to gauge-interest. If I make an MVP, it'll definitely not feel 'knock-offy' :)

EDIT: I've also slowed down the slides by four seconds each. Please do visit again and check out all the slides.


The thing is, I quickly had a very negative opinion of it, and it had nothing to do with the actual product, only its presentation. With a better slider system, you would surely get a lot better reactions as people would focus more on what you are talking about rather that "wait, what, why doesn't it let me read this".


I think not having them auto-slide by default would serve the presentation better.


For the love of god, turn off the auto-slide, it is completely broken and made me ragequit the browser never to look at your idea again even though I actually might find it interesting if I could tolerate the presentation.


Based on what I've read (the screenshots are just of reddit and Facebook) this sounds like it would be a genuinely irritating service to use and be a part of.

• If there's any place for a 'social' button, it's certainly not a discussion forum. Typically the content you would be talking about on a forum would be separated from what you might want to post on Facebook (see pseudonyms).

• People love pseudonyms, there's no escaping that. One of the large attractions of discussion forums is that you can be pseudo-anonymous if you are so inclined. If Google Plus failed to convince people to give up their real information, I can't imagine a forum suite would either.

• Profile photos make page loads long and make the information on the page less dense. They add absolutely nothing to the conversation, which is why I presume HN and reddit (large influences in this) don't have them.

• "Flame war control" will just obstruct constructive conversation. Speed and depth of posting isn't an indicator of malice, and will just make users discouraged to contribute.

• A hosted service isn't a feature in this case. I can go and read forums that I was a part of in 2005, but there's no guarantee that a hosted service will be around next week. If the service disappears, so does the content.

• "Banhammers Galore" isn't a feature, see the current attitude towards StackOverflow's moderation.

There's headway to be made in bulletin boards, but I feel you've missed the main issues with the current solutions (vBulletin, phpBB, Vanilla).


This is really a list of features, not a product. Basically if you execute well and create great forum software it may become popular, otherwise it won't. That's pretty much a truism.


Signatures? One line is still to much for me, all forums need the option to turn off displaying signatures.

Real names? Hmm. That kills basically all but talking about pets or whatever. No forums for whistleblowers, abuse victims, with alternate sexuality and/or religion and the problems arising thereof in certain areas of the world, no place for really nutty art. It's also trivial to make a fake facebook profile I'm sure, so in the end it might offer a false sense of security more than any actual security.

The "flamewar control" stuff.. Yup, definately too nosy to me. Wouldn't know the difference between flaming and a burst of creativity and all around merryness, either. Have you ever been member of a really wild forum, I wonder? Why seek technical solutions to social problems?

And then comes "tagging". Just to increase user engagement, because that's useful for the site owner, not because it's useful for the users :/

I don't mean to be negative though; built it, it's bound to be useful for someone, just not me. If anything, it would make for a neat "facebook-like" forum (facebook, last time I checked, was completely broken for complex discussions, and the forum apps are ugly and slow). All the complaints I have about this forum I would also have about facebook, so they shouldn't be a negative to "that crowd". I'm simply not the target market, but I am a forum user since I'm a web surfer, and I do care about them a lot, so I have to ramble.

A next generation forum of my taste would have complete moderator action transpareny and accountability. How's that for a radical new idea? Or hey, how about making page views and ad revenue visible to the people providing it? Maybe allow users to tag and organize content like they want it, with a bayesian filter suggesting stuff they might like. My next generation forum would focus LESS on real-time and "current" and "popular", and make all that just one of many factors. It would be not for ants to pass the time, but for ants to build weird little palaces over time, with many twisted passages, and if they so choose, to refactor and straighten out the bits that turn out to be most useful, to build a library; be it of knowledge, fun, friendship or anecdotes.

Instead of more tools to use on the users, more tools for the users.

And of course, it can't be hosted; gimme the source or I'm not interested in the least.


> Signatures? One line is still to much for me, all forums need the option to turn off displaying signatures.

Ofcourse, there will be an option to completely disable all signatures.

>Real names? Hmm. That kills basically all but talking about pets or whatever. No forums for whistleblowers, abuse victims, with alternate sexuality and/or religion and the problems arising thereof in certain areas of the world, no place for really nutty art. It's also trivial to make a fake facebook profile I'm sure, so in the end it might offer a false sense of security more than any actual security.

The real name is not for any notion of 'security'. It's a psychological thing, to remind users to be civil to each other.

>The "flamewar control" stuff.. Yup, definately too nosy to me. Wouldn't know the difference between flaming and a burst of creativity and all around merryness, either. Have you ever been member of a really wild forum, I wonder? Why seek technical solutions to social problems?

Believe it or not this actually exists on our very own HN (and discussions here do get 'wild' once in a while). And if it works for HN I don't see why it shouldn't work in other places.

>And then comes "tagging". Just to increase user engagement, because that's useful for the site owner, not because it's useful for the users :/

Actually, this would be very useful to users in conjunction with notifications. There have been many times when I have posted on a particular thread and then forgotten all about it, and so I miss it when somebody responds to me. This has happened annoyingly often.

>And of course, it can't be hosted; gimme the source or I'm not interested in the least.

Why (just curious)? A hosted version is to make it easy for your regular Joe Forum-master. I suspect not many of them would want to learn to manage a VPS.


> Signatures?

Glad to hear there will be an option to turn off, but it wasn't in your slidedeck so it wasn't an "Ofcourse" [sic] when @PavlovsCat made his comment.

> Real names

@PavlovsCat highlights several areas where user 'security' trumps psychological civility reminders. Personally, I won't use systems that require real names for this reason alone. If someone wants to use their real name, good for them. But systems that require it aren't for me.

> "flameware control"

Sounds like some other systems I know that get in the way of actual conversation (e.g., I'm trying to respond to individual posts individually, and manage to do so too quickly). If the controls aren't too aggressive, I can see the benefit, but if they're too aggressive I feel like I'm being punished for being able to touch type, and subsequently avoid those forums. (I haven't hit any such limits in HN, so if they're here, they're a good gauge for not too aggressive.)

> "tagging"

I happen to be a big fan of tagging. Although some systems do limit to existing tags, which I'm not a big fan of.

> hosted versus source

As an end user, I use both. When I'm setting up a system, open always gets preference over closed. There are several packages that have hosted service as their primary offering, but if you read through their FAQs they still have their source opened on bitbucket, github, or an accessible self-hosted system. Such dual-offerings provide the ease of hosted, with the myriad of benefits that come from open sourcing the code.


I understood "tagging" more in a sense of "tag, you're it". Like some bloggers do, "I got tagged by Person A to answer these questions", I'm pretty sure I've seen that before. Maybe I got it wrong, but I thought was like what you just did, @mentions :P

As for tagging with words (and maybe even more than just one taxonomy), of course, it's the best. Tag first, tag lots, and find uses for the tags later I say :D


When I viewed the slide presentation, I only noticed the @mention type of tagging. But I had had a hard time going through the slides, and since your starting comment seemed more in line with the folksonomic type of tagging, I was kind of hoping I had just missed that in the hurried presentation.

In this day and age, I haven't seen any reasons not to support the @mention type of tagging.

The folksonomic type of tagging can absolutely be overdone or restricted into absolute uselessness. But when done properly, they can be extremely useful.


The real name is not for any notion of 'security'. It's a psychological thing, to remind users to be civil to each other.

Oh, but wouln't flowers also work? Real names also remind some people in some situations that they cannot talk about certain things openly, and it could be argued to make it less civil in that case. Personally, I post under my real name a lot, and real name or handle has nothing to do with how civil I am, at least that's my (biased?) impression. Some of the worst things I said on Facebook actually :P Or on slashdot, where I have been using my real name for years. What is considered civil or not is up to each community; but the fact that you cannot post certain (perfectly legitimate, if not important) things to a public forum under your real name applies to any and all communities. Some communities may not want that stuff, but the others don't even have the option of using this for that reason, I think.

Believe it or not this actually exists on our very own HN (and discussions here do get 'wild' once in a while). And if it works for HN I don't see why it shouldn't work in other places.

Well okay, it depends on the thresholds I guess. If those are configurable, even better.

Actually, this would be very useful to users in conjunction with notifications. There have been many times when I have posted on a particular thread and then forgotten all about it, and so I miss it when somebody responds to me. This has happened annoyingly often.

Yes, that I totally understand; but doesn't "tagging" someone imply something other than a direct reply? But sure, I guess it could be useful, for example: "I want to travel to X, any suggestions", tagging a few users you remember to have mentioned to have been to X before.. if you used that as a use case, not just "increase user engagement" I would have reacted very differently I think. But maybe also allow users to block certain other users from tagging them if they overdo it.

Why (just curious)? A hosted version is to make it easy for your regular Joe Forum-master. I suspect not many of them would want to learn to manage a VPS.

Well as I said, I only speak for myself... of course there are more people who would like to have a forum than there are people willing to set up a server, so it's not really a criticism of your idea, just one of the reasons why I personally wouldn't be super hot for it. Take all of that in that spirit and good luck, okay?


One obervation: if you're really that adamant about Real Names, you're going to be regarded as just another privacy reaper. I suggest you implement some form of locally-registered aliases if your concern is accountability, because there are entirely too many real reasons for limiting exposure surface on the Internet. Of course, if it is all about the tracking...


Yes, maybe a system of display names would work for this. But the thing is you have an entirely different mindset when you are responding to 'shadowfaxx12' rather than 'Martin Carpenter'. It's more to remind people that there is another real human being behind that particular comment, and to be civil to them.


But the thing is you have an entirely different mindset when you are responding to 'shadowfaxx12' rather than 'Martin Carpenter'

I don't think this is necessarily true. People may be quite willing to be uncivil to "Martin Carpenter" as well... after all that's one of the points of 'doxxing' someone on a forum, to humiliate them with their real identity, and troll their real-life friends and family.

Plus, how are you going to tell whether "KRapp" is my real name, a derivation of my real name or my account name is just a pseudonym that corresponds with a real name? You could guess it from my email or my facebook account. In my case (and probably most cases) it's quite easy, but if you're serious about using real names, I think you're still adding some minimal effort on your part to have to validate them.

Maybe my real email is "somethingotherthanmyname@gmail" and my real name just happens to be "Jango Fett." How 'real' does a name have to appear? Google's already running into problems trying to enforce this, and they already have all the data, because 'real names' don't necessarily map as logically as people assume.


Ok, it seems that this is just to measure the interest, as such product doesn't exist at all yet.

Some comments:

1. Reddit/HN style threads (sorting function by time and score) are great for news or current issues, not for topics that are continuous. That's why reposts and duplicates are actually needed. Old threads on HN and Reddit are forgotten quickly.

2. Upvoting mechanism / community moderation requires a sizable community to provide any value.

3. Real user names do not provide any value, usually it actually reduces to quality of discussion. Anonymous/throwaway accounts serve their place. Community moderation already solves the quality/spam/troll issue to some extent.

Most of these 'features' should be configurable, as there seems to be no clear thought of why this configuration would be good for everyone.


At first i was thinking this was a parody, but it seems that the idea is well ... serious.

Popular stuff on top, unpopular stuff at the bottom makes me think of downvote squads and paid upvoters.

Social logins. What when they go down? See facebook login last week. What about people that don't want to log in with their social account?

The flamewar control seems that it might hamper legitimate conversations. Imagine 2 or 3 people discussing something civilised, and each time they post, they have to wait 5 minuten or more. I know I'd stop talking pretty quickly.

The other points are mostly standard stuff. Notifications, mentions, ..

Perhaps I'm not the target group, which might explain my answer :)


> Popular stuff on top, unpopular stuff at the bottom makes me think of downvote squads and paid upvoters.

Anti-gaming measures would obviously be part of the system as in HN and Reddit.

> Social logins. What when they go down? See facebook login last week. What about people that don't want to log in with their social account?

Local logins are also an option. However, social logins do indeed provide an ease of use. Perhaps some sort of backup login system might be used as well? Like get the emails when people first sign up and if your login provider is down send a temporary login link to the users email.

>The flamewar control seems that it might hamper legitimate conversations. Imagine 2 or 3 people discussing something civilised, and each time they post, they have to wait 5 minuten or more. I know I'd stop talking pretty quickly.

Have you ever been discouraged from a lively discussion on HN? Believe it or not, this same feature exists on HN, and it works rather well.


Will it be hosted only or will a leased version be available? Any thoughts given to design or branding customization?


If this does get built, then we could probably allow people to use custom themes to design their site. As for branding, there will be no TavernBB branding on any forum. All forums will carry their own branding.

Also, it would be available only as hosted. If there is demand for a self-hosted version then maybe it'll happen.


I don't like this trend. A modern self-hosted forum is badly needed. We've moved away from the time when any self-hosted web software had to be written in PHP now that many turnkey web hosts support Ruby and Python (and VPS hosting is cheaper), but the software hasn't caught up yet.


I tend to disagree. A lot of shared hosting providers still support only PHP. The ratio of providers who support Ruby to those who support PHP is staggeringly small. So, practically the only way to self-host something not written in PHP is to go for a VPS.

While a VPS is quite cheap these days, the skillset needed to operate a VPS is quite different from that needed to install vBulletin on a shared host. This is why I wish to keep this as a fully hosted offering.


Seriously, running a VPS is not that difficult.

The "ratio of providers supporting Ruby to those who support PHP" is quite irrelevant: just pick one of the providers who do support Ruby. There are enough of them.

No, it seems more like you (as the software author) only prefer shared hosting because that would allow you to retain control and make profit.

Also, from your slides: "security comes standard", "Builtin protection against CSRF, XSS, SQL Injection and a multitude of other attacks" -- what?! If the source isn't available, how can one be sure? And do you think the developers of the existing forum solutions wanted to make the mistakes that lead to their software being vulnerable?


Are the screenshots used from Reddit, Stackoverflow and Facebook comments or do the show the actual 'product'?


Yes, they are just screenshots from other sites. This post was simply to gauge interest for such a product. The product as such does not yet exist.

EDIT: I have updated the submission title to reflect that it's just an idea.


Could you please be explicit about this in the thread title and the webpage itself? This comment is the only thing besides the lack of screenshots of the product itself that indicates that Tavern doesn't exist yet.


It seems like "Show HN" posts should be reserved for actually showing off something you've built, whereas customer development / surveys / landing pages should stick with "Ask HN" (or something similar). I know it's a bit of a wild west here when it comes to title prefixes, but unless someone has actually put in the effort to build a tool / product, "Show HN" is a little over-the-top.


So what's the difference between http://www.discourse.org/? I think discourse implement it clearly, I didn't figure out any difference.


Would be interesting, if built.

You should slow down the speed of the slides, though :-)


I've added four more seconds to each slide's display time.




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