Embedding video on a Discourse forum post

So I’ve just tried an experiment on our Discourse. You can see it in this post.

I’ve embedded a captioned video to support the text of the post. Will report back here to let you know if it helps in some way.

Got me thinking, has anyone experimented with embedding video to support a text-based forum post? Curious to know, what outcomes came of it? Perhaps it just made things more inclusive for folks who prefer to watch videos.

We tried it a few times on Meta but the videos got out of date too quickly as our UI changed. I like the idea in theory, but unless the content is going to be evergreen we found that it got a bit confusing for people.

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I’d love to try this on Rosieland…and I often wonder whether forums could be more blog like. We don’t have to see them as just a place to get answers, it’s often about sharing.

It could potentially work Community of Practice type communities, or communities that need to share stories/progrss.

I remember seeing Game Quitters encourage people start a post as a thread to post their updates.

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We use video sometimes and find it helpful for explaining more complex topics or sharing context. We use both Loom and Wistia videos embedded. We’ve played with getting others to reply with videos, but not everyone wants to put themselves out there.

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I use Discourse a sort-of-blog (“digital garden”) and it’s pretty well-suited for that purpose, overall (at least with the right Theme Components). For “collective blogging” you could use Subcategories of a Blog category if the number of authors was low enough, and this gives you more control over who can post a “blog”. If you want it to be freeform it could just be 1 category of a Forum with this Theme Component enabled and using Tags to differentiate content:

More recently I’ve been thinking that a forum tool like Discourse (I’ll mainly talk about it because I’m not as familiar with other, modern forums, e.g. Vanilla, Invision, etc.) can actually be reasonably adapted to many purposes. One I’m contemplating now is actually trying to create a dating site with Discourse. If you think about the raw features of forum platforms as enabling, orienting, and controlling various ways of interacting, etc. then you can potentially build an interaction model of your preference.

For a dating site, part of the point is that most dating apps have no reason to be on them other than “swiping”, so the interactions are very shallow. Adding a more persistent discussion component might be interesting and potentially help create more connection opportunities, or at least more context for people when they connect, or prior to. For the actual “matching”, maybe you want an entire Category that is just people’s Profiles where they can say whatever they want about themselves. Let people use Tags to self-categorize and then people can search on Tags for things they also like.

You allow other users to Like but not Reply in the Profiles category, so it doesn’t become a site of conversations about people. Users can DM the person to “match”. Person on the other end can just ignore if they like. Built-in Discourse tools for anti-spam, etc. keep it fairly clean (i.e. if one member repeatedly breaks the rules, they’ll be reported, and automatically limited in their interaction). Or you can do invite-only, or require registration with an existing account (Google, Twitter, etc.). This is just a brief outline of one facet of this concept, but hopefully it illustrates the flexibility I’m talking about.

I’ve also used Discourse as a knowledgebase (with decent but certainly imperfect results), and have seen it used as a personal website several times, e.g.:

So yes, forum tools can be highly flexible and can and should be adapted to many purposes IMO! Especially if there is identified value in the specific situation in keeping the new functionality (e.g. blog) tightly integrated with an existing discussion community.

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