Forums as a Community Second Brain

Do you think a forum could be used as a Community Second Brain?

This is what I’m exploring now for this Rosieland Village.

What is a Second Brain?

…building a “second brain” is about creating a system – outside your physical skin-and-bone bodily boundaries – for storing, organising, and eventually transforming information.

Source: Maggie Appleton

How do you think this could be done from a community perspective?

One great thing about Discourse are the wiki-posts, so one thing I’m going to start doing is creating lots of useful lists on topics.

I’m also going to use it as a general place to jot down ideas that are on my mind.

I do a lot of this anyways, usually on social, but I really want to direct that energy to a space that isn’t controlled by a tech giant.



I think forums are a powerful Community Second Brain.

Where I see a challenge is finding a system/structure that works for a good number of the people who are part of the forum — admins, contributors and lurkers. A second brain on an individual level is super personal and some folks might not resonate with its structure when shared with others. For sure though the structure might be the thing another person didn’t realise they were looking for or could benefit from.

So I reckon it’s up to the forum admins and power contributors to help shape the foundation and structure of the Community Second Brain. And evolve accordingly.

I do like the idea of wiki lists. :slightly_smiling_face:

Another idea comes to mind:

Timely/Recurring Category Summary Posts

For example, every 3 months post a summary of the posts in the Forum Collective category. The summary post attempts to spot and highlight patterns and key themes. Perhaps this sparks a deeper discussion of earlier posts and reignites the conversation. Repeat for each category. Consider dividing up the effort amongst the community. “Hey, , would you like to summarise the Community Design category from October 2022 to December 2022?”

Heck yeah. I’d love to see this implemented well in a forum. Some ideas to support this:

  • Create a dedicated category called “Quick Thoughts”, “Brain Dump”, “On My Mind”, “Jots” or something like that
  • Within such a category limit the number of characters per topic and per reply

Create a kinda Twitter within a forum. :smile:

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Yes, a ‘note taking’ category would help. And people can also tag it with the theme to help with general findability of notes.

Thoughts on what to call it:

  • Glitter
  • Golden Nuggets
  • Community Thoughts
  • Community notes
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I think this is the principle challenge of any community “second brain” or collective knowledge development system. The system almost doesn’t matter, it’s the fact that getting people to agree on a common organizational scheme and process is tough. It usually needs to go top-down to some degree, at the least a subset of the community who are willing to work more closely together to define a good approach, and then people willing and able to guide others and at times even enforce (at least through light editing) the approach. Otherwise you end up with a less useful, messy resource.

Discourse as a specific tool has a lot of good functions for doing this though:

  • Wiki posts, as mentioned
  • Tags
  • Quoting
  • Links/backlinks
  • Table of contents (plugin/theme component)

There’s even a knowledgebase plugin, although it’s a big rigid for my taste.


I’ve set up a Community Garden category for now and I plan to start creating specific themed pages. Anything posted in that category is automatically set as a ‘wiki post’.

I’ll probably create posts based on the things I’m writing, at least I’m going to try to use that as my flow to get things going.

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