More on the forum/chat hybrid model

Because I know that @evanhamilton joined to see chat in action, I thought I’d elaborate a little on how others use it. As well as using chat as we are here, you can have a chat channel per category or use it as a fully fledged Slack like alternative.

We will be launching sidebar in mid-Sept which will allow for a setup similar to the one below (which is our internal Discourse instance).

We use it for ephemeral communication alongside our general forum, plus we use it for alerts from monitoring tools, incident handling, bot posts (e.g. that the build has broken) among other things.


Oh nice.

It’s definitely on my list to rethink the structure of this forum. I set up a few categories on the fly and I’m going to review it now to think about how to design it better with chat.


Oh that does look rather nice. I look forward to being able to play around with it :slight_smile:


Sidebar now available! Want to update/add it here @rosiesherry ? I’d love to see it in action with this community.


Love that sidebars are making a comeback. :laughing:

I’ve sworn by sidebar menus for large forum navigation since ~2002.

Header navs are alright, but if you have a ton of different categories, it doesn’t work.


Agreed. It also allows you to create more of a ‘custom feed’ so that you can cut down on a whole lot of noise.


Hello, and yes! It’s coming soon! :slight_smile:

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One thing I love about sidebars (at least the way we built it in Discourse and precedents apps like Slack set) is that it is focuses on current user preferences. Generally sites don’t allow end users to fiddle with header based navigation, but sidebars normalized the ability for users to control own experience a lot better. To me this is the secret ingredient many sidebars add.

You can pick the tags and categories and channels and users you care about and better control your own experience on the site.

The big weakness of sidebars is for extremely flat structured sites. If there is only one category on the site and very little hierarchy built with tags, sidebars can be very weak. (we work around this by allowing for a “hamburger menu” display mode.