Vision for Peercoin.net

Introduction

Greetings,

I originally wrote this in February, but never posted it. I’ve updated parts since, but some of it might be out of date (or just wrong!). It’s also available to read on Daology.

You might have seen the discussion about forum software and that we’re not all in agreement. The views I hold will be obvious and I’d like to raise relevant points with some examples.

First I want to say that the last I want is to divide the community or cause excessive chaos. I present what I believe will give a superior user experience and public image. While marketing isn’t everything and perhaps won’t make or break Peercoin, I perceive a general underestimation of its value.

There will be drawbacks, and work to be done, probably issues, but we should move forward. We can handle disagreement, nobody is being attacked, we’re mature people in one of the best cryptocommunities, so let’s seriously consider what is best for the future of Peercoin. You’ll see this is more than “change for change’s sake”.

Parts have already been posted in the thread about integrating with Peercoin.net and forum software (post #26, #33, #41). The reason I create a new thread is because this post is very long, and to gather everything I want to say.

I hope it can be of value even if you don’t agree with the ideas. Nothing is meant to be criticising against the work of everyone involved, it has been great and all had its time.

“There is tremendous technical and sociological friction to change in any established community. Engage in serious discussions with your community about any such change well in advance. There needs to be broad dissatisfaction with the status quo and strong support for change from the community leaders.”http://www.discourse.org/faq/

Recap of events

The whole discussion triggered the creation of an improved theme for PeercoinTalk. Follow the development in the other thread. It’s already available to select under Profile > Account Settings > Modify Profile > Look and Layout > Current Theme > url=https://www.peercointalk.org/index.php?action=theme;sa=pick;[/url], but I don’t think it’s finished yet. Now set as default theme!

It began with Sentinelrv mentioning in the chatbox he’d like us to integrate the forum with Peercoin.net and switch to Discourse. He’s since decided not to pursue this path.

I and others also rooted for new forum software about a year ago.

After I setup Discourse and PM:ed the three people that discussed it in the chatbox at that time, Sentinelrv had the idea to put the Peercoin.net menu in the Discourse menu bar and edited a screenshot plus set the colors of buttons and categories in line with Peercoin’s colorscheme.

I’ve since been working to give you the best impression of Discourse possible. We’ll see what you think of it.

Forum software

Alternatives I’m aware of:

[ul][li]Discourse: open-source and free of charge.[/li]
[li]XenForo: $140+ with one year of upgrades, and $40 per each additional year.[/li]
[li]Vanilla: $99+/month.[/li]
[li]NodeBB: Popular alternative to Discourse.[/li]
[li]Simple Machines Forum (SMF): our current software. Upcoming version 2.1 brings improvements. (demo of beta 1)[/li][/ul]

Discourse

[ul][li]Website[/li]
[li]About[/li]
[li]FAQ[/li][/ul]

At first I was admittedly a little intimidated by Discourse, but it really is a wonderful software after having familiarised with it. I understand most people are used to the classic forums, but I’m surprised by some’s perception that Discourse is complicated and makes it difficult to overview and follow threads. Quite the opposite in my experience!

If you’re used to classic forums like this one (SMF), phpBB, vBulletin, and the others, use the Categories view in Discourse. I’ve set it as default for Peercoin’s Discourse, but I think the ‘Latest’ view is more useful. Play around on NuBits’ Discourse!

I said in the thread a year ago that Discourse looks more radically different, but it’s basically just a forum that’s made with how people actually use them in mind.

Feature improvements with Discourse

We get a modern forum with all it entails. I recommend looking at their own examples at Discourse.org and the About page. They show it better than text explains.

[ul][li]Built for mobile, and is pleasant to use without users having to download an app or us purchasing a theme (not that $20 is much). Mobile view in SMF 2.1![/li]
[li]Automatically updating everything, real-time.[/li]
[li]Paste a link and it integrates the content into your post.[/li]
[li]Following a thread happens “intelligently” (with choice) and gives notifications.[/li]
[li]Linked topics. Break off discussion at any point.[/li]
[li]When returning to a thread you’re placed where you left to continue reading immediately.[/li]
[li]An editor that doesn’t cause hairloss during use. Explained after screenshots.[/li]
[li]Mentions. (Fuzzybear added a plugin for this to SMF) “Alerts” come in SMF 2.1, including Mentions integrated.[/li]
[li]Notifications through browser to desktop OS native ones.[/li]
[li]One search.[/li]
[li]Built-in mechanism for daily backups. Local and to Amazon S3.[/li]
[li]Simple upgrades by pressing a button. Good for urgent security fixes, “all software has bugs”. You may argue that software shouldn’t have write access to itself. It’s a trade-off that appears to make sense in this case.[/li][/ul]

There is simply so much that is better with Discourse than SMF. Sure, plugins and customisation can improve SMF to an extent, but we would have to maintain all that and it would realistically just not reach the same level. Even with the new upcoming version 2.1 while very welcome it doesn’t improve SMF that much.

Compare to an alternative which already has everything we want. Except the chatbox, yet!

The developers are very active and friendly. By the way @irritant, they’re open to a site-wide setting to disable the “?u=” appendage in Share links in case you didn’t see in the other thread. Someone would have to code it, though.

We could benefit from the Assistant bot written by woolly_sammoth for NuBits’ Discourse.

Found this about SMF backups: (emphasis theirs)

SMF's Admin section has a built-in database backup function. [b]Do not use it![/b] It does work in some cases, but not in others, so it should not be used, unless you have no other way to acquire the backup of the database.
— http://wiki.simplemachines.org/smf/Backup

Continued after screenshots!

Screenshots

These are also available in an Imgur album. Live demo at https://talk.peercoin.se (registrations are disabled).

Discourse’s category view and currently the startpage:

Discourse’s welcome thread:

Sunny King’s Weekly Update thread:

I’ve since added the “Weekly Update #130” into the post like Sunny King does. Perhaps it’s there to simplify for people copying the whole update.

Discourse profile:

[size=14pt]Dark theme[/size]

Discourse categories in dark:

Discourse welcome topic in dark:

I implemented the dark theme with help of a thread at meta.discourse.org and it’s not perfect.

Unfortunately, there might not be a convenient way to switch between them per user preference. I recall seeing a way to set custom themes with a query string, but I don’t find it now.

Intelligent following:

Mobile view of Sunny King’s Weekly Update #129:

Editor

[ul][li]Simpler syntax for posts with Markdown, while still supporting BBCode that you’re familiar with in SMF.[/li]
[li]Browse the forum while writing your post.[/li]
[li]Autosaves so you may continue composing from another device (comes in SMF 2.1). Protects against loss in the event of browser crashes or power outages.[/li]
[li]Inline code snippets (example).[/li]
[li]Code syntax highlighting.[/li][/ul]

[code][code][/code] isn’t inline and [inline]isn’t implemented[/inline], neither is [c][/c].

Syntax examples

A list with BBCode in SMF:


[ul][li]Ice.[/li]
[li]Water.[/li]
[li]Steam.[/li][/ul]

Ordered with “list type=decimal”.

Lists with Markdown in Discourse: (asterisk (*) and plus (+) do the same)

- Ice.
- Water.
- Steam.

1. One
2. Two
3. Three

Headings with BBCode in SMF:

[size=18pt]Food[/size]
[size=16pt]Maize[/size]
[size=14pt]Popcorn[/size]

Headings with Markdown in Discourse:

# Food
## Maize
### Popcorn

Bold and italics in SMF:

[b]bold[/b]
[i]italics[/i]

Bold and italics in Discourse:

**bold**
_italics_
or
__bold__
*italics*

Super User reference for Markdown.
GitHub article with Markdown basics.
Creator John Gruber at Daring Fireball about Markdown and its syntax.
BBCode reference.

Relevant is also CommonMark (“A strongly specified, highly compatible implementation of Markdown”), but it’s not strictly what’s used in Discourse.

Spam

Discourse has powerful built-in countermeasures against spam.

The trust level system, rate limiting, plus more! Co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse about spam.

No need for captchas or questions. Discourse makes housekeeping quick and easy.

System requirements

Discourse is a [i]JavaScript[/i] application designed for the next 10 years of the Internet, so the minimum web browser requirements are high:

[ul][li]Internet Explorer 10+[/li]
[li]Google Chrome 24+[/li]
[li]Firefox 14+[/li]
[li]Safari 5.1+[/li][/ul]

We do officially support Internet Explorer 9, but some functionality will be unavoidably broken.

[ul][li]Mobile Safari, iOS 6+[/li]
[li]Mobile Chrome, Android 4.1+[/li]
[li]Mobile IE, Windows Phone 8 or later[/li][/ul]


Discourse FAQ

We are building something futuristic here. NuBits’ discussion forum thrives “despite” running Discourse.

JavaScript

There has been concern the JavaScript requirement might exclude those surfing through Tor. It was mentioned also that Sunny King likes the chatbox because it’s accessible through Tor, but the chatbox requires JavaScript as well.

It’s possible to use JavaScript through Tor, so it’d be similarly daring to use Discourse as the current chatbox.

The argument may have some merit, but I think it’s thin.

Structural revamp

We currently have a list of services hosted at services.peercointalk.org.

peercointalk.orgtalk.peercoin.net
wiki.peercointalk.orgwiki.peercoin.net

wallet.peercointalk.org – Paper wallet generator
blockexplorer.peercointalk.org vs Blockr and bkchain?
articles.peercointalk.org (broken)
vanity.peercointalk.org – Vanity address generator
phpcoinaddress.peercointalk.org
builds.peercointalk.org – Fuzzybear’s Peercoin builds
poscalculator.peercointalk.org – Proof-of-stake calculator
findstakejs.peercointalk.org – Determine when staking is likely to occur (broken?)
charts.peercointalk.org (slow)

I don’t want to be rude, but I find this messy.

Suggestion:

Branding

“PeercoinTalk” is established, and I agree it’s better we continue calling the forum that. It would reside on talk.peercoin.net. Perhaps lowercase the ‘T’ (I think this particular one looks worse lowercased, but I’m in favor of consistency).

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

“We already provide a special highly crawlable and SEO optimized Discourse for crawlers (in NOSCRIPT tags).” — https://meta.discourse.org/t/seo-compared-to-other-well-known-tools/3914/2

There are several more threads at Discourse Meta about the matter. Considering they (Jeff Atwood & Co.) created and run large websites like Stack Overflow, they have some credibility.

Regarding the current search results for PeercoinTalk.org, it will indeed take some time for the new forum to show up.

I’ve disabled indexing of the demo site in ‘robots.txt’.

Sitelinks – Applicable regardless of Discourse

“At the moment, sitelinks are automated. We’re always working to improve our sitelinks algorithms, and we may incorporate webmaster input in the future. There are best practices you can follow, however, to improve the quality of your sitelinks. For example, for your site’s internal links, make sure you use anchor text and alt text that’s informative, compact, and avoids repetition.” — https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/47334?hl=en

We do not seem to adhere to this on Peercoin.net in the menu:

[code]

  • Newcomers
  • Investors
  • [/code]

    …and even less at the bottom of the front page:

    <a href="newcomers" class="btn btn-primary btn-lg">Get started</a> [...] <a href="investors" class="btn btn-primary btn-lg">Get started</a>

    I assume from what Google says we should at least add a descriptive alt text to the ones in our menu. Perhaps also redesign the bottom to have the the links say “Newcomers”, “Investors”, and so on. I like how it looks—I think the site is gorgeous—but it might be possible to improve.

    We can’t choose what to display there, but it seems we can make what does show up look good.

    The dream would be to have something like this in Google Search:

    Content

    We have quite some content on PeercoinTalk. It’s organised well to the point it can, but it should be more visible and accessible. I’m not sure how much sense it makes to serve it on the forum, but it might. Discourse has a wiki mode for posts if that would help.

    I think it’s a project to put time into. Decide suitable places to put knowledge and media that doesn’t fit on Peercoin.net itself and migrate content from the current PeercoinTalk. The wiki, I guess.

    Wiki

    Alternatives: (WikiMatrix comparison)

    [ul][li]MediaWiki: open-source, proven by Wikipedia, good mobile view.[/li]
    [li]Confluence: free for open-source projects.[/li]
    [li]TiddlyWiki: open-source, JavaScript.[/li]
    [li]MoinMoin: open-source.[/li]
    [li]DokuWiki: open-source, mobile view.[/li]
    [li]XWiki: open-source, mobile view. Compared to MediaWiki.[/li]
    [li]SlimWiki: Beautiful, simple, but only WYSIWYG, their servers, and costly.[/li]
    [li]Torchpad: Their servers, Markdown.[/li][/ul]

    MediaWiki is probably the most sensible choice after all, which is what’s currently hosted at wiki.peercointalk.org. There is quality content on it, but we should brush the Main Page up. A transparent Peercoin logo should be in the upper left corner.

    Important content

    “EVERYTHING” you Need to Know About Peercoin - Important Links & Intro
    Peercoins FAQ
    New Members Please Read This First

    Marketing fund

    Marketing Fund Charter
    Template for Submissions

    Peer4commit

    Peer4Commit.com (Create Projects & Raise Funds, Donate & Get Paid to Contribute)

    Peerbox

    [GUIDE] Create your own Raspberry Pi’s Peercoin wallet and Full Active Node
    [ANN] Peerbox project

    Peerunity

    Peerunity v0.1.1 has been released

    Mining

    Guide for CPU and GPU Peercoin Mining on Mac OS X - Tested
    Cgminer.conf example file for Peercoin mining

    Trading & Exchanges

    List of Exchanges accepting Peercoin (PPC) – Maintain one list, at Peercoin.net.
    Fuzzybear PPC Escrow Service – This we want of course.

    Bounties

    Development Bounty Fund – Is this still active?

    Marketplace

    Primecoin

    Quick Guide! - How to mine Primecoin

    Logo files

    Peershares Logos Files
    Peerbox Logo Files
    Peerunity Logo Files

    Other

    [Download] Peercoin-Raspi-Desktop 0.4.0 - Automated installer for raspberry pi

    There’s more that’s deprecated, linking to different places, and should just be revised and put in one place.

    Pinned threads from 2013. Today we’d recommend Peerunity?
    url=https://www.peercointalk.org/index.php?topic=1104.0 Configuring Peercoin Proof-of-Stake Minting on OS X[/url]
    Peercoin Proof of Stake Minting Setup Guide

    Not that we need a new software to wrap this up, but if we don’t want to keep using SMF for the rest of the future, I think we better move sooner than later.

    Users

    Procedure:

    [ol][li]Export users from SMF to “smf_users.tsv”.[/li]
    [li]Securely transmit file to Discourse server.[/li]
    [li]Disable emails in Discourse? How activate users without their interaction? Trust level![/li]
    [li]Import all users possible to Discourse. (script)[list type=decimal]
    [li]Read “smf_users.tsv”.[/li]
    [li]Generate new password.[/li]
    [li]Create user.[/li]
    [li]Write list with username and generated password.[/li]
    [li]Write second list with incompatible usernames.[/li]
    [/list]
    [/li]
    [li]Securely transmit both lists to SMF server.[/li]
    [li]Private message users their Discourse password, or ask them to create an account manually if their username is incompatible. (script)[/li]
    [li]Freeze SMF and place an obvious pleasant notice explaining the situation with a link to the user’s inbox and Discourse.[/li][/ol]

    Task: Export users from SMF.

    Approach: Produce a tab-separated list consisting of the fields email_address, real_name, member_name from SMF’s MySQL database.

    SELECT 'email', 'name', 'username' UNION ALL SELECT email_address, real_name, member_name FROM smf_members INTO OUTFILE 'C:\safe\directory\members.tsv' FIELDS TERMINATED BY "\t"

    I’m not familiar with how to run this on Windows Server, but under Linux one could do:

    mysql -u <user> -p -e "SELECT 'email', 'name', 'username' UNION ALL SELECT email_address, real_name, member_name FROM smf_members INTO OUTFILE '/safe/directory/members.tsv' FIELDS TERMINATED BY \"\t\"" <database>

    Problem: Users with non-alphanumeric (plus underline) usernames can’t be migrated as Discourse chose not to support usernames like ▲ λ έ ξ α ν δ ρ ο ς. (might be a display name, but it would be valid as username in SMF)

    Approach: Import all users possible, and create a list with those that can’t be. Send them a private message on PeercoinTalk telling them they’ll have to manually create an account, and include a link.

    We could alternatively do it through the Discourse API, but I think that’s more work.

    It is technically possible to make the PeercoinTalk (SMF) password hashes work with Discourse, but I advice against it because we would have to write custom security code (which must never be taken lightly) and maintain it with upgrades.

    Server

    I’ve set up Discourse at https://talk.peercoin.se. Registrations are disabled to avoid misunderstandings.

    Please note it’s not the real Sunny King, but an account I made to show how it would look.

    Currently hosted on DigitalOcean.

    [ul][li]VPS with 2 GB RAM, dual-core, 40 GB, 3 TB traffic, and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Runs at $20/month. Scalable.[/li]
    [li]Mandrill account for SMTP (email sending).[/li]
    [li]SPF and DKIM records in DNS for Mandrill.[/li]
    [li]webmaster@peercoin[.net] – forward necessary for some emails from providers.[/li]
    [li]HTTPS/TLS.[/li]
    [li]Automatic daily backups to Amazon S3.[/li]
    [li]Discourse configuration, theming, and categories.[/li]
    [li]Reply and create threads with email. (via Gmail)[/li][/ul]

    I opted for a common setup (as per their guide) to avoid unnecessary complications. They now even have a Discourse application image making setup even simpler.

    Our Discourse server would stay separate from the one hosting Peercoin.net for security reasons and in case any of them unexpectedly go down. A risk that remains is super3 who controls Peercoin.net being compromised and the DNS records being changed. I have a professional impression of super3, and considering the work he’s doing with Storj I don’t think this is a concern with much weight. Still valid of course, but we have to trust someone as far as I know. Perhaps Amazon’s Route 53 or similar has useful access controls.

    Wildcard certificate (SSL/TLS) and security

    Using one wildcard certificate on all servers is not a good idea. If one of the servers is compromised, the attacker can man-in-the-middle (MITM) people connecting to either of them.

    Let’s say we host a calculator at calculator.peercoin.net and the server happens to have a security hole giving an attacker access to the wildcard certificate. We could assume for argument’s sake the private key is passphrase protected and thus would require its passphrase each startup. The attacker if savvy (and not technically prevented) may then be able grab the passphrase next time it’s entered and the same situation ensues. Intrusion detection would help, and the scenario might be unlikely, but why take this risk at all if we can avoid it?

    Whichever way a wildcard certificate’s private key is acquired it grants the ability to pretend to be any subdomain of peercoin.net if in a position to MITM. It puts users at risk of downloading a maliciously modified wallet. We could simply use a wildcard certificate and not include the root domain (peercoin.net) as alternate name, get another certificate for the root domain and then host wallets only from there, but there is a better way approaching.

    Furthermore, if Forward Secrecy is not implemented then all previous traffic between any of the sites and the users can be decrypted. It would of course require the attacker to have captured that traffic.

    “some certificate providers, like DigiCert, allow you to create as many new wildcard certificates (using the same domain name) as needed for all of your servers, each with a [unique] private key.” — https://www.sslshopper.com/article-the-risks-in-wildcard-certificates.html

    That should prevent a compromise’s impact to other servers’ data transfers, but not impersonation (MITM).

    The reason I mention it is because I noted this was the intention for PeercoinTalk.org and its subdomains.

    DNSSEC would be welcome too. Some will claim what I ask is overkill and the situations are unrealistic, but we’re supposed to be secure and should glow with competency. Specifically DNSSEC might require too much work for the time being though.

    Keep in mind I’m an amateur enthusiast, so I might be inaccurate or misguided in some statements.

    Let’s Encrypt by Mozilla

    Luckily, there’s a great option about to be released! Let’s Encrypt is an initiative by Mozilla to simplify TLS certificate management.

    “Let’s Encrypt is a new Certificate Authority: It’s free, automated, and open.” — https://letsencrypt.org/

    “Let’s Encrypt CA is planning for general availability of its services in the week of November 16, 2015.” — https://community.letsencrypt.org/t/frequently-asked-questions-faq/26

    Administration

    I’m hoping someone trusted with the time and energy can setup and manage this (Fuzzybear?). I previously said I could do it, but with better alternatives I’d rather not and perhaps shouldn’t. I’m still at least partially available if there’s demand, though.

    I want to re-express my willingness to operate the Discourse server.

    I’m strict with security, but you be the judge (some operational details) and I’m certainly not infallible. I’d be wary of anyone making the same claim, and I fully understand a hesitance to trust me with the responsibility of running the server and handle your personal information (email address, PMs, IPs, possibly full name). I have no references either. Fuzzybear has built up recognition and trust from running PeercoinTalk.

    I’m rarely unavailable for longer than a week, and if I get this role a sort of hotline could be set up in case there is urgent need for action. I shouldn’t be the only one in control if possible.

    I have a passion for this and happily work long hours to make everything excellent, but saving money or time should not weigh heavily as argument when picking such an operation critical person like system administrator.

    All the current moderators would remain in charge of course.

    You the community will have to wager whether I am trustworthy, competent, and reliable enough to take on this responsibility. I’m happy as long as the job is done well.

    I’m public with who I am, whether this has value or even is disadvantageous is up to you. I would prefer not being a target.

    Timing, and an alternative?

    Assuming we decide to change, when is a good time?

    On the NuBits forum there is a thread about creating a ‘Peershares master forum’. I’m not sure whether that’s relevant for Peercoin, but you should be aware of it.

    Cheers,
    Esko (jooize)

    I logged in just to express that I’m stunned no one has replied to this in the 24 hours it’s been posted. Jooize has presented a proposal that fixes about a hundred things that are wrong with Peercoin’s marketing right now, and he’s done it free of charge.

    He has taken the time to very clearly show why switching to Discourse would modernize Peercoin’s branding and improve the quality of member interaction immensely.

    If the Peercoin community implemented this proposal and finally unified its branding messaging (hint: ignore the backbone currency angle and focus 100% on being the next-generation replacement to Bitcoin when PoW miner centralization eventually occurs) it would find PPC being seriously discussed as a replacement for BTC once again, as it was in 2013.

    This proposal is the best marketing strategy discussion I’ve seen on this forum in a long time.

    I think we have some good piece of advice here which we should take notice off. I don’t think this is necessarily about Discourse. It is about integrating peercoin.net, the forum and the services as mentioned in Jooize’s post. Without the above link you will have a very hard time finding those in itself good, but well hidden services, just as an example. It is the experience a first time user has, which decide them to stick or to leave to another coin.

    We have tried to establish an environment driven by decentralised marketing. Unfortunately that did not go very well. Maybe it is time to have a more centralised approach?

    I like it, why shouldnt the forum an integral part of peercoins website? I’d understand this forum owner wouldn’t like it, but from a pr perspective it makes much more sense.

    Isn’t the website on github already for collaboration?

    omg, bring it on joize!! ;D

    I’m delighted to read your positive responses. :heart:

    Indeed, the integration and content availability refinements I think are top priority, but obviously I strongly desire Discourse as well.

    I think that upgrade to discourse is one of the best things that peercointalk can do.

    Thanks for doing so much. Will old posts be ported so that quotes, quoutes in quotes, code, and other formatting are preserved?

    There is an import script, but I’m uncertain how well it would turn out. The importer seems well-made, but I wouldn’t expect it to be perfect. I’m inclined to start clean with Discourse, manually migrate the most important posts (or put some on the wiki), and keep the current Simple Machines Forum as an archive. It may mean more work to be done, but I feel that approach avoids cruft. We would also gain the opportunity to structure the categories (subforums) in a way that suits Discourse use better.

    Regarding users, that script should prove a lot better than my own attempt, but I don’t know how it handles incompatible usernames yet. It appears we could establish an SSH tunnel for the MySQL queries the importer needs to make, and either use SSHFS or maybe just transfer the SMF directory with SCP. I might do some experiments when I’m able.

    Discourse importer for SMF 2 by Elberet:

    [ul][li]Announcement[/li]
    [li]Relevant thread[/li]
    [li]smf2.rb on GitHub[/li][/ul]

    I have to say that I am very impressed by the proposal.

    Content Unity

    The plan for content integration and refinements will surely improve our brand. Bringing the whole ecosystem together will help demonstrate the true value of Peercoin and related projects in a concise unified way.

    Many people invested in Peercoin, not just because of the individual network’s merits, but because of other projects that are linked with Peercoin. For example, Peershares, Nubits, Nushares, Peerbox to name a few. We want to make it as easy as possible for newcomers to learn about the whole ecosystem. What better way than to have everything easily accessible from one website?

    Discourse

    The discourse forum software fosters some excellent conversation and development over at discuss.nubits.com

    Initially I didn’t see the benefit of discourse. After using it more over the last few months I can see its superiority for many tasks.

    I am in favour of switching to discourse, however I feel that the content integration and refinements should be prioritised.

    bitcointalk is successful in spite of it’s oldish looks, because the member base and the contents it has amassed. So if the forum is to migrate, the accumulated posts over the years have to be ported so that if I dig up an old post with google and want to comment, I can hit “reply” and continuine the discussion.

    This is my main concern for the migration, loss of users and posts and links.

    Secondary is I know nothing of admin stuff for Discourse. this does not however mean i will not start looking into it again with a bit more time. Got something that needs to be completed and launched first then I can look into this.

    Fuzzybear

    People will go where the discussion is, and we certainly can continue with SMF. I’m not saying Discourse is a simple painless move, but I believe it is worthwhile. I hope there’s a way most of us can be adequately satisfied.

    I’ll see what can be done about migrating posts and how it works, perhaps it wouldn’t have to be very messy. Having the posts on Discourse means that we can close the SMF forum, but many link here, so that’s not optimal either. The links in posts to SMF itself would also break, unless there’s a way to map SMF links to their Discourse imported counterparts. There might be a way! It’s both nice and potentially confusing or problematic with an archive, and definitely better not needing one.

    Please convince me (not that I’m running everything now, but you know what I mean) further the value of migrating all posts. I understand the idea, but after we’ve gathered the posts with the most valuable information I still think that convenience may be trumped by the upsides. Perhaps too many posts are valuable and I’m taking on too much with that assumption. I will be all aboard migrating everything possible if it can turn out well.

    Negative consequences of a move:

    [ul][li]User migration will as far as I’ve understood require action by those with incompatible usernames, for us to tell them, and them to register at Discourse.[/li]
    [li]Post migration might not end up perfectly. To be determined.[/li]
    [li]Link issues? There are possible solutions.[/li]
    [li]Search engine results? Assuming the links can be forwarded, and we can point peercointalk.org to talk.peercoin.net, it might not be an issue. There was also a mention about Google Webmaster Tools in Discourse Meta.[/li][/ul]

    The migration script does seem promising.

    “The converter might try to convert all your SMF quotes into Discourse quotes but fail at that. You could try skipping that and see if it imports without tranforming all the quotes (they’d still be there but not intelligently linked like they are in discourse)” — https://meta.discourse.org/t/importer-for-simple-machines-2-forums/17656/77?u=jooize

    That suggests it attempts to map links internally. Thankfully in this case as it seems, PeercoinTalk currently doesn’t use “Pretty URLs”, so it appears redirects of SMF links to Discourse links may also be possible (it’s always possible, but with less work). I think we could then make peercointalk.org’s DNS records point to the new Discourse server and have links routed to the imported posts. Sounds amazing, but I’m not holding my breath for that to work out perfectly.

    Relevant:

    [ul][li]SMF to Discourse migration script thread[/li]
    [li]Redirecting old forum URLs to new Discourse URLs[/li]
    [li]Best practices for URL forwarding/rewriting from a previous (non-Discourse) system[/li]
    [li]Pretty URLs question at Discourse Meta[/li]
    [li]SMF mapper – Redirect old Simple Machines Forum 2 links to Discourse[/li]
    [li]https://github.com/dandv/discourse-post-process[/li][/ul]

    [size=18pt]i[/i] Amazon Route 53 for DNS control[/size]

    Route 53 supports Identity and Access Management, which lets us have more than one person in control of peercoin.net’s DNS records, for better or worse.

    “Amazon Route 53 integrates with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) […] For example, you can use IAM with Amazon Route 53 to control which users in your AWS Account can create a new hosted zone or change resource record sets.” — https://docs.aws.amazon.com/Route53/latest/DeveloperGuide/IAMRoute53.html

    [size=18pt]Objections against unifying?[/size]

    Anyhow, apart from Discourse, are there any objections to unifying Peercoin under the peercoin.net domain?

    [size=18pt]Approach[/size]

    We don’t need (and I don’t expect us) to implement these suggestions right away, but I do hope we can begin working towards it. I’d rather not rush into it either, with several uncertainties. Especially with the current blockchain fork situation. Let’s take time to evaluate and experiment. Many of us are busy with other things as well.

    @Fuzzybear Which technical details can you provide about the current setup?

    [ul][li]SMF 2.0.11[/li]
    [li]MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQLite? (in case that becomes relevant)[/li]
    [li]Operating system?[/li]
    [li]…?[/li][/ul]

    I’d like to setup an SMF instance as close to this one as possible and try out the migration scripts.

    Everyone: Voice any concerns or suggestions. Approval and condemnation are both welcome, just explain why.

    to avoid possible confusion, by that I mean the “reply” button on Discourse, assuming I already registered. It doesn’t matter if I have the same user name. Being able to quote and point to the old post and continue with the new post is the most important thing. I just hate to repeat/paste what has been said before. The context of past discussions is vitally important for an online community to accumulate knowledge.

    to avoid possible confusion, by that I mean the “reply” button on Discourse, assuming I already registered. It doesn’t matter if I have the same user name. Being able to quote and point to the old post and continue with the new post is the most important thing. I just hate to repeat/paste what has been said before. The context of past discussions is vitally important for an online community to accumulate knowledge.[/quote]

    If we don’t migrate posts and keep an archive, is including a link to the thread/post you would refer to in a new Discourse thread too much hassle and/or lacking in other aspects? I can imagine it is. Certainly not something I would prefer.

    I’m increasingly hoping we can bring the posts with us. If the import script is as good as it seems, what remains that I have against a migration of posts (which I’m currently aware of) is how it would create the structure of categories according to the subforums we have now. Perhaps there’s a solution for that. The concern might be less important than I think. There is the option of moving topics around after migration, they keep their topic IDs. Assuming they would be put in unique categories (if even that is necessary for my idea) we could just restructure later. Discourse only has categories and subcategories, and we only have two levels on SMF inside the “groups”, i.e. “Peercoin”, “Primecoin”, “Altcoins”, “Forum […]”, and “Local”, which shouldn’t be a problem.

    Say we migrate all the subforums into respective categories and subcategories as the script would. That’s probably satisfying enough for most, right? I’m looking to improve it further if feasible. It seems it can be a later consideration, and should be scriptable.

    Good that you’re pushing for this, I definitely see the value, and hopefully it’s easier to accomplish than I thought. The archive would have to be hosted and maintained as well, and I’d like to avoid that.

    [size=5]Discourse[/size]

    [size=4]Chatbox[/size]

    Good news! A chatbox “shoutbox” for Discourse has been developed.

    [ul][]Babble for Discourse.
    [
    ]gdpelican/babble at GitHub.
    [*]How to install Discourse plugins.[/ul]

    I think we would want names to show as one person replied about. If anyone could work on that, it would be very appreciated I’m sure.

    By the way, in SMF’s defense, I discovered lists can be made with:

    
    [ul][*]item[/ul]
    

    Instead of:

    
    [ul][li]item[/li][/ul]
    

    [size=5]DNS[/size]

    [ul][]Mail-in-a-Box – We host. DNSSEC. Email! Weak point.
    [
    ]Amazon Route 53Cheap? No DNSSEC. cli53. IAM! (granular team controls)
    []EasyDNS$20/$35/… per year.
    [
    ]CloudFlareFree/$20/$200 per month. They just introduced DNSSEC.
    []PowerDNS$8 per year with DNSSEC.
    [
    ]Rage4€15 per month. DNSSEC.[/ul]

    I looked into hosting DNS ourselves to be in control of the DNSSEC key, but it appears to be too complicated at this time if we want it reliable, unless someone knows better. Mail-in-a-Box is great, I set it up for myself recently, but it doesn’t seem suitable for us.

    Is it possible to run our own authoritative DNS, but have clients fetch records from a distributed more reliable DNS service, and have our DNS server only communicate with that service?

    The best alternatives I believe are PowerDNS, CloudFlare, and Route 53.

    We could have everything at Amazon (domain, DNS, VPS, S3 backups).

    [size=5]Hosting[/size]

    [ul][]Amazon EC2 – Flexible. IAM! CloudFront?
    [
    ]DigitalOcean – One-click Discourse image. Great UI. Support has been responsive for me. Team accounts.
    [*]…?[/ul]

    I’d like to know if you’re aware of nice hosting services.

    Strange thing with DigitalOcean’s teams:

    Email addresses already associated with DigitalOcean accounts cannot join a team. This means that someone who already has a DigitalOcean account must register a new account, with a unique email address or alias, when joining a team.

    Sounds disappointingly inflexible.

    [size=5]Denial-of-Service protection?[/size]

    [ul][]CloudFlare
    [
    ]…?[/ul]

    I don’t know much about DoS protection. Do we need it? Thought it’d be a good precautionary measure if it’s not too expensive or invasive.

    theymos asks about it at BitcoinTalk.

    [member=10941]jooize[/member] just wanted to say thank you for the time and effort you have put in to thinking about this. i generally like the classic forum types but i think it’s probably becuase i’ve never really tried discourse - i am sure it can’t be all that hard. i am happy either way. but what i am most happy about is the fact that you have put so much thought and effort in relation to peercoin. thanks again.

    Much appreciated! :>

    [hr]

    [size=5]Chat[/size]

    [size=4]Gitter[/size]

    @Sentinelrv is working with Sunny King to create Gitter.im rooms for Peercoin. Gitter is definitely more mature than Babble for Discourse at this time. Both being useful isn’t out of the question, but could be more confusing than valuable. We’ll see.

    Gitter has several benefits over Babble, except not being integrated with Discourse (which can be a benefit too).

    [ul][] Chats can be public for everyone (even those not logged in). Babble can sort of do this, but not as elegantly.
    [
    ] Production ready (stable/mature code).
    [] In case our servers become unavailable Gitter is probably still functional.
    [
    ] Apps for Android, Linux, OS X, and iOS (designed for iPhone but works on iPad). Plus an IRC bridge![/ul]

    [size=3]Capitalisation note for Gitter and about ppcoin at GitHub[/size]

    I’d prefer having it “Peercoin” over “peercoin” in Gitter. Would be a good opportunity to do that now as GitHub.com/peercoin seemingly hasn’t been used at all yet. @Sunny King (@Fuzzybear, how do I Mention someone that has spaces in their name?)

    Really what I think should be done is deleting the GitHub.com/peercoin organization and renaming GitHub.com/ppcoin/ppcoin to GitHub.com/Peercoin/Peercoin (or Peercoin/Chat for Gitter only). I ended up writing an article about how to do that, and the implications. Discovered GitHub transfers which eliminates the risk of takeovers, and Gitter handles at least a repository name change properly, so the issue isn’t urgent. I’ll continue on this later.

    I encounter many people who think such small changes are petty, but I think as long as there are no serious consequences, they should be made if they improve something.

    [size=4]Babble for Discourse[/size]

    It’s possible to have Babble chats listed in a regular Discourse category (subforum), making its history searchable if desired (side effect: editable if the post ends up being at least 20 characters, setting: “min post length”). An alternative is also limiting the length of chats, deleting posts beyond a specific amount. Babble supports multiple chat rooms.

    Babble messages currently increase user post count, but they never show up in profile as posts (see next point about Chat category visibility though).

    New chats can only be created through the admin interface (which is easy). A user creating a topic in the Chat category (if made visible) doesn’t create a new chat room, which is probably a good thing.

    Simply clicking the Babble icon should activate the input box, which it currently does not. I should send this upstream, but I’ll probably forget to so at least it’ll be stated here.

    In any case, I’ve found Babble a little glitchy at least with my Discourse installation and browsers (I may try with a clean one later), and Gitter is a great candidate.

    [size=5]Chat[/size]

    NuBits’ Discourse now has Gitter integrated with a button. I think it looks and works well, other than the button showing below certain elements, but CoinGame is looking into moving it to a button in the header like Babble.

    One downside is that you need a GitHub account to chat.

    [size=5]HTTPS (TLS/SSL)[/size]

    Let’s Encrypt is now in public beta and I got it running for talk.peercoin.se. Wrote instructions at Discourse Meta.

    This means HTTPS can be free and painless. Automated renewal remains, but shouldn’t be difficult.

    [hr]

    Hoping to experiment with migration, but it may take a while until I get to it.

    Paste a link and it integrates the content into your post.
    I don't like the sound of this. Squishes the pages to mobile smartphone sized and replaces hyperlinks with more data. Are you dead sure that we are not being given the rear end of a donkey by the marketing-people whose job is to make sure that everyone buys more download bandwidth ? Would it not be more in keeping with the peercoin PoS and minimal consumption footprint to keep off sidegrades to the sort of feature bloat which prohibits the village genius in Burkina Faso from getting the relevant information to set up shop as a lightweight PoS tokenshop because he cannot afford the latest iFingy 9 or whatever it has got to by now? Whilst I am somewhat in favour of this forum linking to a friendly forum which needs the latest hardware, I vote against us becoming one.