A Question & Answers Platform
On your EffectiveDiscussions site, you'll quickly find unsolved questions and problems, and ideas not yet implemented (video to the right).
Forum software too, at the same time
EffectiveDiscussions isn't only about formal questions and answers. You can be social and chat with others too— without distracting those looking for answers:
- Each topic has a chat section, below the answers section, with simple flat comments. Here you can talk lightly and casually about the topic and post status updates.
- You can create open-ended discussion topics too.
Find the useful comments
We try to show the useful and insightful comments first, taking into account that people tend to upvote only the topmost comments — they start at the top but don't read the whole page. See this article.
For example, if there's an answer with 10 upvotes that 1000 people have read, and another answer with 5 upvotes that only 5 people have read, then we'll show the answer with 5 upvotes first. — Hopefully this makes the truly helpful answers rise to the top, even if they were posted long after all other answers.
There's a Summarize Replies button, which helps you find the stuff you want to read, in a long discussion.
Click the arrows to jump to the parent comment, read it to refresh your mind, and then click Back (or just B) to continue reading (video to the left).
Mind Maps and 2D layout
Create wiki mind maps, which can include images and videos, and let your community members comment on and discuss the mind map entries. (Partly implemented.)
If you're feeling adventurous, enable our 2D layout. It gives a nice overview of the discussion. Some like it, others don't.
Make better decisions
When people disagree about something or think a comment is wrong, we show a warning, so you can think twice. You can mark comments as wrong yourself, to help others. — Wrong/disagree is one kind of downvote; there are two others types as well. Other discussion software doesn't realize that different downvotes mean different things.
People can hear you
If you post a comment, it'll appear in a recent comments list, so that others can find it. In other threaded discussion systems, like Reddit, people would have to scan the whole page from top to bottom, to see your comment.
@mention specific people (use their username) — then they will be notified via email.
Search Engine (SEO) friendly
The most interesting comments are shown first, and therefore get indexed by search engines like Google and Bing (rather than some random early comments). (Partly implemented.)
Log in with Google, Facebook, Yahoo
People can leave comments as guests, or login with Google, Facebook, GitHub or create password accounts.
This is alpha/beta software right now so there might be security bugs. Anyway, our hosting service is going to use HTTP Secure (HTTPS) always (later when we have bought a certificate and Let's Encrypt is available). We require strong passwords and hash them with scrypt.
In addition to forum topics, you can create simple web pages based on HTML and CSS. This site is built with EffectiveDiscussions for example.
Links automatically expand
Paste a link to YouTube or Wikipedia — then then video, or an excerpt from the Wikipedia page, will automatically be inserted. (Works for images and videos only right now, not for Wikipedia or GitHub and others.)
Correct and up-to-date information
People can suggest improvements of each other's texts, and in that way fix broken links and factual errors.
Search that works well
EffectiveDiscussions uses a dedicated full-text-search database (ElasticSearch) for good search results. But I've disabled it. I'll reenable it again later.
Shape your Community
Do you want an open-ended tolerant discussion forum? Perhaps one that focuses on a service your organization provides? Via a meta moderation system, and Like and Unwanted votes, your staff and core members can shape the nature and contents of the forum. This prevents, for example, a site about open-minded political ideas from becoming an echo chamber, or going off-topic and be be taken over by cute kittens.
A User Feedback system?
Like GetSatisfaction and UserVoice, but with fewer features.
The administrator pages are currently underdeveloped. Here lots of work is required.