Both a forum and a Q&A platform
Click Show open questions to view unanswered questions and tasks left to do. You can use EffectiveDiscussions both for 1) community building and open-ended discussions, and 2) user support and to gather ideas.
A simple user feedback tool
Let your users submit ideas and suggestions. Mark them as planned, or implemented, or closed-won't-fix.
Find the useful comments
We try to help you find the insightful and useful comments, by showing them first.
We take into account that people only upvote the topmost comments (they start at the top but don't read the whole page — see this article).
Simple flat comments
Each topic has a traditional flat comments section, where you can chat around the topic (that is, talk lightly and casually), and post status updates.
We use threaded comments for the answers and replies section, so we can show the best reply first. We use flat comments in the chat section.
There's a Summarize Replies button that summarizes everything. This helps you find the parts of the discussion that are of special interest to you.
On large pages, the comment you're reading might be far away from the comment it replies to, because there are so many comments. Then just click the arrows to jump to the parent comment, read it to refresh your mind, and then click 'Back' to continue reading (see the video to the right).
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.
People can hear you
If you post a comment, it'll appear first in a recent comments list, so that others will find it. In other threaded discussion systems, like Reddit, people would have to scan the whole page from top to bottom in order to find your comment.
@mention specific people (use their username) and then they will be notified via email.
In addition to forum topics, you can create simple web pages based on HTML and CSS. This site is built with EffectiveDiscussions for example.
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 will use HTTP Secure (HTTPS) always, later when I have bought a certificate and Let's Encrypt is available. We require strong passwords and hash them with scrypt.
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.)
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 buttons, 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.
The administrator pages are currently underdeveloped. Here lots of work is required.