The Future of Spectrum is Discourse

(system) #1

At Spectrum, we are always discussing ways of better achieving our mission of building community through conversation. Two years ago, we switched to a new commenting platform named DISQUS. It helped stabilize our site’s performance, allowed more people to engage with our content by signing up with Facebook and Twitter, and continued our tradition of vibrant debate and conversation.

Today we are announcing the next step as we continue to evolve in making this online space a safe, enriching, and vibrant community. Within the coming days, we will be introducing a new platform we’re calling Spectrum Conversation, and an auxiliary tool we’ve called MySpectrum. Together, these tools represent Spectrum’s online future.

Spectrum Conversation is built on top of the open-source forum software Discourse. It has been created by several veterans of online communities, and it tries to distill the best practices this team has learned in creating healthy online communities.

The first thing you will notice is that conversations will now take place in a fully dedicated space, and no longer appear directly below articles. Each conversation will be prompted by an article, and you will be able to see how many response have been made while reading the article on the Spectrum Blog – but that’s it. We hope this will allow our readers to focus on the content first, and engage in conversation only when they feel they have something to say.

Second, the software is built so that conversations flow in chronological order, and not nested. This has been changed as a result of many complaints we have heard about the current commenting system. You will still be able to reply to other individual comments, but the software keeps your response in chronological order while linking to what you were responding to. It is quite an elegant way of handling this issue, and we think you will like it.

Third, you will need to create a new account. We understand that this has caused confusion, since there are currently two types of accounts one can have with Spectrum: a subscriber account to see the journal online, and a DISQUS account to be able to comment on articles. To finally address this, we are announcing MySpectrum. A MySpectrum account will eventually become your one and only Spectrum identity. It will let you comment on Spectrum Conversation, and in the near future, also allow you to access the journal as a subscriber, to check on the status of your subscription, renew it, and change your address.

The steps in this transition will be:

  1. Launch MySpectrum & Spectrum Conversation. To be able to use Spectrum Conversation, you will need a MySpectrum account. To do so, just click the Sign Up button at the top of this page.
  2. Shut down DISQUS. All your comments will be saved, and we hope to import them into Spectrum Conversation soon.
  3. Convert subscriber accounts to MySpectrum accounts, giving subscribers access to the journal and their subscriptions online. Current subscribers will receive instructions on how to do this when the feature is ready to launch.

Please use this forum below to give us your thoughts!

(George Tichy) #3

My first impression was that this new way of interacting would be kind of complicated and some people would get discouraged. But, on a second look, it seems that it’s actually easy to use and will be good.

I am positive that this system will boost my GC Presidential campaign… :slight_smile:

(k_Lutz) #4

Of course it will be confusing! Unless you

Trust God.

(George Tichy) #5

That’s probably why so many people are having trouble registering. Lack of trust! …LOL

I guess they all belong to the LGT crowd (Lost Guys Team)… :smile:
But if we give them right directions on how to register here, they will find their way to this new Spectrum Paradise! Little by little everyone will arrive. How could we all live without Spectrum, tell me!!! LOL

(Interested Friend) #6

Almost invariably, when I read what you wrote, Tichy, it is sarcastic and or demeaning.

(George Tichy) #7

Without some sense of humor it will be very difficult to read some of my comments. The word “demeaning” is completely unwarranted. But you are certainly fully entitled to your opinion. Welcome to the new conversation room.

(Kevin Seidel) #8

I hope HTTPS gets implemented for login, so passwords are not sent in the clear.

(Bille) #9

OK… I’m trusting your “second look”… I just hope you’ll do a lot of explaining! Like for example… where did you find that happy face? Or did it just appear like magic. If so is there a list anywhere of ones that are available? Or do we just have to play with things.

But the name changes… ouch… it’s nice we are told that “sufferingsunfish” is the same “Interested Friend” we are so well acquainted with… but… how long will this double monikering continue?

(Floyd Poenitz) #12

Change is always a bit painful at first, but I really like this new system and I think in the long run it is going to be very helpful in keeping the conversations easier to follow. Thanks for creating this space for all of us and for always looking for ways to make it better! Keep it up!

(Floyd Poenitz) #13

Actually it feels a bit like Christmas and a new toy. The more you play with it, the more new features you discover. Definitely a fun experience.

(Andrew Dykstra) #14

I am looking forward to learning the new procedures and the special features mentioned by Floyd.

(Kevin Seidel) #15

If you check your profile/preference you will see a Username and a Name field that you can change. “sufferingsunfish” is the username and “Interested Friend” is the name. You can’t use spaces in the username field, so mine is KevinSeidel instead of Kevin Seidel, which I put in my name field. Apparently discourse can figure out that the name field is close to the username and only shows the name field if they are too different.

(jeremy) #16

change is never painful, c’mon…it’s fun to try new things and stretch yourself a bit…what i think is different now is that every comment is posted in the order it was written…it was more of a jungle before, which i kind of liked but oh well…

(George Tichy) #17

This system allows CAPITAL LETTERS… :slight_smile:

(jeremy) #18

it’s not going to happen george :frowning:

(Rohan Charlton) #19

Welcome aboard! Nice to see you made the jump IF.

(Rohan Charlton) #20

Testing :slight_smile: testing.

(Rohan Charlton) #21

Almost invariably, when I read what you write IF I feel :frowning: No wonder you remain anonymous after all the hateful vile things you have written. George has a great sense if humor and shows something which you have NEVER shown in your posts:love, empathy and concern for others.

Care to share your real name?

(Interested Friend) #22

If standing for truth is hateful then you are the loser. "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you…and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake."
In The Grip of Truth

(George Tichy) #23


I tried this tool, and the message was not sent. I got this when I tried to send my message: "Unknown error saving post, try again. Error: 403 Forbidden."

Any clue, anybody?