Discussion site status and timeline

This discuss.ocaml.org site was created on the 11th May 2017, and is an experiment in moving various OCaml community discussion forums under one, more modern, umbrella. This topic lays out a timeline for evaluating whether it is a good solution, and to record its current status.


  • 11th May 2017: site setup, and discussion about which categories to use opened. Signups open to the public.
  • 13th May 2017: site features enabled: mailing list mode, GitHub and Google authentication for user signup, and tags for posts. SSL has been activated.
  • 15th May 2017: HSTS has been activated so all access to the site is now via https:// only. oAuth for GitHub/Google have been updated.
  • 16th May 2017: tag trust level for creation dropped to 1 from 3, and Lwt category created.
  • 19th May 2017: added OCaml, Coq and Haskell syntax highlighting support.

Proposed timeline

until May 2017: find volunteers to start to move content over and assume admin responsibility for categories relevant to them.
end of May 2017: point ocaml.org community to discuss.ocaml.org, but emphasise it is in beta and point to this topic.
June 2017: site becomes a paid site, but remains in beta.
July 2017: if successful, redirect pointers from ocaml.org to point over here.
by end of 2017: decide what to do with lists.ocaml.org, and the Yahoo beginners list.


I am really excited that this is finally happening.

1 Like

Me too. My only complaint is all the badges. I don’t want no stinkin’ badges…

Can we add HTTPS support? Details seems to be in this post. Seems fairly simple. I am not too familiar with Discourse but I am happy to help in whatever way I can.

Haha. I am sure it can be turned off using some admin setting.

Thanks for the prod @vramana – I have now contacted Discourse support to activate TLS. Since it’s hosted, they have to do it for us, but they have a facility for this.

We can turn off badges from the admin screen indeed. I’ll wait for a few more complaints to come in before disabling them, as they’re quite fun for newcomers. And congratulations on your first badge @Yaron_Minsky!! :smiley:

1 Like

Maybe badges are important. I don’t know enough about how the millenials enjoy their snapbooking and facegraming to know what counts as good anymore.


Personally I find the design structure to be a bit too loose (not enough information density for small screens, too much wasted white space). Don’t know if this can be configured personally (e.g. on the ocamllabs slack there’s a compact mode that I use). But I’m curious how the email based worfklow will turn out which is the most important thing to me.

@dbuenzli there is theming support we can investigate, but the email workflow is really more important I think also. There appears to be multipart emails coming in with plain Markdown, which is encouraging…

@avsm What do you mean by moving content? Look into the possibility of transferring existing mailing list threads to discourse?

My knee-jerk reaction is to agree with you that they’re an irritating gimmick, speaking as a millennial (at least by some of the more loose definitions of millennials!) but then perhaps they’re simply not aimed at us :slight_smile:

Yeah, generally to figure out what to do with the things we had before. For example, we have:

  • the beginners list: what do we do with the archives? We could statically publish them as a static HTML site somewhere, and then pin a post on the beginners group here to let people search.
  • the lists.ocaml.org: as @dbuenzli noted, there are several highly focussed lists that are not much used. We could deprecate some of them and move them over to this site.
  • stackoverflow: while that will obviously not migrate to this site, does it make sense to look for common SO questions and pin them to the beginners category to make discovery easier?

In my ideal world, discuss.ocaml.org will have conveniently pinned posts that are kept up-to-date with the latest pointers – the original content doesn’t have to be on this site, but it would be great if we make it a launchpad to all the resources. I found the Rust Discourse very easy to skim to get a sense of what is going on over there…

@Yaron_Minsky I take it back - I’m now finding the random things which earn badges early on to be truly hilarious!

1 Like

I just started here so I don’t know how absurd the badges will be, but I like them on StackOverflow. I shouldn’t, but I do. (I am far, far older than a millennial.)


I haven’t found the email addresses for posting anywhere, did I miss something? Should I expect sending a message to ocaml+category@discoursemail.com to create a new topic in category?

1 Like

At first I didn’t understand the complaints of @Yaron_Minsky about badges. Now I have 3 badges… and I’m understanding your point Yaron :slight_smile:

1 Like

This forum interface is very nice, props to the developers. Is the forum built in OCaml?

It’s not written in OCaml, but there is an API on docs.discourse.org available. Would be great to have OCaml bindings to it so we can write some fun bots :slight_smile:


Happy to see https is now enabled!
It would be nice to add an automatic redirection from http to https. Apparently, at the moment, the “account validation” email sent by discourse contains a http link; which then leads to an error page (“BAD CSRF”). Turning this link to use https works. So I guess the reasonable solution is to redirect everyone to use the https version of the website.

EDIT: nvm, I guess the redirection just got enabled?