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Better tools for community cohesion?

Hi LedgerSMB people,

I'm mostly a lurker here, but I'd like to see LedgerSMB get more traction.

I think one of the great barriers to building a larger community is the tools currently in use.

The main channel of communication is the mailing lists. However, mailing lists are a bit usability challenged. It's hard to keep track of what's going on, and harder still to chime in. It depends a lot on the user being able to configure filters in his e-mail client, enable treading, etc.

In addition to that, there are the forums at http://forums.ledgersmb.org/ which seem to be used very sparingly.

In short, I'd like to suggest replacing both with Discourse: http://www.discourse.org/

A few salient points:

1. It's much more friendly to new users (single click login, helpful tips when posting, etc.)
2. It can be used much like a mailing list (subscription, replying via e-mail)
3. It can be configured to send out digests to users who have not been logged in for a while, giving them a quick overview of what happened since they checked the last time.
4. Much better handling of images, code samples, and multimedia. Makes it much easier to support users.
5. It has a great search, and it is very search engine friendly, making it much easier to find earlier answers.
6. A healthy open source project with a large community. Widely (and successfully) deployed. Take a gander at http://discuss.howtogeek.com/ http://meta.discourse.org/ or http://meta.discourse.org/t/please-visit-our-discourse-forum-directory/3102 for examples of existing communities.

I could go on, I think Discourse is one of the most interesting open source projects and an awesome tool for building communities. If you want to know more, check out http://www.discourse.org/about/ or Jeff Atwood's keynote from ForumCon: http://blog.discourse.org/2013/06/forums-are-dead-long-live-forums/

For the practical side, I'm willing to handle hosting, sysadmin'ing, etc, as well as conversion of the existing forums.

Kind regards,

Mikkel Høgh <..hidden..>
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