The software that runs the two main Rust forum works well enough, and it’s quite flexible, powerful and I like how it catches some common mistakes. But I hate how it turns having technical discussions between adults into a kind of awful videogame to collect “badges”. Yet, I am able to ignore those stupid “badges”.
What I am not good at ignoring are the messages like “See 1 new or updated topic” at the top of the page (and (1) in name of the page) that trigger me to click click click all the time, making me feel like an hamster on a wheel:
I am sure all this is working as designed to “gamify” and “engage people” to push them to participate more in the forum. For me it’s a turn-off and a distraction. I love Rust and I like its community, but those forum characteristics hurt me. Suggestions are welcome
Exercise self-restraint. Checking the Rust forums is not substantively different than checking Facebook or your e-mail client. Decide to do it once an hour, or only at night after a glass of wine, or whatever works for you personally. For me the optimal times are early in the morning, while I’m drinking coffee, and late at night when the rest of my household has gone to bed.
I very much don’t want to turn this into an argument, but I would like to point out that “self-restraint” is harder for some than others. There’s a reason gambling addiction is a thing. “Gamification” relies on real, effective, psychological traps that can have negative effects.
I’m sorry that you feel that way, however I don’t think much of anything will be done. As TomP said, it’s similar to Facebook (or really any modern website - even if “badges” and “likes” aren’t front and center, there’s still a lot of psychology involved).
One solution I might propose is to find a minimal client (or use lynx if you’re into that sort of thing). Maybe you can also use adblocker to remove certain elements if it is that distracting. In any case, discourse is definitely the best forum software I’ve used (remember vbullitin? shudder) so I can’t complain too much.
Just to clarify, the forum software is not developed specifically for Rust, it’s a plug-and-play solution, so these features can’t really be changed to my knowledge. Maybe Discourse can offer a “low distraction” mode?
BTW, I find myself doing the same thing as you when I’m actively in the browser I use for Rust topics: clicking when I see a count appear in either of the two browser tabs I keep open on the two Rust forums. But then I pivot away to some other task, sometimes by using a second browser that doesn’t have those tabs open. As Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” YMMV
I can promise you Discourse is not designed by some league of evil that’s trying to squeeze out the last bit of attention left in people; we take feedback like yours very seriously. I’ll probably have more to add to this discussion later, but for now I’ll just point out that badges can be disabled if the majority of Rust’s forum users don’t want them. That said, I wouldn’t say Discourse rewards badges very frequently, and we don’t use them to string people along with pushy “almost there! (11/15)” type notifications.
That’s a pretty interesting idea. We’d welcome a discussion about this on meta.discourse.org to flesh it out more. It’s possible this could be achieved simply by making a custom theme, which can be opted into on a per-user basis.
I like Discourse a lot. Probably because I never had to install it but with the nice features I can spend very little time per day to check which threads interest me (and set them to tracking or watching) and “mark as read” the other ones. With that I don’t miss anything.