I like BBS a lot, mostly because of the things that I don’t notice, but which I know a lot of work has gone into:
- It works well technically – real-time notifications, reliable formatting, good mobile support; sometimes unfinished posts even sync between devices, which is neat, if not quite reliable enough to revolutionise my use of BBS while pooping.
- I rarely see spam, and I know that takes work
- Comments are more or less a flat list – sites that auto-hide or rearrange posts are enraging, worthless garbage, and while it seems like more work to accomplish that kind of dumb nonsense, Discourse actually has a lot of small details that make the flat list approach workable with busy threads. Like, auto-linking replies and mentions, progressive loading, the scroll bar thingy etc.
I have some basic philosophical disagreements with aspects of how Discourse works (echoing my much stronger disagreements with how Stack Exchange works), but that rarely matters on BBS because most of the time, it shows every post, in order, the way its author wrote it. I could write a pamphlet on why it’s not a good thing to delete whole branches of conversation, but I doubt anyone cares what I think, and it doesn’t happen much anyway.
Fritter, but yes, that’s one of the things I have misgivings about. Many of the most blood-pressure-spiking interactions involve someone skimming a thoughtful post, misrepresenting it as full-throated support for The Other Side, and then reciting the orthodox position for a round of high fives. A game that rewards scanning lots of posts, enthusiastically marking which ones are correct, will favor people who operate this way.
That’s me agreeing that reading is (what?) fundamental. It’s just, I’m not convinced that timing a person’s scroll through a thread tells you how much they’re reading. In some cases you may be measuring how hard they’re scanning for opportunities for facile point-scoring.
Though, again, I don’t say this is a big problem with Discourse/BBS, because high-scoring users don’t really have special privileges. As long as scores don’t matter, problems with the scoring system don’t matter either.