Progress on the Biofabforum

I don’t know if we want them to be linked. I’m suspicious for more connections, since it’s the number one feedback I had from people: Edgeryders is not clear, it’s not clear what our relationship is with Edgeryders, I got lost on the website/forum. I would of course not say this lightly and without data.

I’ve not heard any messages of the opposite: how great it is for our community that there’s a connection to Edgeryders. Judging from the interactions of Edgeryders community on the BioFab Forum, I guess there’s at least a little value in the interaction for Edgeryders and in extension our community, but I would say netto there’s no gain for our community.

You also know that the Edgeryders community consists of a particular kind of person, ready to accept some chaos for the great community experience. Others experience a big barrier, even many of my colleagues I’ve nudged to get involved. We are working with a different community who is offput, so I would rather hide most if not all links to Edgeryders.

In that case, the best we can do now is to leave things as they are: Edgeryders community members will not see the main category on, but can still see topics in it via the “New” and “Latest” tabs. Only the most curious members use these regularly, though.

For the future: So after all it seems your case was “only” about Discourse hosting (and access to the Edgeryders online ethnography tools), not about integrating into a larger online community. Essentially we’re a SaaS Discourse hosting provider, then. Interesting use case for whitelabeling platforms (and we’ll have to think in Edgeryders if we will offer this in the future to others, as it seems not really aligned with our idea of growing a single online community through whatever work we do).

However, for the future of Biofabforum, the most adequate longer-term solution will be to provide this hosting with the normal Discourse “multi-site” feature. Which is the same feature we’ll modify for the longer-term whitelabeling solution anyway (see above and Github issue #129). Your site will be migrated to that solution free of charge when we have it ready.

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If it’s somehow not aligned with your plans, we can discuss next steps. I would take this feedback about links with the Edgeryders platform to heart though. If a client buys a platform product from you and it is continuously hard for them to involve people for their activities, and they hear from their people it’s because they don’t get Edgeryders, it will be a highly negative experience for you.

I want to stress again that for us it has not at all been a negative experience. We were expecting a bumpy start, given the timing and the first time for both of us :slight_smile: We also launched without checking every detail, so the fast feedback about eg. the account signup questions etc. are expected and most welcome for finishing the job, I think.

Nah, that was not what I meant, we’re happy to host your platform whatever integration with the Edgeryders community you will choose in the end. For you folks we’ll always invest that extra bit of effort to provide some support where we can :slight_smile:

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Can we make some people moderators by the way? To juggle around threads etc. There’s some people in the community who are up for it.

Yes, we can do that. Since they get moderation ability for the whole platform, I’d say right now name one or two you know and trust personally, and later when the Biofabforum community has grown we can add more from those who appear as regular and trustable users through their platform activities.

With Alberto, I have adapted the consent questions now that new users have to answer. Have a look at the latest version. It’s not yet deployed (but will be shortly). So if you want something changed, let me know :slight_smile:

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Looks good @matthias and @alberto! Thanks.

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@matthias the amount of content on the forum is growing. We have not really started doing much outreach or organisation, so it will become a lot more when that happens. We’ll need to have a good grasp of organizing content then.

How can I add a category at the same level of “Biomaterials”? And how could I divide the “Biomaterials” category into subcategories? I can’t seem to find the options.

It seems your requirements are in reality not compatible with the “breakout category” whitelabel solution we chose together in the beginning. Let me explain:

The first is possible for you (go to the Categories page, choose “+ New Category” from the top-right menu). The second one does not work, as Discourse has two levels of categories only, and your breakout category has one level of sub-categories. The solution we discussed in the beginning is to group categories visually on the same level rather than having true sub-categories. That needs changes to CSS code, either done by yourself in your theme repo, or by us.

Right. We didn’t think about that in the beginning. Would not be an issue in the alternative we discussed (“own Discourse installation”).

Same thing, would not be an issue in your own Discourse installation. It seems the integration is just too tight, and given that you want us to hide “your” content on, there are no benefits to that tight integration. Only the loss of control over your content on your side …

I didn’t understand it that clearly from the beginning. Because then, a separate Discourse installation is the better (and also simpler) solution.

Proposal for a solution:

I propose we switch the Biofabforum to its very own Discourse installation, using an own database and codebase. The codebase would be identical with our variant of Discourse, so would include Open Ethnographer and the option to attach to Edgesense etc. (once we have them ready for Discourse). However, it will be an independent installation, so all users signing up there are “your own”.

We would make this happen roughly within the budget limits we agreed on for the Biofabforum website project (with a bit of additional money from Edgeryders if needed). The effort is, let’s say, moderate as we did a fresh Discourse installation on the same server before and the theme for your website is already finished and can be re-used.

However, since Edgeryders is not interested in providing pure Discourse hosting services, this offer implies that you also agree on login and user account integration lateron (once we are paid by a second whitelabeling customer for further development of this whitelabeling tech). This idea is similar to the proposed solution in issue #129, except that only user accounts and not content is synced between the different Discourse installations. Users can switch between the “federated sites” in this content network with cross-links in a new menu section (“Edgeryders, Biofabforum” etc.) and we would add another notification menu with their notification from other federated sites (but users only see it if they get notifications, that is, use these other sites).

Let me know if this sounds like a reasonable solution for the current issues to you. Thanks again for agreeing to be the first customer for this experimental offer of whitelabeling … didn’t work out as planned, so let’s see how we can get to a properly working solution now …

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For reference, @winnieponcelet and I just discussed the remaining issues of the Biofabforum in a call and we decided that the forum’s functionality is sufficient for the near future after addressing the following issues:

  • Implement user profile fields to record where users signed up, to be able to welcome users properly on either of the two integrated platforms.
  • Adapt the e-mail template for notifications somewhat (remove “[Edgeryders]” from start of subject line, adapt the name part of the From: address).v
  • Make the people moderators who Winnie tells us, and introduce them to the backend functionality so everyone knows “how not to damage things” :slight_smile:

So we will not pursue the re-implementation on a separate Discourse installation right now. But we agreed that this is the way to go in the longer term, and that we’ll both look for funding and collaboration options that allow to make this happen for Biofabforum. It’s not urgent right now, but in a few months when the Biofabforum has grown, we may discuss how to get this done.

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For the moderators, I think @Elise, @Littlepinkmaker and @JasonPadvorac should be promoted.

But here I am also wondering if I can do that so that you don’t need to @matthias ? You told me I have admin rights?

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Yeah adapting the email template would be super nice - Edgeryders is nice to see but i think it confuses folks!.

And please do introduce! - I only break things on a sunday :wink: (joke i dont actually break anything these days i’ve gotten better ahah).

  • Nel

You (@winnieponcelet) show as moderator. You should be able to edit users. Try:

  • go here: (only works for admins)
  • filter for the username of the person you want to promote, then click on her username
  • from the page of the person (as accessed from the admin interface) admins you can promote users to moderators (in the “permissions” section).
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Thanks. Checked and I indeed can’t change the moderator status.

Right. @Elise, @Littlepinkmaker and @JasonPadvorac are now moderators. May you use your powers wisely.

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@matthias another small update: we’ve changed our Magma Nova name to Glimps. Can you change that in the footer? And forward the link to

Thanks :slight_smile:

I searched a few times (wasn’t sure if I was missing anything) but now I’m pretty sure I can’t do that or I’m really blind :wink: Do I have the right permissions to do this?

I seem to have a glitch in my account regarding pictures and smileys. See below

When I view the same thread in incognito, I see everything perfectly. Most pictures don’t load or load badly.

What could the problem be?

Is it also possible for them to get access to the new members thread in order to welcome people?