Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

A new discussion board

Well, the old discussion board was starting to show it's age. I wrote a bit about why we're replacing it in a recent article on Joel on Software:$399

The purpose of this discussion board is to provide a place for Joel on Software readers to chat about topics that I posted, or any other topic relating to software management. Talk amongst yourselves :)

Joel Spolsky
Sunday, October 14, 2001

"It's" & "its".

Karsten M. Self
Sunday, October 14, 2001

Like the clean, simple discussion board.

Feedback: I had to *read* the postings for a topic to work out their order for their content.  Just glancing at a page of postings (that all occur on the same day) you can't tell if new postings are added to the top (like an email) or the bottom.

Brett Collinson
Sunday, October 14, 2001

This is a really nice simple discussion board, keeps things simple. I built a similar one on the same architecture -- VB/ASP/Access/IIS. Doesn't take long - as you say.

My question is whether you worry about driving a system like this on MS Access. What rate of posts would you expect to be processing before you felt the need to move it to SQL server for example?

At my old company we did rough tests on Access based Web systems. Five of us hitting submit buttons at exactly the same moment. It stood up adminrably. I've also heard that Access and SQL Server share a lot more code than you might think...

Joel - do you have any Microsoft insider perspective on this?

Jake Grimley
Monday, October 15, 2001

It lacks one feature however. I can reply on a story or topic, but not on a reply.

When I see a reply to wich I want to reply within the context of the original story or topic, I have to reply to that context itself. Hoping that people can see the link with some other posting in the possible long list of replies.

Have a look at

It complicates things however. What when you have a very deep nesting, lost of replies. Slashdot shows that such forums can easily become unreadable. They have passed the "discussion board" stage and have grown into "usenet discussion".

Bavo De Ridder
Monday, October 15, 2001

While it's nice that you rolled it out in 2 hours, I have a few suggestions from a user experience perspective:

1) It doesn't support more than one level of threading.

2) More importantly, I don't know if someone has replied to my post or not. A simple "([x] posts)" next to each topic would be the simplest implementation.

3) This may not be a problem now, but you also need to limit topics on the main page to, say, the last 30 days. In the Lusenet version you used earlier, there was a lonnnng list of posts, most of which people wouldn't read.

4) I'd like to see the message I'm replying to when I hit Reply. Ideally, the parent message should be provided with "> " quote characters so I can reply with context (much like email)

5) In a topic thread, there's no link to go back to the index page i.e., a list of all topics. Major problem. I hate doing the backspace lambada. ;)

That's all I noticed right now on my first posting attempt. If I find more issues with further use, I'll keep posting them :D

Madhu Menon
Monday, October 15, 2001


I read your trawl through weblog software and was surprised that you didn't consider something like Scoop the softe ware that runs <a href="">Kuro5hin</a>. Perhaps that would be overkill? It is however pretty good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

I also see your boad doesn't support any HTML...

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

I also see your boad does not support any spell-checking.

Anon Lover
Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Also, your board does not support a 'preview' so you can't tell what your post will look like. (So if you make a bad formatting error -- for example, by not knowing whether HTML is supported --, you can't correct it before finally posting it.)


Philip Newton
Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Your HTML doesn't validate. That looks unprofessional to me.

Anonymous Coward
Thursday, October 18, 2001

This Discussion Board doesn't make toast, regretfully i shall have to use something else.

Simon Lucy
Friday, October 19, 2001

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