Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Hmmm... It's a nice discussion forum, but...

...I can't count the number of words I wrote.

HeyMacarena commented in the Joel's Email Article thread:
"Both message board forum software have tons of features and are the direct opposite of the requirements in Joel's forum e-mail that less is more, yet they are still very popular with the website community.

Anyhow, it seems that simplicity isn't necessarily always better. "

Someone wrote an article about that once, based on a product he worked on and was very proud of.

Ah, here it is:

So which is it? Less is more? Or more features better?


Philip Janus
Monday, March 3, 2003

It really depends on the goal of the application and the expectations of the users. The goal of the message board was not an ideal, high-powered, full-featured messaging system. It had a single, simple goal: allow FogCreek clients the easiest possible way to get support from FogCreek online.

If this were a commercial forum product that was for sale, this would probably not be a best seller, nor would it be heralded as the next big thing in discussion technology. So comparing it to something like Excel, which is commercial and needed to compete with the reigning heavyweight champion of DOS, Lotus 1-2-3, well, that's just plain silly. Different scopes, different problems, different target audiences.

Tim Sullivan
Monday, March 3, 2003

If he were selling the software as a product, the question might be relevant.

Monday, March 3, 2003

I thought about this on the way home.

He IS selling a product - the forum. He wants people to come here (and keep returning) instead of going somewhere else.

Right now returning members come here because of the discussion. Joel's articles have drawn the participants, and his forum software has given them a venue. He has a lock on this particular product - a monopoly on intelligent Microsoft-tolerant professional coders interested in software as a profession.

That, by the way, I believe is the differentiator among the forums Joel mentioned. It's not the format, but the style of the forum. Slashdot attracts the disaffected counterculture anything-but-Microsofters. FuckedCompany has its name and Pud's general attitude to thank for attracting the juvenile anarchists in town.

As counterpoint to the "easy posting in a linear fashion makes for intelligent discourse" just check out Anchordesk - a regular litany of MS bashing.

So...  what if we grow discontent with this forum? So long as the greasy hamburger joint with the stale fries and the rude waitress is the only place in town, that's where the crowd will go. But when someone opens a new place next door with good food, quiet music, and a pleasant waitstaff, the greasy hamburger joint may find out their cheap prices weren't what people were looking for.

I give it two months before someone sets up "Joel II" on a full-featured BBS software. It'll be interesting to see how right Joel is about 80/20 really being a factor in discussion forums.


Monday, March 3, 2003

"I give it two months before someone sets up "Joel II" on a full-featured BBS software. "

Well, my bet is it won't become a popular site.  Most of the popular forums/newsgroups/etc. on the web are places that have content + discussion.

One programmer's Opinion
Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Nothing is now stopping or has ever stopped anyone from setting up "Joel II", despite numerous complaints about the features of this board.

It hasn't happened.  I'd be interested to see what would happen if somebody tried.

IMHO, Joel's set up a very good board.  A separate board isn't worth the trouble, and wouldn't sustain a long-term community.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, March 4, 2003

You have to admit that Joel is right about one thing -- talking incessently about the design of the forum rather than the topic of the forum is BORING BORING BORING.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Philo's Third Law:
"Attempted to suppress perceived noise generates real noise"

Dennis, instead of hitting every forum with your opinion, why don't you start threads covering topics you're interested in?


Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Are we bored yet? Are we? Huh? Gotta admit this is dull right? Why does the forum have a white background? Why not lime green? A lot more people would use this forum if it had a lime green background I assure you.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, March 5, 2003

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