Integrate discourse into OFN instance as communications platform

Each instance of OFN to have internal discussion forum, enabling easy communication amongst users. Wide variety of potential uses. Intention is to integrate discourse ‘engine’ into OFN instance, with introduction of basic uses first but potential to use full functionality over time (as needed)


  • build community among users by enabling ‘light’ messaging and communication e.g. ‘question’, news / announcement’
  • enable basic requests and offers, that don’t require establishment of shipping, payment and order cycles - so more entry level communications system e.g. “I have apples, contact me if you want some” “does anyone have mushrooms” etc
  • primary ‘user’ is enterprise user but good if all users can at least see it is there because some messages may be relevant to customers
  • ‘showcase’ functionality as motivation for enterprises to join the system / community - if is only visible to enterprises may be less incentive to become one

Scoping Questions

  1. should this functionality appear on front or in admin? answer may be dependent on . .
  2. should this be available to all users or enterprise only?
  3. people have degree of control over who can see their posts, e.g. groups, sub-groups etc
  • ‘groups’ that are connected to ‘ofn groups’?
  • permissions connected to ofn ‘e2e links’?

Phase 1 - Most basic

  • discourse instance set-up and available for use with ofn instance
    • should be ‘integrated’ or ‘module’ - linked / embedded?
  • authorisation . . [XX?] user signed in to OFN should be signed into this discourse
    • if hackathon are working on oauth with facebook etc git#9, should we look at this together as discourse already has this functionality?
  • User [XX] pros/cons:
    • all users: will enable customers to see / post e.g. offers of available produce, requests e.g. restaurant able to put call out for a particular product they’re looking for
    • enterprise users only:
      • pro - degree of privacy / frankness;
      • pro - bonus functionality that is incentive to at least set up a profile for your enterprise
      • con - casual visitor to site can’t see this functionality, so won’t entice / increase likelihood of their getting involved
    • SUGGEST: start by connecting ALL users, so login to ofn = login to forum
    • we can still easily create private groups for select groups of users if we want, can look at automating this later if sufficient demand
  • categories: wanted; offer; question; announcement
  • achieving purposes outlined above suggests that we should do front-end to start with, as we want all users to see this new functionality?
  • front-page of forum should be simple overview of all content
  • update welcome emails so people know it is there and set their email notifications etc?

Phase 2

  • user authorisation also extends to global ofn discourse, perhaps also
  • sub-categories of user have access to different parts of the forum

Phase 3 - Later Considerations / Potential Uses

  • Internal messaging system, including private messaging between users
  • Feedback / review functionality, into inbox etc

Linked to What should our Categories be?: