Exactly... they aren't solving any of the same problems.
In fact, what they're competing against is effectively phpBB... their whole positioning is "We're building something like Wordpress, for forums". Which is strange, as they aren't actually offering the communities that use forums anything that helps solve their problems.
And here I am in SF talking to onetwentyeight of sffixed.org and finding out what their problems are, whether they match our problems, whether Microcosm is solving those issues... and almost nothing that concerns onetwentyeight or myself is addressed in any way by Discourse.
And Discourse have said that they want a rich ecosystem of plugins, but that's what Vanilla did and so many of the plugins ended up clashing with each other or slowing the sites down.
Discourse is also heavy into tagging content... but I think tagging things is a symptom of a problem, a problem in itself... rather than a solution. The problem that tagging attempts to solve is that search sucks. So the key is to fix search, not add ever more layers of crud and metadata to work around the flaws.
I'm kinda pleased that they are pitching themselves as the Wordpress of discussion boards, because Wordpress is a decade old technology that has recently been roundly trumped in all consumer markets by Tumblr.
And guess what it says on our business cards and http://microco.sm/ ? Yup... "Like Tumblr, for forums".
I'll keep an eye on Discourse of course, especially with regards to feedback from their customers, shared pains, etc. But the communities market is huge, and there is space for many players, I don't feel that what Discourse are pitching is in any way a direct threat to Microcosm... at the low levels you could argue we're both just forum software, but our goals and future targets are wildly different.
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