A rushed forum, my opinion and efforts prior to the launch of keebtalk

Disclaimer: I am not AGAINST keebtalk outright. I am unhappy with its method of inception, and skeptical of its longevity and motivations. I love what all involved parties do on their own, and they do great work.

Here’s my background. I’ve been in the keyboard community for a couple years, not long I know. But I’ve been very active. I have 5 years experience as a web developer, web designer, and 1 yr experience as a product manager. I was mostly active on reddit, with some participation on discord and geekhack.

Before the launch of KeebTalk and after the announcement MD bought geekhack, I posted on geekhack, reddit, and discord, that I was primarily trying to keep the community from splintering by starting a bunch of mediocre forums. So I started a discord server for all people interested in starting their own forum to collaborate and work together to launch the best product for the community. I am not trying to benefit. I am simply trying to help build a specifically community first forum. The goal of our discussion was NOT to create a forum for people to move to NOW, but to be prepared if MassDrop did mess GeekHack up. I am also personally very skeptical of MassDrop for several reasons.

We have been actively discussing it for the last few days. That discussion can be found here: New MechKeebs Forum?

Here’s my opinion on KeebTalk

The biggest issue is that they did not choose the best platform. They jumped on the easiest platform (Discourse) because it was the quickest to set up and had some nice features.

They did this because they were worried about getting the traction of people who were upset with geekhack. And my opinion on this is that anyone who was worried about traction is doing it for the wrong reasons.

If everyone actually joined together with the community to discuss and figure out we could build a forum that didnt have server hosting issues, had a design that was close enough to geekhack but not as old fashioned, and ultimately had features that benefited the community MORE than geekhack did.

This site is currently run on, discourse.org. This is NOT a sustainable platform for this community.

This is the hosting they’re using pricing options here: Discourse Hosting Plans and Pricing - Communiteq

In our discord linked above, several of us with long term web experience discussed using Discourse and aside from the fact that we did not think it was suitable for the community, we also did not believe that it was sustainable. It’s not a very sleek platform on the backend. It will be expensive in the long run.

Things we discussed in the community discord about what we’d like to see in the situation where MassDrop does mess up geekhack.

  • Using Patreon donations to support the server costs
  • Using ad revenue to support system costs
    • Allowing a higher patereon supporter to have an ad free experience
  • Custom accessories made ONLY for the forum are the only things allowed to be sold directly by the site
  • Direct tracking of GBs and ICs built into the site
  • Specifically avoiding having specific vendors benefit more than other vendors from any part of the structure of the site. (edit, added italic words)
  • Use more scaleable software that can handle thousands of page refreshes during raffles and thousands of image hosts. Host on AWS or similar. Use more scaleable code.

THESE are the kinds of ideas you can get when you take your time and collectively discuss things as a community.

I am disappointed that these awesome people involved in this project jumped to a conclusion and made a subpar product because they were worried about traction from geekhack exodus.

My goal is to NOT fracture the community further and build a platform that EVERYONE WILL WANT TO BE ON regardless of exodus or when they join it.

For the time being I’m cautiously optimistic but highly skeptical of massdrop/geekhack as well as anyone who jumps too quickly to build a forum for us.

That’s all. THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading. Hopefully you read it all and understand where I’m coming from.

If you have any more questions please ask me here. or join the discord and ping me there. That said, due to my skepticism, this is the only thread I’ll be participating in here. I do wish them the best of luck. I want this whole community to succeed more than anything.

Mr. Wolf from Space

Please read Norbauer’s reply to mine: https://www.keebtalk.com/t/a-rushed-forum-my-opinion-and-efforts-prior-to-the-launch-of-keebtalk/572/19


I share these same concerns. Keebtalk is severly rushed. Its best not to rush a platform for the majority of a community as this one. How IC’s and GB’s are organized on site and site stability is critical. I don’t think discourse is a good platform at all for this purpose.


I dont want to edit my post, since I dont want people to miss anything while the info is coming in quickly.

I really really really dont want to be the badguy. I love you guys and what you do. And I am excited to see the passion. But I also love this community and you can be damn sure that I’m going to point out hasty decisions.

I can understand why the people who run this site MIGHT be upset with the opinions I’m voicing here. But my response to that, is that if you are worried I’m getting in the way of you gaining members and traction, then you might be doing this for the wrong reasons.

EDIT: Everyone involved in Keebtalk is invited and encouraged to join the above discord server.

you should fix that, discoursehosting.net is not affiliated with discourse the software

I would like to add that I understand the majoprity of your points, I do think discourse is a great platform to use for the discussion side of things but a plugin should be developed for the IC/GB side of things which the platform does allow for.

1 Like

Discoursehosting.net resolves to discoursehosting.com which is what i linked. I will adjust some of my wording though. thanks.

I also want to add something being discussed on the discord server:

People think that the best way to save us is to rush to make a new forum so that people dont get splintered. To be first out the door.

My opinion in response to that is that the best solution is to group up and make ONE good forum. Because if we rush to make a bad one, people will absolutely decide that we dont NEED anything other than geekhack, and the community will simply fizzle out.

The simple option is to actually work together. It’s not the intuitive option… but it’s one of the better ones.

Agreed but besides the name(which lets face it can be improved) I don’t think Discourse is inherently the wrong solution. As long as certain parts get fleshed out via plugins to bring features that aren’t there by default. It’s a much more practical way of dealing with it then making everything from scratch.

the fact that individuals are starting a non profit that will own the assets seems to be directly what you are asking for as well.

While your post makes good points, I don’t care at all for the manner in which you’ve worded this reply, particular the portion seeming to be you putting words into the mouths of those in charge when they’ve not come close to saying anything like that, and then making it out as if you are defending against them by declaring actions they’ve not taken as wrong. Nobody here has said any of those things and making out a response like you’re being attacked isn’t the right way to win people to your argument.


I find most of your points to be either invalid or completely unsupported, so mostly see this as you being butt-hurt that you weren’t first to market.


and this is why we cant have nice things. way to join the discussion in a mature and constructive manner.


isn’t the existence of this forum based on this logic being applied to MD in response of their acquisition of GH?


not really, this site was made because of the manner the sale went and was handled.

1 Like

I am frequently worried about the way I say something coming off as more aggressive than I mean to. It happens more than I would like. And if I did that here I am sorry.

I focus on my use of the word “if” and still stand by that usage. I also capitalized MIGHT. I feel the disclaimer is inherent in the statement.

But I want people to understand that NO ONE from keebtalk has reached out to me yet.

I will not be able to answer everyone here today. If you have questions you can reach out to me on discord (SpaceWolfPlays#2099) or reddit (/u/spacewolfplays).

So I think I was too harsh on the top clack stream but I am agreeing with donutcat. I don’t think Huey, Ryan, and Andrew starting a site quickly means that have unsavory motives. I also think we should be patient and not jump to conclusions about geekhack and this site. I’m just happy to have alternatives and I’m also happy that this site isn’t owned by a corporation or an individual.


This site more exists not because of who GH was sold to, but rather that it was sold at all and how the sale went. Someone that most users didn’t know existed who had complete ownership of the site, something most users probably wouldn’t know they could do, offered to keep the site in the community for a substantial amount, was taken on that offer, and then decided that no, the money was worth more than keeping the site in the community. This purpose of the way this site is setup is to prevent that from ever being able to happen. The reason the site has happened now is because many people are upset at the way their community space was sold to the highest bidder and could have just as easily ended up belonging to Chinese data miners and lost forever, so the creators are using that sentiment to help bring those people together here.


I think you’re being a little too down on discourse as a platform, and want to share a data point as evidence that it can work. Not taking any position on your larger points, but discourse is not as bad as you’re making it sound.

I’ve been a part of another community (the politics forum over at talkingpointsmemo.com) that’s been based on discourse for years now. I’ve been quite happy with it overall, it’s been robust and reliable as best I can tell, and the community over there has been healthy, vibrant, and growing. What’s more, there are a lot of less-technically-minded and older folks in that community than this one, and they’ve all been able to navigate the site without too many problems – an important feature if this community is to grow and be accessible to more people. Nonetheless, there are plenty of tools and functionality for “power users” (insofar as a forum has power users) that I’ve been pretty happy with.

1 Like

The timing is opportunistic (the opportunity being seized is gaining traction for a site). Malice depends on whoever is interpreting the action.

It’s not owned by one person, but 3 persons now. Their mission statement is good, along with the declared intentions. In time, we’ll find out if it’ll eventually change.

I say we just enjoy the presence of multiple websites where we can talk about our hobbies.

I can’t see anything that prevents that from happening to this website, ever. The only difference now between GH and KT is the PR and the financial situation of the owners of the site/platform.

We really should stop demonizing the decision of the owner to sell the site, and the success of KT shouldn’t be based on how seemingly evil that action by GH was.


Hey guys. I just wanted to offer a bit of info on the choice of Discourse and also some of the assumptions being made about our motives in launching it today.

Firstly, let me say: absolutely, we wanted to move swiftly. Keebtalk has a very specific mission and philosophy, and because we believed deeply in that philosophy, we felt it was important to try to start answering this community need as quickly as possible. It wasn’t for glory; it was because we legit care.

To whatever extent there was value in being first, we wanted to make sure that it was a community-owned, non-profit site that had that distinction. However, the choice of Discourse had nothing to do with a desire for speed. I chose it because I have a lot of experience running a community on Discourse, and I’ve come through lots of experience to trust the design decisions and wisdom of its development team. (In case you guys don’t know, the creator of Discourse is Jeff Atwood, who is himself a keyboard enthusiast and creator of the Code Keyboard.) Yes, hosting is expensive. Yes, it takes a bit of getting used to coming from the forums of the 90s. But I generally think it’s worth the tradeoffs, or at least is worth giving a try for a while. (Data migration is always a thing if we need to switch to something else later.)

Just for street cred, like you @spacewolfplays, I’m also a web developer. Discourse is built on Rails, and I was one of the first people to launch a company using that platform. I subsequently ran a Rails consulting company that did work for all kinds of companies including Microsoft, AMD, Yale, Harvard, etc. I was even quoted in the Wired cover article on Rails. In short: I’ve been dealing with web tech all my life—and Rails in particular.

I also run the most prominent and active online community for people who are into the production design of Star Trek (props, costumes, etc.), which is built on Discourse and has been around for years. In my experience running that community, Discourse has consistently impressed me with its thoughtful design, constant updates, and most importantly its absolutely excellent, semi-automated system of user trust and moderation tools, which for a site like this is going to be super important.

The keyboard community is full of engineers (including me!), and I know the first impulse of engineers is always to build everything super-custom and from scratch. But Discourse has been tested on huge communities around the web and is constantly incorporating feedback from those disparate communities in the updates it regularly pushes. A major advantage is that Discourse is very approachable for new and casual users and power users alike, and I feel that especially the former is really important as the keyboard community grows and welcomes new people.

And for everything else, Discourse is fully extensible through Rails plugins and front-end code. And, fortunately, the keyboard community is full of coders. :slight_smile: As long as we can make sure that our hosting provider allocates enough resources to our server (!), I think we’ll be doing fine.

My recommendation: use the site for a few days and let it settle in on you. I myself found Discourse a little jarring when I first used it (the fact that you highlight text to quote it in in a reply particular). I think once the unfamiliarity wears off you may come, like I did, strongly to prefer it.


Any idea on how many visitors were hitting the site earlier when it started throwing 502s? Any plans to address the host over the poor response to the load earlier or switch hosting providers?