Implement Discourse's invite-to-topic feature

In multiple cases now topics were closed due to the author not being a member (trust level 2+) and their topic not strictly being QubesOS related; in some cases those topics would still have been interesting to discuss in the forum (in the “All around Qubes” category).

In the discourse trust level post for Trust Level 2 it states:

Users at trust level 2 can…

  • Use the “Invite others to this topic” button for one-click onboarding of new users to participate in topics

I don’t see this functionality implemented in the case of this forum. Might it be possible to do so and to then enable invited users below trust level 2 to participate in the topics they were invited to in the “All around Qubes” category? That way such topics could be moved to that category even for “low-level authors” and those authors invited to participate there in their own topic. I don’t know if it’s technically possible to implement, however.

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Explicitly taking my moderator hat off and sharing my personal thoughts here.

The idea of making all categories accessible to everyone is one that comes from a good intention I think. Now, the All around qubes category is a special one, in that it is about what the forum is not.

Making the All around qubes category accessible to members is one way to ensure that accounts posting off-topic content are invested enough in the forum to be somewhat mindful about what they post there.

That decision is directly related to the decision to make sure the Qubes OS forum is about Qubes OS. (And that decision in turn was made to make community support as accessible as possible to Qubes OS users.)

It doesn’t take much to become a member, only participating in the forum for what it is intended to do.

With all that in mind, I fail to see how inviting accounts who haven’t yet demonstrated a basic care and investment about what the forum is about to post off-topic content brings any benefit to the community.

I do see first hand, however, how the louder segment of those accounts often drains resources from the group of people who are contributing to the community by making sure the forum remains a place where one can find community support in their Qubes OS journey. (I mean the folks from the moderation team, froum staff, forum admins, etc. leaving aside for a moment everyone who does participate positively in the forum and makes it what it is today.)
I also notice that many folks invested in that task (forum staff, moderation team…) also contribute to Qubes OS in other ways, when they get time and energy for it… which makes me wish to keep the forum maintenance costs in time and motivation as low as possible, or at least proportionate to the value that the forum brings to all the folks who contribute to the Qubes OS community through the forum, whether they have reached the trust level of member, or not, or not yet.

If non-community members find this forum less fit for their non-Qubes OS purposes because of that… my view is that they’ve got plenty of other places on the internet where they can redirect their energy that don’t require the Qubes OS community to bear the costs of their convenience. Of course, anyone’s mileage may vary!