I’m using the Lounge category on two Discourse forums. I was involved enough in each forum to be automatically promoted to Trust Level 3 (TL3).
A deeper community of …
I have benefited from both experiences:
- Seeing a little deeper into a forum and gaining more insights about how to run them.
- Having a little more information a little earlier than the rest of the user.
- Having my profile raised among what is, essentially, a core group of forum users.
- Got a t-shirt and a software upgrade.
… not frequent-fliers
As I understand it, the lounges were conceived as being like frequent-flier lounges at airports. Only there are no attendants and no refreshments and you don’t get to relax in comfort. So as far as I can tell, the Lounges do not attract anyone to Discourse or to work to TL3.
… but secret squirrels
In my view, each lounge is for “secret squirrels”, who do a lot of work in the background and don’t want to expose it in public until it has been reviewed. There might be a better way to create workspaces for drafting and reviewing topics. But is there a better way to gather those who are a) most active in the forum and/or b) most committed to its success? The Lounge certainly provides these users with some of the features needed to work on improving the forum without having to manually maintain a new group and without cluttering the more public categories. As a TL4 user I can do a lot of topics admin but I can do nothing with the category admin I would need to create my own workspace.
The Lounge has 38 users including staff so it largely functions as a group of “trusted” users who are asked for their input and involvement before many things are opened up to the vast majority of users:
- Discussing and modifying the structure of the forum e.g. wikifying long topics in the Plug-ins category
- Discussing the status of certain topics. Which topics to remove: as obsolete or out of date e.g. the system requirements like minimum RAM required.
- Requests for helping with basic admin tasks e.g. deleting and recategorising topics in the Features and Bugs categories
- Requests to participate in beta-testing
- A workspace to draft, review and stage topics for public release.
The Lounge has two non-staff users who have been manually promoted to TL4:
- A reference group for the staff to discuss things with like discussion of potential changes to the forum. Because there are only two end-users, such discussions tend to become one-on-one in PMs with the staff.
- A workspace for me to draft and stage topics for the How-To category. I think that this is essential if you are deep into the site but you are not staff so you can’t create your own hidden category.