DEMU Members Feedback on Discourse

Hi all,

Let’s see if you can find this topic and add some feedback to it. Here is a starter for 10:

  • It would be nice to have upper case tags (I think I’ve found the setting for this) so we can have PGA not pga.
  • It would be nice to be able to add tags to an existing topic without editing the first post. Can’t find a way to do this.


I think we might have actually got too many categories and not enough tags.

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Well it is a case of seeing what’s what

Cheers Phil :hammer_and_wrench:

PS seem to have all the emojis available on the top when writing this message?

Looks like the link to post feature works nicely, if people can be trusted not to abuse it. Allowing access to modify previous posts would mean you could have post 1 of a workbench topic as an index and add new links for new projects (also adding the new tag to the original post). Relies on people maintaining it, but would mean a good way of keeping the various workbench posts accessible

Tried logging in using a laptop PC, on Win10 / Firefox - seems OK so far - I should have time tomorrow to look in more detail & log in with Android tablet!

Also tried clicking on thumbnail of “EMD shed” bodyshells. Photo appeared OK - slightly less sure about the bank balance later in the year!

Not sure how much time (in total) I’ll get over next couple of weeks. Ghetto blaster gave up the ghost over the weekend & needed to be replaced. (I’ve always found that some Mozart helps me concentrate!). I’d only got the old one in June 1990 - I know, they don’t build stuff to last!

Cue a bus trip to Cardiff (and my debit card getting a workout in John Lewis). Got home to find a delivery of MERG kits “stowed in a safe place” - the cardboard recycling bag! :angry::rage::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::angry::rage::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

(OK - you get the general idea - I was slightly less than amused - might as well use the chance to see if emojis work - even if I don’t use them very often!)

Anyway, I’d ordered some “through hole” component “gas lamp twinkler” PCBs - instead received the same number of complete kits for the SMD version - I guess they want me to learn to solder SMDs!

I’ll have no trouble using them.

In all honesty, I would have been capable of designing something very similar - but I’m not complaining that I don’t need to. Actually, I haven’t had PCB etching stuff at home for the last 30 years. I’m actually in no rush to have ferric chloride back here - nasty stuff!

As for generating Gerber files (to send to a PCB maufacturer), I haven’t even got the software - and I’m in no rush to do anything about this, either. MERG’s PCBs will do me just fine … .

Just for info, MERG’s “gas lamp twinkler” kit is a 40106 based astable - with diodes etc. added to change the output waveform. As advertised, it gives a slight spike every so often - flip the diodes & it dims momentarily - I should be able to tweak it to simulate the oil lamps that UK trains had to carry, for years after electric light was shown to work.

I’ll be using 2 of the things on a freelance O gauge “pioneer” railcar. As I’m more into OO, it’ll probably be a “shelf queen” - but could be good for demos!

“In other news”, I might have to make a start on the carriage lighting demo - cheap OO bodyshells - cheap “kitchen” LED lightbars, suitably modified - foil tape, to stop lightbleed - all the usual garbage.

Yes - demo fodder - if I get anywhere with it, could also be a talking point at VAG meetings (“might be better to go about it some way that works”) … .

Anyway, I’ve said enough. Let’s see if long posts get “abbreviated” … .

I’ve been popping in and out of this forum all day so think I’m getting the hang of the layout and watching for new posts.

One thing I did notice is that the last reply to this topic didn’t show up in my ‘new’ or ‘unread’ list, I found it by accident simply by browsing in uncategorised.


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Ok, corrected that I think. It was sorting by topic creation date.

I’ll wait for some replies to other topics to see if it appears now.

I hope you didn’t mind the long post - all true, of course!

At least it allowed me to test that - plus emojis and editing.

As for the “Brixton briefcase”, the new one’s a Sony. They invented the CD format (jointly with Philips, in the 1980s I think) - there’s some chance they might know how to make it work. Sounds good so far.

Returning here, I’ll now have to work out how to add signatures.

I might also add an avatar, once I sort out a suitable photo. (It won’t be today, then!)

OK - I know that a lot of this stuff wouldn’t normally find its way onto the forum - but it isn’t always easy to think of something to say to test a site like this. I guess that chit-chat will do!

Testing to see if I can upload an image to a reply

If it has worked, it’s 66735 pulling into Rannoch with a rake of Alcan PCA’s back in 2012.

EDIT: can’t see where I can add tags if that’s a thing for replies

Yes - a nice clear photo of a GBRF “shed” with twin LED light clusters.

Let’s see if I can get something to upload.

I know the drawing’s rubbish - I’ll probably remove it later, as a further test!

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Let’s try a link to a photo from the internet:
I think this one was actually built in 1924 - not 1931, as suggested in Hornby mag!

This vehicle replaced one of the pair from 1912, shown in the previous drawing. NER #3768 was destroyed in a fire - despite this, the new LNER #3768Y (layer #23768) still didn’t have doors from the central saloon to the cabs!

If I build one of these, I haven’t encountered any drawings - so guesswork! At the same time, I’d probably add internal doors, like those on #3711 of 1908 - same goes for the 1912 model (prototype only had sliding windows + radiators; close to petrol tank, which appears to have been inside saloon) - available drawings are sketchy (ex diagram book) - anyway, there’s always Rule 1!

Anyway, all this posting pictures reminds me that, eventually, I’ll need to work out how to “share screen” in Zoom … .

Whilst I think of it, I’ll also have to try starting new topics - “try it out” / “check it works”.

Same goes for underlining when typing - not the end of the world … .

What I’ve seen so far is encouraging.

Probably time for me to work out how to log out - I could do with 40 winks (in other words, rather more than I had the nights immediately before and after Showcase)!

Edit: I’ve now worked out how to log out - click on avatar (top right); 4 icons appear in a bar in same area; click on icon that looks like a head & shoulders - “log out” is one of the options!

A certain Mr Mortimore would like this!


Looks and feels very smooth to use.
I like the tagging and categories on the left.

I wonder how much could be "imported in from the previous forum?


Yes, and there is a comprehensive guide for this. If you are up for it Gareth, I’d appreciate your help with this.

One of the big conceptual differences is the change from categorisation to tagging (which I think is for the better). But this means that we have limited categories in the new forum. Thus, I am guessing that we will need to import everything into a a single ‘legacy’ category (or a few legacy categories) and from there a bit of a task to move stuff and file it into the right location in the new forum.

Anyway, that’s my high-level ‘migration strategy’ at the moment.


Some initial thoughts. Feel free to digest, comment or ignore as you see fit!

First impression are good. It looks nice, works well and is intuitive to use. Working with the tags rather than sub-forum folder type structures will take some getting used to. I’m guessing that a full set of tags for each sub-area will be added in due course (class-37, class-47 etc).

I’ve not had any trouble doing anything I can currently do on the existing forum. Adding new threads and replying to old ones was simple enough. It might be worth having some notes available on the use of the new tag structure. The addition of images and Flickr links went without incident and adds nicely to the display of threads. I couldn’t see the post rating buttons yesterday (despite them being used by others), but they’re available today.

Some more specific comments:

  • Is it possible to have usernames with spaces? I couldn’t reuse my username from the main forum. Might not be possible, or could be an option that can be enabled. Could be a issue if the old forum user database is transferable.

  • What’s the current automatic log-out period? After opening the existing Forum in a new tab I switched back to the new one to be informed I’d been logged out. Can it be selectable like the current forum.

  • There’s a minor bug/feature regarding replies and starting new topics. I started a reply to an existing thread and then cancelled it. I then returned to the home page and started a new topic. The contents of my previous reply were saved (not a big issue, easy to delete), but the tags that applied to the previous thread were still set rather than a new set. This could easily lead to lots of threads being posted with incorrect tags and lots of moderator time to reset them.

  • What choice of post rating buttons is there?

  • Can the log-out button be made easier to find? It’s currently hidden in the preferences sub-menu.

  • The new forum does feel slower to open threads than the existing forum. Might be because it’s running on a low power AWS, or it’s just my combination of Firefox and WIn 10 on a 32bit PC with only 4GB RAM.

  • Can the reply formatting be modified? Take this post as an example.
    There are (currently) two replies to it which are further down the page, yet there’s also a “2 Replies” button with a down arrow that lists the direct replies to that message. I’m guessing it’s caused by using the grey reply button next to each post rather than the blue one at the bottom.

If it does prove possible to import the old forum (and maintain a sensible structure!) is it worth setting it as read-only with a OldForum tag? Would it be worth sifting through the old forum and choosing what sections get ported across?

Steven B

Hover over the heart at the bottom.

I’ll investigate - EDIT: No, doesn’t look like it. We’ll have to migrate them with an underscore or something.

Again, I’ll check. EDIT: 1440 Hours (60 Days). Configurable.

Pretty much any of the standard unicode glyphs that represent emoticons, transport, food, flags etc. I picked the ones that seemed sensible without being ‘mean’!

Maybe, will investigate.

Really? It feels lightning fast to me. We can tune the server we use in AWS though so this isn’t a massive issue.

I think this is a feature and allows you to reply to a specific post or reply to the whole topic but retains all replies linearly (like a forum) rather than nested (like twitter). If you have ever used twitter this is super-infuriating. I like the way discourse gives you the best of both worlds with this.

Yes, probably a good idea. We will probably give people time (months, a year?) to migrate any of their topics from one place to another and then just lock everything else.


By the way, quoting is really cool and by far the simplest way I’ve ever seen to do it: as you are writing your reply just highlight the text and hit quote.


The new forum feels lightening fast to me on either a MacBook Pro with Safari or iPhone with Safari. I had issues with the old one loading really slowly on iPhone but not so much on a desktop.

Just to add, I selected the above text I wanted to quote, clicked command&c then hit reply and it automatically pasted the text with quotation marks and the name of the poster - very cool and saves a lot of time!