Governance Forum Revamp: Plan - OPEN CALL FOR FEEDBACK

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As with the entire NEAR Ecosystem, the NEAR Governance Forum is Community-driven and sculpted.

Currently, there is no data in regards to the user experience of the NEAR Governance Forum. Although we can access basic metrics regarding usage, there is no quantitative or qualitative data in regards to UX.

The following document serves to outline a proposal for a medium-term revamp of the Forum in which decisions will be made using a data-driven approach. Data will be extracted from user feedback, currently tracked metrics, and user research.

Goal: Provide users of the NEAR Governance Forum with the best user experience possible.

Phase 0: Plan Publication

Date: 1st October (pushed back to today, 5th of October)

Goal: Complete, and publish, the plan for the NEAR Governance Forum Revamp.

This phase began with internal (NEAR Foundation) ideation with regards to the future of the Governance Forum.

We’d like to make it clear that this document is entirely living. After the publication of the plan, we invite the Community to leave feedback, comments, and criticisms, regarding the Revamp Plan.

Key Results

  • Completion of the Governance Forum Revamp Plan
  • Publication of the plan on the NEAR Governance Forum
  • Open up the plan for feedback

Phase 1: User Research and Plugin Integrations

Date: October

Goal: Implementation of QoL Discourse plugins & the undertaking of user research

User Research

User research will be conducted through the issuance of a user-research-focused survey and if deemed appropriate, the undertaking of a number of user interviews.

Here, we’ll be aiming to understand the following:

  • Why users are using the Forum
  • What they like
  • What they dislike
  • Their expectations
  • Their needs
  • Their motivations

The data we derive from the user research will be leveraged in Phase 3 to implement these initial updates to the NEAR Governance Forum. Updates can range from UI or cosmetic changes to deep fundamental changes, and your feedback and patience will be appreciated through them all.

Plugin Integrations

We’re aiming to implement a number of QoL and usability-focused plugins from the Discourse Plugin suite.

Plugin integration has been rolled up into Phase 1 as many can be considered ‘low hanging fruit’. Those implemented will take a minimal amount of development time and resources whilst awarding enhanced usability and quality of life for Forum users.


SQL Queries in Discourse

This plugin allows admins to run SQL queries against the live Discourse database, including parameterized queries and formatting for several common column types

Benefit: Admins are better equipped to extract data from the NEAR Governance Forum and use that data to improve the overall experience

Custom Header Links

This is a theme component that will allow you to add custom text-based links to the header easily.

Benefit: Flexible customisation

Make Topics/Answers as Solved/Solution

The Discourse Solved plugin allows users to accept solutions on topics in designated categories.

Benefit: Further clarity when seeking a solution that is available in a thread

Stop Forum Spam

The Stop Forum Spam plugin can help weed out human spammers who are able to bypass Discourse’s built-in spam tools

Benefit: Reduced risk of spam posts

Category Group Review/Moderation

In anticipation of onboarding Community Moderators, this plugin enables regular non-staff users of a group to moderate and review content in specific categories

Benefit: The ability to enable Discourse users to moderate specific categories without surrendering moderator privileges

Zoom Webinars

Allows us to host zoom webinars and have an easy way for community members to join the webinars from the community forum

Benefit: Increased potential for community engagement

Bulk send individual PMs

A plugin that allows staff users to send individual personal messages to several users at once

Benefit: QoL improvement for staff members/mods

Discourse Yearly Review

Creates a topic that summarizes the previous year’s activity on the forum

Benefit: Engaging thread & collated metrics

Assign Topics to Staff

Allows you to assign topics (both private and public) to staff members

Benefit: Improved organisation and more efficient collaboration

Custom Wizard

The Custom Wizard Plugin lets you make user wizards for your Discourse forum. You can provide information, take user input, and perform actions, like creating topics, updating profiles and much more

Benefit: Improved onboarding experience for users, increased flexibility for expanding the user journey when performing actions on the forum

Chatroom Integration Plugin

Integrate chat systems, including Discourse and Slack, with Discourse

Benefit: Increased transparency and accessibility through a dedicated Dicsord channel/category

Discourse Translator

Translate posts on Discourse using Microsoft, Google, or Yandex translation APIs

Benefit: Increased accessibility for non native English users

Key Results

  • Completed integration of 50% of the above plugins
  • 50 responses to the user-research survey
  • 20 user interviews conducted (these may be extended throughout numerous phases)

Phase 2: Guild Leader Discussion & Feedback Synthesis

Date: Oct/Nov

Goal: Synthesise the data to tangible action points from the user research and present this to the Community for feedback. Hold a workshop with Guild Leaders and other Forum power users to prepare for implementation.

Guild Leader Discussion

Guild Leaders are encouraged to use the Forum for updates, proposals, and any other relevant news regarding their Guilds (and beyond).

As such, we believe that Guild Leaders (and other Forum power users) are the ideal subset of users to whom we can deliver a preliminary report of our findings to.

Forum power users will be determined by the amount of time read, topics viewed, and posts read.

What Makes a Forum Power User?

Power Users are determined by a number of metrics in regards to their usage of the NEAR Governance Forum.

Feedback Synthesis

Collating, analysing, and synthesizing the data which has been collected from both the user interviews and the distributed survey.

Following successful synthesis, we’ll have produced a tangible plan which consists of action points in preparation for Phase 3.

Key Results

  • User research data synthesised into action points
  • Synthesis refined and published to the community
  • Workshop held with Guild Leaders and Forum power users

Phase 3: Feedback Implementation

Date: Nov/Dec

Goal: Execute the action points derived from feedback synthesis in Phase 2

It’s likely that a significant portion of the action points derived from Phase 2 will require developer attention. As such, we’ll be leveraging internal development resources from the NEAR Foundation if possible. If there are no internal dev resources available then we will pursue this externally, likely through the Discourse Marketplace.

Key Results

  • 80% completion of the action points derived from Phase 2
  • Continuous user feedback after the completion of each action point

Phase ∞: Long Term Iteration

Date: December +

Goal: Continuous monitoring and analysis of the NEAR Governance Forum user experience and usage.

Currently, the governance forum plays an essential role in the facilitation of discussion around Guilds, projects, and the NEAR Protocol itself.

We value the Governance Forum highly and, as such, will endeavour to ensure the user experience is optimal whilst encouraging growth in usage of the NEAR Forum.

Key Results

  • Regular (quarterly(?)) user research surveys
  • Implementation of an in-forum feedback system
  • Quarterly Governance Forum usage posts

:point_right: On that note, I encourage feedback from the entire NEAR Community in regards to the Governance Forum Revamp Plan and the future of the NEAR Governance Forum.

We’ll be starting to implement the plugins as of this week (shout out if there are any others you’d like to see). User feedback will begin in the form of an open survey very soon.


@David_NEAR count me in to assist wherever and whenever needed. Apart from these would also love to see a forum leaderboard for the community - who has the most engagements, most posts, most upvotes etc and it is dynamic, refreshes every week or month - divided by type of posts etc

Tonnes of other interactive and (useful) stuff that can be integrated to build ours as the best community forum in the cryptocurrency space. Open to brainstorming sessions as well apart from the user review calls :slight_smile:


Such a champion, as usual! Thanks, man :tada:

That’d be awesome! I’ll definitely do some digging on this front, for sure :muscle:

Great stuff, we’ll definitely get you in one one! :raised_hands:

Appreciate the feedback :tada:


Great update and looking forward to the revamp. I don’t have much feedback at the moment, but I noticed the Zoom call integration, is it possible to also include Airmeet? We use it for our community calls.


Thanks, us too!

I’ll do some digging on this front :muscle:


Looks great!
I was wondering if the searchability could be improved, by either using colors for the tags or having them used more intuitive? (not sure on how to do that best tbh)
It is fairly easy to find the DAOs/partners but sometimes it can be hard to find a specific post only with the available tags.

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good job David. I love the part ‘User Research’ most. It will help us understand what people really need and what are they thinking about Near Ecosystem products/services better.

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These is exciting count me in.! Governance makes really crypto coolest thing… Hoping for more worthness

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We’re live with the Governance Forum Feedback Survey :tada:

Check it out (and please complete it :pray: ) here :point_down: