Do Discussion Boards Need An Update? Helsinki's Iroquote Thinks So

    A new discussion board concept beta launched in Helsinki last week, called Iroquote. It’s designed to bring an update to community groups, and innovates on the discussion board concept to be easier to browse on mobile while fighting information overload. Google Groups, Facebook groups, or Reddit were designed for the desktop age, and browsing Iroquote you realize maybe things could be better.

    Everyone seems to have strong preferences for forums and commenting, and Iroquote is different enough for me to take some getting used to. For example, Iroquote doesn’t do threaded comments, which has become the main discussion board concept I’m used to from sites like Reddit and Hacker News. Their argument is that when browsing on mobile, threaded comments waste precious screen real estate, and they think they can present the conversation better by showing only the most relevant content while still allowing you to dig into the discussion.

    In order to give you a summarized conversation, Iroquote selects the most valuable replies, based on likes, replies, and some randomness, and then puts all of them together. This puts the “read more” buttons in between posts, rather than a “next page” at the end, which is pretty convenient.

    And for replying and keeping track of conversations, instead they see their strength in how they link responses to the original text. For example, if you wanted to reply to someone’s comment, you just hover over that paragraph and click the reply message box.

    The other interesting factor with Iroquote is who gets the moderation powers. Rather than giving them to the people that start the topic, Iroquote gives it to the people who consistently receive the most praise from the community.

    “The main solutions that exist, like Facbook groups or Google Groups, are admin based. That concept we are going against, so we are building platform where people can gain leadership by how many likes they get,” says Andre Medeiros, cofounder of Iroquote.

    They’ve been in Alpha for about 8 months, so there are a few forums like Entrepreneurship and Technology that have a decent amount of content and discussion. Additionally, anyone can start their own forum topic, so if you’ve got a topic you like talking about, it’s worth checking out.

    They have a ways to go before they hit the critical mass that is monetizable, but it’s the kind of concept I can get behind. Seeing Iroquote at this stage reminds me of 2011’s Arctic15, where we had Steve Huffman, the founder of Reddit, talk about his experiences starting up, which we have a video of here.