Idea: Graph or network view for navigating connections between Discourse topics

For some time now I’ve had the idea to try to develop a plugin for Discourse that implements a graph (or “network”) view to visualize and navigate the connections between topics. This is heavily inspired by the relatively recent surge in note-taking and “tools for thought” applications like Obsidian, Roam Research, RemNote, and the like, many of which have “graph views” that visualize the interconnections between “notes”, “topics”, etc. Discourse has long had a nice link/backlink system built-in, which shows for example when another topic links to the topic you’re viewing. But you can only see this one topic at a time. What if you want to brows topics by how they connect to each other? This seems like a perfect way to explore my digital garden, for example, where to some degree I try to go out of my way to interlink things (though I think I could do a better job of it still!).

So I finally made a write-up of this about a month ago on the Fission Codes forum, which to my pleasant surprise got me some support from Boris Mann of Fission itself. He offered me help in setting up an OpenCollective to try to attract funding and developers, and also offered to pitch in some money from Fission for a full year of their support! This was way more than I expected and hoped for, quite honestly. I then proceeded to sort of squander that opportunity for about a month. :sweat_smile: But fortunately I did finally spend a few hours really fleshing out the OpenCollective page recently, and now it’s all set up with a decent description of the project.

I also posted about it on Discourse’s own “Meta” forum for discussion of Discourse itself, plugins, modifications, feature requests, etc. Unfortunately it hasn’t gotten much traction there, but if you’re a member of Meta I encourage you to go over and at least give it a Like, if not comment! I would really love your thoughts and feedback, either here, on Meta, or wherever you prefer.

Even if I don’t find much additional funding, my biggest goal is just finding a developer to work on it, since I am sadly not a programmer myself (one of my biggest regrets to-date is not learning to program; I know, I can solve this any time :roll_eyes:). So if you’re a dev or know of one who might be interested (keeping in mind there is some small but not insignificant funding for the project available already!), then I’d love to hear from you.

Interesting to note that merely formalizing and sharing this idea publicly has itself inspired me to make more connections between my topics here (see recent topics about digital communications). This seems to support one of my core beliefs about the potential value of navigating forum content this way, which is that the availability of such a tool can by itself encourage interlinking, creating a (hopefully) virtuous cycle. What do you think, would you be more inclined to create links between forum topics in any forum you already use, if this kind of plugin were already available?