Forums are the untrendy side of social media, but have been the bedrock of social interaction online for well over a decade now.  Throughout that period they have largely remained the same, despite the huge input of energy and innovation by users seeking to modify the core applications they use and love.

A new piece of forum software is setting out to change all of that.  It’s called Discourse, and is founded by Jeff Atwood of Stack Exchange fame.

Here’s what Atwood has to say about Discourse:

Discourse is a from-scratch reboot, an attempt to reimagine what a modern, sustainable, fully open-source Internet discussion platform should be today – both from a technology standpoint and a sociology standpoint.

We tried to build in all the lessons learned from the last ten years of Internet web forums, so that the community has a natural immune system to defend itself from trolls, bad actors, and spammers. There’s also a trust system, so engaged community members can assist in the governance of their community.

The act of participating in a discussion should fundamentally feel good in a way that it currently does not on all existing forums and mailing lists. It should be fun to have discussions with other human beings, not a chore, or something that’s barely tolerable.

You can try the software out via a public sandbox.  It’s certainly interesting, and probably will require a good level of usage to determine how valuable it is.