What are Muut channels and threads?

Your Muut data are organized in a tree-like structure with an intuitive analogy to the tree of directories (folders) of the file systems that you know of. Muut data are composed of units of discussion called threads, in which users post their writings. Threads can be organized into any hierarchy of channels designed by you, just like how you sort your files into your own folder structure. It’s straightforward: each channel can contain any number of threads, and/or any number of sub-channels. Within each thread, we also refer to the starting post as the seed post.

Why is Muut both a forum and commenting system? Are the two separate?

Indeed, surprising to you or not, Muut is for commenting as well as forums. But not that Muut has two sub-systems for each purpose. Muut has a new idea that unifies the two applications.

It might not seem obvious to you upon first thought, but however they feel different, your forum and commenting application are means to a single end: a system to host, organize, and administer your online interactions with your community on all things of common interest. The two are present in different forms and locations, but together they are one coherent database of your Web activity. Hence this body of content should not be fragmented into disconnected platforms and infrastructures. This is among the core values of Muut: forum and commenting must be unified.

In particular, Muut unifies the two applications under a single tree of discussions. Quite intuitively, this tree has one or more branches, each of which in turn has zero or more sub-branches as well as leaves. You know this structure already: you make a tree of folders and files to store your information, where the folders and their sub-folders are the branches, and the files are the leaves. The Muut tree is no different. Your community-name is the root, which must bear at least one branch, referred to as a “channel”. Each channel can hold any number of discussion topics referred to as “threads”, which are the leaves. Besides threads, a channel may contain any number of subchannels. Within such a tree, every channel or thread has a unique address, referred to as its “path”. In fact, you can create a new channel by specifying its path URL. Note that in a path to a thread, the thread identifier is appended to its channel via a colon, for example, /music/classical:bach is the path to a discussion thread named “Bach”, while /music/classical alone is the path to the channel named “Classical” under its parent channel “Music”.

How do I get email notification?

To receive email notification for a thread, you need to watch it first (indicated by the magenta eye icon). You will be automatically watching a thread as soon as you post in it (either you start the thread, or reply to it). You can also manually opt in to watch any thread by clicking the eye icon. As long as at least one page is loaded and you are logged in, Muut won’t send you any email (that would be redundant as Muut has in-page realtime notification). Only if you are offline (no page is open, or you are logged out) will you get notification by email.

The email will link to the post that triggered the notification, but subsequent posts won’t trigger further email to be sent until you visit that link.

Can I add sticky posts to my forum?

Yes, on embedded forums, you can add sticky posts or threads to the navigation pane on the right. To do so, you need to customize the navigation via HTML. It is very straightforward markup: basically you add post/thread links to the Muut container, and they will be sticky on the sidebar. See code examples here.

Why can’t I edit/delete my post after 2.7 min?

Only forum admins/moderators can delete posts without the 2.7 min limit. However, even they cannot modify the content posted by others. This immutability of content isn’t merely an optional feature, but a universally enforced rule based on our core value of permanence, that in order to truthfully record and preserve the intact progression of a discussion, modification of submitted content must be disallowed, as soon as someone likes or replies to the post, or after a brief period of 2.7 min, whichever happens first. In fact, content immutability is well established in instant messaging, for rather obvious reasons: having the liberty to modify what’s been previously said can easily invalidate the subsequent conversation, for what you refer to would be shifting sand, on which no trustable communication can be built. This strong dependence on the integrity of history for building a good discussion simply demands the rule that what’s been posted cannot be changed.

Traditional forums did not manage to appreciate the criticality of this restriction in building healthy communities; they possibly thought individuals should have total control over their content. However, a forum discussion is not solo publishing, it belongs to the entire group of participants, not any particular individual. Granting individuals the liberty to mutate submitted content will inevitably harm the participants as a whole (imagine someone reactively mutating or even negating original stances or opinions, which the subsequent conversation is based upon, resulting in breaking apart the entire thread of discussion). Ultimately, the only common ground that can ever be established is to make submitted content unmodifiable without exception. This way everyone can rest assured that what they post can never be modified by moderators, and content by fellow users stay as is so that your reply will never be invalidated as a result of mutation/deletion of what you refer to.

So think modern forum applications like Muut as instant messaging in its core but enriched with power tools, hence the inherited immutability is quite natural. At Muut we not only want to make better software, but strive to encourage better content generation. Knowing that what you say is immutable is a very powerful way to make you say better things in the first place.

No doubt there are edits for good causes, like fixing typos, streamlining expressions and so on. However, it is impractical for software to discern with absolute reliability the good edits from the bad without false positives and false negatives. For instance, fixing a typo can effectively serve the purpose of negating the meaning of a word. We must make a choice based on cost evaluation. We believe that the cost of disallowing content editing is significantly lower than that of allowing it, because the alternative solution to editing is much simpler than struggling to guard the well-being of a community while allowing arbitrary content mutation. For example, instead of editing your submitted content, you could

  • proof-read before submission (a great habit to develop), and remind yourself that what you say can stay forever as is,

  • quote the part that needs correction/update and comment on it in a follow-up post.

On the other hand, allowing content editing gives rise to endless tricky scenarios that can be exploited. For example, ill moderators can modify users' posts to arbitrarily eliminate undesirable content and/or fake desirable content, even completely rewrite the content with their own, effectively impersonating whoever they want within the community.

Therefore, the rule of permanence is and will be firmly held to protect both users and admins of all Muut communities.

Can I hold user generated content from going live before my approval?

This is referred to as “pre-moderation”. Muut is deeply dedicated to realtime, instant messaging-like online discussion with no communication delay and no holding back of user engagement (Manifesto). The pre-moderation machinery is definitely harmful for creating the healthy kind of communities that Muut love to see. Hence no, we don’t ever let users see “Your post is pending for approval”.

Nevertheless, we are absolutely aware of the importance of moderation and spam filtering in the well-being of online communities. We have both automatic and manual spam control in place, and will be continuously improving in this regard in the future.

Can I display images in my post?

In Muut, images are displayed as links, inline with the rest textual content. Full images are one click away, shown as overlays in a lightbox-style gallery. We believe that discussion should be centered on text, the flow shouldn’t be interrupted and the focus shouldn’t be shifted due to the presence of eye-catching images.

However, we offer a Muut plugin that turns plain-text image links into thumbnails. To enable it, follow the instruction here.

Can I remove all the Muut branding?

No, we do not offer Muut as a white-label product, namely the option of complete removal of the Muut logo is not available. This holds for any service level, including Enterprise subscriptions. Customers are able to predominantly brand Muut with their own logo, color and banner, but the Muut logo will still be present at the bottom. Considering that Muut is a fully hosted service rather than a package that you install and maintain on your own, this is how we keep the price tag as low as possible, and at the same time gain continuous publicity as we grow.

Can I delete my forum?

Forums once created cannot be deleted. If you just don’t like the community-name, which is a unique ID of your forum, note that you cannot change that either. In that case you should simply create a new forum with the desired community-name. There is no limit on the number of forums you can create under your @username. Those forums that you no longer use can be simply abandoned. Once your subscription expires, your community will be disabled.

The liberty to delete forums arbitrarily can be easily abused and is against our principle of content permanence, so we give no exceptions regardless of the intention. To learn why permanence is critical to online discussion, please read the Muut manifesto.

Can I change my forum URL?

Your community URL is permanent and cannot be changed. Make sure you use the URL you want to use when you create your community. If, for some reason, you need a new URL we recommend you create a new community from your account page

To learn why permanence is a core principle of our platform you can read our Muut manifesto.

Can I delete my account?

You can take a simple step to effectively disconnect yourself from the content that you created: in your user settings, change the “Display name” to an unidentifiable dummy string such as “Canceled account”.

However, the content that you created across Muut communities will not be automatically deleted as part of the process; Instead, those posts will be attributed to an anonymous username that won’t identify you. You may manually remove any content from the forum(s) on which you owned admin rights, but not from those that you were a regular user of. The reason behind this decision is that we take the responsibility for the integrity of the forums owned by others: they shouldn’t lose their community content involuntarily due to certain users terminating their account. However, you may contact the admins of those forums requesting content removal.

Who owns the content?

Technically the user owns their own content and they grant a permanent license to Muut under our terms of service which includes our handling of any liability issues that come up with that content (like DMCA requirements).

As a forum owner we grant you a permanent license to it as well. So that means you can pull your forum content and use it however you like forever. Your forum content is, in all intents and purposes, yours to use however you like.

We essentially act as a proxy for the rights to the content taking the logistical issues that come up with user generated content and pass along the license to you free of that. The primary benefit to having direct rights to the content bypassing us (available for enterprise users) is that you can design the terms of service so that the terms are compatible with the rest of your service, or if there is simply a legal/liability requirement that you handle things like DMCA requests yourself.

What if I found a bug or security vulnerability?

Muut believes in ethical disclosure. Head to our ethical disclosure info page to learn more about how to report your bug or security vulnerability.