Announcements
2y ago

Webhooks & Vimeo embeds

Webhooks

Outverse now provides webhooks which allow you to receive HTTP push notifications whenever data is created or updated. This allows you to build integrations on top of your community. For example, you could trigger notifications via different channels, update a CRM object and much more.

Webhook updates are currently supported for the following models (we plan to support more data objects in the future):;

Spaces, Threads, Replies, Members, Custom roles, Scheduled Events

An example webhook consumer may look something like this:

const express = require("express");
const bodyParser = require("body-parser");
const app = express();
const port = 3000;

// Parse the request body
app.use(bodyParser.json());

// Receive HTTP POST requests
app.post("/my-outverse-webhook", (req, res) => {
  const payload = req.body;
  const { action, data, type, createdAt } = payload;

  // Do something neat with the data received!

  // Finally, respond with a HTTP 200 to signal all good
  res.sendStatus(200);
});

app.listen(port, () => console.log(`My webhook consumer listening on port ${port}!`));

Configuring a webhook

Webhooks can be configured via the community settings.

Click on "New webhook", and specify the URL in which you have an endpoint ready to receive HTTP POST requests. Label is used to identify webhooks and describe their purpose. Your newly created webhook will be listed and is ready to be used. Your defined URL of http://example.com/webhooks/outverse-example will now get notified of any updates for your chosen models.

Vimeo embeds

You can now natively embed Vimeo videos in custom spaces and forums using the YouTube embed block. Our first embed blocks include: YouTube, Loom & Figma blocks.

To add an embed block to a custom space or thread/reply post, simply paste the Vimeo video’s URL directly into your editor or navigate down to the correct ‘Embed block’ option in your / command menu. Once you’ve added the block, you will be able to choose between small, medium or large sizing before hitting publish or send.

1 reply
2y ago

Drag & drop, updated compact thread view and unread filtering

Drag & drop to reorder

A much requested feature is now live in Outverse – community admins can now drag & drop to reorder spaces and space groups. We’ll be adding further drag & drop customisation to other parts of Outverse soon. Spaces can now be reordered within groups, moved between groups, and also removed from all group via drag & drop.

Compact thread UI

We’ve improved the UI for our compact thread view within forums. The updated compact view now contains a high density of information for quickly scanning and navigating busy forums within Outverse communities.

Unread activity filters

Community members and admins can now quickly filter forum threads on unread activity/notifications. Threads containing unread direct replies, mentions or any new reply within a thread members are subscribed to – along with new threads within forums that members are subscribed to will all now show in the new notifications tab within forum spaces. Switch between compact and expanded views within forums by using the view selector in the top right hand corner.

Improvements & fixes

  • Added notification count to thread card for high value unread notifications

  • Fixed an issue where on rare occasions, locked threads could not be unlocked

  • Fixed a member profile image display issue within forum spaces

  • Improved accessibility on a number of button components

  • Improved loading speed for forum spaces

1 reply
2y ago

Update: August Town Hall

Hey everyone!

We're postponing today's community town hall event, which will be rescheduled soon + some more announcements on upcoming community events!

We also have some exciting news coming soon so please stay tuned here in the space for more! 🪐

0 replies
2y ago

Embedding threads, saved drafts and more

Embedding threads

At Outverse, we want to make finding & surfacing great community content as easy & seamless as possible. Thread embeds are the next step on this journey. Threads can now be embedded and referenced in both custom spaces and forum spaces, opening up new ways for communities to organize & unearth great content.

To embed a thread, simply copy the threads link (via hitting 'Copy link"in the thread card menu) and then paste it into your custom space or forum thread/reply. You can then choose whether to show the expanded or collapsed view of the thread.

Expect much more to come from thread embeds, including increased interactivity, in-line formatting, and more (and reply embeds are launching soon too 🦾).

Here's an example of an embedded thread 👇


Drafts

One of our most requested features is now live. You can now close your composer when drafting both threads and replies without losing your changes. If you close your composer mid-draft, the draft will be automatically saved, ready for your return.


Horizontal line breaks

Another small but frequently requested feature is now live in custom spaces. Type three dashes or underscores “---” / "___" (without any intervening spaces) to create a horizontal rule and help organize & format your custom spaces.

Improvements & fixes

  • Visual upgrade to the default spaces section of a community

  • In-line space mentions are now drag & droppable within composers

  • Fixed a bug where occasionally thread titles where not updating when updated

  • Performance upgrade to search results querying

1 reply
2y ago

Community search, thread locking & quick links

Community search

v1 of community search has arrived in Outverse. To search within a community, hit the Search button in the top bar (alternatively, you can hit ⌘K).

You can now search across threads and replies with speed and accuracy – with results showing the author, thread and space.

This is just the beginning for community search – we’re working hard on further search features that will enable quicker, more granular filtering and more detailed results.

Thread locking

Thread locking is now live! Once a thread is locked, members will no longer be able to reply within the thread (until it’s unlocked) – although they can still emoji react tot the thread and its replies. Only admins or community members with the ‘Manage forums’ permission will be able to lock threads.

Thread locking can be used in a number of different ways – including…

  • Preventing replies on particular community updates/announcements

  • Locking a time-based discussion/event, whilst keeping it readable for the community

To lock / unlock a thread, click the menu button on a thread card followed by the Lock thread / Unlock thread option.

Quick-link to replies

You can now quickly copy links to replies within threads ⚡️. Reply links will also now auto-scroll to the specific reply, making it much easier to share community content!

Improvements & fixes

  • Performance improvement to the ‘Manage members’ section of the community settings dashboard

  • Fixed a bug where on rare occasions, duplicate replies where being posted

  • Fixed a bug where on some posts, emoji reactions were being incorrectly ordered

  • Optimized default rate limits for community thread posting

0 replies
2y ago

Thread pinning, composer minimize and rich syntax highlighting

Thread pinning

You can now pin threads within forums! Pinned threads will be pinned to the top of forums and you can pin as many threads as you want at any one time. Thread pinning can be used in a number of ways, including...

  • Highlighting threads you want to encourage activity in

  • Highlighting threads for increased community visibility

  • Adding specific space guidelines, instructions and descriptions

To pin/unpin a thread, simply click the menu button on a thread card, and click the Pin thread or Unpin thread option.

Minimizing the reply composer

When composing a reply within a thread, we’ve added the ability to minimize the composer – making sure you can always see all of the thread content whilst you’re composing your reply!

Rich syntax highlighting

We've added rich syntax highlighting to our code blocks in the thread & reply composer (along with custom spaces). To add a code block with rich syntax highlighting, simply type three back-ticks followed by the programming language name, e.g. ```python or ```css. 🦾 Here's an example of a python block...

for fizzbuzz in range(1,100):
 
    # Number divisible by 15,(divisible
    # by both 3 & 5), print 'FizzBuzz'
    if fizzbuzz % 15 == 0:
        print("FizzBuzz")                                        
        continue
 
    # Number divisible by 3, print 'Fizz'
    elif fizzbuzz % 3 == 0:    
        print("Fizz")                                        
        continue
 
    # Number divisible by 5, print 'Buzz'
    elif fizzbuzz % 5 == 0:        
        print("Buzz")                                    
        continue
 
    print(fizzbuzz)

Improvements & fixes

  • Performance improvement to the member directory

  • Added the ability to hit ⌘ + ↩ to submit a reply within a thread

  • Fixed a bug where emoji reactions were not being immediately re-fetched when navigating from thread back to forum

  • Notification links now auto-scroll directly to the specific post

0 replies
2y ago

Introducing: Emoji reactions!

One of our most popular feature requests from the community has been emoji reactions – which we are excited to have just launched in Outverse! Sometimes, an emoji is all that’s needed…head into threads to react to posts & replies – the entire up-to-date emoji set is available for all! 🪐💙💫

0 replies
2y ago

Number #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt!

Yesterday was an amazing day for us as Outverse landed the Number #1 Product of the Day spot on Product Hunt. 😍

Many of the Outverse community have joined us from Product Hunt – so a big hello to all of you & thank you for the amazing love! 👋

We're still in contention for Number #1 Product of the Week. So in case you haven't yet supported us on Product Hunt, we'd be grateful for the additional love. Please support, share and leave any feedback: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/outverse

Thanks again and look forward to seeing what everyone builds on Outverse! 🪐

0 replies
2y ago

Outverse is live on Product Hunt! 🪐🚀

Outverse is live today on Product Hunt! Our vision is to create the platform for the next generation of community builders — combining forums, Notion-style custom spaces, video and more — and we’re super excited to share more with everyone today.

Check it out here and please leave your feedback & comments – thanks so much everyone!: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/outverse

3 replies
2y ago

Keyboard shortcuts, commands and embed block formatting

Keyboard Shortcuts & the command menu

Keyboard shortcuts & commands are a favorite of power users, enabling them to control their most common actions directly from the keyboard (and helping them find some of the less common!). We’re exciting to begin introducing more keyboard shortcuts to the Outverse product to help you navigate, explore and interact within communities ✨🦾

To begin, bring up your command menu by hitting + K – from which you will find a list of common/helpful actions along with any accompanying shortcuts.

Some of the Outverse team’s favourite shortcuts are:

  • ⇧ + N to create a new thread within a community

  • ⇧ + R to reply within a thread

  • ⌘ + K > Theme to switch between light/dark themes

We've got a lot more commands and shortcuts in the works! ⚡️

Embed block alignment & resizing

We’ve added the ability to align and resize embed blocks. Embed blocks can now be left, center, and right aligned – along with small, medium and large sizing options. To align or resize an embed block in either a custom space or a forum post – just hover over the block and select your desired options! This includes image GIF, YouTube, Loom, and Figma embed blocks (with more on the way!) 🎨

Improvements & fixes

  • Improved forums and thread loading performance

  • Improved member directory page/search performance

  • Fixed a bug where placeholder text was hidden in the 'Create Thread' and 'Reply to thread' modals

  • Fixed a bug where GIFs were occasionally overflowing on mobile

0 replies
2y ago

Adding embed blocks & GIFs in your community

Embed blocks

You can now natively embed YouTube videos in custom spaces and forums using the YouTube embed block. Our first embed blocks include: YouTube, Loom & Figma blocks.

To add an embed block to a custom space or thread/reply post, simply paste the URL directly into your editor or navigate down to the correct ‘Embed block’ option in your / command menu. Once you’ve added the block, you will be able to choose between small, medium or large sizing before hitting publish or send!

GIFs

GIFs have arrived in Outverse. Sometimes, a GIF can speak a thousand words – and they can now be added to both custom spaces and forums via our Giphy integration!

To add GIFs, use the /giphy command or the 'GIF' block in the / command menu.

Fixes & improvements

  • Performance optimization in forum spaces loading time

  • Fixed a navigation bug with the ‘Close’ button on user settings

  • Added toast notification on ‘Verify email’ page when email is resent

0 replies
2y ago

I did a Q&A! ✨ – a bit on my background as a community builder & why I'm so excited about what we're building at Outverse 🪐

What excited you to join Outverse?

Tom: Community has been really instrumental to my growth as a designer and maker. Building my own community and actively participating in many others has shown me how much power there is in being a part of something where — no matter where you are physically located — you have the ability to connect with others like yourself.

Joining Outverse was a no-brainer knowing that we’re focused on solving the same big issues I faced when growing my own community. I’ve seen the limitations with other tools firsthand including the lack of real customisability. With a focus on enabling high-quality interaction and collaboration, Outverse is massively levelling up the experience for online communities — which I’m super excited to be a part of.

Tell us a bit more about The Designers League and your own personal evolution as a community builder?

Tom: I created The Designers League (TDL) when I moved from London back to my home city (which has a population of around 100,000). It felt immeasurably smaller and lonelier instantly. I decided to create a Facebook group to keep in touch with university friends and peers; upon seeing my friends and their friends join also it sparked the idea that this could be so much more than simply a coping mechanism!

Several years later the community has grown to over 70,000 members, with 0 ad spend. Building TDL showed me I could wear more hats and move beyond just my skillset as purely a designer to become more of a generalist maker type.

When I started TDL, community building was less of a trend — and we certainly did not have the same amount of options when it comes to tooling as exists today. It’s a great time to start a community, but an ever increasingly hard time to build something that lasts. That’s something we’re looking to fix with Outverse.

How did you get into design and what has your journey looked like since?

Tom: When I was a teenager I played in a couple bands. I found myself enjoying tweaking our Myspace layouts (remember that?) and creating branding / merchandise more so than actually playing in a band. I taught myself all the usual tools and techniques and have never looked back.

Moving into product design happened when I launched my community and decided to build sites and products for it. Being unable to code, I had to rely on tools like WordPress to get these off the ground. The later emergence of no-code tools like Webflow, Bubble & Softr really opened my eyes to what I could make and build without significant technical overhead.

This led me into really being passionate about building tools and platforms which enable users to create more easily. My previous role at Softr saw me helping users create software without code and my new role at Outverse is a return back to my roots, building tools for the next generation of online communities.

What’s your biggest recommendation to anyone looking to build a community today?

Tom: Start with a super specific purpose; worry about expanding the scope of it later. With TDL, my initial purpose was getting feedback on design work from university peers. As we grew in size, we became more of an ell-encompassing home for designers spanning across all stages of career and experience levels.

Keeping focused helps you pinpoint the type of community member you want to attract and it also means you can focus on just doing the main function of your community really well — which is integral to keeping your community healthy and active.

Once you have an active early community you have the perfect opportunity to expand your offerings by listening to your members and discovering what they want and need.

What’s your favourite thing you’ve built?

Tom: The Designers League as a community and its various accompanying websites & products over the years. It was an amazing learning experience which taught me how to be a marketer, developer (without code!) & community manager all at the same time.

2 replies
2y ago

Introducing inline blocks, focus mode & more...

New inline block: Mention Space

We believe it's important for communities to be able to seamlessly reference and embed other sections & objects within their Outverse community. We’ve made it easier to ‘mention’ a space inline in both custom spaces and forums using the # command or scrolling to the ‘Mention space’ inline block in the / command menu.

Focus mode

Outverse forums are built to encourage thoughtful discussion, interaction & collaboration. We’ve launched focus mode to do exactly this. Now, when you’re creating a thread or replying within a thread – you can enter a full screen view whilst composing to cancel out the noise and focus on your writing. To enter focus mode, simply hit the focus-mode icon when creating a thread or composing a reply.

Post notifications

We’ve added more granular notification settings for threads. You can now subscribe to receive notifications for all new posts within a thread, or just direct replies to you.

Hyperlinks

Custom hyperlinks can now be added in both custom spaces and threads. Like this!

Fixes & Improvements

  • Improved performance of the member directory search speed

  • Fixed a bug where tooltips where not showing in the member directory

  • User theme now defaults to a user’s system theme preference

  • User’s can now navigate to User Settings directly from the sidebar

  • Fixed a bug where member role badges where limited to displaying 3 roles within forum spaces

  • Added toast notification during email verification flow when user requests to resend email

0 replies
2y ago

Outverse and the future of online communities 🪐

Announcing our £1M preseed round with Seedcamp & Connect Ventures. Original post here.

There’s a certain magic in online communities. At their best, they are places we can find joy, learn from others and even discover a sense of belonging.

A global health crisis only further highlighted the importance of internet-based community, with the ability to connect over shared interest & passions a refuge for many.

It truly feels as if we’re at a generational moment for online community building. More than two-thirds of us actively participate in online communities and that figure is only set to rise.

Yet the options at hand are poor — with people building communities on apps originally meant for workplace communication like Slack, legacy-feeling forum software or more chat-focused tools. There’s a better way.

Escaping the noise

The gathering places of the early 2000s Internet — forums & IRC channels, ‘the open prairies of the early web’ — had a special charm and neighbourhood feeling to them: each a little different & unique.

There’s been a turn against this in recent years with people flocking to closed communities & groups for both work and play: the likes of Slack, Discord and group chats rather than large social media sites. While these products were transformational in their time and have broadened out from their origins, there are drawbacks for communities.

A huge issue we see with synchronous chat platforms is the noise and loss of context which they invite. While great for casual connection, the format of instant, short-form response & lack of overarching thread-based organisation means that discussions are easily lost within the noise. Important topics & questions are buried under an avalanche of messages and notifications. As a result, people lose track of the conversation. And they churn.

There’s certainly a place for realtime chat, which can be great for kickstarting conversations, but we believe there are better primary foundations for connecting communities.

The other big issue with existing platforms is their lack of flexibility. Community forums of old, clunky as they often were, felt authentic and special places to gather. They looked and felt different because surprisingly enough the tools they were built upon often permitted much wider customisation.

There’s a creative energy and personality this unleashed — one that feels missing in the identikit Slack communities with their incessant notification overload which we all know too well.

Building better online spaces with Outverse

If you were building a platform for communities to gather & interact today, how it would look? Our answer is that it should be focused on enabling much richer, more thoughtful & better structured discussion — which is why we’ve built modernized forums as a key foundation of Outverse communities.

Rather than the free-for-all that is synchronous chat — where every message ‘shares the same compact shape, and worse, the same level of urgency’ — the result with structured, thread-based discussion is much more intentional community spaces where conversations are better organised and more discoverable.

In addition, through draggable text blocks, shortcut commands & native embeds, we are making it much easier for people to better express themselves when composing & contributing to threads — levelling up the forum experience massively.

The second important foundation for us is empowering people to better personalize their communities. That’s why we enable custom spaces within Outverse. Here users can add advanced functional blocks to their spaces, enabling real-time collaboration, content embedding and more — all as easy as editing a document. This reduces the need for using too many tools & means more holistic control for community builders.

It’s impossible to ignore the importance of live video for communities too. Especially since 2020, realtime video has become a cornerstone way that communities are connecting. There’s an amazing serendipity in live interaction and the chance connections it offers up.

For that reason, we’ve also built live video spaces as a major foundation of Outverse. Without the need for additional tools, using Outverse communities can connect either via scheduled sessions (with seamless calendaring) or drop-in ‘spaces’.

Ultimately, we believe in offering communities the ability to configure their spaces in a way that’s unique and right for them.

Our partners & the journey ahead

We’re delighted to be backed by a stellar set of investors who bring phenomenal expertise in building and scaling communities.

We’re excited to share that we have raised a £1M preseed round led by Seedcamp and joined by Connect Ventures. We’re also supported by Nicolas Julia (founder and CEO at Sorare), Foreword.VC and The Fund, as well as founders & executives from the likes of Revolut, Dropbox, Airbnb, Songkick, Grabyo, Lyst & more. All share an immense passion in empowering the next generation of community builders.

Over the past months we’ve been working hard on our closed beta and we’re excited to be opening that up to more communities. We have huge plans in store for the rest of the year.

If you’re interested in building a better space for your community, signup to our waitlist for early access!

Team Outverse 🪐

0 replies