The software platform that we are using for these discussions is called Discourse.
GitHub - discourse/discourse: A platform for community discussion. Free, open, simple.
Discourse - Civilized Discussion
It is one of the most widely used (if not the most widely used) discussion platforms on the internet in 2021.
I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but to call this a crappy/awful user interface is stretching credibility to the extreme - just look at the wide range of organisations that have adopted this “awful user interface” for their discussion forums.
For example, Discourse is used for the discussion of at least one other popular language learning platform that I can think of - Memrise.
Now, maybe it hasn’t been made clear that Clozemaster (the language learning platform) and the community forum (powered by Discourse) are separate entities that need to be managed separately (e.g. through settings menus). If that is the source of frustration and the reason that these settings were considered “buried so deeply”, then that is a different issue and one that I believe could be addressed by the site administrators.
From what I can see, the problems that have led to some frustration (perhaps mild, perhaps errrm … somewhat aggressive), are due to the fact that Clozemaster has delivered an excellent opportunity for people to discuss sentences on the community forum, and furthermore it has also provided a link to these discussions on its own platform.
Typically, using a discussion forum in this manner would have required the user to go to the discussion forum, start a new conversation, put in the subject line (which the user might or might not decide to be the same as the sentence itself) and then write their notes regarding the sentence.
However, Clozemaster has gone one step further and actually allowed a limited interface between the discussion forum and the “Discussion” tab for the sentence in Clozemaster itself, such that discussions can be started, continued, and updates to discussions included in the “Discussion” tab. For my part, I am incredibly grateful for the inclusion of this feature.
This means that after having filled in the cloze on a sentence, in some cases I can start a discussion (which might even be just a note that other people might be interested in such as incorrect pronunciation). Alternatively, having entered the cloze, I might see a little number next to the “Discussion” tab for that sentence and then be able to follow an interesting discussion that other people have posted. These are an excellent features, and ones that I use often.
@morbrorper makes a good point, in my opinion, about having watch levels changed if you post a comment in Clozemaster itself. I would hope that it might be possible to implement the Watching/Tracking level change as suggested. (N.B. I appreciate that Clozemaster has done a very good job of hiding some of the complexity of matching identities (and access/authorisation) in Clozemaster and identities in the community forum, when in practice this might require quite a bit of work).
Furthermore, a suggestion that I believe would be very worthy of consideration would be for the site administrator (@mike ?) to add a sentence with a link to the instructions for how to use Discourse somewhere in that “Guten Tag …” message at the top of the community forum page (modifying it to suit Clozemaster branding if desired, as suggested under “Tips” at the bottom of the instructions page).
Discourse New User Guide - howto / faq - Discourse Meta
It might also be useful to send a message with the instructions to new users of the community forum when they sign up.
This might then lead to people being less likely to think that the interface is crappy/awful, and that instead they might perhaps have some mild degree of appreciation that it could possibly (if pressured under extreme duress) be considered at least … “acceptable” .