How does Discourse "work better", exactly?
Several examples have already been given. You're determined to hate it, and that's fine.
The long-winded discussion> on variants of voting systems (with close to 100 messages) isn't exactly *important* except for voting system nerds.
Yet that discussion was spun off from a _different_ thread, so that's close to 100 messages that don't show up _at all_ on the thread from which it was spun off. Better than a threaded view, if you were looking at the original thread, that's close to 100 messages you'd never know even existed.
As to its "importance", the title of the thread you're complaining about ("Python Governance Electoral System") made it clear it was _about_ the election system. If you don't care about the election system, why read it at all? You can't seriously complain that a thread is full of messages it was intended to be about.
The subthread you started about the "3-2-1" system was of close to no value,
I disagree. It may well have been of negative value to _you_, but it served its intended purpose, and 3-2-1 was approved by close to half the poll voters despite that it wasn't intended to be a serious contender at this time. It got _some_ people to think - "does an attractive method really need a background in graph theory to even start to grasp? display bizarre behavior in simple cases?". Well, no. Which was news to some.
In any case, that subthread consisted of a grand total of 4 brief messages, including my original post. That 3-2-1 continued to be mentioned in _distinct_ subtrees shows the seed I planted sprouted. Good!
since you admitted yourself that that system is too young and immature to be chosen, and you were only "planting a seed" (and probably enjoying yourself a bit in the process).
Yet it seems Discourse didn't discourage you from doing so. Why?
Because, to me, it was a valuable message thoroughly on topic.
Well, because people making tangents on topics they like to talk about is irrelevant to the discussion system used (and your own behaviour proves it).
As above, I disagree. Knocking people loose from a presumption that a good voting system "has to be" complex or inscrutable was supremely relevant to the thread's purpose. As is, I believe it helped lead to the final decision: "pure Condorcet", which is soooooo simple that it's not even "a scoring method". It's just a form of ballot, with an agreement that if there's no utterly inarguable winner (a "Condorcet winner"), we'll try something else until there is.
The only way you can prevent tangents is by preventing discussion altogether.
Sure. But in this case, I don't agree that "the tangent" you identified was a tangent, and Discourse _did_ prevent other tangents from spinning out of control. For example, when we got to talking about the possibility of ties, there was pretty quick consensus that if we wanted to keep on with that, an entirely _different_ message thread should be started for it. Much as there was consensus earlier that the election system messages should be spun off to their own entirely different thread. Which happened - but still leaves you complaining about it ;-)
*However*, an important feature of a discussion system is to help skipping tangents you're not interested about. A threaded discussion system makes it very easy to ignore a subthread. Not so much where the various subthreads are intermingled in a flat chronologic view.
So we'll apparently continue to disagree here. To my eyes, there were close to no off-topic tangents in the thread under discussion, and the people actually participating in the thread were in broad agreement that some other _related_ topics should be spun off to a different top-level thread if people wanted to pursue them.
It worked fine.