Big Changes Coming to the Forums!


I do not understand this point at all. I know nothing about Discourse that would make you feel like you have to rush or you’ll miss the conversation. Nothing about the software of Discourse promotes stream of consciousness discussions more than any other forum software. And in fact, Discourse is more like email, seeing as you can literally use a Discourse forum exclusively through email! Please explain your argument.

Well the categories page isn’t going away, if that’s useful to you for knowing what kinds of topics are accepted.

All: I’ve changed the front page of the Discourse test to a more conventional categories page. Honestly I don’t see the point - it’s exactly the same as the left side of the previous configuration. The sub categories now take up fewer lines, but it doesn’t seem like it’s worth not also having the latest posts. But again, feedback is welcome.

And note, we don’t only want negative feedback - if there’s a feature in either test forum you do like, please do share that! :slight_smile:


That fact that discourse looks and functions more like a social media site than a forum is exactly what will cause more rapid and less thought-out posts. People will tend to interact with the site in the way it presents itself. Changing the way that people can interact with something will change how they interact with it… That’s how changing user interface works out.

The phpBB upgrade looks fantastic. Looks like a forum. Works like a forum. Does not pretend to be social media. Promotes forum-behavior.

“We get more posts that require more moderation” means a discourse install results in more non-quality posts. Fewer posts of greater quality is better than more posts of no quality.

As for “through email,” phpBB can do that too, but again, if I wanted to be part of a mailing list, I would have signed up for a mailing list (or check nntp servers)…

(Hanon Ondricek) #83

You can change your default homepage view on discourse to unread or latest if you do not like the side by side category view. I posted a topic showing how to do that.

Dannii actually fixed the category page so it’s one list. I’m experimenting with the category view, please realize we are still testing!

(bg) #84

Things I like:

  • Discourse has moderation features that could be helpful when there are problems (e.g. from what I understand, it’s possible for multiple people to flag the same post, and if it gets a certain number of flags, it can be semi-hidden even before the mods show up).
  • Discourse can be navigated on either computers or phones without too much trouble.
  • Phpbb lets you page through a long thread without having to use infinite scrolling.
  • On the category page on the phpbb forum, the sub-categories (e.g. “Community Announcements”) are prominent and laid out in a predictable way–you only have to look down the left edge of the page to find the right one. There are some “latest posts” but they don’t compete for focus with the categories.

But I figure things like maintainability and security are more important than my personal preferences.

(Hanon Ondricek) #85

This is true. Newly-created accounts are limited with regard to what they can post (links, files) and there is a cooldown between posts. However, it only takes several minutes of actually reading the forum like an actual member to remove these limits. (Don’t behave like a spammer, Discourse recognizes it.)

If three users flag a post, it is automatically hidden until Mods can check it out. Users who are very active gain the ability to hide a post with one flag until moderation due to their trusted status.

The other cool thing is trusted users have the ability to re-categorize messages to organize them - the equivalent of “moving them to the correct board” based on message content.

Dannii also rearranged the default front page of the Discourse forum to just be categories and sub-categories, which is closer to the experience on phpBB. Users can set what gets shown on the home page (new posts, latest posts…) individually in their profile.

(bg) #86

If you don’t mind experimenting, I’d be curious to see what it looked like if you kept both the “Categories” column and the “Latest” column, but made the “Categories” column wider (maybe 2/3 or 3/4 of the width that was originally occupied by both columns) and the “Latest” column narrower. … age/101177
And maybe make the font size of the “Latest” posts closer to the size of the other text on the page, if possible. Unless that happens automatically when you adjust the column width.

(The layout of that page isn’t the most important consideration about choosing forum software, or anything like that. It just seems like the sort of issue where a compromise solution might be possible–keep “Latest” on the page but make it more minimal, as Erik Temple suggested.)

(Erik Temple) #87

Most long-time users probably won’t use the Categories page at all, I don’t think, so it’s about giving new users a map of the forum and a sense of what’s there. As folks have mentioned, it’s probably fine to show the latest posts on the categories page, but to make that list less shouty. This site does a nice job of marking the latest posts in each category as subsidiary to the categories list:

Markdown, having both new and unread pages and the ability to mark posts read right from the page where you’re reviewing them (our current phpBB implementation requires you to go to the home page to mark all as read), actually readable on mobile…


Discourse search seems to return more relevant results than I was ever able to get on current forum. That makes it much easier to get answers without having to post the same question that’s been ask more than once. That’s a big plus.

I like the latest iteration of the layout. I would not add back the column for latest news since that’s just a button click away anyhow.

I was wondering how much control we as users have over configuring the layout/features in a sticky way on the client side?

Also, what’s the ETA for the migration? The sooner this bandage gets ripped off, the sooner we can get over the sting of change.

(matt w) #89

I like that glowforge setup a lot!

(Hanon Ondricek) #90

You can preview this on the test server. Go to your profile (click your avatar on the upper right) and select Preferences (the gear). Under Interface you can customize the home screen, as well as adjust text-size and other options.

(Hanon Ondricek) #91

Aha, I’ve just learned how to import themes that are user-selectable. Check it out:

(jkj yuio) #92

Hi Everyone,

I posted some tests on the new forum - i hope it doesn’t mess anything up. But everything worked (except mathjax). Images work great, which was always a problem with the old one. Its just a breath of fresh air to use markdown at last!

Also i found this,

which seems to work pretty cool as well.

discourse gets my vote for sure.


Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate your effort and I really like lots of small features Discourse offers which forum software born in early internet days is missing and will miss forever, I just dislike few big show stoppers… And when saying “dislike”, I mean that I’m still not sure whatever they are bearable or prevent usage altogether, I’ve never used Discourse in practice.

Positive - mostly features: autoloading new posts on background, autosaving posts, local image hosting (even hotlinked can be automatically downloaded), syntax highlight, styling of the posts which is simple and nice to read, around 80 characters per line, markdown, e-mail integration, summarize, solved, probably helps moderators a lot (oh, thanks moderators for making this forum spam free, it surely takes lot of effort!)

Mixed - mostly design: mobile only design with hidden or weird formatted controls, rounded avatars make not only realnc’s icon weird, won’t send me an e-mail for password recovery, useless animations which detracts my focus like blinking post on load or switching fixed header from site name to topic name or animating scroll indicator on thread page only after you stop scrolling page, everything social, yet to see first relevant match in relevant topics on bottom of every topic which should at least have header to be visually separated from the posts.

Negative - mostly behaviour: way slower to load every page than current forum, 2,5 MB javascript + 0,5 MB css burns my CPU with loud fan noise, breaks scrolling, breaks searching, breaks clipboard and cannot be fixed because authors are so proud they made it this way.

(matt w) #94

I don’t know if this is connected to phpBB or to the creakiness of the old server, but on the rare occasions when I can get “Unread posts” to work now it seems broken–it’s showing posts as unread that I have, in fact, read. So I wind up trying to delete spammers whose accounts I’d already deleted.

At this point it’s a bit hard for me to disentangle what is inherent to phpBB and what is going on because the main way I used to interact with the forum (unread posts search) is currently broken.


This also demonstrates a feature missing from the current phpBB forum: quotes don’t include a link to the post that’s being quoted. This one happens to be at the bottom of page 6 of this thread if you’re using the default posts/page value.

(David Griffith) #96

That can be fixed in the default quote header stuff.


Please do include this feature in the new forum, whichever software you decide on. Thanks!


A bug in the test Discourse server:

While on my account’s “Preferences -> Interface” page, stepping through the various themes to see what they looked like, each time I selected a new theme in the drop-down menu, the “Saved!” status (next to the “Save Changes” button) continued to be shown. It was left over from the previous time I did a Save. This can be confusing, since the new settings had not in fact been saved yet.

The “Saved!” text should disappear whenever a new option has been selected and has not yet been saved.


Have you considered making any other themes available?

After stepping through the Themes currently available on the test Discourse server, it looks like the “Fakebook” theme is the only one which doesn’t include posters’ avatars on the “front” page at

Do you know if there are any others which don’t include those Avatar images?

Edited to add:

A suggestion:

It’d be nice if there were a thread which includes screengrabs showing how the various themes look. I think this would help members to decide which they prefer without going through the somewhat painful process of stepping through them all and refreshing a typical page each time to see what they look like.

(Hanon Ondricek) #100

There are more themes, but many of them don’t differ too much from the standard light/dark themes. The only place I obtained the new ones from is the official Discourse forum. I’ll scour through them again and see if there are more interesting ones, but I suspect most people are going for clear, simple layouts.

There is a theme editor and CSS options available. I’m sure we’d love to incorporate user-selectable themes created by our community members. They’re easily installable if the theme data is stored on Github.

Here is the thread explaining how it’s done, and there is a theme previewer website. … emes/60848