How Do You Feel About Discourse?

Dr.Who

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 25, 2015
Messages
186
About 3 years ago we were testing various forum software's as we needed to sort a direction our group wanted to go. Discourse was one of the forum software's that we tried. We eventually went with XenForo BUT I kept thinking about Discourse.

For those that don't know Discourse: https://www.discourse.org/

I recently created a DigitalOcean droplet to play with and I have to say, I still love it. Next to XenForo it's my favorite forum software. I'm going to try and learn some CSS to apply to my droplet and see what I can create, but I'm starting from scratch so it'll be slow I suspect. ;)

The things I love:
  • The clean look
  • The responsive theme is almost perfect imo.
  • I love that all dialogue from any category is displayed, I think it promotes discussion
  • I find it's fast
Do you currently use Discourse and if so, how do you feel about it? :)
 

cheat_master30

Moderator
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
3,874
I honestly see it as pretty meh to be honest. It's not the worst forum software, but it's certainly not a massive reinvention or the future of the industry, regardless of what the developers seem to think. Style is okay, though a tad plain and uninteresting. The feature list is mostly comparable to other free forum scripts, and doesn't get close to the likes of XenForo or IPB.

But I just can't really get myself to keep returning to or using a site that's powered by it. And I suspect a lot of others agree, since most conversions to Discourse have generally backfired, with a large amount of the community not being too keen on it and activity not racing back to the site like some people were hoping.

Basically, it's decent enough, but if you're after the 'future of forums', this isn't it.
 

Dr.Who

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 25, 2015
Messages
186
I would call the style "modern" and it's responsive style is perfect for me. I run a forum where people just want to just click upload and have an image come up on their phone to select. It couldn't get any easier with Discourse in this regard. My XenForo responsive theme wouldn't be as good imo.
discourse1.jpg discourse2.jpg

I couldn't imagine switching from a existing "traditional" (for lack of a better term) forum to Discourse, it would be way too different. I could see lots of people not sticking around after that. I think it would be best suited to new forums.
 

Matthew S

Adherent
Joined
Jun 27, 2015
Messages
306
I actually thought it was some style add-on to xF. To be honest, I don't really like it. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's most likely the navigation (or what I perceive to be the lack of it). Maybe it's because I've been around forums since the UBB days and I just prefer a traditional layout. I only visit Discourse forums when I have something specific I need. I get what I need and leave. I won't participate casually as part of the community. Perhaps it's the nature of those forums (electronics related), but I don't see many other long term participants, either. Very few users seem to take the time to upload an avatar, for example, so I presume others hit and run as I do.
 

GTB

Tazmanian
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
4,031
On front face of it, I quite liked how Discourse looked for using being different from most forums showing topics on landing page with categories shown in sidebar. But when you get under the hood it lacks too much. No quoting by default was a killer for me, you need quoting system in there stock. It's one of them that looks promising but falls short on some basic forum features needed
 
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tomk

Adherent
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
330
Discourse has quoting and selective quoting, drag and drop of images, etc. Probably the most advanced editor of any forum software.

And has been in the code for a bit. 1.6 was just released, they are developing faster than any forum software stack. Major release about every quarter with tons of features.

https://meta.discourse.org/t/discourse-version-1-6/36402/2
 

echoes1977

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Messages
46
I love it. And I am surprised most web applications have evolved in time except Web forums. If I was going to create a brand new community, I would certainly go for Discourse. Responsive design, mobile friendly, fast, integrates well with third party applications (FB, Twitter, etc.), smart (e.g. when you are creating a topic you're offered automatically alternatives so that you can see if that what you wanted to create already exists), etc.

As my community is well established, I am currently participating as an user on meta.discourse.org to see the pros and cons of this application. Some of my forum staff members are also checking it before we take the decision, but so far I am for it. The only cons I see now are installation and setup compared to traditional forums.
 

cheat_master30

Moderator
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
3,874
so what is the future of forums for you?

Something that's a lot more mobile focused and app like in it's design. Discourse always looked to me like a forum where the CSS went missing rather minimal, and it comes across as a half step between old and new forums type of deal. The real future of forums is something that goes all the way, targets younger demographics that want information more quickly and is designed for quick messaging and posting from a smartphone rather than from a desktop computer.
 

echoes1977

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Messages
46
Something that's a lot more mobile focused and app like in it's design. Discourse always looked to me like a forum where the CSS went missing rather minimal, and it comes across as a half step between old and new forums type of deal. The real future of forums is something that goes all the way, targets younger demographics that want information more quickly and is designed for quick messaging and posting from a smartphone rather than from a desktop computer.

Have you actually tried Discourse? because it has most of what you are saying, specially the "quick messaging" thing and the fact that is mobile friendly.
 

cheat_master30

Moderator
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
3,874
I have tried it, on quite a few forums. A certain gaming site I used to visit had Discourse, as did a WordPress forum called WP Chat.

But I just can't enjoy using it. Sorry.
 

BeyBrad

Adherent
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
361
I enjoy how forward-thinking it is and I think it's one of the better mobile forum experiences, but the UI has always seemed very unintuitive to me. In many ways it feels that the design pushes users to adapt to a new paradigm without making it feel natural. And while I like the idea of endless scrolling, but in practice with Discourse it makes me feel disoriented. But I still think it's pretty cool and that these issues won't be enough to stop a lot of people for reaching for a more modern out of the box experience when building their next project.
 

Tracy Perry

Opinionated asshat
Joined
May 25, 2013
Messages
5,071
Played with it on a domain (assholesr.us) but really didn't like it. I normally want more features than it has for it.
 
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