Advice for starting a community site for housing cooperative

Hi, my name is Eugene. I’m a software engineer from Ukraine. I’d like to use Discourse and I am seeking for advice.

I am a member of the housing cooperative here in Kyiv. Presently, 240+ neighbors of the building I live in communicate in a Viber group. Avalanche of daily messages, no structure to the communication whatsoever, extremely bad search – it’s easy to see how a user group in Viber was not designed to accommodate needs of the community.

A year ago fellow neighbor had set up a community forum based on a XenForo. Here it is: Форум ЖК "Старокиевский" от "УкрБуд". At the time I was unsuccessful in convincing him to migrate to Discourse. Unlike Viber group, the forum had little activity throughout the year. Today I learned about a decision to make it read-only, then eventually to shut it down.

The news rejuvenated my desire to use Discourse for our housing cooperative, so I came up with this idea: I will ask for soon-to-be-deleted DB backup, set up a Discourse forum, migrate all members (e.g. Importing Xenforo to Discourse) and try to convince the community to start using it.

In order for my community to understand the benefits of Discourse, I will make a presentation with Photoshop-ed “screenshots”, using data from messages from Viber group, e.g. to depict “how it all would have looked like should we have used Discourse”. Apart from it, I’m gathering pro-forum / pro-Discourse arguments. This is where I am looking for advice.

Can you share a link to existing forums for housing cooperatives that use Discourse? Do you have any advice in working on convincing someone to use Discourse?

I’m not delusional, convincing my community to use forum engine may be pretty hard or may not work at all. For example, talking neighbors into moving to a group in Telegram messenger, which I believe is superior to Viber in every possible way – didn’t succeed because of inertia and stubbornness.

The community is pretty young though, so I am full of hope. I like to think that having Discourse as a place to hang out will allow us to keep the communication and all collective knowledge it’ll produce for the many good years to come.

Failure is an option. I want to try :slight_smile:


Hello Eugene.
My opinion: you should try Discourse. Discourse is vastly superior to XenForo’s capabilities: in design, functionality, etc.

You use Telegram, for this purpose Discourse has a great plugin:

Unfortunately I don’t have a link. But I don’t see anything in XenForo that isn’t in Discourse.
All this is, but done on a completely different level. Give it a try!
I can only wish you good luck. You will not regret.



I agree that Discourse is superior to XenForo, :100:. I guess my biggest problem right now is showing other people the benefits, e.g. what I see.

Thanks for pointing out telegram plugin, I didn’t know it exists!


I’ll second @Stranik’s strong recommendation of Discourse over XenForo – I’ve used both (and have been an admin for both), and Discourse is FAR superior in literally EVERY way.

Most of the members of the community I run (aimed at players of a game called ‘Vainglory’) came from the official forums that were sponsored by the game developer and which were run on XenForo. The official forums were shut down, which is what prompted a few of us to set up a community-run site, and I chose Discourse as our forum software. There was a lot of grumbling from people used to XenForo at first, but pretty quickly most everyone saw the advantages Discourse offered.

Feel free to visit our forum if you think it would be useful (for screenshots or whatever) – we have a special Halloween theme as the default at the moment, but you can change it in your profile if you like.