Babble - A Chat Plugin

@gdpelican nice work on this plugin - it’s come a long way! :rocket: I especially like the sound notifications, whos online integration, and notification bubbles when chat minimized. Slick!

I installed it for testing on my personal discourse, and am exploring its suitability for my work discourse… mostly to let moderators chat about what to do with discussions. I had a look through this topic and hope I have a fairly good understanding, but it’s possible that I missed some things. Bearing that in mind, some reactions and questions follow. I’d be grateful for thoughts.

The biggest question I guess is sustainability - this is an unofficial plugin, so can you talk a bit about your experience keeping it going over the years and your future plans? I realize this is open source so in that sense future proofed, but are there some more people besides @gdpelican who are familiar with the code and committed to it, who can take it forward in case you get hit by a bus? Inshallah this will not happen!

There are some issues interspersed throughout this topic that are not listed on github. Is that where you want us to post issues? Maybe streamlining the reporting so they all go to one place will help you to respond more effectively without wasting too much time, and help us to know what’s in the roadmap and (maybe more importantly) what is not.

For now here’s a laundry list of questions, thoughts, bug reports and feature requests, in no particular order and with apologies for wordiness and repetition of already stated items.

Some bugs and hopefully easy fixes:

  • bug: chats shows up on the admin dashboard even when the babble plugin is not enabled
  • on admin settings: translation missing: en.site_settings.babble_initial_user_count
  • update: when I @ mentioned a user, they received an email notification - linking them to both the topic in the category and the chat in babble. This seems buggy and weird! Should link to maybe simply the site front page with chat open in babble, and not display the babble topic.
  • Users should be able to start with zero users listed to DM, and then create their own list of people they’d like to have DM conversations with. If I set “babble initial user count” to zero, the DM option simply does not appear. Is this a bug? :bug:

edit: another bug:

  • when deleting a test user and deleting their posts, the chat channels the user participated in got deleted. this is surprising.

Thoughts/feature requests:

  • Where can admins see and manage the chat logs? These seem to be hidden topics which is great on the UX level for users, but for admins there needs to be a way to look in on them and manage them. Maybe admins could be allowed access and a link to eg /t/n/1234 could be provided from the channels managed in admin/chats.
  • If a user opts out of babble in their user preferences, they might still show up on the DM list for others, can be searched for, and subsequently chatted at. These appear to disappear into the ether which is a bit disconcerting. Some indication that this user is not using babble would be helpful at least, or outright preventing chatting to someone who has opted out.
  • If there is no email notification sent to offline users when they get a chat (and there doesn’t seem to be) then I think the DM feature should actually only work to chat with users who are currently online. Also, an admin setting should enable/disable email notifications, in case people want to use it for reasonably secure communication on site.
  • Users should be able to remove users from the DM list. Maybe a little X to the right of their names could be provided that, when clicked, removes them from the list. Searching can let them add users back on the list as they see fit.
  • I like the notification sound but can envision that others might find it annoying, or might prefer a different sound. The ability for admins to upload and make available different notification sounds for members to choose from would be interesting.
  • the ability for admins to set default user preferences for babble has been mentioned and I would support adding it.
  • chat is prominent enough that having a link to the babble prefs from within the chat interface would be worthwhile. At least a toggle to enable/disable sound notifications.
  • on user card and user profile, for users who are currently online, can you add a button to start a chat alongside the button to start a message? This would be a great way to connect directly with folks. Enabled via admin setting because I can imagine alot of folks would not want this in their communities.

edit after a day of use:

  • within babble, seems not to be using the group flair, or even the standard favicons for groups, which is a bit jarring visually.
  • when I select a group channel, it would seem logical to see a list of members in that group who are currently online for direct messaging or mentioning in the chat.
  • when on right side, for some reason the emoji selector still pops up on the left side which is a bit far to go to select an emoji on a big screen like mine. :slight_smile:
  • notification bubble has a shadow which the other discourse notification bubbles do not

… and one last bug report before leaving this alone for a bit and give others a chance to respond. I noticed that the DMs are showing up on the “page not found” recent topics list with the the title as a random string. See screenshot. This is incognito mode so shows for everyone. Between this issue and that random users show up on the DM’able list who then don’t see their DMs if they don’t have access to a channel… will leave the DM functionality off for now.



Just noticing this morning that the babble history window setting appears to have no effect. I see there is a Jobs::BabblePruneHistory sidekiq task but when I run it nothing seems to happen. It was set to prune older than one day, but there are chats in there that are 3 days old. Changed the number to two days and ran the sidekiq task but no effect. This is a fairly essential feature for us so if it is known to not be working as advertised, let me know.

Meanwhile found a way to get to the channel topics - just go to the admin/chat and select the channel, and then replace admin/chat/nnnn with t/nnnn where nnnn is the topic id for the channel. Easy. :slight_smile:

I’m using the Bitnami Discourse images and this plugin doesn’t provide real-time chat in my testing. You must refresh the page in order to see any new messages. Is that just how this plugin works? Or do other people have real-time chat through Babble?

I’m not sure, but Babble should act the same as any discourse topic, as it creates a topic per chat-channel. So it should update in real-time.

I think its related to my nginx reverse proxy that I’m using to server discourse. I’ve enabled websocket support for the site, but still not working in real time. Thank you for confirming that it should work in real time. I recall reading a page that had a nginx config for babble, but I can’t find that page anymore… Any thoughts on what else I need to set in nginx? Haha, don’t worry, you don’t need to answer that. I’ll find it. Thank you!

¿Is it possible to hide or Blur ignored / blocked users messages?

Hello @gdpelican i think i found an issue. Since 1week maybe two admin can’t see the chat when clicking on the icon. It’s only administrator who can’t access :thinking:

Hey James

is there any way you can add a route to the plugin so it can be launched from the discourse tab bar theme component?

that would be awesome from usability perspective

What a great plugin !!

I tried to read the 289messages but might have miss a few things, so excuse me if an answer has already be given to this.

I would have a few requests:

  1. order the channels by alphabetic
  2. mute/unmute specific channels
  3. make the admin control panel more friendly, currently you could create 2 identical channels without even knowing it
  4. develop something similar to mattermost, with teams etc.

Thanks !!

Hi friends ! :content:

I’ve added the Babble module to my Discourse installation. I love the concept of having a Discord-like chat window on my website, but right now I’m experiencing two issues with it.

First, I have what I’d call ghostpings (as a fellow user of Discord <3).
These are mention icons that, when clicked on, reveal nothing else than… Nothing. I mean it’s as if I received a private message, but there’s nothing new to be seen.

And the other issue is that sending a private message to another user triggers my Discord webhook and makes it announce a new topic. Which is a private conversation, that should remain private.

I hope we’ll be able to find out how to solve this… Thank you all in advance ! :content:

Is there any way to display private messages (or one specific PM topic+posts) as one-to-one messages.

I don’t like the fact that the one-to-one messages are a separate channel and don’t simply use PMs

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@gdpelican If I want to add push notifications, using say onesignal or some other provider, how can I hook into Babble to add this? I suppose I’d likely need to write a plugin that subscribes to events with message bus?

I’ve added Babble to my Discourse, but nobody is using it because there are no notifications to say there are new messages.

I’d also like an admin setting that enables audio notifications for all users by default, so that users need to opt-out, rather than opt-in. But if can get push notifications working, perhaps wouldn’t need the audio notifications enabled…

Thanks for the plugin. But i get this error when i create a channel.

Unable to save that chat channel. Please try again.

any help is much appreciated

Update: Channel was created inspite of the error I had to refresh the browser cache to see the channels. must be a bug i guess


I’m getting this same thing as well. Error but the channel is actually created.

I’m also having the chat window randomly jump to the top of the chat when clicking on threads.

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The plugin was working perfectly but after an update users can’t share photos anymore in the tchat.
I tried to uninstall all plugins then reinstall them one by one but no success.
Anyone have a clue?


@gdpelican, just wanted to bump this back up, seems like several of us are having issues with the attachment feature not working.

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Catching up on this! My users complain that they still can see chat messages from ignored users (and vice versa)

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Me and my users dont like this keyboard dissapear effect on chat post.

Is there any way to open keyboard pernamently on chat?

Trying to create a chat channel, no matter what I try it says “Unable to save that chat channel. Please try again.”
I looked in my logs and nothing regarding the plugin shows up.

How would one identify Babble chats in Data Explorer? I can write a query, please just point me to the table and field that identifies a topic or post as being a Babble chat.