Building a Successful Community on Discourse – TOC


Note: This guide is in progress. Links will be added to each section as they’re completed.


  1. Why we are building this guide
  2. How it works

Strategy and planning

  1. Different types of communities
  2. Should I build this community?
  3. Conceptualising
  4. Defining and targeting the right audience
  5. Aligning the community with business goals

Hosting and setup

  1. Self host or subscribe?
  2. How to set up if you’re self hosting
  3. Choosing a plan
  4. Subfolder or subdomain?
  5. Naming your community
  6. Where to find support

Site design, structure and customisation

  1. Site settings
  2. Categories and structure
  3. Customisation
  4. Plugins
  5. Where to get help

Seeding and launching

  1. Writing guidelines and TOS
  2. Founding members and beta communities
  3. Seeding content the right way
  4. Launching

Engagement and participation

  1. Converting newcomers
  2. Badges and gamification
  3. Deploying superusers
  4. Engagement tactics


  1. Promotion methods
  2. Growth tactics
  3. Persuasion and values

Moderation and management

  1. Moderation vs community management
  2. How to moderate with Discourse
  3. Metrics & reporting


(Tony Bacigalupo) #4

Howdy! I can’t seem to find the contents that correspond to this TOC. Do they exist?

Related: I recall there being some nice training videos for people new to administering Discourse (after it’s all been installed and set up). Do those still exist somewhere I can find them?


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #5

The guide is not complete. I added a note to the top to be clearer about this.

I’m not aware of any myself - don’t believe they came from the Discourse team.

(Tony Bacigalupo) #6

Thanks for the speedy reply, Joshua!

Any tips on other resources I might be able to make use of?

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #7

There’s no single “comprehensive guide” to everything related to Discourse. It’d be overwhelming. That said, what specific questions do you have? Happy to point you to relevant resources or answer questions.

(Tony Bacigalupo) #8

I’m just hoping to be able to introduce someone new to this world (non-technical) to the basics of the interface and how to moderate.

I realize there are these discussion groups, but I’m hoping to find something that’s more of a self-contained guide.

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #9

We’ve got a guide for that. Check out: Discourse Moderation Guide.

(Tony Bacigalupo) #10

Super helpful, thank you!

(Cameron E) #11

This is super exciting. I am looking at building an open-source project, or open-source-like, and was wondering if there are any good articles, books, podcasts, etc. related to successful community building like has happened here at meta.discourse.
I am looking forward to seeing how this topic fills out, and would be happy to receive any suggestions on other materials to learn about successful community building.


Hey Cameron,
Sure – check out and