Calling Discobot, but disabling the default onboarding journey

So when discobot is enabled and a new user signs up, they are immediately directed away from the main forum page to their personal message inbox and presented a rather technical tutorial about forum features.

I find that bad timing for new user on-boarding. We have a welcome message and welcome topics and want users to engage with these, rather than with a bot, to get started. I also believe users don’t sign up to immediately learn about technical features of the forum.

Right now when I want to disable that default welcoming mechanic, I have to entirely disable the discobot. But I think the tutorials as such are great! I’d just like to direct users to them at a slightly later stage. For example by mentioning the first tutorial in the first trust level message (Thanks for spending time with us), just as the advanced tutorial is mentioned in the member trust level message (Congratulations on your trust level promotion!).

Is there a way to disable the discobot on-boarding, but still initiate the tutorials by calling @discobot?


The purpose of the bot is to demonstrate basic functionality to people that have never used Discourse before. It seems counterintuitive to expect them to use the forum first.


I agree with Nolo. Users will sign up for a reason that they’d likely want to get to as soon as possible. Learning the more detailed functionality only after certain actions makes sense to me.

From Feverbee


I wonder if middle ground would be a setting that allows people to postpone the discobot tutorial. Otherwise how will people know that it exists?

i.e. another option on this screen that says “Come back to this later” or something like that.



I agree, that would definitely be quite useful here!


I think the first system message would offer a good timing to mention the tutorial. It comes after 10 mins by default, enough time to first read a bit (which shouldn’t need a teaching introduction) and probably be happy to be offered some further insight into how to use the forum.

In any case, I think it would be helpful if as an admin I can disable the immediate discobot highlight, without disabling the option to start or mention the tutorials alltogether.


I don’t really understand what is specifically being proposed here? I understand the desire to avoid the immediate tutorial highlight, but what’s the alternative, exactly? Can someone mock it up or describe it to me in greater detail with an example or mockup?

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I’d like to design user onboarding and education based on the system trust level messages. It should look like:

  1. Message: Thanks for spending times with us!
    Some welcome text, some links and pointing out that a tutorial can be initiated by calling discobot start tutorial.

  2. Message: Congratulations on your trust level promotion!
    Some text, links and pointing to discobot start advanced tutorial to follow the second tutorial

So I’d just like to avoid the immediate tutorial popup, but not disable the tutorials alltogether. But there’s only one setting: discourse narrative bot enabled and it will outright disable the bot.

The proposal is to not bundle the tutorials together with the default onboarding journey in settings.

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I think my initial post has been perceived as if I wanted to change some defaults about the onboarding journey. That was actually not my intention. But in case you’d want to change defaults, I think it would also be a sensible approach to generally drop onboarding by the bot and instead highlight the first system message (after 10 mins of spending time on the forum instance). So the highlight could look like:



Thanks that mockup is very helpful exactly what I was asking for! But there would need to be two options here, yes?

Cool. I’ll read it later.

Not your first time? Skip these steps.

The first one just gives you another perhaps arguably more explicit dismiss target, you could literally click anywhere on the screen to dismiss this highlight, for the record, but if that wasn’t clear to the user, then… that’s a fair ask.

OK, I’ll need to have a think about that.


I just realized this is already possible… I always searched for discobot in settings, and only got one result. But in fact there are 6 options when you search for narrative bot, and one of them is to disable the welcome post, independent from having the bot enabled or not:

So sorry for making waves about that! Though it might be helpful to put together all the onboarding mechanics in a dedicated topic? Or is there an overview that I’m also missing that lists all the steps that define the default onboarding process (and are not triggered when opting out?)

  • Narrative bot
  • Welcome badges
  • Nudges like putting a profile pic?
  • ?

Yes, the first one would just give a more stated dismiss target. About the second option, it really depends on the number of steps that are actually involved on the default onboarding process. As just posted, I’m only really aware of the tutorial and badges.

In any case, now that I found the right settings, I’ll go on and sketch our onboarding process. Though if the defaults are ever up for re-evalution, I still think it could be sensible to generally drop the discobot as the main onboarding agent, and rather base it on the system user.

Some disadvantages I see with the bot:

  • It’s rather cumbersome to customize, because there’s lots of messages and once you start you might need to review most of them.
  • It’s probably fun to come up with a custom bot name and avatar if you have a technical community. But if not, it can be difficult to come up with a sensible variation and might even feel weird to welcome users with a technical gimick.

Advantages of using the system user:

  • customizing the default messages is pretty straightforward
  • it would incentivize customizing the system user (name, avatar, or dedicated user) which rounds off communication in general
  • the bot could rather be a “tutorial bot” without much need for customization and be more plainly recognizable as a Discourse feature
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Haha yup. Exactly what I said here.


If we think that people don’t understand that they can click literally anywhere else to dismiss this highlight, then sure… I’m not disputing that, by the way… we could certainly do

Cool. I’ll read it later.

Not your first time? Skip these steps.

@sam @eviltrout what do you think? It’s basically a copy change, the link is a no-op.


Sure seems fine to me. I don’t see the harm. @Roman_Rizzi can you add this to your list?


@Roman_Rizzi can we get to this, this week? I worry that the overlay is part of the accessibility issues discussion, so I want there to be text that explicitly lets people opt out.


OK confirmed this is rolled out and looks good!

Thanks for the suggestion; it does make sense to offer an explicit click target for “carry on”.