Clone an existing discourse forum, without access to the server itself?


Is it possible to clone an existing discourse forum onto/into a new discourse forum?

I am apart of a forum where the owner is starting to be more and more of an a-hole, and some other people on the server and I want to move to a new forum where it is more community controlled, not just one person in charge. But we do not want to lose all of our posts. Is it possible to download the posts from the forum and then put them up on a new forum?

Or if we download our own posts is it possible to add those to a new forum?

(Mittineague) #2

Hi spikerbond welcome to the forum

I don’t know how ethical it would be to do this.
It seems to me it would be better to simply leave that forum, and start another with a fresh start.

That way there wouldn’t be any question about who “owns” the content.

Anyway, members can download a compressed CSV file of their posts with the following fields

  • topic_title
  • category
  • sub_category
  • is_pm
  • post
  • like_count
  • reply_count
  • url
  • created_at

and I guess it could be possible to use that for a type of “import”

Discourse does allow for importing backups (an Admin-only feature), but I don’t think your particular use case has ever been considered.

(Eli the Bearded) #3

Before even getting to ethics, there’s how legal is it. The users that have not consented to have their comments copied would probably have a good copyright claim.


good points. did not think of them for some reason…

so ignoring the first part, what about if I (and the others who want to leave) download our own posts. How hard would those be to add to the forum?

Not even in the same posts (as there would be many posts missing) but maybe in like an archive thread?

(Jeff Atwood) #5

The default license for Discourse content is Creative Commons, so you could do that. It is always nice to ask first, of course.

@spikerbond even if a bunch of people exported all their individual posts, wouldn’t that leave conversations in a weird, hole ridden state like a bunch of swiss cheese? What happens to topics people replied to, but nobody has a copy of the first post because they didn’t start the topic?

I don’t think this is feasible from a technical standpoint. If you want to fork the community, that’s your right, but I think you have to do it from first principles, starting from scratch.

(Mittineague) #6

TBH I think even if some type of CSV import script could be put together it would require what in effect would be a mass exodus of members to populate a new forum with old posts to result in anything useful or that even made any sense.

The only thing I can think of that might have some usefulness is importing the first posts that began a discussion to hopefully start a new discussion in the new forum.


I think the main type of posts that people are worried about are the more technical or how to posts that have been created.

(Eli the Bearded) #8

Checking one site, that I presume is still using “default” (because of the company_short_name bits):

User contributions are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Without limiting any of those representations or warranties, company_short_name has the right (though not the obligation) to, in company_short_name’s sole discretion (i) refuse or remove any content that, in company_short_name’s reasonable opinion, violates any company_short_name policy or is in any way harmful or objectionable, or (ii) terminate or deny access to and use of the Website to any individual or entity for any reason, in company_short_name’s sole discretion. company_short_name will have no obligation to provide a refund of any amounts previously paid.

Only the first sentence is relevant for the “clone” case". But it does limit clones to non-commercial use. Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

(Vinoth Kannan) #9

My opinion is to start a fresh discourse forum. If you want to discuss about old forum threads then one box old website like “Continuing discussion from”.

Yes you will loss few guest users to old forum. But this is more professional.