Discobot could be less ambigous

Hi! To find out what I can do, say @discobot display help .

Say? Say where? Say how?

I see a lot of usrrs who open forum topics just to attempt chatting with discobot. He keeps telling them what to say, but not where to say it. I find the word “say” to be very ambigous. Say it as it is!

Hi! To learn how to use a discourse forum, click on my avatar to message me in private, and send me the text @discobot display help .

There you go, now he makes sense. Can we change this in Discourse source code please?


You can do this yourself be going to admin -> customise



That would be great if I was the owner of a discourse forum, but I am a user who sees this happen across different discourse forums. I am asking to change the default text because it’s ambigous. Let’s not provide forums with an ambigous default text.

Is your feedback primarily about the instruction on how to start a conversation with discobot? Is this an feedback you have heard from others about or are you making an assumption that others will find this confusing?

I actually agree that starting conversations with discobot is a bit hard, especially for new people who are not yet familiar with how discourse works. But I don’t think giving new users more detailed instructions to read is the answer. People don’t read.

There is a setting to choose between discobot starting the tutorial and sending a brief welcome message instead. In my community I found that people generally did not respond to the tutorial so I switched to the welcome message, and other ways to onboard/train new users.

One feature I’ve often wished existed is a “New User Tutorial” and “Advanced Tutorial” link on the hamburger menu to start the tutorials, and a link I can send to people in an onboarding PM to trigger discobot tutorials.

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I think “say” sounds a bit weird here. I’d probably change it to “reply”. :thinking:


Yes, I came here to say this. More words is almost never the correct answer. Better and less words… perhaps.


I have heard this from a few others, and I have seen a few people attpting to reply to discobot in a forum topic rather than a PM, which only triggered Discobot to repeat himself.

I see that at least 7 others have already agreed with you on tjis statement, but I personally disagree. I think thst maybe people are reluctant to read something at first, but when tgey can’t figure out what to do they will read the whole thing and those extra details will help them to figure it out.

Discobot was skipping over two things which you can’t expect a new user to know:

  • where to interact with discobot -> send a direct message
  • how to send a direct message -> press on discobots avatar

Of course short texts are easier to read, but if you skip over those steps, some people will get stuck because they can’t connect the dots.

Than we still need to make it “reply in a direct message” to avoid people from trying to reply in forum topics, and add a hint about how to send a direct message to discobot.

Thanks for the feedback! I get where you are coming from. Like I said wrote above, I have personally decided to downplay the presence of discobot on my site where people tended to ignore it… but for other communities it can be great. It’s a balance site admins have to decide for themselves. :balance_scale: Now that you are becoming on expert on how it works, maybe you’d like to give feedback to those site admins.

I don’t know if there are any plans to improve discobot so the experience for users on multiple discourse forms is more consistent. In any case I’m not sure it’s much of a priority because once you’ve been through the discourse tutorial on one site you don’t need to do it again unless you are collecting badges! :name_badge:

I don’t know. You have to start somewhere… by default, new users get a message from discobot and are directed to it. And just about everywhere on the internet if you select a user’s username or profile picture something happens related to that user. Once you select @discobot you see the user card which has a big button to start a message.

This is true on some sites with discobot but not in all cases. By default when discobot narrative bot is enabled, it actually allows will reply to public @ mentions. Site admins that change this from the default will want to change the text. But generally I suspect it does not get changed which leads to some confusing situations. Here’s what the admin settings look like.

This is because discobot can do more than start tutorials. People can use it in public topics to roll dice or share a quote - some communities may have extended discobot’s abilities too, but I have not seen examples of that. If a user starts a discobot tutorial in a public topic, the tutorial does start in a message between that user and discobot.


My request is to help site admins by changing this default text when they change the setting. This will ultimately be a better experience for all new forum users, even if the site admin wasn’t fully aware of the consequences of changing the settings but keeping the default text.

The default text which Discobot replies with could be changed, if the site admin has not set his own text but does toggle off public tutorials.


Maybe some helper text could be added to the discourse narrative bot disable public replies admin setting, e.g. “if you change this setting, you may wish to customize what discobot says when mentioned.”

That said, going back to the OP I think you have a point. The default text currently does not specify that the tutorial will take place in a personal message which happens whether discourse narrative bot disable public replies is enabled or not, which is useful info that might even encourage more people to actually do it.

I have not seen examples in the wild of discobot being used in public topics, but maybe one approach would be to post an icebreaker topic for new members so they can be invited to take the discobot challenge and report back on how much fun it was to do it, what funny conversations they shared with discobot, and otherwise encourage each other to take the tutorial and learn how discourse works.

The current default text…

I currently know how to do the following things:

`@%{discobot_username} %{reset_trigger} {name-of-tutorial}`
> Starts an interactive tutorial. `{name-of-tutorial}` can be one of: `%{tracks}`.

could be changed to something like…

I currently know how to do the following things:

`@%{discobot_username} %{reset_trigger} {name-of-tutorial}`
> Starts an interactive tutorial just for you, in a personal message. `{name-of-tutorial}` can be one of: `%{tracks}`.

Sure let’s make that change @jomaxro. Easy copyedit.


Done via