Discord is taking aim at Discourse. How does Discourse remain unique and stand out from the crowd?

From the first post to the announcement link above, I see that it was one person maintaining the game, Discord Chat and the various forums related to each game. That’s a lot on one person’s plate - overwhelming.

Another thing I gather is that for certain game(s) (first person) the majority of people just play and have no reason to go to a forum unless there’s a problem with the game.

This doesn’t feel like Discord itself is trying to kill forums, but is an end case of too many separate forums. One “solution” could be to have 1 forum with each of the games in different categories. A moderator (or two) to help out would probably be helpful as well.

Either way, I wish good luck no which route is decided.


I think it stays unique because the plugins and additional themes can add a ton of features compared to the Discord side of things. You can add endless plugins here, while I don’t think you could with discord. (Discord is a quick chat app just fyi)


There might be some volunteers helping out with the Discord server, but yeah, I guess you’re right… :thinking:

Do bots count?


I think the bots are similar to Discourse modules in a way, actually, now that I think about it.


Nevertheless, yes, bots do add a great part of fun and useful customizable functionality to Discord, and it would be a great addition if the Discourse chat would get similar functionalities.


Discord bots are often made using API wrappers, so it’s an interesting thing.


I also saw something from “guild.co”: " Community Platforms: Guild vs Discourse".

At the end of the day there will be always be competition, but I think discourse will come out on top, “guild”, “discord” isn’t open source, on discourse practically everything can be changed, discord and “guild”, not so much.


What does “on top” mean though? And what is the intrinsic value of open source to someone who doesn’t care about “open source” or perhaps even have any idea what it means? Like, why is “open source” good for users and admins, especially when compared against “free”? I’m not saying I don’t value it, but the comparatively small number of mostly-Discourse-fans in here are not going to tip the balance between success and failure for any medium-large company, so what we personally think and feel and value about Discourse is less important to its overall, long-term success than how it is perceived and valued in the larger “community building” context ((IMO).


Much intriguing to read the whole thread and also the Linked threads. Some of the answers are so insightful how a product manager or founder should think about competition, product focus and also the other expects.

Here is some personal experience when choosing different platforms like this

End of the day, it matters whom we are targeting/end users. And who is running the platform

A saas business for profit (good intentions) with small team

  • we started with slack thinking that our customers wants to have private conversation about project, etc
  • we moved to open forum because it does self help and also free users could just interact each other

Slack Pros and cons

  • slack indeed make the conversations going. But with a small team do you have time to reply for all questions
  • instant messaging create a natural expectation that people will reply faster. Do you have bandwidth to reply or community manager to keep replying?
  • people speak all sort of things in chats even though they could focus on the topic. Do you want to spend your time entertaining?


  • User get it clear that they are not here to entertain but post only thought after or clear questions and answers. Not say a minute to say hi and bye.
  • user when they see a big box of writing answers or comments. They write it with more descriptions and in detail. Chat sometimes people write one word thing and enter. It’s not a thought after comment. It’s an emotional

For companies want to run help based community with thought after discussions and also meaningful topics, you need a forum like discourse


  • yes people are not that much interactive. It’s less communication
  • some are bit shy to open up in community forum because they don’t want to show they donno something

So we combine all this 3:

  • want privelage? Paid package and support portal
  • want free and open? Use community
  • slack : it’s a closed one for specific scenarios

From feature wise:
Gamification, notifications emails, flexibility of activating solution/voting, rules limitation on category level, built in invite. It’s well done in discourse


What else I can ask for? More than enough

The only thing am still figuring out is avoid manual invite for users but make them as a users in community by default when they signup for our saas product

And also am thinking how to make the feedbacks(like hotjar small feedback box or questions in any part of the product where people can direclty ask without coming inside the forum)


Just set up DiscourseConnect (SSO) ?


This is getting worse now.

Discord has Guilds, so Guilded popp;ed uip, and now we have Guild…?


Guilds in Discord represent an isolated collection of users and channels

Equivalent of creating a group for various users, categories and tags.


I’m pretty sure “guilds” in Discord were simply the name of Discord’s servers, and the “guild” name itself is outdated and never used in the interface; only in the code and API.

I suppose there were going to use this name because Discord was aimed at gamers at first, and decided to use “server” instead.


Thanks for mentioning this. Spoke with my team, we are evualating this.


Is Discord trying to rip off our forum system? First, it got its own forums, now guilds?

edit: nvm, Guilds are actually servers


That is it in essence. Discourse is the antidote to centralized platforms that own the data and do with it as they please and not how the likes of a Tencent pleases. In the various niches I participate in there is a welcome move back to self hosted forums for this reason as heavy handed policy and failed automated policy enforcement tools destroy communities. No forum owner needs politics from any side being interjected into their model and centralization does that every time, particularly one that is invested so heavily in the gaming community. Discord is already rife with politics being interjected into moderation. If you want to truly have your own community these days you need your own land.

Discord has appeal but the noise to signal ratio tends to be incredibly high and has a tendency to devolve into toxicity or spammy new school marketing to flog product rather than build communities. While it is trendy to label yourself as long form orientated these days, I don’t know a single person who sees Discord like that. It’s a product that fits a specific purpose for a great number of their user base.

The feedback that I consistently get from my users about Discourse tends to be centered around visual presentation, There have been some welcome steps making customization more readily accessible via theme components and the plugins that proceeded them. I’m sure some of that overlaps with the existing business model for hosted customers, but as a self hosted user I am very interested to see how much further that can grow over time. If I can use an analogy, a brick and mortar store can have excellent inventory and staff, but occasionally the store fixtures need refreshing to keep customers engaged with the product.


I don’t think so. As @Canapin explained above…

"I’m pretty sure “guilds” in Discord were simply the name of Discord’s servers, and the “guild” name itself is outdated and never used in the interface; only in the code and API.

I suppose there were going to use this name because Discord was aimed at gamers at first, and decided to use “server” instead."

Unfortunately, some brick-and-mortar stores never received that memo… :wink:


I definitely understand the value of learning from competitors or other products in adjacent areas, and I think Discourse has frequently done that. Examples both positive and negative, of specific features from other platforms, often come up in feature discussions here over the years. E.g. the discussions on invite links or official reactions plug-in, where Discord has come up.

But I think that the point of this discussion was more misguided. It was not about learning from what Discord is doing to improve Discourse as a product. I can argue that there was not concrete discussion on that, and the forum feature on Discord had not even come out yet either. It was about the threat that Discord poses in terms of popularity.

Now when something is trendy or popular, there is very often “We should adopt X” or “We should use X” and it becomes very hard to filter out the noise. Often people don’t ask “Does X make sense for our needs?”

E.g. “we should use Facebook for our community because everyone is on there” or “we should adopt Slack for our company communications because everyone else is using it.”

This is common enough for technology stacks for example, that there’s the term “magpie developer” for it — i.e. always chasing something shiny and new.

For example it was brought up that Discourse doesn’t have the logo on its instances and that makes it less well-known. One of the points of a white-label app though, is that companies can have their own branding on their forums, rather than Discourse’s logo. There’s only a sketched-out Discourse logo when you start an instance, to encourage people to replace it.

That point came up not from the perspective of improving Discourse as a product for its users, but from the singular standpoint of popularity. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to want to make Discourse more popular, just saying that it is a bit dangerous when it’s a singular goal because you can miss a lot of other factors.

A more subtle change would be how the open-source Ghost blogging platform does it, e.g. it has something like “Made with Ghost” at the bottom of the page, on the default theme. This does not interfere with customers having their own branding.

Now that Discord’s forum feature has come out in beta launch, I do have some things to say, but for most of this topic, people didn’t even know what Discord was aiming for with it. It might be something very different and right now it is still early days.

E.g. In Discord’s beta forums, I see people still type multiple successive single-line replies, pressing Enter after each line. This includes 3-character replies. It’s still a bit noisy.

Discourse has guarded against this by having 20-char minimum by default. Plus you’d have to do Ctrl/Cmd + Enter to reply, since Enter just adds another line break. And there is the consecutive reply limit of 3 by default. This is because it wants to encourage you to add more thought into your responses by default, rather than lots of noisy replies.

Maybe Discord might address some of these in future. Or maybe Discord is just trying to solve a different problem to Discourse altogether — like just having something better than the pinned messages feature, to retain history, while still encouraging a very low barrier to joining discussion. In that case, there is still room for Discourse, and much of the discussion here was extremely speculative.

I think perhaps it’s a little over-exaggeration on the influence of Discord. The Babble chat plugin was around for years to express this desire for chat beforehand Babble - A Chat Plugin

These were genuine problems that I had with Discord, and sure there are a lot of things I like about the platform.

But it’s frustrating when people present the most popular kid on the block as someone who you are expected to copy from, even if it doesn’t make sense for you. You can end up with a conglomerate a bit like Wordpress has, from copying whatever is most currently popular over the years and trying to be all things to all people.

So it’s worth exercising caution.


Honestly, that blog post comes off as a direct jab at forums such as Discourse.

They even proceed to acknowledge their shortcomings.