Discourse Central Theme — Meta Pre-Release Out Now!

:information_source: This theme is in the pre-release stage and is not currently available to install on other sites.

You can select it as an optional theme here on meta to sample a preview and provide feedback. :discourse:

Introducing, a new Discourse theme titled “Central”—

Simple. Modular. Neutral.


Discourse is an extremely flexible and powerful open-source platform. The goal of this theme was to leverage Discourse’s customization potential, pushing boundaries through experimentation and exploration to ultimately simplify and streamline the community experience.

We are at square one. While there are bugs to address, I invite you to join me on this journey and hope you’ll recognize its potential and enjoy the concept as much as I did when envisioning it.

Version 0.0.1 Features


  • Messages

    • For avid inbox users, you can now show the Messages icon in your header. A new interface allows you to easily access your inbox from any page without leaving your current view.
  • New notifications and user icon

    • Notifications now have a more natural feel by being separated from the user icon, aligning with familiar social media patterns.

Sidebar Left

  • Home button

  • Following topics

    • Also known as “Unread,” this view returns a list of watched topics sorted by the latest reply.
  • Total categories list

    • Navigate through the entire community with quick access to every category.
  • Footer links

    • Community leaders often request a footer for their Discourse instance. However, this isn’t ideal due to Discourse’s use of infinite scroll, making the footer inaccessible in many contexts. Central addresses this by placing links at the bottom of the left sidebar and in the user menu in the header.

Center Stage

  • Topic list header

    • The new topic list header acts as a page title.
  • New topic listing style

    • The new topic listing style adjusts well to mobile screens while keeping all the essential information. It includes counts for Likes and Replies and indicates if you’ve already liked the topic.
  • Dropdown filters

    • Filters have been consolidated into a single dropdown menu. (Currently only available on the home page.)

Sidebar Right

  • User Block

    • Access and view your profile card straight from the sidebar.
  • Top Contributors 2.0

    • Shuffle through the community’s top contributors across different timeframes, including daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly rankings.
  • Mini Components

    • Introducing new modular mini components for customizing your community! Use them for CTAs, image placeholders, and interactive widgets like a birthday bulletin. The options are limitless!

How to try Central on Meta

Available now in the sidebar theme selector—

User interface bugs may exist. Please use at your own discretion. For now, Central is best experienced on desktop via Chromium browsers. Mobile and tablet versions will be developed later.

Please use this topic to leave your valuable feedback regarding user experience design and technical bugs.

This topic will be continually updated. Thank you for being a part of the Central journey!


To navigate, the categories page must be returned. Because photos, descriptions and subcategories are displayed there. You can add a dark mode switch near the search icon.


Yes!!! Go, go go with development of new Themes and layout options!!! I’m going to watch this one!!!


Looks really nice!

Vertical spacing between categories on the left sidebar is a bit too much but I’m sure that’s something that can perhaps be adjusted? Haven’t poked around with it too much so far. Lack of dark mode makes back out a bit :wink:


Awesome. Yes, vertical spacing is too much!

I already know who I am so the profile on the right could be a bit smaller as well.
And it says “add a component” but as a user I obviously can’t do that.



Thank you everyone for tuning in and the feedback given so far. I will do my best to address every comment!

Thank you for your comment regarding categories. A category page is planned. For now, the idea on Sidebar Left was to be able to visualize and navigate through the entire community. The category descriptions are shown upon hover, though not obviously so and limited to the desktop experience, and ideally the category image/photo/logo would be succeeded with category icons that are more visually descriptive than a single color square.

And yes to the note about a dark mode switch! It is currently under progress and planned to be located within the user menu.

There’s a very rudimentary dark mode titled “Central Dark” that for now has to be manually set in Preferences → Interface → Color Scheme → Dark Mode → Central Dark as shown below—

Thank you for looking forward to this. Your support is a great motivator! :smile:

Thank you @RGJl, I will take these comments into consideration. I think “Add a Component” was a little bit misleading on my part, I originally meant to target community administrators who want to browse our components.


Additionally, that clock says 9:12a in my screenshot and currently 1:07p. I have never heard ‘a’ and ‘p’, shouldn’t this be ‘am’ and ‘pm’? Or even better, I am in a country where we don’t have ‘am’ and ‘pm’, we just call it 13:07.

This is very far away from how my mind works and at first I didn’t even recognize it as the time of day.

With respect to “how my mind works”, I got seriously confused when I pushed the reply button and it seemed to disappear.

Bottom of the letter is gone, Firefox on Windows



The new topic banner overlaps the first topic

And when you visit full screen chat and use the button to close it instead of “:house: Home” “all categories” is shown (also in the screenshot)


Wow, I did not see this topic yesterday. :smile:
This looks fantastic, great job!

There is a little glitch below a topic :


It might miss some spaces in the dropdown-list :thinking:


congratulations on a great start
I felt a bit of a Flarum breeze because of the home page.
The left menu definitely needs an overhaul.
It would be amazing if it opens and closes downwards when you press the main category. [subcategory]
So the long list becomes shorter


Good job! The categories in the left side menu are good for quick navigation. There is nothing better than a good old categories page to fully navigate the forum. But it would be cool if subcategories could be loaded in the drop-down list in the left side menu. But this is a separate topic. Colored squares of categories are not my preference, they should be discarded in favor of icons and editable photos.


Using this drop-down list


triggers this error in the console:

I don’t see any way to access the categories list.
If you access manually (or by switching theme) the default routes such as /latest, /categories , you have the same error in the console. Also, you see an unstyled title “all categories”.


And more. In the mobile view, the menu icon should be moved to where it should be


Looks good :+1:.


Thank you @RGJ, the next update will include a more localized time format if available. This is important to respect. And thank you for catching the cut-off text, I will address that as well.

Thanks @Moin, the new topic banner overlapping does feel like a pet peeve. It will be addressed in the next update. Regarding the “all categories” bug, I will have to find a solution to make sure “/latest” registers as “Home”

Thank you @Arkshine for catching this! The overlap will be addressed in the next update. For the dropdowns, I just used the system defaults for now, but it is planned to utilize a custom menu design.

Thanks @Ahmed26! I will explore how such improvements can be made to the left sidebar. It is indeed long, would you say it feels troublesome to scroll through?

I see. I really agree regarding having category icons over colors.

I’ll see how the routing issues can be resolved here.

The categories list is not available yet, and I will find a way to have “/latest” register as “Home”.

Thank you for bringing this up, this toggle component is planned to be incorporated but within the user menu. This is a great point for mobile and will be addressed when mobile is further developed.


Small notice

For those who are currently testing Central, you will have to reselect the theme from the sidebar. This will be the only time you have to do this here on Meta.

Thank you so much for staying tuned and your support means a lot! :meow_heart:


Hi, this is a beautiful theme, good job!

On mobile view though it would be nice to be able to have a more “compact” topic list… specially the likes and comment counts appear below the topic title and tags (and not on the right side like for instance on the Suggested list on desktop view). There should be an option to hide these items (maybe there is, since it’s supposed to be modular, but I haven’t found it yet).


Just noticed this, leaderboard has made everyone oval


Nice work. This gives meta a pretty sleek look! :+1:
Actually, despite still being undecided about the side bar as such, the theme makes it look a lot more appealing.

As others have mentioned, currently vertical spacing in the side bar and especially between categories is a bit too much.

Also, I have overlaps in the Related section:


Love this theme so much @Carson - great work! :clap: :rocket: I really like the category section in the navigation menu and the overall super clean look.

Q: any plans to add the hamburger Icon for collapsable navigation menu?