Discourse Chat

:information_source: This plugin is still in active development and may change frequently.
For compatibility, Discourse must also be kept up to date with the tests-passed branch when updating to new versions of the chat plugin.

:discourse2: Summary Discourse Chat adds chat functionality to your Discourse instance.
:hammer_and_wrench: Repository Link https://github.com/discourse/discourse-chat
:open_book: Install Guide How to install plugins in Discourse


As mentioned in our initial announcement and most recent update, this plugin adds chat functionality to your Discourse so it can natively support both, long-form and short-form communication needs of your online community.


Initial Setup

After installing the plugin, head to your /admin/plugins page to click the discourse-chat :gear: Settings button.

On that page, Chat can be enabled by checking the chat enabled site setting. By default, Chat will be available to the staff group only, but you can add more groups (or open it up to everyone) by adding them to the chat allowed groups setting.

Channel retention

By default, channels are configured to retain messages for 90 days and direct messages are configured to retain messages forever, but these are configurable site settings:

  • chat channel retention days (default 90 days)
    Choose how long to retain Chat messages for channels
  • chat dm retention days (default forever)
    Choose how long to retain your Chat messages for personal chats

Other site settings

Additional site settings allow you to configure a set of default emoji reactions and a range of safety features (such as maximum chat messages per second, minimum message length, silence duration, and whether to allow uploads).

Accessing Channels and Creating New Ones

After the plugin is enabled, a speech bubble will appear in the header next to the Search icon, and clicking on that will open your Full Screen Chat window, where you can access default channels as well as start new personal chats. To navigate back to your Full Screen Chat window from inside each channel, use the < icon in the top left corner.

Using the Screenshot 2022-06-24 at 5.52.54 PM button on any Chat window, you can toggle between Full Screen mode and Drawer mode.

Create a channel

To create a new channel (admin only), select the :gear: icon in the top-right corner of your Full Screen Chat window and select Create a channel. Choose a category to associate it with, give it a name, and add an optional description to display on the Browse Channels page.

A Category can have multiple channels associated to it, and more can be added anytime. As a channel is always linked to a category, you can rely on existing category permissions to automatically limit who has access to that particular conversation.

:bulb: Want a channel just for your TL3+ users? Then creating a new channel for your #lounge category will do just that.

Joining a channel

You can preview and join channels from the ‘Browse channels’ page. From this page, you can view all the channels that are visible to you and eligible to join, as well as control your notifications for each channel using the options in the bell icon.

Inviting users to channels

@mentioning individual users or groups will give the option to invite them to the channel if they aren’t participants already. To invite groups in this way, the ‘Who can @mention this group?’ on the group’s /manage/interaction page must be set to something other than ‘Nobody’.

Closing and deleting channels

Admins and moderators can close or delete channels from the Browse Channels page, using the :gear: icon next to their Channel name. A closed channel can be reopened any time, but deleting a channel is not reversible, so there is an additional confirmation check in place.

Starting a personal chat

To start a personal chat, use the :heavy_plus_sign: icon on your Full Screen Chat window and start adding usernames to the recipients list. To leave a personal chat click the X icon next to the channel name (only on desktop).

:information_source: If you accidentally leave a personal chat, starting a new chat with the same person/people will link you back to the messages sent previously.

In-Chat options

Like topics, Chat Messages support:

  • edits
  • replies
  • quoting
  • oneboxing
  • reactions
  • bookmarks
  • deletion

In the composer, you can insert dates, upload files, and GIFs! Chat channels support channel-wide @here and @all mentions with per channel while presence features like a green halo for online users & username is typing… indicator are also present.

You can also select one or more Chat Messages and ‘Quote to topic’ to take a quick conversation and make it into a Discourse topic for in-depth discussion.

Admins and moderators also have the ability to select Chat Messages and move them to a different channel.

Automatically add users to a channel

Chat Information panel

Clicking a channel title will now take users to a useful info panel with three tabs:


  • The About tab will display title, description and linked category, so users have the context they need for each channel.
  • The Members tab lets users see who else is in the room with them (member list and total count). It includes a filter so they can use search.

  • The Settings tab will let you set notification preferences (mute, desktop / mobile push notifications). For admins, this tab also includes the auto-join mode toggle.

Chat preferences

When Chat is enabled, users see a new /preferences/chat page in their preferences. On this page, they can opt-out of Chat, opt-out of the @here and @all notifications, manage their Chat email notifications or choose a desktop sound.

The existing settings on /preferences/users page also apply to chat direct messages, so users can also turn off direct messages or mute or ignore other individual users.


Discourse Chat supports Incoming webhooks but has no support for interactive bots or slash commands yet.

:loudspeaker: Sending Chat messages using Incoming webhooks [Slack-compatible]

The UI for creating webhooks can be found at Admin > Plugins > Chat > New incoming webhook. You can configure a name, description, username (that posts messages), destination channel and emoji for each webhook.


It’s not working on development mode? (Mac development install)

1 Like

Can you start a new topic in #dev tagged with #chat and share a bit more detail about the problem you’re seeing? (What steps have you taken and what is the exact error or issue you see).

1 Like

As our admins do not support an idea of test-passed releases, we keep our Discourse within stable branch. Is there any way to bypass test-passed limitation and install the chat plugin within stable instance?


Not at this time - things are still too much in flux to support chat with the stable branch of Discourse. This may be something we revisit in a few months after our next stable release.


As a side note… This chat plugin is very new to me like today new. I’ve had a poke around and it looks amazing! Super easy to use :smile: :tada:

Not sure this is the right place to post now with all the new channels regarding chat etc haha :sweat_smile:. What exactly is the difference between a personal message and a personal chat?


Here’s an existing topic about that which may be a good place to chime in with any other thoughts you have about it (if they aren’t already represented there): Dividing line between private chat and personal message


Thank you!

Silly me I didn’t search with the #chat tag :man_facepalming:


A post was merged into an existing topic: Putting some constraints on the @all mention in Chat

It would be great to add some form of read confirmation. Most of us are so used to seeing read receipts, I’d say one of the few things missing in the current ux.


A post was split to a new topic: Issue with chat on iPads running iOS 12.5