Discourse Narrative Bot Beta Feedback

(Barry van Oudtshoorn) #267

Some feedback from (existing) users on our Discourse instance who tried out Discobot:

I gave it a go. I particularly like the certificate at the end/badge. It could be a great way to introduce it at a school staff meeting to ensure that everyone knows how to use it and the purpose behind it. I enjoyed it. Great work!


I guess it will help some people. I am undecided on whether it is better than a long post or not. Perhaps a 1 min video might be better, that quickly shows what you can do. Add some catchy music and away you go!


The bot started to ping me and it got annoying quickly. If you don’t carefully read the instructions it feels like it starts to nag! I guess it is ‘learning by doing’, which is great, but I am not sure it is the best way to introduce the system to a new user fresh off the signup page.

I’ve edited the Discobot user and its text (mainly just the first message – hat tip to @HAWK) and I’ve included a quick video to get people up to speed:

Would it be worthwhile having a video along these lines available out of the box?

(Jeff Atwood) #268

A video is hard to localize and does not fit the “learn by doing” intent of the feature. You can learn tennis by watching a video about it or you can start hitting a few balls…

(Barry van Oudtshoorn) #269

True! My goal in including it was to make sure that everyone’s catered for – those who want to “learn by doing” and those who want to just get started without any fuss. :slight_smile:

We’ll see how it goes – we’ll be onboarding a large number of users within the next month or so (later than I had hoped), and I’ll be in a better position to look at video views and interactions with the bot then. But for now, at least, all the bases are covered. :wink:

(Andrew Waugh) #270

+11 on this.

The problem with triggering a Bot session by sending a PM is that the user needs to know how to send a PM to discobot so that discobot can trigger the tutorial about (amongst other things) how to send a PM.

Many of our users took a while to figure out PMs, it was one of the first User Guides I wrote.

What new users need is a place where it says:

Blah blah, blah…
To start the new user tutorial click here
A list of all user tutorials is available here

(Christoph) #271

As a start, what I did is add the Help category to the top menu. It might eventually get annoying for seasoned users, but I don’t have any of those yet.

(Alan Tan) #272

I don’t follow the argument here. All new users are sent the welcome post which does not require them to figure out PMs. The first tutorial is started immediately for them.

(Andrew Waugh) #273

If you’ve done an import then your users aren’t “new” in that sense. Our forum went live before discobot, but… even were that not the case, many of my users would not have figured out how to read their PMs without some form of “help” about what that little green circle in the top right corner of the screen means.

Try to put yourself in the mind of a user who is completely unfamiliar with Discourse. Isn’t your first instinct likely to be “There must be a help menu…” clickety, clickety, clickety.

This is not a reflection on the design of Discourse, nor is it an evaluation of the average I.Q. of my users, but our early weeks featured a lot of exchanges like:

“Click on your Avatar.”
“Where is my Avatar?”
"Top right corner of the screen.“
long pause
"When I do that it asks if I want to close the window!”
“No, in the upper right corner of your browser tab there are 3 symbols, a magnifying glass, 3 horizontal bar, then a coloured circle with a letter in it, the coloured circle is your avatar”
“You mean the pink circle?”
“Yes, the pink circle.”
“When I double click on that nothing happens.”

I’m exaggerating a bit, but not all that much.

(Alan Tan) #274

Ahh OK. I guess for a community of users that are really not computer savy, we could improve the display help as you suggested to contain links that will trigger the tracks for a user instead of having to say @discobot start new user. That would also help to minimize public posts of users trying to start the tracks.

(Hosein Naseri) #284

Please exclude the message this bot sends to user from user to user messages chart. Because a bot isn’t a user.

(Tobias Eigen) #285

Yes, you got it! :rocket:

Really, all that is needed is probably just a URL method for triggering the narrative bot. That could be added manually to the hamburger menu, in FAQs and in other places where we explain how discourse works. Admins could also provide it directly in messages with users who are struggling with something, to encourage them to get to know discourse.

I also would value having a URL method (or any method) for triggering the narrative bot for someone else. I personally welcome new members all the time and am right now just going through a backlog, and would love to start the narrative for them and nudge them to take it in my message.

New users aren't starting the discobot tutorial
(Andrew Waugh) #286

I like it, a 'bot bazooka. Point and shoot,

Packaging good Discourse guides
(Tobias Eigen) #287

For some reason, I am picturing a tshirt launcher.

(Alan Tan) #294

We could strip the zero width joiner from all search terms before searching since I don’t think people would need to search for a term that contains a zero width joiner.

(Jeff Atwood) #295

Oh they are pasting that in lol. Sure that is fine.

(Alan Tan) #296

I have in implemented in

Will wait for more :eyes: on it before merging.

(Christoph) #297

Here’s a little nonsense/fun feature idea for the bot: now that I am greeted by the bot on just about every discourse site I sign up to, I thought it might be nice, instead of just ignoring the bot, to reply to the welcome message with something like “Thanks, I’ve done this before” or “I know my discourse” or “Not again” or whatever and the bot would not respond with the usual ??? message but with something more interesting. Once the advanced user track is finalized, the response could be “But did you also do the advanced user tutorial?” etc.

I know, you guys got more important stuff to do, so here is the idea, do with it what you wish.

(Joe Buhlig) #299

Here’s another idea for triggering the bot via PM. Set up a url for starting the message that starts the new user track. Then all they need to do is click the link and submit the message.

Meta Example


Start narrative bot (discobot) for existing users
Can users "replay" the Discobot introduction if needed?
(Tobias Eigen) #300

Yeah, I actually suggested this already up above somewhere and I do it this way already. But it’s a clunky solution as it takes the user away from the current page they are on and still requires the user to hit send on the message. I have found very little traction with it.

Incidentally, I use that link to send message feature every day, and built it into my wordpress member directory to let members find and message each other - it’s pretty nifty. :sunflower:

(Joe Buhlig) #301

Whoops! I missed your post on that. I thought I’d kept up with every post in this thread. I might be able to see the argument for a UI on read/unread gaps now. :wink:

Is that really an issue if they need to learn how to use Discourse? I’ve shared that link a few times with success. It hasn’t been an issue for me. But then again I’m not working with thousands of users either.

(Jeff Atwood) closed #310