Discourse Use Cases — what makes my community unique?

Most of us spend a considerable amount of time researching and venturing into sysadmin stuff to build a unique platform for visitor as a hoppy or as an investment to generate some ads/affiliates money.

In case of Discourse, after installing, branding, sorting, and finally launching. You will face a cruel fact/question: What makes my forum unique? And why people will ignore giants like Stack Overflow, Twitter, Facebook Groups, and much much more just to gather into my little, white as ice, and empty as Mars forum?

Unless you’re an established corporate with ready to engage community, you’ll truly suffer.

To resolve this dilemma, We need a topic to crowdsource ideas for Discourse communities that have a high chance of success.

My two cents:

  • Career community where people submit their own successes, failures, and real life situations.

  • Psychology community where people share their cases and discuss possible solutions (Not necessarily medical level accuracy).

  • Reviews community where people share their opinions about particular product, software, airline and so on.

Feel free to submit your two cents.


Just try it and see how it goes. It will take time to build and develop. :+1:


I like your creative description. It sounds like you have a way with words. You just need an idea (as you seem to imply). A lot depends on which road you want to travel down… as a hobby, as a money maker, or a hobby making a little money on the side. The best place to start is where you live. What would fit nicely here. Think of some ideas and determine which way you want to go. If it doesn’t seem to be working, you can always change or build on whatever you’ve already started on. Sometimes, even in a “crowded field,” the members can make a big difference as to whether you succeed. Good members can help your community grow and expand into other areas.

Another thought. Members don’t have to - and won’t - give up on platforms such as FB, Twitter, etcetera. Many people have accounts set up in many or most of these types of platforms. You don’t have to compete with them per se. They have you long outspent. :slightly_smiling_face: Just work on your ideas and they’ll grow in due time. You should never expect an overnight success. If you do, then you are setting yourself up for a big disappointment. Good luck.


Thanks Jim, indeed I manage few forums, 4 to be explicit, most of them are pretty successful and drive an average of 500k views on a monthly basis.

The moral behind the topic is not a riddle, I really meant to resolve starters inevitable confusion, maybe someone get inspired.


I think you have to define “success”.

It’s been said in the past that all you need is 5 regular users who show up and post every day to have a functioning Discourse instanceif we define “success” in the traditional sense of “public forum”. I do think this is a useful practical guideline, and is generally correct.

So before you start, I’d ask if you can identify four other avid users, in addition to yourself, who are guaranteed to visit your site every day, and post / reply to the topics on your site. Each day, every day. Keep that up for a few months and you will have a viable site, and should start attracting new users naturally.

You need that core of 5 regulars. Once you have it, take advantage of the tips in the below blog entries to speed the process along and attract even more users :point_down:

The TL;DR is it’s all about content. Great content attracts people – and I think you can get there with 5 avid users over a period of a few months, provided those 5 users show up and contribute on a daily basis.


I just read this relevant observation by Kevin Kelly:

Most overnight successes take at least 5 years. As Dave Perell notes in his [paid, paywalled] newsletter Monday Musings

[Marques Brownlee] is one of the most popular technology-focused YouTubers in the world. As I write this, he has 13.6 million subscribers and his videos have been watched 2.4 billion times. But when he recorded his 100th video, he only had 74 subscribers.

In other words he made and posted his first hundred videos with the tiniest possible audience. To make something great, keep showing up! As Perell noted in another of his issues:

If you create something weekly for 2 years, you WILL earn an audience.

That is, make 100 creations BEFORE you have a big audience. Every “overnight” success I’ve ever seen was preceded by years of relentless, and sometimes unappreciated, hard work.

Not a new sentiment, here’s me saying the same thing over a decade ago:

Of course nobody actually wants to put in that kind of work, they would rather have someone sell them the magical “make it successful” button. :wink:


Well, unfortunately we’re not on the same page, I’m thinking about higher success chances, and you’re redefining the “consistency”.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy approaches are futile and out of this topic’s scope, and I - for sure - presumed that.

We all know what one will get after digging the wrong tunnel, even for decades.

Simple analogy; this topic is searching for the tunnels that have a higher success chance than others - not excluding - consistency or any other “years of sweat” success recipes.

Well, sure, but then we’re down the channel of

  • bitcoin is hot right now, let’s start a bitcoin forum
  • NFTs are hot right now, let’s start a NFT forum
  • BTS is hot right now, let’s start a BTS forum
  • The Spice Girls are hot right now, let’s start a Spice Girls forum

The same logic applies; regardless of topic, your initial task is to get five people to show up every day for a few months. You might look at reddit and other “we’ll let anyone launch a community on any topic” type platforms that have existed for a decade and see if they had any kind of formula to predict what would work?

I have no idea if NFTs will be a permanent fixture of society in the future, in the same way that I didn’t know if bitcoin would be back in 2013. You gotta dig the tunnel that satisfies your particular urge to dig, and Discourse being 100% free and open source, is meant to “let a thousand tunnels bloom!” :pick:

(I will say that different platforms are good at different things, and that influences the outcome as well. For example, I’d describe Reddit as the finest system anyone has ever built for producing the absolute funniest possible image response to a given topic.)


Or let’s tag your above mentioned tunnels as [Vague] success chance.

Totally agreed on the Reddit’s part.