Doing an AMA using Discourse

I am pretty sure that if you manually push trust level up to level 1 or 2 for these AMA users (which can be done in the admin dashboard) they will be immune to this check. (need to confirm)

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What site is this by the way, can you link to the topic?

No, new users are not immune, there is a 24 hour check on users that is an independent setting. To prevent trust level shenanigans and filling the site with noise posts.

TL2 and up really should be immune, no way to get to it without mod intervention.

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I did try bumping up the trust level mid-AMA. It didn’t work. Here are the two threads. Our author Brendan thought creating a new thread might solve it (but this was incorrect and now we have 2 threads…) Our forum is accessible to Inked Voices folks only, but perhaps your super Discourse co-founder privileges allow you to see these? If not, and if it’s helpful, I could make you a user.

Thanks for your responses, Sam and Jeff.

If that was your natural reaction then I agree with @sam it is probably ok to make trust level 2 (which requires days of activity to reach naturally) and above immune to this check.


Just want to voice this as well, we will want this too. We are trying to do Q&A sessions live on Discourse to bring in new venues of discussions, and I see us potentially hitting this limit too (if the spokesperson decides to sign up on the day of the event).


The particular concern is now fixed, anyone TL2 and above is immune to newuser checks after this update:

For all AMA sessions I recommend setting trust level to TL2 for all new users. Additionally for private forums I would recommend dropping down rate_limit_new_user_create_post back to 5 seconds, cause really you trust your newusers to post so the limiting here is uneeded.


Curious to hear if anyone has any more real-world experience to share with attempting to do AMA-style discussions using Discourse.

How’d it go? Would you do it again? Any links to example threads I could check out?

Not sure how similar this is, but we’ve done some live Q&A’s using Discourse

They seemed to go well. Sometimes a question had to be repeated or the host would specifically re-iterate a question to the guest to ensured it got answered.


Thanks @cpradio. Those examples are exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for. If anyone on your team feels like sharing more about tips and tricks for running a successful live Q&A session with Discourse at some point, I’d love to hear it. Could make a good topic here (or a good blog post).

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Here’s another Discourse-powered AMA:

I’ve got a feature spec in the slowcooker based on the shortcomings shown in that topic.


For AMAs, it is absolutely critical that all official replies quote what they are replying to, like so:

here is my official answer

That’s the one bit that must be right, otherwise all is lost. If the AMA owner is just tapping the reply button without quoting (or not pressing the reply button at all) you are screwed.

I could see having an optional topic setting that forces all replies to one level (no multi-level, just one) and docks them under the thing they are replying to. This would completely destroy conversation chronology, but it would make AMAs, or any other “in this topic, we shall discuss absolutely any random topic at all with no limitations” topics, easier to deal with.


I think a solution here would be a topic setting to expand all replies (off by default, but admin/moderator can choose to enable this).

So, for AMA related topics (or other types of topics that could use this), instead of clicking on the ‘1 reply’ expander button under each post to see the reply by the responder, all replies will be automatically expanded, making for a much easier reading experience, yet still retaining the chronological order of the original posts.

From this:

to this:


That’s basically what I’m proposing here:


Yes, I did one here at and I have three sets of advice depending on who is asking:

For participants

Post the following guidelines early in the topic (either in the first post or the first reply) for people to follow:

  • Please only ask one question by replying to this topic a single time, using the blue Reply button at the bottom. It’s also helpful to scroll to the bottom while :open_book: reading the topic to make sure nobody else has asked the same question first, before you ask… right? :ok_hand:


  • Please don’t ask more than one question, so everyone gets a chance :wink:

  • Please do not reply to anyone else’s post. The only purpose of replies here in this topic is to ask the author one question. If you’d like to discuss a related topic in more detail, create a new topic.

Posts not following these guidelines may be removed by moderators to keep the Q&A flowing smoothly. Thank you!

Two notes:

  1. The link to “the bottom” is in the form

    where you add the word “last” to the topic link, this will reliably take you to the bottom of the topic.

  2. The date and time of the Q&A can be specified in the first post using our automagic awesome localized-automatically date feature that @joffreyjaffeux created!

    [date=2019-04-08 time=12:00:00 timezone="America/Los_Angeles"]

    This way the correct date and time appears on the user’s browser, no matter where in the world they are. :date:

For answerers / authors

  • Make sure you’ve created your account on the site in advance of the Q&A as you’ll need it!

  • The answerer should create the topic (or the hosts can create it for them, and force ownership to the answerer via the wrench) so they get properly notified about replies to their topic.

  • :warning: MAKE SURE THE ANSWERER KNOWS TO QUOTE IN EVERY REPLY! This is critical. They have to quote the post they are replying to so people can see what they’re replying to and the conversation is properly connected. I cannot emphasize enough how critical this is… really. If this doesn’t get done, your Q&A / AMA is gonna suuuuuck real hard for readers. Basically don’t even bother if you can’t guarantee this part.

  • It is a bit of an advanced thing but some people don’t read the whole Q&A topic (although we did ask them to) and subsequently asked duplicate questions. In those cases I suggest editing quotes from those posts into existing answers so the answer then properly covers both questions. Users get notified when you quote them so this works, even when editing after the fact.

For hosts

  • Either grant the answerer moderator status temporarily, or have a moderator during the Q&A on hand to moderate anything weird that happens in the Q&A topic such as off-topic, angry, or rant-y posts.

  • Make sure the answerer has their account created and ready to go, and granted trust level 2 or higher so it avoids new user restrictions when answering!

  • Close the topic after the Q&A is complete, or set a topic timer to do it automatically.


Just to reiterate why I don’t “like” this solution – it’s because you can’t press the like button on the expanded replies. So this experience is inferior both for the user and the community in my opinion.

(It’s also not possible to reply that way, but I don’t think replies to replies are really desirable in this specific scenario anyway so friction there is good.)

I’m not sure it’s worth doing the additional engineering work to add the ability to like expanded replies, and even if we did, it is kinda opening pandoras box and asking “gee, why can’t I do everything I usually do to replies with an expanded reply?” cc @erlend_sh


We just completed our first AMA in the Global Legal Empowerment Network, and it went very well! Everyone was very disciplined and followed the guidelines. I only had to delete a few “thanks for the answer” replies. The answerer felt compelled to ask himself a question that he really wanted to answer, which was a new one but we let it slide. :wink: Now we have an excellent topic in the forum containing a wealth of information.

One important thing I noticed is that you have to disable the “remove full quote” admin setting during the AMA because otherwise the answerer’s quoting will be removed.

The process we followed is below - if anyone has any feedback on it let me know because we’ll want to do more AMAs in the future. We used a PM with the answerer to manage it, which was also a helpful place to coordinate before, during and after the AMA forum event.

click to expand

Hi [name]!

Thanks for agreeing to do an AMA with us. I am really looking forward to collaborating with you on this and seeing what happens!

Let’s use this personal message to keep in touch and make plans before, during and after the event. You can also use it to practice using the forum functionality - feel free to post here as much as you like.

Read on for background info on AMAs, a proposed planning checklist for us, and some examples and tips from others who have done AMAs using our forum software. If you want to do things differently or have thoughts on improvements, just let me know!

The first step is for you to draft the texts - I am happy to contribute once you’ve made a start. Maybe easiest if you do it in a google doc and share it with us here?



What’s an AMA? :thinking:

Ask Me Anything (AMA) is a phenomenon started on Reddit, where famous people make themselves available for a time for live, interactive questions and answers with reddit members. The forum is a great place to host an AMA to engage with our community. AMAs complement nicely with Forum Friday, online events and other engagement tactics.

Planning Checklist

In the checklist below, the OP is you! :slight_smile: OP means Original Poster in forum speak and means you are the author of the AMA topic and the famous person people will be coming to ask questions to. The moderator is me in this case. I will be leading this activity on our end, with support from other members of the network team.

  1. OP, moderator schedule AMA date and time
  2. OP, moderator draft and agree on AMA texts (see below) in advance.
  3. As required: OP and moderator schedule brief planning/training session just before the AMA to iron out any final details and confirm OP knows how to use forum, has enabled browser notifications, can quote reply directly to questions to keep AMA topic structured, etc. We can also practice here in this planning topic.
  4. OP announces the AMA on the forum 7 days in advance
  5. OP, moderator inform colleagues and specific members likely especially interested in asking questions
  6. OP, moderator promote AMA on social media at regular intervals before, during and after
  7. OP creates AMA topic at the scheduled day and time
  • moderator pins topic globally
  • OP actively monitors topic, directly answers questions as they come in
  • moderator also monitors topic, adds encouraging messages, seeded questions, moderates as needed
  1. OP writes wrap up reply at scheduled end time. Moderator closes topic to replies.

Texts to write in advance

Announcement topic to post 7 days ahead

example: The February 2015 WPChat AMA guest is lined up - Meta - WordPress Chat

Social media posts

We will share on twitter and facebook at regular intervals a week before, day before and the day of the AMA event. You’re welcome to do the same.

AMA topic itself

Introduce yourself, frame any topic boundaries you’d like to be asked about

Moderator will add instructions at the bottom

  • Please only ask one question by replying to this topic a single time, using the blue Reply button at the bottom. It’s also helpful to scroll to the bottom while :ok_hand: reading the topic to make sure nobody else has asked the same question first, before you ask… right? :ok_hand:
  • Please don’t ask more than one question, so everyone gets a chance :wink:
  • Please do not reply to anyone else’s post. The only purpose of replies here in this topic is to ask the author one question. If you’d like to discuss a related topic in more detail, create a new topic.

Posts not following these guidelines may be removed by moderators to keep the Q&A flowing smoothly. Thank you!

Seeded questions

Questions you would like to be asked. :slight_smile: We can distribute these among colleagues to make sure the convo keeps going and you are kept busy

Two other items for follow-up:

  • our site got busy during the AMA and folks got “extreme load” notifications. Have to revisit that and find out what’s going on with our server. Discussed at How serious is "site is under extreme load, search is disabled, try again later"
  • is there a way to provide a link in a topic to compose a new pre-filled topic while remaining in the topic? That would be great so that people can start linked topics to continue the conversation, without having to leave to start the new topic and then come back to quote reply.
    • example - click this link to start a topic - works but you are thrown out of the topic.

I just responded to you in a different, older thread (which you actually shared in THIS thread apparently) and see that as of a year ago you were doing this. Did Hackernoon do anything to set this up, or is this in the base Discourse install. We’re using your hosted solution, so we haven’t done a ton of modifications … I’d love to add this functionality, or take advantage of it if it already exists.


Everything described in that post is instructions to people, not coding changes :smiley: