Exploring features in Discourse Chat

:bookmark: This is a comprehensive guide to the features available in Discourse Chat.

:person_raising_hand: Required user level: All users

Discourse Chat offers a variety of functionalities to enhance user communication within the community. This guide provides an overview of these features and how to make the most of them.


This reference guide covers:

  • Types of chat
  • Accessing and using chat
  • Chat preferences
  • Exclusive chat functionalities
  • Features shared with posts and topics

Types of chat


Channels are group chats that can be accessible to all users or restricted to specific members. For example, an open #off-topic channel for all users or a restricted #moderating channel for admins and moderators.

A channel with new messages will have a colored dot next to its name:

chat channel new message

Personal Chats

Create Personal Chats using the :heavy_plus_sign: icon next to the Personal Chats header. If in Full-Screen Chat, hover over the header to reveal the icon. User cards also allow initiating chats.

Accessing chat

Provided your community has it enabled, you can access chat by clicking the speech bubble icon next to the search tool at the top of the page. Clicking the icon again will close the chat window. Channels with new messages will show a colored dot:

chat icon channel new message

If you have new messages in Personal Chats, the icon will have a green dot.

Changing your chat preferences

Adjust your chat settings through your Chat preferences, including:

  • Enabling/disabling chat for your account
  • Disabling pings from @all and @here mentions
  • Changing the desktop notification sound

Functionality exclusive to chats

Full-Screen Chat

Expand the chat window to a full-screen view using the appropriate button. This is useful for a focused chat experience.

:star2: If you use chat often, opening it in full-screen view and pinning the tab in your browser makes for a great and convenient experience.

Managing Channels

Tap on the :pencil2: icon next to Channels in the sidebar to manage channels. Hover over the header if the icon isn’t visible.

Configure channel settings (e.g., muting, desktop notifications) by visiting the channel setting page:



Leave a channel via the About tab in its settings.

Message Retention

Chats are short-lived by default, with messages in channels lasting 90 days. This period can be customized by admins. Personal chats last indefinitely by default.

Quote in Topic

Share a chat message in a topic by hovering over it, opening the kebab menu (three vertical dots), and selecting “Quote in Topic”.

:information_source: Messages quoted in this manner will remain in the topic indefinitely, even after expiring in chat itself and no longer being available there.


React to messages with a range of emoji. Commonly used emoji are pinned, with more available by tapping on the icon to the right.

Functionality shared with posts and topics


Bookmark a message by hovering over it and clicking the bookmark icon. These share the same list as regular posts and topics.

Copy Link

Copy a message link via the kebab menu. Discourse will automatically convert such links into oneboxes.


Delete a message through the kebab menu. The message becomes hidden from other users and flagged for admin/moderator review during the retention period.


Edit a message using the kebab menu. The edit will be indicated on the message without showing revision history.


Flag inappropriate messages through the kebab menu for moderator attention.

Insert Date/Time

Use the Insert Date/Time tool available in the toolbar for accurate time referencing.


Links in chat messages form oneboxes similar to regular posts. Right-click links in full-screen chat to open in a new tab.


Reply to specific messages using the arrow icon in the on-hover menu. Replies show a preview of the original message above your own. Here’s an example of what this looks like:

Search GIFs

Tap on the :heavy_plus_sign: icon to the left of the text box to open the toolbar and search for GIFs hosted by GIPHY.


Upload files (e.g., images, videos, text files) by selecting “Attach a file” from the toolbar. Supported extensions include .JPG, .PNG, .PDF, .MP4, and more.

User Cards

Access user cards by clicking a name or avatar in chat. Cards allow initiating personal chats unless the user has restricted this in their preferences.

:bulb: Feel free to incorporate or modify this guide for your own community needs. You can copy the raw text of this post from here: https://meta.discourse.org/raw/239695

Last edited by @sam 2024-07-05T00:42:48Z

Last checked by @hugh 2024-06-18T10:55:54Z

Check documentPerform check on document:

Since those channels are deleted the links do not work anymore


I updated with some screenshot, the guide may need some more info though, it was talking about gears and they have been gone for a while now.

cc @lindsey @hugh