Gradual migration from vBulletin

I have a large forum and resident members do not like abrupt changes. I am planning to introduce gradual migration to discourse by adding discourse based topics at the end of each thread on current vB forum, and encouraging members to continue the discussion on discourse.

I will need a lot of things for this to work properly.

  1. The current user base will have to be imported, along with forum categories and sections.
  2. New registrations and user logins on current forum should auto-register and auto-login on discourse as well.
  3. I will not import existing threads/post from vB. They are too many and not worth hassle because the users will still be participating on them on vB. Instead, I want to add an iframe at the end of each thread on vB. This iframe will embed a discourse plugin that creates a new topic with the same name on discourse, with the first post containing a OneBox of the current thread on vB. And it will display a note to the users to continue the discussion on the newly created discourse topic.
    If the topic is already created, it will show the current replies there.

I am very new to discourse and I don’t know how to implement this. Any suggestions?

Every time we have seen people run new and old discussion / forum systems in parallel, it has been an unmitigated disaster. Highly not recommended.

Either warn of the switch in advance, and fully switch, or don’t. Running old and new systems in parallel causes both to fail.


You’ll probably want a “beta testing” period where you invite a hand-picked group (10-30 people, say) of adventurous/keen users to the new forum so they can kick the tires and act as a vanguard for the rest of your users.

This is the only reasonable exception I can think of to the “no parallel forums” rule.


Very good point and a very good idea. Except I’d call that “staging” rather than “parallel”.

That’s what we did when SitePoint migrated from vBulletin to Discourse.

Staff and a few select established members were given access to the Discourse forum in advance.
Precisely to “kick the tires”.
Once it was certain that the migration was going to happen general announcements were made to let the community know and get prepared for

Feb 2014 The SitePoint Forums are Moving House - Community - The SitePoint Forums
Mar 2014 An update on our forum migration to Discourse - Community - The SitePoint Forums
July 2014
Aug 2014 A New SitePoint Forum Experience: Our Move to Discourse — SitePoint

So there was at least 6 months for members to do anything they might want to do (eg. save copies of their PMs, make sure their email address was current) and for Staff to learn enough to be able to answer the inevitable Where How questions.

Please note, at no time were there two active public SitePoint forums at the same time.
The decision was made, the switch was flicked.

There was of course some “I don’t like change” as it was expected there would be. But happily the transition was for the most part very well received by the community.