How Discourse enriches our community - FUN stuff!

Hi all,

(warning, long post - I don’t do short texts apparently!)

I’ve posted before on how much I like Discourse and appreciate all the work you put in. Not just the core team (thank you!) but also the plugin developers (looking at you here, @gdpelican!).

And over the last few days I saw something develop that made me smile and appreciate all your hard work even more! And I just have to share it with you :slight_smile:

In short: The users are organising their own pub quiz. Online, within the forum.

First some background, then some more details!

The forum in question is one of the larger forums for women in The Netherlands, primarily aimed at women between say 20 and 35. And for good measure: my girlfriend is the driving force behind the forum, I just tinker with the server and software.

The forum is quite active: 1400 users, daily engaged users varies between 550 and 600, DAU/MAU usually between 80% and 84% and between 1.700 and 2.000 posts per day. Page views around 2.7M over the last 30 days. Not bad, I’d say.

And it is actually a very nice and pleasant place to be as far as I can tell. It’s more of an online environment for social gatherings than anything else, and it works.

What makes it surprisingly good fun is how the users enjoy it. Silly but brilliant stuff like:

  • ‘Write the story by adding or changing one word at a time’ - you have to see it to believe it to understand how much fun that is.
  • Or the ‘make a drawing of someone elses nickname’ - that led to many new avatars :slight_smile:
  • Or the creative use of the title-feature: ‘Come up with a title for someone else’ - admins and moderators have tons of fun setting those titles (and sometimes coming up with ideas of their own), all for good laughs.
  • Or the ‘Impossible dilemmas’: Choose between peanut butter OR jelly’ or between ‘having to finish a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle every day before you can eat OR brush your teeth with ground beef forever’. Who comes up with that sort of stuff?

But the best one so far has got to be the Pub Quiz: The users between themselves organised it all, using the available features. So a small team of users came up with a series of questions and possible answers, those interested to participate are given access to the quiz-topic, and the quiz questions themselves are presented as polls where your vote is your answer.

What I’ve learned from this: users are creative and if you let them, they will come up with stuff that I never even thought possible.

And all of this is thanks to all of you! So: Thank you!


Hey that’s fantastic could I have a look at the website to see how the quiz would work

1 Like

Hi @Menzer,

I’ve added a screenshot if that’s okay, see below - thing is, it’s a forum for Dutch women and because of privacy etc. I’ve also edited it a bit to remove a few personal details (nickname of poster, most of the user avatars - you can still see that there was something there, but at least it’s not easily recognisable.

In short though: It’s basically just one post with 20 polls.

Most important thing I’ve learned from this:
Tune the rate limiting when the polls are closed. When you close the poll, the results are shown, including the voters’ avatars. With 20 questions and around 90 voters per poll, that means 20*90 avatars. Makes for an unhappy server if you’re not careful :wink:


Awesome really appreciate you taking time out to explain, I’m impressed by the creativity


Out of curiosity, what server specs do you run to host that many pageviews? What’s the load like?


Hi @chrism2671 ,

Sorry for the late reply - I was a bit tied up with work.

The server hosting the forum is a VM with 4 CPU cores, 4 GB memory and 100 GB disk currently. Funnily enough CPU isn’t the problem (CPU load is somewhere between 2 and 2.5 during peak hours), the disk IO is actually much more important. Discourse is database-intensive with many writes since it tries to keep track of everything, so make sure your IO subsystem is sufficient.

I found out the hard way how important this is due to the fact that my disk array with 6x traditional HDD in RAID10 did not have the write caches enabled and that destroyed server performance.