How our community is faring after migrating from vbulletin3

Continuing the discussion from Gamekult, a popular video game forum, migrated from vBulletin to Discourse. A failure?:

Ok so I was postponing this for some time now because I simply had one hell of a month between work and health. I have decided for a new topic as it’s not really about Gamekult and it would probably have better visibility this way.

I must say, in the first couple of weeks I was being increasingly worried, not because numbers but because the mood I was perceiving was not great. That seemed to be a distorted perception. After all, complains are more visible that praises and people that are even just content, don’t tend to bother going out of their way to say “Hey, I’m fine with this”.

However, due to not having stats from when our community was on vBulletin, I could only check the traffic via Cloudflare and the data is interesting.

We migrated the 7th of March. It took basically a morning and part of the afternoon.

These are unique visitors we had prior to the migration (no bots, include lurkers):

And these are taken just now:

Now this is not really a rigorous approach as I should have taken the same time period last year but for the purpose of the next point, it’s enough.

The thing I was expecting and surprised me is the number of visit we get from mobile devices.
I was expecting at least 50/50 if not more from mobile and we do in fact get 8.2k users visit in a month from mobile from the 16.3k total users visits which is a split 50/50.

However, I’ve seen many (subjective) topic/replies asking how to make the forum works on tapatalk since the migration. Reasons varies from habit to “I’ve all my communities in one place” and while some are less understandable, I can see the point for some.

When migrating we also had built a script that created redirect for every single link existing in the previous vbulletin installation. Which means that direct link to the sub-forums, link to users profile, link to specific topics (when mentioned inside other topics) are all mapped. This should help crawlers not get lost as well.

The reason we lost a whole 20k unique visits in a month is not easy to discern right now as it’s most probably lurkers and the reason could be ranging from not understanding how to navigate (we reorganized some sections due to how subcategories bubble up by default in parent ones) as to plain old “refusing” a different system but also “this forum doesn’t open anymore with tapatalk, too bad”.
Which is something that should be considered. As much as I understand that Discourse offer it’s own mobile view thanks to responsive design, some people will simply prefer other ways and it should be considered, not just ignored.

Talking about actual registered users, in this case I cannot find data prior to the migration but I would say that we are doing fine.

These are the total users visits. Traffic tend to peak during workdays and decrease during weekends, so, well done users for using the weekend to take a break from the screens:

And these are the consolidated pageviews:

I don’t know why we are getting inundated by crawlers in the past days, maybe it’s that time of the month? :roll_eyes:

The rest of the reports are very specific so a simple overview of the dashboard should suffice. We have not much new topics according to the evaluation of Discourse. It would be nice to know what are the criteria for this evaluations as it feels to me that we have a good amount of new topics and most importantly, a lot of replies which means that rather than having new topic of discussions, the discussions are of actuality and engage the community.

Discourse, could we have the dasboard show the charts only up to “yesterday” in the dashboard? Seeing the dip in every chart is really triggering me :stuck_out_tongue:

In terms of signups, that 41 is already enough for us (again, Discourse, let me set my own expected numbers?) as we are a very weird community, basically old ex/non-ex-yet gamers with different opinions and taste in pretty much everything. New users are always welcome but it can be hard to fit it.

Overall, I’d say that the community is still settling and some requests will need me and who is willing to help, to write some not so simple plugins but we are getting there but apart from that, the vast majority of users are going on with their “forum lives” as before. We had some major scenes going on in the first week with people threatening to “leave the forum” etc etc, but in the end, after being silenced to give them time to cool down a bit, they are now participating as before.

On the moderation side, the big bad issue is the fact that we thought Category Moderators were going to be just like moderators, but only for their own category, with the exception of being able to ban users. Instead they seems to be just cleaning service, closing or splitting topics. They can’t even enable slow mode or move a topic into another category if needed be. It’s severely limited and it’s one of my main priority in terms of plugins to write.

If there is enough interest, I can update this in a month or so.
Feel free to ask specific question I may have not covered.


I’ll just reply to this right now: it was raised here

I see this on every Discourse stats screenshot. Feel free to add your voice here :slight_smile:


The 41 is in red with a down arrow because it’s a decrease on the previous period. Hover over it to see the previous value. There’s no judgement here as to what the number ought to be.

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Our gaming community switched from vBulletin to Discourse in 2016. We got A LOT of bad feedback from the MINORITY of users. And you know gamers, they can be really vocal about changes or things that are not as used to be, or when they don’t like it. Some kind of ‘entitlement’ comes with the gaming audience.

The vast majority of negative comments were about: pages replaced with infinite scroll and how narrow the width of the new forum was. And then the same users were repeating the same points again and again until some of them stopped complaining and some of them left the forums.

Once we started educating the community about Discourse features and how advanced are some of them comparing to vBulletin, it didn’t take long for members to start using them and embrace ‘new things’.

You can’t make everyone happy with the change, but you need to be persistent and discuss it with the community. We had one topic where we encouraged people to share with others which useful functionality they discovered. That helped others understand how Discourse works or how to do some stuff on their own.


“The forum has been migrated, it’s not going back, if you want to invest and be a shareholder perhaps your whinging deserves consideration, but since you’re utilizing my free service I have to manage, you’re yelling at clouds. Accept that it literally makes no difference it’s a web forum, or continue yelling at your screen while you’re still using it”

Should pretty much solve all issues…

TL3 can move things to other categories and edit the title.

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this is a great idea. thank you for sharing.


Well, I prefer @robotnjik’s way regarding this. It’s softer and more respectful. As an admin, you may not want to assert things and close the discussions in this context but rather engage, understand, and share, with patience, with a community you care about.


This sounds oh-so familiar. A forum that I’m a member of (not a moderator or admin) changed two years ago to Discourse. A lot of regulars did not like it but they took the changes in their stride.

My initial feeling also was “oh my god”, what … is this. I got over it, it is what it is. And I started finding useful functionalities and how to do things and as a result started a topic about “tips and tricks”.


What I find funny is that people still can’t explain why pages are a better vs infinite scroll :smiley:.

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Hey everyone. I’m also part of the community Crius is talking about in his reports.

Just wanted to say that this is a confusing reply. Why do Cat mods have fewer permissions than TL3 users, especially considering that Cat mods are hand picked by staff while anyone can become TL3 by just posting (okay, a lot of posting, but still)?

Some have argued that pages let them break the pace, and give less of a chat-like feel. I think their arguments make sense but at the same time I feel like it’s mostly a matter of habit.


Hello and welcome @Brom :slight_smile:

Category moderators do have a selection of elevated powers within their designated categories that aren’t available to any trust level, though (rightly or wrongly) I think there is an assumption that they would also be trusted members of the community and would work in conjunction with the higher trust level features (You can check out a comparison table in Trust Level Permissions Table (inc Moderator Roles)).

I think allowing category moderators to set slow mode independently of being a TL4 would make sense though, and would make a good feature request. :+1:



15 posts were split to a new topic: Is auto-promoting TL3s a sensible choice?

In terms of having people accept a change, I have gone mid-way between discussion and a firm response. I personally spent December through March working on this and some volunteer spent 2 months, often doing late at night, perfecting the custom migration script and a custom theme that would be as close as possible to the one we had on vBulletin3.

During that time we had a topic going in which I was answering questions (often the very same, over and over) and others on the forum luckily helped the less attentive users to answer things that were already asked in the past.

A classic have been telling everyone repeatedly, with forum wide announcement, the date of the migration and to double check their email as with the migration that would have been crucial to recover the account as password where going to need to be reset. Still I had a good number of people reach out afterward looking for help to recover their password, which they did.

Thing is, every community have those users that are not easy to deal with or straight out just a pain for everyone. I’ve been part of that community for years (literally, I was a late teen when I joined and now around 40) but managed to always be away from the drama. Since being admin I’ve seen how often you just have to say “stop” because they will try and bring you down in their thirst for it and I tend to remind myself that after all, it’s just a website. And when they exaggerate I can simply remind the same. And the time I gifted to it and that everything I’ve done lately has been make it so everything is open source and everyone can contribute. If they feel like they can’t tolerate something, they can take initiative or be supportive of who takes initiative.

Entitlement is not something strictly “of gamers”, it’s just something that develop when you are used to having something and start to think that it’s a given. Sometimes you just need to politely remind the people that think that, that it’s just because other people are being generous that they have that they have, and as easy as just closing a browser tab, they can start to ignore you.