How to set up a forum - guidance and instruction

Dear all,

Not sure where to start, here. I’ve been tasked with setting up a forum, but seem to have very scant information on where to start. Does anyone happen to know if there is a ‘how to’ site or section of pages whereby those new to this site admin business can learn how to structure pages and set-up a forum with folders, add new users, set up topic areas, etc?

Any help from a users / admin perspective would be very much appreciated.



Try checking out these:

Thanks for these. Not sure this is precisely what I was after (I’d really wanted something a little more structured and coherent) - but I’ll give it a go.

Thanks again.

Is this what you wanted:

I suppose that I’m really looking for an “Idiot’s Guide” type of instruction - I am a bit of an idiot and would like to be guided a little more slowly through what the options for set-up could be. Perhaps a list of sites currently using Discourse - whereupon instructions and information could be provided which would show users how to replicate their form, functionality and layout.

It’s just a way of providing a few ideas and ‘how to’ for real world examples (or even mocked up examples).

Oh, I just noticed that. Apologies - I’m only half concentrating.

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As an example: there doesn’t appear to be any explicit instructions for a site administrator, showing them how to invite new users to the site. This is just one example of how the ‘how to’ guide could be improved.

When you set-up your new Discourse instance and sign in as Admin, you will see Admin Quick Start Guide. I really believe that, that guide is sufficient to bring you up to speed.

You can even send a pull request, if you think something is missing!

Thanks for your reply. I’ll give this a go.

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As @techapj noted, the READ ME FIRST: Admin Quick Start Guide which is one of the default topics in every new Discourse instance, should help.

Let us know if there is anything in the guide that is unclear or can be improved. Always looking for ways to improve the guide.

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Missing from the Quick Start Guide? ideas about how to add new Users.

Want to have some real fun - watch over the shoulder of the new person setting up the forum.

Replying to my own reply. If the quick start guide contained a link to the meta.discourse for both the howto and the support sections my afternoon would have been a lot more relaxed. I’ve been stumbling around in the dark trying to setup reply by email, getting it partly right. Then boom I find the howto section and many questions are answered.

Suggestion link to these from the QuickStart Guide and save the next person an afternoon.


How to set up reply via email is linked in two places in the admin quick start guide. You are right that we could add more about inviting users though.

Jeff - its not the specific guide that I’m thinking of. Its the idea that the setup guide could finish with: “If you’re looking for more details on setting up specific specific technologies visit”. The point would be to hammer home to people of limited brains such as my self that there is a place for more details.

That is covered at the end of the admin quick start guide – do you not see it there? A bunch of bullets linking to specific named howtos of which reply via email is one?

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I added a section to the Admin Quick Start Guide about sending invites. Hopefully this will help highlight all the hard work of @techapj improving the invites feature over the last few months – it’s amazing how much Invite gets used, and how often we get asked about it.

Sending out targetted email invites to people, with a one-click join link, is definitely a good way to “seed” your site.


Also @Jake_Speed getting back to the specific topic at hand, I wrote this:

(this is another thing that is linked from the Admin Quick Start Guide, added after it was written)

Setting up the discussion software is the easy part. Getting people to visit your site every day and engage in discussions … that’s a different story. :wink: