I'm working to build a "marketplace" on top of Discourse. Would love some suggestions/feedback

We have a product. Developers can build things against our product. We’ve started to see that developers are sharing with each other in the community, these solutions they’re building. We created a category a year or two ago called “Show and Tell” where our developers can share these things they’re building with each other—and it has gone over quite well.

We’re now growing enough in maturity that our partners, ourselves, and even some high-value community developers, want to take their “marketplace item” to the next level—and so we want to build an elevated experience for that. Here’s some things I know for sure:

  • This won’t be paid, so no need to worry about paid access or payments
  • All integrations provided in the marketplace will be open-source and hosted in GitHub
  • There is a finite list of what types of integrations they can submit (essentially product feature A, product feature B, product feature C, and Other…these are each subcategories in the marketplace category.)
  • I want to have every marketplace item in the form of a Discourse topic, like plugin or theme-component.
  • There will be a gated submission process to get an item onto the marketplace. Your item should be of high-enough caliber to be consider a marketplace item versus a Show and Tell item.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Submission Process

To submit an item to the marketplace, you first have to request access to the “Marketplace Publishers” user group, and in your request you share a link to the open-source repository of your item and a description of what it is. That request goes to the marketplace publishers user group owners in a group PM (standard discourse feature). Of course in here, they can communicate about what the person wants to publish, review their code, etc.

Once we approve, we build the marketplace item with them in the PM using a Discourse Template of our marketplace items. We can get the image right, description, getting started guide, etc.

After that, our team publishes the item to the marketplace (only our team or approved company employees can publish new topics in this category).

It would be great if the Automation “send pms” allowed the sender to be a user group or a list of users. We could possibly use it to do something like:
Hey, %%RECEIVER_USERNAME%%, I just wanted to say thank you for working to become a marketplace author. It’s a great way to showcase your technical prowess or that of your business.

We’ll work with you in this private message right here on the next steps to get you going. Here are the next things I need you to do so we can get your item on the SailPoint marketplace:

  • a
  • b
  • c

Usage Process

From the end user perspective, they will use the marketplace item almost exactly like we use theme components and plugins here on Meta.

Things I’m Struggling With (or needing to figure out)

  • I’m trying to figure out how to handle bugs/feature requests for marketplace items. Do I use bug and feature categories, and create an associated tag for every marketplace item? Or do I only do that for official plugins, and let community/partner-built plugins handle them in their topics? The former means a lot of tag management but would make tracking great…but I’m cautious about creating too many tags. The latter is a disjointed experience depending on the marketplace item you’re engaging with and can make it hard to find what current bugs/feature requests exist if the OP isn’t keeping the original topic post updated.
  • I need to figure out how users of a marketplace item get updates about changes to the marketplace item. If they are subscribed to a specific topic (marketplace item), do they get updates if the OP is updated? Would everyone subscribed get updates if it was a wiki?
  • I need the best way I can come up with for users to acknowledge our terms of services. I currently have it linked right at the top of the topic, in bold, but I think my legal team will want it to actually pop-up to users before they go and download/use the item. Not sure what to do here…
  • Ability for users to rate the marketplace item, and that rating be available for us to pull via API, see who rated what, etc.
  • Possibly a theme component for both the category and the topic that better visualizes the category as a “marketplace” and a “marketplace item” and not a discussion/forum-like view.
  • I’m sure there are things that I haven’t considered, so please poke some holes in this if you want :slight_smile:

wow. love this idea Jordan. :slight_smile:


I could still imagine to just set it up like theme

  • the layout stands apart with the Topic thumbnails component
  • when you add a new topic, you are presented a template to follow
  • new topics will be reviewed; community managers can change the topic to a private conversation or just send a pm for further exchange about it.
  • ops can just change the content on a published topic
  • feedback and bug reports are open right on the topic; you could additionally delete replies after x months

If you want to set the marketplace more apart from the rest of the forum, you could use the Docs page and

  • link it as “Marketplace” on the sidebar
  • hide the marketplace categories from the default category list
  • use a custom look for cards and topics on the docs layout
  • change the text “View the discussion on this topic” at the bottom of the topic view in docs to sth more specific, like “Roadmap, feature requests and bugs”

It’s been a while since I looked at it, but maybe have a look at Topic Ratings Plugin. The plugin’s README file give a better description of how it works than the Meta topic:

A Discourse plugin that lets you use topics to rate things.

  1. Topics can be designated as ‘for rating’, by being posted in a category with ratings setting on (see below), or by being given the tag ‘rating’.
  2. Each ratings topic concerns a single thing (“rating subject”); e.g. a service or a product.
  3. Users rate the rating subject by choosing a star rating when posting (i.e. in the composer).
  4. The average (mean) of all the ratings in the topic is displayed under the topic title and on the relevant topic list item.

This would be interesting for Discourse/Shopify integrations too.

Just a thought, but maybe an Automation could be created that added users to a group when they accepted the TOS. You could configure the marketplace category so that membership in the ‘accepted_tos’ group was required to access the category. There’d be some development needed to set this up: add a checkbox to the TOS page, trigger an Automation when the checkbox is checked, find some way of making it clear to users what they need to do to access the category.


For the topic ratings plugin, I’m hosted by Discourse so I’d have to have them build something, but I did see it a while back and it looked close to what I’d want for that part.

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Maybe not.

Discourse theme components now support Wasm

Hosted sites do have the ability to add themes and if you think you need a plugin you might be able to do similar using a theme with WASM. I have not tried this yet but it is a possibly worth researching.


This to me sounds very similar to the good old “when do I create a (sub)category on my forum” problem that community managers have struggled with since the launch of the first BBS :slight_smile:
In general my advice is: “as late as possible”
I’d start with a simple “one plugin, one topic” and only create a “proper” structure once you get multiple new requests per week (making the topic too noisy to follow).

Not necessarily… :slight_smile: Discourse can also host 3rd party plugins after some vetting and perhaps an additional fee if needed.
Reach out to support for more details if you require one.


Is that a one time fee, a recurring fee or other?

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Recurring fee, for the hosting, testing and maintenance of custom plugins.


Good point! Sometimes you get used to more complex solutioning and you think everything should be that way—thanks for the reminder to start small.

Yeah sorry, I was just being brief by saying “have you all build something”. I believe we may have a few in the works soon.


An interesting feature we have which may be handy here is the new revamped topic templates @keegan has worked on.

It allows you to request structured data (with required fields) for new topics in a category.

So, you could at least get structured submissions this way which solves some of the problem.


Since nobody can post to the marketplace but our team, I’ve just used category templates which has been well-received by our internal stakeholders.

BUT that structured data with required fields would be amazing for soooo many other categories. Is that available now somewhere?


We have a hidden site setting to enable it, we plan to announce it very soon!


What an amazing job! This is so cool!

I’m guessing the Cutsom Wizard plugin provides a similar functionality, but I haven’t used it yet.


@sp-jordan-violet your post made me think of this post which might interest you…

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Hi, where is this feature documented? is this a plugin or part of the core currently? Can’t seem to find through forum search

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@sam is there a tentative timeline for this? Would love to use it (or would be happy to provide early feedback).


very much on our immediate plans, hoping to do so in a few days cc @pmusaraj


Just checking in—any chance this is close to availability yet?

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