Import CSV User Activity from one Discourse to Another

I participated in a workshop that was hosted in Discourse and I was able to Download All my user activity. In that workshop I was actually developing the concept for our I would love to import this user activity into my own Discourse community so that my team can see the project origin and chime in on things I may have forgotten to move forward.

Is it possible to use the CSV file to upload in my Discourse community, and if so, is there some instructions you can point me to.


You want to migrate … what, specifically? Just the topics you created, and your posts on your own topics you created?

Since your user export only includes your posts and your topics, unclear what importing that into another Discourse would actually mean in practice. Can you perhaps describe with an actual real world example to make it a bit more clear?

Is the original site still live? Why don’t you just link each Topic in new Topics on your own site?

I don’t think migrating user activity makes sense unless you import all the data including the original Topics and Posts. There will be unique reference ids unique to that instance so it’s not a trivial import. Sounds like a can of worms!


@codinghorror in the workshop I was participated in we each created one topic and then replied to that for over 100 days. Other people poked at our ideas and we were able to clarify our thinking. When I first looked at the download there was almost 1200 records. I started going through them and deleting things that aren’t important and then I realized I could probably more easily isolate the parts I would really want which are all my responses in that one topic and the 35 other prompts I responded to.

Since this doesn’t sound easy to do then I will likely do a Mail merge into a Word/Google doc and just let my team comment on that to extract the ideas and storytelling language we can use going forward.

@neounix I appreciate this response and hope it may help someone in the future but I’m not that much of a tech person.

@merefield The original site is a private workshop space and so it will disappear in a few days as it just officially ended on 12/31.

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You should be able to isolate those topics in a single (or a few) categories and use the battle tested Topic and Category Export/Import export category feature.


In some particular scenarios this can make sense, it’s something we want to support, so thanks for the additional detail!

One of the founding principles of Discourse is that users deserve portability of their own data, no matter what. :bowing_man:



I’m not sure if this is possible. I’m bringing in a friend @craigconstantine who may know how to do so, and if so, might be willing to assist me.

@codinghorror that’s awesome.

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…I’m not sure where you have CYOS (her community) hosted. That exp/inport mentioned by @Falco looks like a command line tool. I’ve never played with that (I’m on Hosted Discourse, so no command-line access for me.)

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@craigconstantine I use [Communiteq (formerly DiscourseHosting) ](Managed Discourse Hosting - Communiteq). I don’t know how to do what they are suggesting and if you don’t either then I’m just going to copy and paste pieces in a little at a time. Thanks.

We can do the category import for you.

But that requires a category export which is not the same as the export of your user data.

You could ask the owner of the original forum if they would be willing and able to provide you with a category export.

IIRC that would also contain the user profiles of other users who participated there (and that would end up in your forum as well). I am not sure if that is something you (or those users, or the owner of the other forum) want.

My estimate is that in this specific case it is easier / less work to manually copy/paste the contents.


@michaeld thanks for the reply. The original site has been taken down now. I do think the copy/paste will be the best way.

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It isn’t very helpful if one can export their own data from Discourse but not re-import it back to another Discourse instance.

Of course, it would only ever be one side of conversations, which is quite a limitation!!

Right. You own your data, but not everyone else’s data.

Sorry to bump this topic, but it’s so close to what I would like to be able to do, and I haven’t yet found anything closer.

Scenario: A bunch of writers on a Discourse forum which is imploding on an indefinite time frame.

A fresh new Discourse forum on Bhanu Sharma’s donated space, with me as admin.

I’m looking at, how can I move our years of posts, many of them short creative writing pieces, intact, to the new forum?

I was just looking at my own CSV archive, and thinking about past projects in my software career using CSV to export/import between dissimilar databases, and Perl code to split/join/create fields – basically, convert one CSV schema to another.

Is there an existing straight forward way to take my CSV archive from the old site and import it into the new site? if so, could someone point me at it? I looked at the Github import script collection, but they all seem to be doing imports from dissimilar data layouts.

If there isn’t one – well, my budget is vanishingly small, but I’ve done this kind of thing before, often under pressure in a brand new job, and I’m retired, I’ve got all day. Also, it seems to me it would be a useful contribution.

Alright. I’ve had some time to think about it, and to come up with good reasons why my community would be better off with a fresh start. Also, there may be issues of security related to this that are not easily visible to me, I don’t know enough!

But I’m hereby abandoning this project because I retired from being a software engineer and I’ve got lots of other projects that matter more to me, now.


It would actually be pretty easy to do - as long as you could access the server of the community you have left (or have an admin over there who would do it for you). I’ve done this several times myself. It is what is referred to here:

It isn’t high fidelity - the users (just their email addresses) and Topics / replies are imported, not likes or user data / profiles / etc. But it works.


Ah! that’s useful to know, although it won’t help me, as currently on Nano there don’t seem to be any active Admins. But I think for us it’s actually fine to start with a clean slate.

However, I’ve got a few feelers out to folks who might be interested in this, and also might have the clout to get someone at Nano to stir about and actually help them.

If “replies” refers to all posts made, then Topics/replies would cover the stuff people would want to take along to a new forum, that’d be plenty hi-fidelity enough!