Loading Content from old files/email etc to jump start forum

(aome) #1

I’m trying to showcase Discourse to a group of friends. We have a CAD forum that has been independent for 20 years or so. It is being eaten up by the company who makes the CAD system we use. Some of us think this is a dumb move by both the cad company and the “owners” of the forum. So I would like to load the history I have of the forum into a discourse server and then let the guys/gals take a look.

I don’t know that discourse is the solution because its really/probably a hosting+money issue. But I see a sort of freedom if we can make our discourse “decentralized”. We can probably host it private from home with several backups around the states.

So anyho, I got history in the form of emails in Gmail. I can download it all and parse it using perl. But then is there an easy format that I can load it all into discourse? It would be coming from my user so the users who actually posted would not have accounts yet. how would I deal with that? maybe I could load it all as a word press reference? but then that would not show case discourse. I could maybe make a bunch of fake users and do it that way?

Ideas/Suggestions/comments? anyone?


You can host your site for as little as $10 a month with a digitalocean droplet (install instructions are simple enough to follow). It’ll take you 30 minutes to set up. You’ll have to figure out your domain though. If the CAD company is absorbing it are they taking the domain too?

Then if you can parse out your emails You can simply broadcast invites through gmail (keeping it simple).

I would probe interest first, see how many people you can get off the bat with you on the main site, and then broadcast and maybe have some of them brainstorm how to get the rest of your forum crew to come and play.

For your old files and content. I am not sure. I have only set up a new instance without having an existing forum instance. But there are those who do and maybe they can chime in here and get you some pointers. :smile:

(Sam Saffron) #3

See our import script directory discourse/script/import_scripts at master · discourse/discourse · GitHub feels free to submit an importer for your format there as a PR.

(aome) #4

Ah this is very nice. Its exactly what i wanted to see. I need to go brush my skills on Ruby but it seems very legible from the samples listed. And useful for sure.


(aome) #5

For sure you are right on this. The people I’m trying to bring in are mostly old timers in their 40’s who know that other forum as their go to watering hole. There were quite a few people who commented about how they did not want the forum to be sucked in by the CAD software company. So those are probably the ones I’ll go for first.

Another thing that I can do is to make the demographic bigger by inviting users of competing CAD systems. The users them selves are always happy to learn new skills.