Hey Discourse meta users,
I’m the founder of http://www.payetteforward.com, an iPhone help-related website that currently gets 750,000 uniques / month and we’re growing.
I’ll lay out my primary concerns here. I’ve done a lot of Googling and searching on this forum, and I’m still unclear about some of the problems that could occur during migration and how to avoid making costly mistakes.
I’m positive there are a lot of us out here who are in a similar situation: Tech-savvy enough to spin up a Discourse server and understand basic Linux administration, but whose technical expertise falls off at the precipice of Ruby and Docker. I had dinner last night with the owner of a successful company whose bbPress forum has 80,000 registered users. He sees the value in Discourse too, but even as a programmer, he’s apprehensive about making the switch.
Here are my primary concerns:
My website is built on Google organic traffic. I rank #1 for a lot of popular search terms and a Google penalty could mean the end of my livelihood and my company. You can understand why it’s so important to me.
I understand that each Wordpress post should have a corresponding topic on Discourse to handle comments.
I am concerned about a duplicate content penalty that could occur if Google thinks an article is posted on two separate URLs, and I would never want Discourse to outrank the articles on my website. I see that Discourse can include only a section of each article rather than post the full text, but I’m still concerned.
The plus side of using Discourse is this: To leave a comment, users have to visit the forum, which increases my engagement and total number of page views. I could rel=canonical the original post, but that would mean extra work. I could noindex the Discourse page, but I want the comments to be searchable. I can see the potential Discourse has for helping SEO by creating another page with unique, relevant content, but my gut tells me it could be a disaster.
Migrating from Disqus to Discourse
I’m currently using Disqus and one of my articles has about 500 comments. I’m tech savvy and I’m not looking for a step-by-step walkthrough of how to do it - those already exist on this forum.
I’m also not looking for a walkthrough about how to integrate Discourse comments into Wordpress posts, although the information on that seems less explored. If anyone has experience to share about how they integrated Discourse comments into Wordpress (using wp-discourse or otherwise), I’d be grateful to hear it.
Migrating from bbPress to Discourse and SSO
My friend with 80,000 bbPress users and I are both apprehensive about what specifically will happen when we import bbPress users and posts into Discourse. I’m familiar with the Primetime SSO plugin and as I understand it, SSO will seamlessly allows users in our Wordpress database to log in to Discourse using their existing credentials.
Here’s where I’m not so clear:
Does the flow of information go both ways? If a user creates an account on the Discourse site (using Facebook, Twitter, or a standalone account), is that information fed back into the Wordpress users database?
It’s important to capture user email addresses and keep all user information in one database. Is that how SSO works? Or are there two databases, one for Discourse and one for Wordpress, and the Discourse database only reads user data from the Wordpress database to facilitate log in?
Emails sent during migration
I’ve read the forums and the strong warnings, but I’m unclear about exactly when emails are sent during the import process and why it’s so necessary to validate users’ emails before migrating. This language scares the heck out of me:
Discourse uses emails to map external users to Discourse users, and assumes that external emails are secure. IF YOU DO NOT VALIDATE EMAIL ADDRESSES BEFORE SENDING THEM TO DISCOURSE, YOUR SITE WILL BE EXTREMELY VULNERABLE!
Alternatively, if you insist on sending unvalidated emails BE SURE to set require_activation=true, this will force all emails to be validated by Discourse.
I will clearly ask my questions:
Are emails sent to users when SSO is enabled?
Are emails sent to users when bbPress is migrated?
Are emails sent to users with Disqus comments are imported?
Why is it so important to validate users’ email addresses before an email gets sent to them? (I have 15,000 people in my user database and validating them all would be impossible.)
Why does it make the forum so vulnerable?
How does Discourse validate emails if require_activation is set to true?
Where do I set require_activation=true?
I understand that these questions may seem trivial or simplistic, but I have to ask. With a production website that is my sole source of income and my passion, I can’t get it wrong the first time.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
I am excited to be on the leading edge of mainstream adoption of this awesome software. I want to become a Discourse success story, but I need your help to get there.
Thank you so much,