Pre seeded posts all missing - Missing Terms of Service, FAQ and Privacy pages

Hi, anyone clicking my Terms of Service, FAQ or Privacy pages just gets a blank page with a permanently spinning ‘busy’ pointer.

How do I correct this?

How do I make this information available and bring it to the attention to any potential user who visits the site url, but has yet to sign up for password secured access?

Right now a visitor only sees the basic login dialog as the landing page, with no inkling before they sign up as to whether the forum is relevant to them, or what conditions apply.

Now that the site and email are all set up and working on the forum domain, I am reluctant to risk messing everything up by redirecting the domain to another separately hosted webpage as the home page, and moving the forum to a subdomain or similar - as I have seen suggested. Also reluctant to spend $47 pa on a paid plugin to add slightly more information to the domain landing page.

Are these really my only options?

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This is why we don’t recommend that discourse be at your root domain but at a sub domain like


As a nasty, unattractive workaround, I have added a guide intended for those considering signing up by customizing the text of the sign in dialog itself.

If I bite the bullet and migrate the forum to a subdomain, how much pain, as a noob, should I expect in

  1. setting up a landing page on the main domain and that is also hosted within my Digital Ocean droplet? (so I don’t have to pay for another service)
  2. ensuring inwards and outwards email via mailgun and all functionality continues uninterrupted?

A background issue is that I would much prefer to administer and update the content of the landing page from within the administrator dashboard, as well as include it within automatic backups, which sounds pretty hard to do if not using the same domain, let alone software.
Would really like to see at least some simple landing page functionality made available in core of Discourse, for those that don’t otherwise want or need another site to administer.

Is this the case for logged in people as well as anon (non-logged in)? If so, that points towards a bit of a fundamental issue which shouldn’t be affected by domain or subdomain fiddling.

In our instance, we definitely do want to have Discourse in the root domain as it is the absolute centre of what we do. So I too have been looking at how best to optimise /admin/customize/site_texts/login_required.welcome_message and the other elements of that page.

The good news is that you can use all the usual Markdown, etc in that text; this allows a lot more flexibility. I achieve this by writing it in a topic in #staff and then copying it into the customise bit. @codinghorror - it would be extremely helpful for people in our situation to have it behave the same as the FAQ etc pages instead.

Also, you can provide links to the Privacy and TOS pages (which should be visible to anon users) using the Custom Header Links Theme Component (with some extra CSS). Of course, I’m not happy with that and want anon to also see the FAQ and About pages (while keeping the forum private) so have asked for some help:

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This is true for logged in users. Users who have not logged in have no way to see anything other than the login dialog (unless I am missing something?)

Very weird that you can’t access any of those pages for logged in people. Do you still have the topics where they reside in your #admin category?

Ah - that might be the clue. I have no ‘Admin’ category.

I had a clean out of categories that seemed to be empty and otherwise not sufficiently different to other categories. Obviously not empty after all.
Assuming I can copy the content of these topics from this site and recreate them under one of the remaining categories on my site, how can I re link them to their respective menu items? Or do I just recreate the Admin category

Sorry, I meant #staff I think. I have messed with it in our instance too, but saved the topics. Those topics are called “FAQ/Guidelines” (topic ID 5), “Terms of Service” (topic ID 4), and “your forum name Privacy Policy” (topic ID 6)

I suspect that there is something special about them - only admins can edit the first post in each, regardless of category settings. It might be a bit tricky to recreate them. Good luck!

#Staff category was never deleted, but looking like the topics were somehow.

In terms of content for those topics, particularly the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy topics , just copying what I found on this Discourse Meta site looks not to work, as both heavily skewed/specific to jurisdiction & context not applying for my forum. Are there any more general (even NZ relevant?) sources that could be drawn from?

Also confirming that simply adding the ‘Admin’ category then creating a ‘FAQ’ topic in it did not work - the FAQ link still just generates blank screen and spinning mouse pointer

OK, further to this, looking at the urls used within the the original FAQ suggests the FAQ topic resides directly in a subfolder named ‘faq’ - e.g.

Whereas if I create a new FAQ topic and paste the content in, it goes to something like this

How can I create the correct subfolder or place topics in it? There is nothing I would recognize as a direct conventional folder structure for Discourse website content when I connect to my Digital Ocean Droplet via FileZilla, so guessing there is some arcane Ruby on Rails trickery going on in generating these urls/paths

Found a workaround in the meantime, which is to use whatever url is generated when recreating these missing topics, and pasting these into relevant ‘alternative external source’ fields in dashboard Settings/Legal

Would still be good tidy things up properly if there is a way - don’t know what other implications might stem from damaged/missing original setup.

Those are built-in (system defined) for built-in topics. Restoring them as they were prior to deletion is probably going to mean tinkering with postgres.

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Thanks Stephen. Sadly I would not know where to start with manipulating postgres

Should it have even been possible for me to delete them if built in/ not contained in any directly user editable or accessible category?

I note also that even when those topics existed for me, they seemed to ignore the Settings/Required fields info supplied during setup for Company Name, Governing Law, and City for Disputes - so something was already broken.

And all of it is arguably legally moot, if a user has no way to see the terms of service anyway before they sign up - which might be a reasonably fundamental problem for all password secured Discourse forums?

Here is ours; it is really just the generic one made a little more us / NZ specific:

If you’d like the raw text, I can send it to you.

Cheers Nathan.
Interesting/encouraging that I can link to it at all without being signed in.

I would really like working links to FAQ, TOS etc in the signup/login dialog, but thus far for me all links just generate ‘you dont have permission’ response to users who are not signed up.

You can do that with another workaround:
Make all your categories only visible to trust_level_0 (or tighter) except the one which contains your info posts (make it visible to everyone). And then make your forum public. Of course, they won’t land on the login page any more and this is a pretty radical way to achieve that goal.

Or fix the underlying problem and wait with me for a solution to the other bits I linked to above (Making the About and FAQ visible to anon)

Thanks Nathan. I briefly flirted with that, but was not happy with all the ‘secure’ topics being on display

Can anyone please advise how to reinstate the built in legal topics and IDs (or even just put blank editable posts at the correct /original urls for each built-in legal topic), via postgres, or otherwise?

Merely creating new versions of the same name in the Staff Category does not work - the resulting urls are different and they cannot be accessed by a new user during sign up (clicking link in sign up dialog just sends them back to the log in dialog)

OK, looks like nobody can help with this. Would recreating the forum from scratch help, then restoring saved database backup? Or would restoring the backup just propagate the deletions again?

I think that it would sorry.

Somewhere in that database is the little bit of data that you must change to make those posts appear once more. Here in fact:

In the ‘topics’ table, deleted_at will have a timestamp for ID 4, 5, and 6. If you can delete these (replace with nothing / blank) then you will be back in business.

I know that you can do this from Ruby/Rails, but that is outside of my skills thusfar - but for someone with the skills it would be a 5 minute job. Perhaps whoever set you up with the instance can help out.

Thanks Nathan.
Sadly, I set myself up following the official tutorial, with little comprehension.
I did have a developer migrate some material in for me early on, and contacted them about this a week ago, but no luck so far getting a response.

What I am wondering though is if there is an open source desktop application that connects to and allows viewing and editing of postgre tables in Digital Ocean? Or even that could read and edit a downloaded backup, which I then restore?

** Edit - rereading replies to a similar query, the consensus seems to be to use Ruby if doing anything
at all, rather than a friendly looking GUI database application.

That said, what are the commands I would issue in PuTTY to access the database and delete the timestamps for topics ID 4,5 and 6 in the topics table deleted_at? (after backup taken)?