Propositions to make share buttons more actionable and easier to use

Our use case: sharing is not easy with Discourse

Here is why

- Cannot locate share button

Lots of users do not understand where to click to share what they read while they read (not when they has finished their reading).

It is known that while a reader goes through some good content, they have that “share it now” feeling a few times in between, not just at the end. What’s more, they might not even get to the end.

While the Share button might fit well into the design and be sufficient for some…

… it is non-functional and useless for our community.

We’re building a goat farmers community where members have a very basic level of knowledge about how to use Internet, not to say they’re located in Ukraine, which is below average “internet usage fluency”, so our members:

  • DO NOT understand what this image means
  • DO NOT realize where it’s possible to share
  • DO NOT know where to click to get that url to share or email

Yet they keep asking me: how do we share? It’s obviously counter-intuitive, at least in our case.

I have to explain in detail and make screenshots, and all I hear afterwards is “why so complicated”?

When I see a “Tweet” button it’s straight - if I click it I tweet it.
If I see a “Share” button, I don’t think about Twitter, I think about sharing. So one more thing to process in my head, plus one more click before I reach that Tweet button.

- Share is not visible at all times

For those long articles, you won’t see the Share button until you read to the end of the article. What if it’s 1800 words? I miss that opportunity to let users share as soon as they feel they want to.

- Share button cannot be fine-tuned

Not everyone would do this, but moderators would like to embed Tweet this button when writing ‘How-tos’, roundups etc - just in front of a citation that stands out.

For example, Twitter allows for so many configuration parameters, like default hashtag, default text etc:

As a result, I’m constantly losing almost every opportunity to let good articles written by mods be spread in social networks by sharing means.


  1. Make share buttons configurable (i.e. default share text, hashtag for twitter, …).
  2. Allow share buttons to be generated in tools like Twitter Button Resource Page and then embedded right into the post text. For this to happen, an admin would need to embed the <script> part of the sharing functionality into the piece, and let authors embed the <a> part of the sharing button. Currently it does not work as javascript does not pick up the <a>s on the fly.
  3. Allow for share buttons to be placed on the side, and not hidden under the Share button.
  4. Add a button into the toolbar that would allow to insert a Share button and tweak its parameters in a dialog box.

Resources makes share buttons available on the side and in the bottom simultaneously:

An epic blog post stressing the importance of availability of share buttons:

A story about how sharing can be one of key engagement factors:

Thanks for reading to the end.

Any thoughts on current workarounds are welcome, as well as sane criticism and examples of how you do it with Discourse.

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You are free to write a sharing plugin that does it however you like.

Our data shows that users indeed understand how to share URLs via copy and paste and are quite comfortable doing that anywhere on the web.

I suggest overriding the share glyph in css as an easy starting point, if you feel another share glyph will be more understandable to your audience. And that is a tiny, easy change.

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Random idea:

Of course, one would expect that following the generated share-link would hilight or at least scroll directly to the selected region which may be hard to implement given that posts can change over time. :neutral_face:

And I’m not aware of any way for a website to trigger or request a native share dialog :frowning:

Couldn’t that inline share icon just bring up the normal UI you from clicking the one at the bottom of a post (except, ideally, with the selection/scroll position coded in query params)?