Running a project or team using Discourse (instead of Slack, Trello, etc...)?


Has anyone had experience or used Discourse for distinctly business operations?

More specifically, as I build up our own little project, I’d like to avoid having to jump into a number of different other applications and tools so that I can keep things simple.

For instance, why use Trello or an external wiki or Google Docs or Slack even when you could, essentially, use Discourse?

Am I dreaming too big about using Discourse in this way? Just thinking aloud perhaps…

(maiki) #2

I’ve used Discourse for a few different orgs, I think it works well.

General tips:

  • Make sure everyone uses it, and knows how to do all the things expected of them. Encouraging questions in a specific support category is useful.
  • Explain to folks how to use the email interface, it can be helpful to folks coming from listserv.
  • Figure out how much space you’ll need to store files, and double it.
  • Make sure you understand the privacy settings, but also the users; you don’t want them to be surprised by a reveal.

(Tobias Eigen) #3

Here’s the topic you want to read - block out some time for it. It’s a good read. :open_book:


We almost do.

We use Discourse for project management, task management, support ticketing and general discussion. We still use Slack for ‘quick answers’ but we don’t use anything else at all.

(Joe Buhlig) #5

I’d be very interested in a write up about how this works. I’ve consulted on this before with folks considering Discourse but it’s a hard sell sometimes.


When I first joined this team I found it unusual. I’m used to Trello, Google Docs, Basecamp, Zendesk and Slack. But… it works! And it’s refreshing not to have all that other stuff open. The only snag we were coming across was multiple people answering a support ticket at once but since we’ve introduced Who is Writing that is sorted.

Bookmarking this to write it up in greater detail when I get a sec.

(Jeff Atwood) #7

Technically we do make light use of Google Docs as well, but mostly as shared permanent file storage, of which we don’t need a lot.

In general the goal is to make Discourse a viable team coordination tool, and that’s certainly how we use it!

Chat is the one exception, it is the Pixar Inside Out “short term memory” stuff which is decidedly real time / immediate / connected, and you actually want to forget most of what happens in chat every day. Only the long term core memories should be pushed into Discourse.

(Tobias Eigen) #13

I love where this topic is heading, esp the core memory bit. And the idea of using just one system for as much as possible.

There are a few things I am still missing for discourse to be suitable as a support portal - notably the ability to tag messages as well as topics. I’d like to be able to indicate progress through a process, eg new member onboarding, but for now have to track that separately.

Generally I hope more clients take interest in messaging so its functionality gets filled out more. Right now it’s still a bit buggy unpolished so I am reluctant to roll it out more widely in my community.

(Jeff Atwood) #14

We were originally going to allow categorization of PMs but that turned into a code nightmare when @sam worked on it. I wonder if tagging PMs would be easier? It is a mostly independent code path and has no impact on (complex) visibility / security calculations, so it seems likely to me.

If you are encountering bugs, open bug topics with repro steps please. Otherwise I am reading “bug” as “doesn’t work the way I prefer it to” :wink:

(Tobias Eigen) #15

I always do! :wink: I didn’t want to distract from this great discussion.

Here’s one :bug: that prevents me from rolling out group inboxes:

(Tobias Eigen) #17

You are right that buggy is a bit vague. I updated my post to change to unpolished, which I think you’d agree with. It works but can use some attention some day when it makes sense. Meanwhile I actually prefer for you to focus on topics and not messages, as that’s where the real magic of discourse lies.

How does Team Discourse use Discourse?