Third migration, once again for a niche forum (Volkswagen Campers vans)

This is my third migration. I’m the owner of the two previous forums, but not this one.
I did the migration for free, as always, to help a friend.

Link to the forum:

Details from my two other migrations:

this time, it was an old phpBB 3.1 with 250000 messages from 2007.
I had to make some adjustments to the import scripts, but after some work, it went well.

The current admin made two color schemes based on the “latte” scheme.
I like the light one!

I did minor adjustments, as you can see how the subcategories are displayed on the category section; they are aligned to the right of the category logo.

We also use the same donation button system I made on (just an additional header button that users can disable in their preferences). The forum’s annual fees will be met with these donations.

We use the welcome banner, which is a very nice addition, well designed, and overall better than a standard pinned topic banner.

We also use the fantastic MD Topic List Mobile component which I use on “my” three forums.

We enabled the alpha chat plugin for the staff only. The old forum had a chat that the users liked very much, it was a loss, so they are very happy that such a feature is available.
We intend to enable it for all users after a few weeks when they’ll be used to Discourse’s interface.

I modified the banner so it shows on mobile, but without taking too much vertical space.



People are especially happy that it’s very easy to upload images since images are widely used on the forum.

The /latest/ view:

A topic view:

So far the launch has been successful. Many old users came back after months without any visits, and even new registrations.
Also, the phpBB version was plagued by spam accounts, which won’t be an issue anymore I guess.

We still have some work to do such as enabling registrations with Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Discord.

Since I won’t be an “official” admin (but still here to help), I wish good luck and a happy experience for the staff to this forum, and it was a pleasure to work on this one, as always, despite the random issues we came across (like with any migration). :slight_smile:


The site looks great and the color scheme reminds me of – thank you for your efforts here :clap:

If there’s any feedback about Chat from your users, we’d love to hear it.


Hi Canapin! I like what you did there. Although the welcome banner is visually appealing, I do find it a long scroll (on mobile) before I reach the categories or topics on my forum. Would you be so kind as to share the size modifications that you implemented? Thanks! :slight_smile:


Bear in mind, you can glean quite a lot from your Browser’s inspector.


thanks for the awesome information.


Ooooh yes, absolutely! There is something “soothing” in this color scheme!

Yes, I intend to share the feedback.
After this future experience on, I also intend to extend it to, where a chat feature has never been explicitly asked or wanted. Because of this, the experiment may be interesting: how the users will react? Positively or negatively? But since it’s kind of a two-step experience of several months each, It’s not for tomorrow… :slight_smile:

Sure. Be aware it was very quick and dirty modification. Put this in the mobile tab of your theme customization.

.below-site-header-outlet.welcome-link-banner-connector .welcome-wrapper {
    margin: 0 auto 0 !important;
    .featured-banner-link {
        flex-direction: row;
        padding-bottom: 0.5em;
        &>div a {
            padding: 0 5px;
            h3 {
                font-size: 0.75em;
                white-space: normal;
.wrap.welcome-link-banner {
    padding: 0;

Undoubtedly, it needs some additional tweaks to make it more reliable.


Thanks for the CSS tip. It greatly improved the layout of the welcome link banner on mobile view. With a few minor edits on the margin and padding, the mobile view now mimics the desktop view of my forum.

And one more thing. You are awesome! :+1:


The forum was old and users relied on external image hosting. They used a LOT of images in their forum. 40000 posts on 300000 contained at least 1 image, often way more. I even saw a post containing 150 images (!).

Because old images hosting services are now down, the vast majority (maybe… 95%?) of the forum’s images are broken ad vitam (fun fact: even if 5% of the old images remain, they still take 10 GB of disk space after being uploaded to Discourse…), leading to a lot of broken image icons in older topics:

We replaced these icons with a custom image :

The text says “Oops! Image not found”. The custom image adds a bit of personality to the forum, kind of like the custom loading spinner on

// Remplacement des icônes d'images invalides par une icône personnalisée :
.broken-image {
    display: block;
    width: 227px;
    height: 51px;
    margin: 10px 0;
    background: url($broken-image);
    border: none;
    svg {
        display: none;

Easy customization :+1:


I really love seeing little customizations like this! it’s such a nice detail


I tweaked the code a tiny bit so there shouldn’t be any horizontal wrap on small screen by adding white-space: normal; on h3.

Also, you can remove margin: 0 auto 0 !important; if you wish to keep a background image. It can look good. Example:


Quick update: The administrators/moderators/users are very happy about having moved from phpBB to Discourse. A lot of people came back. New registrations too. So, indeed a success.


Fun fact: they use the anniversary plugin to manually mention the birthday of every member every day on a dedicated topic.
I thought at first it was a bad idea, but it made people come back and it seems to be working well to this intent. I wouldn’t advise it for every community though… :smile:

I’m a bit surprised they haven’t activated the chat yet since all is ready and configured, but I know they intend to do so. I’d like them to activate it and see how it goes in this community, so I can make feedback about it here.


Just an update to say that users don’t use the chat at all.

It was used a lot on the previous forum software and it was a wanted feature, but in the end, it simply didn’t work.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it was because forum chatboxes on old software were always visible, inciting people to participate, whereas here on Discourse, you have to click an icon to open the chat. It’s always hidden by default, and people won’t notice it or make the “effort” to click it to read the content and interact. :person_shrugging:

But the forum itself is in very good shape and way more active than before the migration to Discourse. :+1: