Tips for hosting large events?

Hi everyone,

We’ve been hosting virtual wine tastings on our community for the last two years - we all convene on a topic at a specific time, and write tasting notes/share chats and banter about the wine (written, rather than doing it via video or anything like that). In the current lockdown, they’ve suddenly surged in popularity, and we now have 150+ participants for these weekly events, and rising.

This is obviously great, but it means the conversation moves incredibly quickly (almost impossible to follow) and also our community has had some crashing/connectivity issues.

This is new territory for us and we’re just not sure of the best way to host an event with such a large audience - does anyone have any advice?

I’ve seen a couple of topics offering a Zoom plugin and YouTube plugin - I’m just not sure if they’d be the right call for this type of event?

I’d love to hear from other Community Managers on this!

Best wishes, and stay well,



If you were doing a tasting with 150 people face to face you would split into groups of a reasonable number. How about you create a new topic for each set (probably not a Discourse group) of people? You could have people split by some market like the first letter of their name or similar. If you know ahead of time who will attend you could do assign them a priori.

If you used first letter of their user name you’d have some stats on how to guess what letters to use.


This is really good advice - thank you! I’ll give this a try. :slight_smile:


Hi, couple thoughts.

For our meetings we’ll use a live etherpad as a simple tool for people to text chat (see right hand side) and ask questions + add discussion items while remaining muted. You can actually embed these into your Discourse forum with this plugin. We find this method better than Zoom’s built-in chat, which is most useful for direct written responses to a speaker.

We always ask anyone not speaking in a room remain muted at all times. Best way to do this is by only using the “push to talk” feature.

150 people is a ton so ask silent listeners to turn their screens off in the event performance slows.

Hope this helps. :slight_smile:


Hey Laura,

We love the fact that you’re focusing on the writing instead of quickly jumping to audio / video :clap:

About the first problem, @pfaffman’s advice is solid. Having 150 people simultaneously on a Zoom call would probably be much much worse…I found a nice little generator you could use for the splitting:

Besides that, another thing you could do is dedicate one topic to all off-topic / chatty conversations and have separate ones for the serious :wine_glass: reviewing to have some kind of separation.

For the performance issues, there shouldn’t really be problems with 150 users but do you think your server could be under-powered to handle that load? Maybe it would help to move your site to a server closer to most participants? If you see any error messages during the crashing / connectivity issues, let us know!


It’s indeed underpowered to handle these large spikes.
We’re already discussing an upgrade with our customer.