Updates to new site experience and the Getting Started guide

We’ve made some improvements recently to the new site experience and wanted to make sure folks who set up new sites are aware of the changes. We are continuing to work on making new communities as easy as possible to spin up and launch, so very much welcome suggestions and feedback!

Getting Started guide

As previously, the Admin Guide: Getting Started topic is provided on every new site in the Staff category. In the early days, a handy new Getting started link is provided right at the top of every page for easy, frequent reference.

We reorganized the information in the guide and added checklists to help new site owners orient themselves and make sure they’ve set up everything to their liking before inviting founding members, getting enough conversations started, and then launching their community. Advanced configuration options have been tucked away behind “Hide Details”, and links to documentation topics on meta are provided to those who are interested in digging deeper.

Note: the Getting started link replaces the “bootstrap mode” banners we previously showed persistently to admins. Bootstrap mode is still in place until the number of users specified in the bootstrap mode min users admin setting is reached.

During bootstrap mode, all users have daily email summary emails enabled (instead of the usual weekly) and are given a higher level of trust that allows them to bypass new user restrictions.

Welcome topic is now more welcoming

The default welcome topic has been updated to include the site name and description (if provided), suggested things new users might like to do first, and links to give feedback or ask for help. If you change the site name or description later and have not yet edited the welcome topic, the information here is also updated. It is still very important to edit the topic and keep it up to date to add more details specific to the community!

Login page is more welcoming on private sites

Taking inspiration from Trendy Login, private sites (like all sites on our basic plan) now display the site name and description on the login page. If you have a logo, it is also displayed.

The description has long been public but was tucked away behind the meta description tag, where search engines could find it, and on the /about page. For private sites, it now appears very prominently so you will want to be sure it provides an accurate, meaningful description of the community.

If you want more flexibility on your private site’s login page, for example to display a video or a different welcome message, you can always install Trendy Login (standard plan and up on our hosting). Trendy is a theme component that allows you to display HTML as well as a background image or custom colors.


We have changed how boilerplate Terms of Service and Privacy notices are provided in Discourse, to give new site owners as close to the same experience as new members as possible, and to accommodate the different approaches they might choose.

  1. By default, no boilerplate Terms of Service and Privacy topics are created in the staff category. No links are provided on login, signup or about page.
  2. If admin provides company name in the setup wizard or admin setting, boilerplate TOS and Privacy topics are created in the staff category. Links are provided on login, signup and about.
  3. If admin provides links to external Terms of Service and Privacy pages, links are provided on login, signup and about. If topics exist on Discourse, they are ignored.

We explain these options in the Getting Started guide and emphasize that the site owner is responsible for providing Terms of Service and Privacy notices that match their needs. If you use our boilerplate topics, it is up to you to edit them.