Users won't use my forum; network effect issues

Hello, it’s been over a year and still nobody really uses my forum. I post there once a day and always respond to replies / new posts yet people are still stuck using our Discord. Should I just axe the Discord? I don’t want to upset my community…


What immediate benefits your users get if they use your Discourse community instead of your Discord server?


Who is your core audience? That’s a good place to start.

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Mostly it doesn’t help. Everybody is using that service where is all others and what is the easiest use. Changing is really hard.

In this bubble Discourse is easy to use, but out there it is not for FB-generation. Sure, it is matter of attitude but for example just editor is slowing down. It is too limited and too hard to use, It must be WYSIWYG.

Sure, the question of editor is really schizophrenic because editor of Discourse gives more than what most of another offers. Perhaps it should be more simple, just a writing box and drag’n’drop? Something like what Wordpress offers, there is both options.

But the main issue is 99-1 rule. That active 1 % is there where is 99 % to get some reactions. And 99 % is there where is all others and 1 % doesn’t play any roll on that play.

The most ancient question. Majority is consuming ads and really small minority creates content. Majority moves a bit easier if there is no other option and new platform gives what they need. Active minority is much harder job and they must get what they wants, even they don’t know what they want — but that transition must be as easy as possible.

The biggest issue is not the editor actually. It is location of avatars :wink: Everybody is in FB, Discord or what ever. Breaking that chain is… quite hard as everybody here know.



I think the most important thing is the good communication with community. So you should ask them why they using Discord instead of Discourse. What they are missing in Discourse… you offer a new platform for them so everyone wants to know why should move from Discord. Discourse is not for fast (chat) but for quality conversations place and I think a much better option for community then any other platform.

Important thing. You have to know Discourse to introduce it to your community, what are the benefits in it. You can do almost everything with Discourse to fit your community’s need. There are lots of plugins, theme components and much more knowledge in here which could help you.


And that is the reason why moving to Discourse is so problematic. Most of the conversations in the virtual world are shorties. Like here. And when we are somewhere else than in short messages, it is matter of Q/A — and the majority can’t answer, like here.

Quality is an unicorn or over 100 cm high irish wolfhound; many talks about it, but it is quite rarely seen :wink: Because now quality doesn’t mean how everyone is behaving, it is some abctract value of content and lenght of text.

We are living in the bubble here, actually here is three different bubbles. I don’t say if it is bad or good, it just is. First is devs and other from inside of Discourse. Of course Discourse is then the best and most appealing choise. Secondly here3 is nother tech-geeks who think like Jekyll is the best blogging platform because there is so much coding involved in it and it not main stream. Third bubble comes from guys like I am — we are something like end users rised to webmasters. Some knowledge of tech and all we want is easiness in our lives :wink:

Quite often those three bubbles crosses and boundaries are… foggy? But the very base is different. Here, and in every other very spesific genre where normal means higher skills in any kind of tech, we are living in totally other world than common users. They are living in the world where syncing photos between phone and cloud is almost impossible task.

I’m losting my idea, mostly because of very limited english skills (yes, I’m quite typical finn; I can read english without any limitations, but writing is hard and speaking is almost mental Himalaya…). But is something like there is reason why Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp are so god damn big and forums are more or less dead. Well, not dead but very rare. And when forums live well those are operating in very tech-based genres.

And that is the barrier that should break. And I don’t have answer how to do it. Perhaps Facebook will do it by itself, like Nokia did. Censorship and limits starts to work. No, I don’t mean hate speech etc, but nudity, impossibility to talk how to use raw meat in dog feeding (selling animals) etc. But still… masses are on Facebook and get them to forums… DiscourseHub is one tool IF out there is enough local forums from different genres. Then group-thinking facebook-way works. Otherwise it is just another app that has one turn too many (when there is only on forum cnnected, it should open it rightaway).

Another issue is geological and culturel. Discourse is very… anglo-american. Yes, I understand why and for me it no issue at all. I mean badges and other ”incentives” that is almost unknown worldwide. For us badges are something what Dewey, Huey and Louie chase every now and then. But for living adults badges are just… stupid.

Surely I can (and I did) choose not to use badges. But that means I don’t have anything else to offer. Trust levels are quite often the next answer. TL-system doesn’t help a bit because users don’t come to forum and write in the first place.

I’ve red every hints here how to get users from Faceboob/Discord/you-name-it and it just doesn’t work. And I’m not alone.

I have the most active dog related Facebook group in finnish Facebook. I have the most popular (wordpress) site of dog feeding in finnish web. I have something like 10 000 visits per day in that site - and after 1,5 year I just can not turn discussion to forum.

I’ve asked from my user what I should do or what they want. Answer is always same: the forum it just too difficult, too messy, too everything and… obviously… there is too little traffic.

I’m hitting hard against 99-1 rule for two reasons:

  • 1 % does not have any reason to move
  • 1 % includes ordinary questions from random users and they get answers easier from Facebook

Sorry. I know this post doesn’t help a bit. I know that everybody just try to help. But the reality is that the most common hints just don’t work.

I gave up. No, I’m not shutting down my forum. I’m facing the reality I need three different lines and those are separate, even the topic and goals are same. It took for me around 10 years to build up the site. Facebook-group took 2 years. Building up forum and catching users will take at least 2 years, and even there is some overlapping in users, those groups don’t meet.

For me it means 3x more work because I have to do same content three times with small changes.

My point of view is moving users from other paltform to new one is impossible, unless the old one fails someway. So, the question must be: how to reach totally new users.


I am glad I am not the only one :sweat_smile:
I brought up a similar point here:

I think so too. But the change will not come from the discourse team. So I started to work on it. Have a look:

Its not impossible, but its too much as a single man open source project without funding. I am still working out the funding and deciding if I should get rid of the composer and replace it with something similar to what you mentioned here:

that being said, I started to work on it more actively again and I hope to have something presentable soon :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


You can use my Discord Bot plugin to announce new Discourse Topics on Discord. Discord Bot: run one on your Discourse server & keep things in sync - #79 by merefield

That might encourage a few more click throughs?

I trust you make it easy to login by providing the Discord login on your Discourse?