Using Discourse as a internal Knowledge Base / Intranet

We would love to!!
I don’t know if it’s possible due to having a self-hosted instance (non customers), but our story with Discourse is so interesting that we publish it in a book about our culture and management (we can send to the :discourse: team a free printed copy if you want but it’s written in spanish - it was published in january’15):

Translation:

[…] After a full year of time invested in a own development to make a Drupal adaptation to run as our internal social network, DavidGNavas insisted on proving that we should evolve to a recent-creation GPL software called Discourse. Hours of research led him to understand…

/nextpage/

…the advantages, features and how fast was the related community growing, so, after a test on a dedicated server, he showed that he was right. We decided to cut off the budget invested on Drupal and, overall, the emotional link with a project that we had been working for a year. […]

:book:

  • Mentioned here on meta: better support for making groups of wiki authors. Nowadays you can set permissions for a category but it you make a post wiki-style, you get permissions based on trust-level. A good idea would be a mix: group of allowed authors that can edit a wiki post.

  • Perhaps an avatar list of who have contributed to the wiki topic.

Various ideas from @sam in potencial plugins topic:

  • An integration with a to-do app or an own to-do list.
  • The reactions plugin. We have several topics about “who comes to a lunch with foo…?”

pd. we don’t have trouble with javascript/Android because our organization provide us an iPhone while we work here :smile:

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The decision is again upon us… to use Discourse or Mindtouch for our primary knowledge base.

I’d love to spend 1/5 the cost of Mindtouch’s cost, but their ability to create html-anchor based table of contents on the fly, vs Discourse’s inability to use them, is an issue.

Anyone else willing to pay for discourse hosting to get this feature this Quarter?

Is the ToC the only pertinent thing that’s holding you back from using Discourse? Because I’ve got a few topics in our internal KB that could do with a ToC, so if someone else wants it too, I’ll use that as an excuse to make more noise about getting it into the next release.

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Matt,

I’d love to use this as an excuse to standardize on discourse for our user manual & discuss forum.

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I’d be very happy to see ToC and anchor support. So happy I went as far as this:

No idea if it’s any help :slight_smile:

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Hey @mpalmer,

I’m really trying to convince my team that Discourse is a good solution for a Wiki/Discussion forum for our IT team and for the broader community that we serve.

Some of the push back has been against the layout, i.e. categories and sub categories. Could you or anyone else share some layout options? i.e. maybe some screenshots of Discourse being used as an intranet? One of the concerns against using Discourse is that there aren’t a lot of examples of Discourse being used internally. For me, everything you listed out is why I love Discourse so much as an internal solution. The search function is amazing, the email blasts are terrific and overall I like the community engagement factor. From an IT perspective it’s super easy to maintain too, which is key since none of us have a lot of time to build an maintain a new system.

Thanks for any insights.

  • Ryan
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I recommend to check out this topic thread if you haven’t already:

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Thanks, @jaevanryssel. This definitely helps a bit. We use Slack too and so there has been some discussion on when Slack is appropriate vs Discourse.

funny that this thread is being reawakened now. I am working on this right now - we use discourse as a community forum and for internal staff discussions. I’d like to reconfigure things so it’s optimal for both, but it’s been a bit of a challenge. For example internal discussions swamp the frontpage for staff so sometimes it’s hard for them to see and deal with community discussions. For today I am trying out the “hide category from frontpage” setting and adding a link to that category on the top menu, visible only to staff.

I also am looking to create a wiki category with sub-categories, to contain operating procedures and how-to docs for staff. This is working well, especially with the “boxes with topics” category view - like the #howto category here - see screenshot. I like! I think it will be a big improvement over the google docs we were using previously for this purpose. Especially when considering that it can respect permissions and show people only the sub-category of procedures that they need to see according to their role.

Up next, I think, is to figure out a way to present the wiki topics in a structured interface externally, so it can be used without the distraction of discourse discussion features, safely also when discourse is down, and also perhaps even offline saved as structured PDFs.

The learndiscourse experiment might be a help for this - and if anyone has done it recently with success and has a recipe for it I’d love to see it! Sadly, learndiscourse.org is not working right now.

https://github.com/erlend-sh/learndiscourse/blob/gh-pages/about.md

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This is great! I’m also thinking about using discourse as a KB. Only issue I’m seeing so far is localization, seems like that would be a bit more painful than the solution we have now.

There isn’t really a way to have a single topic localized is there?

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The same topic translated into multiple languages? Not really, no. Once you get to that kind of upscale requirement I think it’s time to transition to a specialized docs platform. Using something like https://www.gatsbyjs.org you could continue using Discourse as the data source for your English content, whilst translating the rest in Transifex.

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Wiki vs. Bulletin: I am not completely sold on idea to have bulletin system for Knowledge Management. Generally speaking, if everyone is familiar common location in a hierarchy, it is easy to reference something. Searching, you may not recall the exact word or key word needed, but you’ll know the location. I look toward analogy of having an index vs. sleuthing through lot of information to extract the exact information you need.

Confluence wiki vs. Other Wiki: I am open to using an alternative code-friendly wiki, maybe something that can be integrate changes that occur with code, so that it is refreshed, e.g. https://www.mkdocs.org/.

I stumbled upon this post as I to am searching for a good knowledge base/wiki solution for my company.

I noticed that discourse has this setup and I like it.

Is this something that is easily configurable out of the box? I like the clean look and organization through categories and tags.

Edit: I am also wondering if there are a couple of other feature sets available within this:

  1. Version control with rollback
  2. Approval/pull request type pipeline for certain items
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Hi Jordan! Yes, this can be enabled using the official Knowledge Explorer Plugin.

Topics are normal discourse topics, which provide version control. Not sure about the pull request type pipeline - can you expand on that?

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@tobiaseigen Perfect! Thank you for this. I will look into it further.

Regarding the approval/pull request type scenario I’ve tried to put some more clear thoughts below:

I say pull request as an example because I think it works pretty well for soft dev and could also (and is in some wiki type software such a gollum I imagine) as a way to control updates of certain KB articles. To clarify, it really could be any type of approval workflow, I am just using a pull request as a familiar example.

ie. Someone owns that article and any updates to that article need to be submitted as a pull request (or similar) for review and approval.

Does that make sense?

This is built into Discourse-core version edit history.

You can set topics to require moderator approval for new topics in a category. We do not have this feature in core, but there’s an open feature request for it.

This would not be for the topic creator, however. Only staff could approve posts.

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Hello,

I work for a large global insurance company, and am tasked with designing an internal knowledge base capturing built up knowledge around a range of topics. I was wondering if the Discourse platform is able to sync with Microsoft Office products. For example, in my company, we use Microsoft Office (Outlook for email, SharePoint for file storage, etc.) Could a discourse forum be integrated with Microsoft Office in some way to enable users of the organization to access it?

If the answer is yes to the above question, are there developers out there with experience in developing discourse platforms for organizations (via an intranet system) that are available for hire?

Thanks in advance.

You mean to configure Discourse to outsource login to Microsoft 365?

We offer integration services like that in our Enterprise hosting plan. Check it out at Discourse Enterprise | Discourse - Civilized Discussion and contact us with details.

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Thank you for this response. I’ve emailed your team privately about my request :slight_smile:

This is a good discussion. Maybe someone here can help me. I am trying to use Discourse internally within my company as both user generate content (Forums) and an internal KB.

I like the screen @tobiaseigen shared back in Jan '18, this is exactly what I’m looking for, but is there a way I can have an editorial control, like, I want to specify the order of the articles to have a certain narrative. Also, not sure if that view can support more than just top 3 articles. Can anyone help?