Using Discourse to organise meeting agendas

I am in a club that uses Discourse and we have a Committee category.
I am looking for tips and advice in making our meeting documents flow more smoothly and end on time.
I thought of using a tag such as meetingagenda-yymmdd where yymmdd is the date
with a topic for each agenda item.


We have a daily asynchronous “meeting” that happens via a topic automatically created each day; this might give you some ideas:

We also create similar topics using Zapier as described in the link above for weekly and semi-monthly meetings, as well, which uses its date calculation features to insert the ISO Week Number into weekly meetings, calculate which day the next meeting is, etc.

For live meetings, using those automated new topics, we request people to add agenda items and any other documents needed for the meeting, so we can go straight to the designated topic for all the materials. And then we post the summaries/notes of the meeting to the same topic after they happen.


That original proposal sounds like too much work.


The proposed structure makes a lot of work for every meeting.

  • Your meeting is documents whereas most of us would make a meeting a document.
  • You are having to create a specific tag for each meeting simply because you are breaking the event into separate topics.
  • You probably still have to solve the problem of ordering the agenda and minute topics so they reflect the actual sequence of discussion. If you need that sequence then you will probably be numbering or time-stamping the topic titles.
  • Just reviewing the meeting record to confirm the minutes are accurate becomes a real task. I have to go into several topics rather than just scrolling through one topic.

The tag seems too particular:

  • I consider a tag that identifies one specific event to be a wasted effort. A tag that identifies a recurring event is much more useful, i.e. a “Meeting” tag.
  • Instead, the tag you suggest could be placed in each topic title and you could search for that specific string.
  • Tags generally work better where they can be setup in advance and used for many topics over the life of the forum.
  • If I forget to add the correct tag to a topic then how will anyone not at the meeting know that topic is missing?
  • The tag name should start with the date because it will make it faster to select the create tag after it is created.
  • Do you need the long prefix “meeting agenda-“ when it could be the tag group?
  • Do you need tag label text “agenda” because then you’d possibly need a tag for completed meetings?


We have a meeting topic:

  • Before the meeting it is an agenda
  • After the meeting it becomes the minutes.

We create posts within the topic for each item discussed:

  • The sequence of posts is the sequence of discussion.
  • Each discussion is a list of statements summarising what each person said, provided it is significant and relevant.

For larger discussions, we often have links to the relevant topics or create a new topic for discussion to continue beyond the meeting.

We use two tag groups:

  • Period which is year number.
  • Document which is usually Team for team meeting because we don’t prevent any member from attending the committee meetings.

Consider how we could use posts

The smallest discrete entry in Discourse is a post so how you use posts influences how you use topics. As an aside, quotations do reference a subset of a post but the original entry does not.

We use posts for each item of discussion. What you propose only makes sense to me if you intend to record each participants exchanges as a separate post. Which then means your topic becomes the discussion item and your group of topics becomes a meeting.

Structure Topic per meeting Topic per item
Meeting Topic Tag
Item Post Topic
Participation Paragraph Post

If there are 7 agenda items and five people have a significant point about an item then this is how much work is needed:

Work required Topic per meeting Topic per item
Topics created 1 7
Posts created 7 35
Tags created 0 1

Anyway, I have thought about doing a post per view expressed. It would make an offline meeting look like a summarised online meeting.

So instead of posts like this:

8.20pm New brochure
Peter presented the new design.
John wanted C-fold rather than Z-fold.
James proposed a vote.
C-fold was decided.

We could have posts like this:

8.20pm New brochure

Presented brochure

Propose C-fold rather than Z-fold

Proposed a vote which was accepted

C-fold accepted.

Matthew as the secretary (recording the minutes) could create the original posts and then, with the appropriate privilege, change each post ownership to the person he’s summarising.


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