Using Posts as a Wiki?

There is a 32000 character limit to the length of a post. Also if you are using DiscoTOC with the page and it is long, expect the table of contents to take a few seconds to render.

Thanks, that’s the exact kind of detail that’s very helpful to hear. I wasn’t aware of those limitations, and they are pretty serious for my use case.

Are there other technical issues I’ll face trying to allow users to make their posts long wiki-pages?

While not a technical issue, if you start to come up with features you would like to have added for wiki post you will run into the Discourse use cases, e.g. Wiki improvement – Split content into multiple sections?

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Thanks. Yes, that is probably the underlying concern. Discourse has so much going for it–the clean interface, so much great functionality, easy implementation, etc. But ultimately it is for forums, not wiki articles. So even if there are workarounds to get close to wiki-like functionality, there’s a concern that trying to use Discourse for a meaningful and growing wiki will be constantly trying to fit things into discourse that it’s not currently built for.

I’ll think about it, and I would personally be very excited if discourse did have full wiki functionality, but I lean toward trying to find a full wiki solution for building a wiki.

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If you watch the video presentations given by Jeff you will see that he is one who will listen and is open to change but you have to make a very effective case. That is a route you may not have considered.

That’s the default value, but you can easily change it via site settings if you need to.

“a few seconds” is way too long and that should never happen.

Generating the table of contents with that component should happen instantaneously. If it does take that long, then there’s something wrong and I can fix it if you share more details about when it happens.


Seems like there are some different views here.

So it would be helpful to hear from the team on this: Do you expect it will work fine to use Discourse to set up a wiki site? The method being to allow users to set up “wiki pages”–in the form of users creating wiki-fied posts.

(The reason to try this approach instead of using a full-on wiki tool like mediawiki would be that discourse is easy to use in general, looks great, etc.)

Have you read 32,000 characters? I don’t consider that a “limitation” per se.

A page of about 30 kB to 50 kB of readable prose, which roughly corresponds to 4,000 to 10,000 words, takes between 30 and 40 minutes to read at average speed

I think you have plenty of room to grow and engage. :rainbow:

I think it depends how big these “wikis” get. If they are lightweight simple affairs liberally mixed with some discussion, then probably OK. If they are massive one million word novellas in an effort to rebuild wikipedia from scratch, then probably not.


Ha. We’ll put the potential problem of “massive one million word novellas” into the bucket of “we’ll deal with that one when get there” type of problems… So not massive posts, but probably posts of “moderate” wikipedia length, perhaps like this one.

From the basics that I can see–the ability to allow users to create wiki-style posts, the TOC plugin, and the basic ability to link to urls in normal posting–it seems like it could work.

Being new to Discourse it’s tough to know if there could be unforeseen issues that come up with building a wiki site --not a full wikipedia, but still a wikipedia-like site focused on a specific set of topics–with Discourse, so that it would be better to just start off with wiki-focused software like mediawiki.

I understand that ultimately the real test will be once I dive in, but this feedback is very helpful to identify where to start diving.


I am so you to those limits from days gone by that I never thought there would be setting to change it.

Settings → Posting → Max Post Length

PostgreSQL notes

the longest possible character string that can be stored is about 1 GB.

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In Wiki improvement – Split content into multiple sections?

Stephen notes:

Here is a possible way with a variation on develop a discourse plugin to extend the wiki functionality but instead of a plugin it might be doable with a theme since a them is just JavaScript and CSS.

The editor for Wikimedia is MIT licensed and as noted in the Wikipedia article is written in JavaScript, Node.js, PHP

Just thinking out loud but would it be possible to use a theme like DiscoTOC or similar to add the [edit] at the end of each section which when clicked takes the section, passes it off to the Wikimedia editor and when the changes are done updates Discourse post. Then Discourse would be able to side step the whole issue of having to create a Wiki editor yet get the pizzazz and marketability of having better wiki pages.

Its a good thing Discourse doesn’t have down votes, I would never offer this up as an answer at StackOverflow.

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If you feel strongly about the above and have a budget, why not start a topic on the #marketplace?

Thanks, all. These are helpful suggestions.

At the point of needing to hire someone to adjust Discourse to make it a wiki, I’d probably say I’d just use dedicated wiki software.

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Those are really your only two choices here.

Discourse isn’t MediaWiki, at best it’s wiki-lite, presenting knowdge topics alongside discussion.

If you need something which is wiki-first it’s possible that Discourse isn’t going to be the best fit.


One of the first things I did when embedding comments on other pages was introduced was embed/replace MediaWiki Talk pages with their Discourse discussions (adds back that talk flow :sunglasses:).

These days I just build docs in Hugo and pull in links to discussions via tags, because information wants to be free! ((And discussions are best viewed via Discourse’s web UI, IMO))

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I’m running a discourse install that is purely a wiki only site. It works fine with a few annoyances:

  • There is no easy way to edit the wiki (you have to scroll down and click the pencil every time: very annoying for long wiki posts).
  • There is no way to edit the same wiki at the same time with another user. I built the wiki hoping to use the collab plugin in the long run. It’s not possible though (only for enterprise customers).
  • Post length limitations are annoying. You can increase it to a point, but sometimes it isn’t enough.
  • You can’t reply on a wiki or it breaks the latest functionality, with wiki post changes not being shown. The discourse team seem intent on not fixing this. The feedback I got was pretty clear - wiki posts are second class citizens and this will never change.

Here is my wiki install. I tried to make it like a cross between google docs, and a piece of paper on a desk. The idea was to create a user friendly space for my team to collaborate on process documents. Did a lot of heavy css modifications to create it (sorry I don’t want to share that code). The only plugin i’m using at the moment is the category sidebar.

Perhaps it might inspire you a little:

I have no regrets so far implementing discourse as a wiki so far. It’s greatly improved our workflow and allowed us to ditch Google Docs, which I loathe.

Not true; click edit pencil at upper right then edit button on the revision dialog.

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Yes can do that but it’s not amazing from a UI perspective (my goal was easy to use for the layman). I wanted to replace the reply button on the scrollbar to an edit wiki button. But it’s too much work to figure out.

One point I did not follow: if you are able to use the collab plug-in, does that mean that users can do real time editing of a wiki post?

EDIT: Maybe that’s a moot point for now, as it looks like that collab plugin is not functional at the moment (if it does get functional that would be great–one of the coolest plugins I’ve seen).