When you started your first Discourse community, what did you find hard to do?

I am doing a bit of research to improve Discourse onboarding for new community managers, so what for you was the hardest part of starting, running or managing your first Discourse community?

For me it was understanding the Admin settings. It seemed so much at once and I didn’t quite understand how to use it with respect to my needs to manage the community. But once I understood I was looking at an Admin dashboard and each part was a section in itself, it made it easier to know where to look.

Then I found (it had always been there but I never noticed it before), the filter box in the settings page and voila! I can just use a verb or noun from what I need to do, to filter through the settings.

Has this been the case for anyone? Or was something else hard for you when you got your first Discourse community to manage?

I’d love to learn from you :smiley::heart:


Hi Osioke :wave:

For me the it was also the settings. I feel like I am just regurgitating your points but they are valid. When you first login and press admin it was a bit overwhelming to see that whatever you pressed revealed around 30 settings because of this I think it can be difficult to find and understand what settings you should be enabling and disabling depending on the type of community you run. However what really helps is that once you spend some time poking around in the site settings you find that you can guess where the setting will be as it is all well named such as ‘Branding, Trust levels’ or in your case searching for the setting.

Perhaps it should suggest some settings depending on what you choose in step 4 of the wizard which is how users access the site? Although I feel that this wouldn’t take into account some communities and it might seem a little aggressive to suggest settings to admins?


Good points, good points, thank you for sharing!

Oh, okay. That may require some work to implement, but consider this noted :memo:

Maybe, maybe not, but I like your suggestions, and I think @awesomerobot also mentioned something like this on resegmenting the settings. We’ve definitely also been discussing this internally too.


:sweat_smile: yeah been there! It also took me some time to realize that you can click twice on the avatar tabs (to go to the PM inbox for instance).

I think the checkbox “show only modified parameters” is crucial. And I can’t believe that I’ve already changed more than 80 :scream: Maybe some kind of possibility to write down why I changed them could be helpful (as it exists for a post modification).

  1. Import from another system when starting (the hardest part of all)
  2. The rebuild part (requires a certain amount of planning not to put the forum offline whenever one wants to try and test plugins, specially when having just one - the production - server)
  3. New admin settings/features/configs along with new versions… no highlighting of new stuff (new as, for instance, implemented in the last 6 months) on the different lists. It makes it difficult to actually get aware of new things to adjust.

The hardest thing was being able to switch between the different experiences for the different levels of “regular” users… the anonymous visitor is pretty easy—simply log out. But being able to experience the community from different levels’ experience is tricky… maintaining multiple users at different levels using extra emails is tedious. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ that’s life though.


For those using firefox, multi-account-containers has saved me some time logging in/out



I just learnt that today! Neat! :sweat_smile:

Noted! :memo: Thank you for sharing! :smiley::heart:

We have an ongoing discussion on how we can improve this, @gerhard is doing some awesome work there!

Oh, we just added stuff to show new features in your admin dashboard, does that help here? This tweet has some detail https://twitter.com/discourse/status/1357664660724482048?s=21

Not sure I follow here, how would this apply as something that was hard when you started running/managing a Discourse community?

When I worked in marketing, I recall having to do user list segmentation to break the large user base into smaller segments to better tailor content to them so as to increase engagement. Do the trust levels not also help with this?


It actually helps a bit… but it still doesn’t show if there are new options to tweak in the admin panel or where they are. That’s sometimes the hardest part, to find them.

I recognize it’s not an easy issue, but, I don’t know, maybe a “New” icon associated with the items on the vertical config menu (branding, login, users, etc) that get updated, for us to know when some new option pops up there?


Good point, noted! :memo:


Sure. But I still have to create and maintain faux-users at the various levels if I want to actually verify the user experience of different groups, security settings, etc. :slight_smile:


Ah I get you now, thank you for sharing!


This is my first time starting on Discourse. So I maybe a bit slow at first but will get used to it the more time I use it. Feel free to private message me on here if you’d like to chat with me.


Yes, yes and yes. I have always found hard to navigate through the admin dashboard. Especially if you are not a member of discourse meta and have never heard of the #howto category, it’s very difficult to find the settings you need. Although there is a search bar, there are more features and settings that are hiding somewhere.

What if there was a dynamic tutorial for admins, just like discobots’ for new users. :thinking: That would for sure help new admins, as they would have the chance to configure their forum from an early stage. I am not sure whether it’s something easy to achieve, but I would love to see it some day.


…good idea.

Or, what if there were tool tips on some of the things in the Admin area, (key settings, interface areas, sections like “customize”, etc.) that led to helpful topics (or wiki-topics?) here in Meta?


2 posts were split to a new topic: Add user title selection menu

This sounds pretty nifty! :smiley: :memo:

Any thoughts on what each tasks would be, that an admin does in reply to discobot?

Oh, that sounds good too! Noted :memo:

When you say member titles, what do you mean?


I definitely like the sound of that :heart_eyes:. As there are lots of settings what parts would you say are the most important to include in the tutorial?


That’s something very interesting and thank you for giving me a chance to elaborate. As you know, new owners come here and seek help in the #support category. Some questions though are very similar to one another and we can find many duplicate topics regarding them. For instance, one of the most frequently asked question is how to modify text. I believe I have seen the following path for more than 100 times :joy: admin>customise>etc...

Of course that tutorial will not learn you how to edit the forum via CSS, HTML but it will show you were the entries are and how to locate them for future reference. It could also cover a variety of other topics, such as:

Tutorial Points of Interest
Site Settings How to: 1) Customise Trust Level Requirements - 2) Add forum description and logo - 3) Set minimum characters to post - etc… (It would cover the most FAQ)
Creating Categories How to: 1) create categories - 2) Modifying the category (How to add category moderators, enable an approval process, add who is allowed to post / view / see and what each if that means)

And so on… Those tutorials will have admins understand the discourse tools faster, where to locate the most frequently used site settings, how to enable / disable them, etc…


Is it possible to make this more obvious? I remember the first forum I was prompted to admin and I couldn’t find the button to create categories. Perhaps add how to create them in to the Admin quick start guide in the #staff category :sweat_smile:

I just remembered this as Thomas mentioned it.