Which is Better? Discourse or Flarum?


I’m a very experienced sw dev and now choosing a forum engine for my new web project. I really respect the best classic forums engines as Invision, XenForo, etc but now want to give my users something more fresh and modern. Thus I came to modern messages listing by Discourse and Flarum.

Between 2 of them I really more like light&rounded Flarum style, then more boxy&uncouth Discourse style. Also Flarum can be installed at Shared hosting - it’s a huge advantage for a small web projects.

But when I start to use it I found a mass mess (excuses for some swearing, it’s just too much):

  • Flarum core is extremely simple and low-functional and most useful functions over the most simple registration and topic-messages creating and notifications, even those that long time ago accepted as mandatory for forums, at Flarum must be added by “extensions” (also know as “plugins”), most of which even have no any options. For example basic topic split/merge/stick, polls, BBCode Details, display images&video inside messages, open url’s at new window, social share, users groups colors, profile image crop on adding, OAuth register, etc etc - all through additional extensions only! It’s really annoying and feels like a box of junk. A specially when those extensions developed by different devs! It seems that the main Flarum devs just don’t have any real developing strategy and functionality standards, but only copy Discourse and add new functions one-by-one on requests - which obviously display their very poor developing level.
  • Extensions site was changed form Flagrow-io to Extiverse-com and also doubling at FriendsOfFlarum-org.
  • Extensions developers team Flagrow is also changes to FriendsOfFlarum, also this team is almost identical to the “Flarum core developers team” which exist at GitHub and at Flarum site - it’s the mess again.
  • BTW how to interpret “FriendsOfFlarum” - they meant other devs are not friends?!
  • Extensions manager Bazaar have critical issues and works poor, so extensions install/remove still works correctly only via SSH command line Composer. Then what is the reason for Bazaar?!
  • Most extensions does not have a proper documentation or any visual samples - nor screenshots, nor videos - for example there are 3 extensions for User Profile extending “User Bio, Masquerade, Mason” - but it’s impossible to compare&choose which one is right for you before install because of lack of proper documentation or even simple images. Thus the most of not very simple extensions you forced to install and try. When I ask to add more details about each extension - a main devs answer - it’s OK! But true is at 2021 absent of any documentation - is a shame!
  • Some extensions works totally stupidity. For example: at “BestAnwser” extension the BestAnwser at topic can be set by Admin, but then changed by any user!; “Third party login only” via OAuth blocks Admin login completely but it’s dev don’t want to admit and to resolve this problem and even delete all my messages about this critical problem for better looking of their community! It’s a shame again.
  • Daniël Klabbers came up with the stupidest marketing plans for paid extension as $3-5/month or $30-50/year but limitations works only for download, which a total cretinism, because user can pay only once per 1-2 years for important updates $3-5 or even when extension becomes stable, without any important updates - only once per site! Such idiotic economy will not bring any true profit! Even Envato “one pay for all time using and updates” are even much more profitable!
  • Maybe because of such idiotic economy some devs of best extensions as great “Discussion Cards” just stop to update them - there is no answers to issues at GitHub and no updates already for half year.
  • Finally the Flarum in-topic scrolling bar - does not display Date dynamically on scrolling - thus to go to any date you need to scroll huge topic, stop, look to date what you get, then scroll again and again! When I display this inconvenience to the main devs include “luceos” - they tells - it’s OK, it’s our conception! WTF?! Thus with complete absent of in-topic search at Flarum - in-topic navigation (UX) is totally primitive and inconvenient!
  • Most of my messages which comparison “Flarum with Discourse” - are shamelessly hides from the community by moderators, I have many screens with it.
  • When I absolutely correctly and calmly comment one user’s post with word “Acess” with 1 “c” by reminding him that “Access” writes with 2 “c” - I’ve got a warning from admin! WTF?!
  • When I try to find a developer for some unique jobs for my community - no one dev just don’t answer, just no “no” or “I’m busy now” or “please contact after month” - just nothing, all of them just don’t answer! They ask for donation at each page, but don’t answer to custom jobs request. WTF?!
  • When I’ve found some more important problems and shortcomings and suggest more then 10 NEW UNIQUE VERY USEFUL improvements for Flarum - I get from Flarum community only the main dev aggression and vain behavior, just 2 likes from not-main devs, and finally threads closing and bans from admin “luceos” 2 times in a row each for 16 years…

So overall Flarum not only for years behind the Discourse in terms of main functionality (the main example is very poor in-topic navigation even without any in-topic search), but with a such mass mess, unwillingness to admit important Flarum problems, unreasonable chaos decisions and finally extreme aggression to bug reports and problems criticism - it seems that the main Flarum devs are not smart enough to think through each detail or create a wise long time roadmap and act with aggressive vanity. :frowning: All this is totally ineffective and make doubts that they can handle their project ever.

After all I came to Discourse because of:

  • better functionality out of the box;
  • stably working multi-language messaging;
  • more clearer and more systematic development;
  • stable main dev team with better functions testing&working;
  • hope more friendly community which values true and improvements above vanity - if this topic will not be closed - I will re-post my useful suggestions for Flarum at Discourse community.

I hope this story will save many time and nerves to other admins&devs who will think to prefer Flarum against Discourse. Be aware!