Who is Discobot?

Originally published at: Who is Discobot?

As of Discourse 1.8, every new user who joins will get a welcome PM from discobot: Discobot is a natural extension of our original, static welcome PM. However, Discobot is much more than a greeter; it also offers to interactively “play” the Discourse game with each new visitor. The goal here is to teach people…


It’s a fun feature for sure, but the interaction from our users was negligible. Other sites may have had better results, but it appears not to fit with friendly local community forums such as my own.

As a forum admin I prefer the automated message which allows new users to reply to a human if they need help. This feature was lost when Discobot arrived.


I would expect interaction to be rare, the main point is to deliver the key elements in the first message:

  1. Here’s how to reach a person (link)

  2. You’ll be slightly restricted until we get to know you better

  3. Be nice, see our guidelines (link)

That first link is to /about which is how anyone can contact a human, if they need to.


We did a contest around it in our forum and require it of employees and got 136 certified. Nobody self-certified without the contest.


My members can’t reach any person because private messaging is disabled for TL0 (a very sensible restriction).

Before Discobot, the same restriction applied to new members for general PMing, but they were able to respond by PM to the welcome message, which was very handy and direct.

The about page contains an email address, but TL0 users would not be able to contact any admins or moderators via the forum itself.

Correct, that’s the primary contact method. You need this because sometimes people aren’t able to log in at all.

The typical way this is handled is to have an email automatically feed into Discourse as a PM. For example, any emails to team@discourse.org are automatically sent as PMs to the team.

If you feel very strongly that each user should get a message from you personally, I encourage you to visit the /admin/users/new page periodically and send the PMs – it will be more personable if you tailor it to each user, rather than a generic form letter.

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Ah - this would be useful for us - how does one configure this? (I have configured incoming email for topic replies, but not yet for team PMs)

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Details are in the incoming email howto - Start a New Topic via Email ✉.


Many thanks @jomaxro


Most important info would be: how to trigger this for existing members? Like retroactively… e.g. trigger once for any non-active member returning after a long time of absence (e.g. 6 months), possibly with slightly different texts…


Just ask it. Pretty sure it even works to ask in a public topic. @discobot start new user Then the bot PMs to begin the tutorial. The bot does not do the tutorial in public, and won’t respond to third parties if you do it in a group PM (but will still pollute that group PM).


This is true and you can also pm @discobot to start.

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I suffered some procrastination, so I invoked Marvin the Paranoid Android to pimp discobot:

Wouldn’t that be übercool to have an H2G2-themed discobot narrative? For now I leave it on a private forum to avoid, you know, non-private troubles with copyright.

Thank you for this great addition!


The SVG certificates for the beginner and advanced tutorials are pretty nifty; is there a way to give it the forum logo as an SVG to include rather than just embedding a PNG?


Forum logo as SVG is huuugely problematic for email so we really advise against that.


And here I was thinking @discobot was an actual android that knew '70s dance moves. :disappointed:


What is the status of custom built discobot functions? A common problem on our site is new users with a specific issue in our software who fail to provide basic info (what version of the software, what OS, anything in the logs) and I think discobot could help those users create better initial posts. Or maybe this is better suited for the initial PM?

Did you try “Topic Templates” in your support category?


Hey @robertdown I also use the topic templates for this type of thing and they work great!


I’ll give the Topic Templates a try - thank you @Falco and @dax