Why Discourse, and not other community platforms?


I apologize if this isn’t the place to ask, but I figured a place filled with Discourse fans would be excited to share their thoughts.

My organization is currently evaluating online community platforms for a video-heavy, educational program offering. We make a ton of videos, and want to give our viewers an awesome place to discuss and learn more from one another. They’re currently hosted on a Wordpress site.

Some of our goals are: to give students a place to discuss video and blog content; allow students to form organic groups, gain reputations through gamification (including through non-community actions, like viewing videos); continue to present our video content on our Wordpress site, although closely connected with community discussions.

Part of our search has included some really big enterprise-focused community platform providers, as well as some database-turned-community solutions.

So my question: Why Discourse, and not one of those big enterprise, proprietary solutions?

Thanks for any and all help!

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #2

Hey there @coryeuc, welcome to Meta!

First, I think that this thread might be of some interest:

Second, seeing as your current site is hosted on Wordpress, there is the first reason to work with Discourse. Discourse has an officially supported Wordpress plugin, and lots of people use it with success.

Third, support. There are lots of users here on Meta, as well as the developers, and you tend to get very quick solutions to issues you are having, without the whole “support ticket” madness many large companies have.

Lastly, active development. Discourse is always developing new features, and many (if not most) of them are driven by users. They have their roadmaps of what they want to accomplish, but depending on what they hear from their customers and other using the platform items do shift around.

Hope this helps!


Thanks, @jomaxro.

One thing I failed to mention in the initial post: we’d love a really easy way to pull information on active users, in order to identify and support our top contributors. Some supposed benefits of the other platforms I mentioned are fancy dashboards, and integrations that would allow us to access activity data in our customer database.

Does Discourse have anything to offer on this front?

Thanks again!

(Alessio Fattorini) #4

Check something like this:

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #5

Yes it does! The simplest thing you have is the “Admin Dashboard”. There, you can get a good deal of statistics on the site in general, as well as for each user. If the Dashboard does not have enough details for you, the built-in Data Explorer plugin allows you to run SQL queries on the live database to pull any stat you can imagine. Let me grab a few screenshots of the Admin panel over on my Discourse instance:
Main Dashboard:

Users Page:

Part of a single users page:

I would be happy to pull more specific screenshots if there is anything particular you want to see!


This is crazy helpful. Thank you!

(Mittineague) #7

I like the “from date - to date” Report pages linked to from the Admin Dashboard, with a preference for bar charts

* mine is extension enhanced, but the default display works.
Can be toggled between “as table” for numbers and “as bar chart” for visual

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #8

@coryeuc, with the data @Mittineague showed, you can also export it as a csv and manipulate it further using a spreadsheet program. A month or so ago we were looking at usage of the Discourse, so we exported some data and made this in Excel:


This is all really helpful. Can anyone tell me a bit more about Discourse’s gamifaction/badging system? How easy is it to customize actions that receive points and their values? What about the badges that come with activity? Finally, might there be a way to award points within Discourse for activity that takes place on our Wordpress site (watching a video, for example)?

Thanks again!

Edit: forgot to tag @jomaxro

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #10

So I am not going to be able to share any screenshots, as I am only a moderator on my site and you need to be an admin to have access to the customization of badges.

That being said, if you can create a database query, you should be able to make a badge for it. Pretty much everything that happens on the site is stored in some way in the database, so the badge possibilities are nearly endless.

By default, I believe an install will have the following badges:

Autobiographer - “Filled user profile information”
First Like, First Link, First Quote, First Share, Read Guidelines (those should all be self explanatory)
Reader - “Read every post in a topic with more than 100 posts”
Editor - “First post edit”
First Flag - “Flagged a post”
Nice Share, Good Share, Great Share - Shared a post with 25, 300, and 1000 unique visitors respectfully
Popular Link, Hot Link, Famous Link - Posted an external link with at least 50, 300, and 1000 clicks respectfully
Promoter, Campaigner, Champion - Invited 1, 3 (TL1), and 5 (TL2) users respectfully
Anniversary - “Active member for a year, posted at least once”
Nice Post, Good Post, Great Post - Received 10, 25, 50 likes on a post respectfully
Nice Topic, Good Topic, Great Topic - Received 10, 25, 50 likes on a topic respectfully

If you are looking for some examples of “custom” badges, Meta has some good examples:

Help Desk, Tech Support - 1, 10 Accepted Answers respectfully
Bug Reporter, Tester, Senior Tester - Reported 1, 10, 20 bugs that were liked by the Discourse Team
Contributor, Great Contributor, Amazing Contributor - Contributed 1, 25, 250 accepted pull requests

I hope this was helpful for you. If you want more details on the process of creating a custom badge, there are some examples in this thread. I have no Wordpress experience, so I am of no help there. Let me know if you have any questions on badges that I may have glazed over too quickly.


In my case, I used vb, ipb, phpbb, mybb, and others.
Discourse win. One word: SIMPLICITY in all features.


Any experience with Discourse and a Wordpress site? We have a ton of video
content currently organized there, and we’d like to give people a seamless,
awesome way to discuss that video content.


I think Discourse is the best tool at hand to build a community from zero today. Ultra-awesome and strong team developing the plataform on a daily basis. Excellent approach to mobile first experience. Pretty good gamification & engagement features (email integration, votes, notifications, digests, etc), great integration options (ie: SSO).

I cannot think on a better tool to create an internal community today.

what other tools are on your mind at the moment?


Combo of BuddyPress/bbPress, for the really simple integration with our current site. What do you think?

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #15

Where does BuddyPress and bbPress come into the picture? BuddyPress I can see fitting in somehow, but I don’t see how bbPress is supposed to co-exist together with Discourse.

Btw, @jomaxro & co, really cool to see you guys being so helpful in here.


Integration has many different forms. What do you mean exactly? Look and feel?

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #17

I believe he was asking about BuddyPress and bbPress without Discourse.


Two reasons you might not have heard for using Discourse:

  1. The pedigree is excellent, e.g. Stack Exchange. You can be pretty sure that this project will continue to achieve by checking out where it came from, e.g. Civilized Discourse Construction Kit.
  2. People see Discourse and want to use it. That’s how I got here.


These would be alternatives to Discourse, not working together.

Look and feel definitely, but also allowing users to participate in a Discourse discussion on the same page as our Wordpress content, having new Wordpress content automatically generate matched up discussion threads, that type of stuff.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #20

Gotcha. I misread.

[quote=“coryeuc, post:19, topic:37283”]
allowing users to participate in a Discourse discussion on the same page as our Wordpress content
[/quote]This is tricky. Discourse isn’t really built for that use case. You can embed the Discourse topic, sure, but to actually participate in the conversation users would have to directed to the actual topic in Discourse.

[quote=“coryeuc, post:19, topic:37283”]
having new Wordpress content automatically generate matched up discussion threads, that type of stuff.
[/quote]This is very doable, and is being done already with our wp-discourse plugin.