Official Slack integration for Discourse

Erlend Sogge Heggen October 17, 2016

Today we’re making Slack chat a first class integration, available on all hosting plans.


Over time we’ve noticed that a whole lot of our customers use Slack, and we do too! The Discourse team uses Slack strictly as a team coordination tool for things that need to be discussed right now, but other teams are using Slack in all sorts of creative ways, even as a community hub.

We think Chat and Community are two great tastes that taste great together, and we’re happy to extend Discourse to better accommodate both. Our goal is for Discourse to become long term memory for your most important conversations, both for internal team members and your outside community, too. We’re only just getting started, but keep reading to learn about what is currently possible with the v1 of our Slack integration, and what’s coming up.

Wanna start playing with Slack? Hosted customers can enable the plugin by checking slack enabled in Admin > Site Settings > Plugins. The rest is configured on Slack’s end.

Self-hosters can download and install the plugin manually.

Cross-Posting From Discourse to Slack

The main goal of the plugin is to cross-post Discourse topics to Slack. You can also specify exactly which Discourse categories will automatically post to Slack, through the filter page at /admin/plugins/slack or, if enabled, the advanced slash commands below.


Optional Slash Commands

The plugin also allows you to optionally control the filters and other settings from the Slack side via slash commands.


Rich Formatting

Topics cross-posted to Slack are suitably prettified, with site logo, avatar, username / fullname, category name and category color:


Coming soon: Copy a Slack conversation to Discourse

Take a snapshot of a discussion in Slack and post it as a topic in Discourse. The output will be a cleanly formatted chat transcript that can be further edited if necessary. The folks at Dgraph already created a version of this as Wisemonk – a Slack bot to move discussions from Slack to Discourse. We’re big fans of that idea, too!

Discuss our official Slack plugin on

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Announcing v1.0 of WP Discourse

Erlend Sogge Heggen October 10, 2016

We are pleased to announce the v1.0 release of WP Discourse, our official WordPress plugin.

WP Discourse wordpress plugin

A huge thanks goes out to Simon Cossar who spearheaded this push towards a stable release. We’d also like to thank Ben Word who’s been graciously maintaining the plugin since its early inception.

If you haven’t heard about WP Discourse before you can learn more about it below.

Use Discourse for comments:

WP Discourse comments

This is what it looks like on our very own

  • Automatically creates a forum topic for discussion when a new blog post is published.
  • Associates WP author accounts with their respective Discourse accounts. Does not require SSO.
  • Replies from the forum discussion can be embedded in the WP blog post. Select which replies to display based on post score and commenter “trust level” — see docs.

Tune the settings to your liking:

WP Discourse settings

See it live:

Single Sign On

The plugin also comes with optional SSO functionality which lets you use your WordPress site as the Single Sign On provider for your Discourse forum.

This will override Discourse’s native (and powerful) login flow and is only recommended for use cases that strictly require such a setup, e.g. a site that is already using WordPress for large scale user management.





Discourse for Online Education Communities

Erlend Sogge Heggen August 18, 2016

Just like our survey for game communities back in May, we once more sent out a survey to a mix of customers and self-supported Discourse communities. This time we wanted feedback from leaders in online education.


We’re absolutely ecstatic about the amount of learning tools readily available online for young and old minds alike today. Even more so because so many of these sites have chosen to use Discourse to build their communities, in which educators and learners can work effectively together to improve their common platform.

8 hosted customers


Nine communities got back to us and completed our survey. Here’s what they said.

How does your company use Discourse?

CodeCombat uses Discourse as a general forum for its players to talk about programming concepts, help each other debug difficult levels, and share game strategies. We also get a lot of bug reports there, which is great for players who wouldn’t have emailed us or gone to GitHub to file an issue.

As an open source project, we have promoted some amazing forum moderators from amongst our players, and they help the community learn to help itself when the core team can’t handle the onslaught. For a project with a wide mix of young kids and older players, it’s surprising how well it works. Discourse and GitHub are the two most important pieces of the CodeCombat community.

~ Nick Winter, CEO of CodeCombat

What are your favorite things about Discourse?

Here’s a summary of the answers, roughly ordered by how frequently each was brought up:

  • Excellent Markdown editor (the basic HTML support also comes in handy)

  • Clean, clear and snappy UI

  • Robust organisation tools: Private/public categories, groups, global pins

  • Powerful email support. Email summaries; granular email notifications; create or reply to posts by email.

  • Badges encourage positive behaviour, flags discourage negative behaviour, JIT notifications (similar reply detection, duplicate link detection etc.) and reply-as-new-topic encourage on-topic discussion.

  • Out-of-the-box settings provide strong defaults that require very little tweaking.

  • Good search

  • Infinite scrolling

  • Links tracking

  • Extensive REST API

What are some things that would make Discourse better?

Here’s a summary of the answers:

  • Some way to help our players automatically format their code better, since they can rarely seem to get it right
    This was the only improvement suggestion that came up several times. Our recommendation would be to switch to the “code-fences” code formatting style, which we added specifically for developer-centric communities.
  • Better auto-localization to the user’s default browser language
    This has been a TODO of ours for a while! Consider it bumped in priority.
  • Better embedding options.
    We generally recommend against embedding, as this is a tricky thing to get right across multiple platforms and screen sizes. Try using the API instead to make lightweight streams for your content. Even plain RSS could do the trick.
  • Better documentation
    We’re adding new docs at a steady rate. There were 7 new additions to our #howto category this past month. If there’s any topic in particular that you’d like to see a proper tutorial on, feel free to make a #support request for it.
  • The user profile doesn’t stand up enough and the basic settings are hidden in the “preferences” tab, which can be confusing.
    Agreed! See this UX discussion.
  • The “similar topic” suggestions are not always relevant.
    Tough nut to crack. First order of business will be to make it less in the way in case it’s not helpful.
  • Add a stackoverflow-like way to mark and highlight the best answers
    We have that! The Solved plugin is available on all our plans and can be installed for free by self-hosters.
  • Better GitHub auth integration.
    We don’t have plans to automatically retrieve avatars from Twitter, Facebook, G+, GitHub etc at this time. However, we’d gladly accept a pull request for this!
  • We really need another level of hierarchy in the the categories structure.
    In our experience, a deep category hierarchy cause more problems than it solves. However, Tags were recently merged into core and received a lot of new features, including category restrictions, tag groups, and tag relationships.
  • UI could be improved
    Once more, our UI finds itself on both the pros and cons list (although the praise clearly outweighed the critique this time). The best we can do is continue to make Discourse more customisable so community owners can tweak it to their liking. See next bullet point.
  • The ability customize all CSS easier, like being able to upload custom stylesheet. Being able to adjust html layout by having access to page templates.
    Yes! We are figuring out a way to support Native Themes in Discourse. Please join the conversation and share your ideal theme designer experience with us.

Thanks for the feedback!

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