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Discourse New User Tips and Tricks

Jeff Atwood December 16, 2016

If you’re new to Discourse, here are a few quick tips and tricks to get you started:

Reading

Selecting a title from the topic list will always take you to your last read post in the topic. To enter at the top or bottom instead, select the reply count or last reply date.

topic list click areas in Discourse

Topics above the light red line are new or updated since your last visit. If you have read all the way to the end of a topic, its title will be light grey instead of black.

last visit date shown on topic list in Discourse

For search, the menu, or your user page, use the icon buttons at the upper right.

search, menu, and notifications in Discourse

While reading a topic, use the timeline on the right side to jump to the top, bottom, or your last read position. On smaller screens, select the bottom progress bar to expand it.

(If you have a physical keyboard, you can also press ? for a list of keyboard shortcuts.)

Replying

Press any Reply button to open the editor panel at the bottom of your browser. Continue reading (and even navigate to different topics) while you compose your reply; minimize the editor for more room. Drafts will automatically be saved as you write.

collapsing and expanding the editor in Discourse

Quoting

To insert a quote, select the text you wish to quote, then press the Quote button that pops up. Repeat for multiple quotes.

selecting a quote in Discourse

Mentioning

To notify someone about your reply, mention their name. Type @ to begin selecting a username.

mentioning a username in Discourse

Emoji

To use standard Emoji, just type : to match by name, or traditional smileys ;)

completing Emoji in Discourse

Oneboxes

To generate a summary for a link, paste it on a line by itself. To start a topic with a link, paste the link into the title field.

pasting link to onebox in Discourse

Formatting

Your reply can be formatted using simple HTML, BBCode, or Markdown:

This is <b>bold</b>.
This is [b]bold[/b].
This is **bold**.

For more formatting tips, try our 10 minute tutorial.

Actions

There are action buttons at the bottom of each post:

  • To let someone know that you enjoyed and appreciated their post, use the like button. Share the love!
  • Grab a copy-pasteable link to any reply or topic via the link button.
  • Use the button to reveal more actions. Flag to privately let the author, or the site staff, know about a problem. Bookmark to find this post later on your profile page.

Notifications

When someone is talking directly to you — by replying to you, quoting your post, mentioning your @username, or even linking to your post, a number will immediately appear over your profile picture at the top right. Select it to access your notifications.

notification in Discourse

Don’t worry about missing a reply – you’ll be emailed any notifications that arrive when you are away.

Preferences

All topics less than two days old are considered new, and will show a new indicator.

new topic indicator in Discourse

Any topic you’ve actively participated in — by creating it, replying to it, or reading it for an extended period — will be automatically tracked on your behalf, and will show an unread post count indicator.

unread topic indicator in Discourse

You can change your notification level for any topic via the notification control at the bottom, and right hand side, of each topic. (Notification level can also be set per category, look for the notification control on the upper right of each category page.)

topic notification control in Discourse

To change any of these defaults, including the choice of a dark theme, visit your user preferences.

Notable Replies

  1. If there are any other tricks and tips – non-obvious essentials that every new Discourse user should know, please provide suggestions on that here.

  2. As a newbie to Discourse, and being silly enough to volunteer to be a moderator just as we went live on the new platform I felt a distinct need for a “New Moderator tips and tricks” topic. Meta had most of the information I was looking for, but it appears as mixed in with more technical admin information.

    How about a similar theme for new mods?

  3. Loving this post and linking all new members to it from my community. Thank you!

    I’d suggest adding a line or two at the bottom along the lines of …

    There you go, that should be enough to get you started. Have fun! As you spend time on discourse forums more power features will be revealed to you. :sparkles: In case you are curious, you can also check out the full Discourse New User Guide.

  4. Sure! Here’s the raw source itself (HTML unfortunately):

    <p>If you're new to Discourse, here are a few quick tips and tricks to get you started:</p>
    <h2 id="reading">Reading</h2>
    <p>Selecting a title from the <strong>topic list</strong> will always take you to your <strong>last read post</strong> in the topic. To enter at the top ? or bottom ? instead, select the reply count or last reply date.</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/discourse-topic-list-click-tap-areas-updated.png" alt="topic list click areas in Discourse" /></p>
    <p>Topics above the light red line are new or updated since your last visit. If you have read all the way to the end of a topic, its title will be light grey instead of black.</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/topic-list-last-visit-date-read.png" alt="last visit date shown on topic list in Discourse" width="450" /></p>
    <h2 id="navigation">Navigation</h2>
    <p>For search, the menu, or your user page, use the <strong>icon buttons at the upper right</strong>.</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/top-right-menus.png" alt="search, menu, and notifications in Discourse" /></p>
    <p>While reading a topic, use the timeline on the right side to jump to the top, bottom, or your last read position. On smaller screens, select the bottom progress bar to expand it.</p>
    <p><video poster="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/discourse-mobile-progress-bar-poster.jpg" preload="auto" controls="controls" width="300px" height="150"><source src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/discourse-mobile-progress-bar.mp4" /></video></p>
    <p>(If you have a physical keyboard, you can also press <kbd>?</kbd> for a list of keyboard shortcuts.)</p>
    <h2 id="replying">Replying</h2>
    <p>Press any <img class="emoji" src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/reply-post-2x.png" width="16" height="16" /> <strong>Reply</strong> button to open the editor panel at the bottom of your browser. Continue reading (and even navigate to different topics) while you compose your reply; minimize the editor for more room. Drafts will automatically be saved as you write.</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/discourse-editor-save-and-minimize.gif" alt="collapsing and expanding the editor in Discourse" /></p>
    <h2 id="quoting">Quoting</h2>
    <p>To insert a quote, select the text you wish to quote, then press the Quote button that pops up. Repeat for multiple quotes.</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/discourse-select-to-quote.gif" alt="selecting a quote in Discourse" width="80%" /></p>
    <h2 id="mentioning">Mentioning</h2>
    <p>To notify someone about your reply, mention their name. Type <code>@</code> to begin selecting a username.</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/mention-username.gif" alt="mentioning a username in Discourse" width="300" /></p>
    <h2 id="emoji">Emoji</h2>
    <p>To use <a href="http://www.emoji.codes/">standard Emoji</a>, just type <code>:</code> to match by name, or traditional smileys <code>;)</code></p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/emoji-completion.gif" alt="completing Emoji in Discourse" width="300" /></p>
    <h2 id="oneboxes">Oneboxes</h2>
    <p>To generate a summary for a link, paste it on a line by itself. To start a topic with a link, paste the link into the title field.</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/discourse-oneboxing-wikipedia-link.gif" alt="pasting link to onebox in Discourse" /></p>
    <h2 id="formatting">Formatting</h2>
    <p>Your reply can be formatted using simple HTML, BBCode, or <a href="http://commonmark.org/help/">Markdown</a>:</p>
    <pre><code>This is &lt;b&gt;bold&lt;/b&gt;.
    This is [b]bold[/b].
    This is **bold**.
    </code></pre>
    <p>For more formatting tips, <a href="http://commonmark.org/help/tutorial/">try our 10 minute tutorial</a>.</p>
    <h2 id="actions">Actions</h2>
    <p>There are action buttons at the bottom of each post:</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/like-link-flag-bookmark-2x.png" alt="" width="323" height="84" /></p>
    <ul>
    <li>To let someone know that you enjoyed and appreciated their post, use the <strong>like</strong> button. Share the love!</li>
    <li>Grab a copy-pasteable link to any reply or topic via the <strong>link</strong> button.</li>
    <li>Use the <kbd>…</kbd> button to reveal more actions. <strong>Flag</strong> to privately let the author, or the site staff, know about a problem. <strong>Bookmark</strong> to find this post later on your profile page.</li>
    </ul>
    <h2 id="notifications">Notifications</h2>
    <p>When someone is <strong>talking directly to you</strong> -- by replying to you, quoting your post, mentioning your <code>@username</code>, or even linking to your post, a number will immediately appear over your profile picture at the top right. Select it to access your <strong>notifications</strong>.</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/notification-panel.png" alt="notification in Discourse" /></p>
    <p>Don't worry about missing a reply – you'll be emailed any notifications that arrive when you are away.</p>
    <h2 id="preferences">Preferences</h2>
    <p>All topics less than <strong>two days old</strong> are considered new, and will show a new indicator.</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/discourse-topic-new-indicator-updated.png" alt="new topic indicator in Discourse" width="400px" /></p>
    <p>Any topic you've <strong>actively participated in</strong> -- by creating it, replying to it, or reading it for an extended period -- will be automatically tracked on your behalf, and will show an unread post count indicator.</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/discourse-topic-unread-indicator-updated.png" alt="unread topic indicator in Discourse" width="400px" /></p>
    <p>You can change your notification level for any topic via the notification control at the bottom, and right hand side, of each topic. (Notification level can also be set per category, look for the notification control on the upper right of each category page.)</p>
    <p><img src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/topic-notification-control-2x.png" alt="topic notification control in Discourse" width="580" height="297" /></p>
    <p>To change any of these defaults, including the choice of a <strong>dark theme</strong>, visit your user preferences.</p>
    

    I ran it through a quick converter, here’s it in markdown. I’d suggest double checking the conversion:

    If you're new to Discourse, here are a few quick tips and tricks to get you started:
    
    ## Reading
    
    Selecting a title from the **topic list** will always take you to your **last read post** in the topic. To enter at the top ? or bottom ? instead, select the reply count or last reply date.
    
    ![topic list click areas in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/discourse-topic-list-click-tap-areas-updated.png)
    
    Topics above the light red line are new or updated since your last visit. If you have read all the way to the end of a topic, its title will be light grey instead of black.
    
    ![last visit date shown on topic list in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/topic-list-last-visit-date-read.png)
    
    ## Navigation
    
    For search, the menu, or your user page, use the **icon buttons at the upper right**.
    
    ![search, menu, and notifications in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/top-right-menus.png)
    
    While reading a topic, use the timeline on the right side to jump to the top, bottom, or your last read position. On smaller screens, select the bottom progress bar to expand it.
    
    <video poster="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/discourse-mobile-progress-bar-poster.jpg" preload="auto" controls="controls" width="300px" height="150"><source src="https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/discourse-mobile-progress-bar.mp4"></video>
    
    (If you have a physical keyboard, you can also press <kbd>?</kbd> for a list of keyboard shortcuts.)
    
    ## Replying
    
    Press any ![](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/reply-post-2x.png) **Reply** button to open the editor panel at the bottom of your browser. Continue reading (and even navigate to different topics) while you compose your reply; minimize the editor for more room. Drafts will automatically be saved as you write.
    
    ![collapsing and expanding the editor in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/discourse-editor-save-and-minimize.gif)
    
    ## Quoting
    
    To insert a quote, select the text you wish to quote, then press the Quote button that pops up. Repeat for multiple quotes.
    
    ![selecting a quote in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/discourse-select-to-quote.gif)
    
    ## Mentioning
    
    To notify someone about your reply, mention their name. Type `@` to begin selecting a username.
    
    ![mentioning a username in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/mention-username.gif)
    
    ## Emoji
    
    To use [standard Emoji](http://www.emoji.codes/), just type `:` to match by name, or traditional smileys `;)`
    
    ![completing Emoji in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/emoji-completion.gif)
    
    ## Oneboxes
    
    To generate a summary for a link, paste it on a line by itself. To start a topic with a link, paste the link into the title field.
    
    ![pasting link to onebox in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/discourse-oneboxing-wikipedia-link.gif)
    
    ## Formatting
    
    Your reply can be formatted using simple HTML, BBCode, or [Markdown](http://commonmark.org/help/):
    
        This is <b>bold</b>.
        This is [b]bold[/b].
        This is **bold**.
    
    For more formatting tips, [try our 10 minute tutorial](http://commonmark.org/help/tutorial/).
    
    ## Actions
    
    There are action buttons at the bottom of each post:
    
    ![](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/like-link-flag-bookmark-2x.png)
    
    *   To let someone know that you enjoyed and appreciated their post, use the **like** button. Share the love!
    *   Grab a copy-pasteable link to any reply or topic via the **link** button.
    *   Use the <kbd>…</kbd> button to reveal more actions. **Flag** to privately let the author, or the site staff, know about a problem. **Bookmark** to find this post later on your profile page.
    
    ## Notifications
    
    When someone is **talking directly to you** -- by replying to you, quoting your post, mentioning your `@username`, or even linking to your post, a number will immediately appear over your profile picture at the top right. Select it to access your **notifications**.
    
    ![notification in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/notification-panel.png)
    
    Don't worry about missing a reply – you'll be emailed any notifications that arrive when you are away.
    
    ## Preferences
    
    All topics less than **two days old** are considered new, and will show a new indicator.
    
    ![new topic indicator in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/discourse-topic-new-indicator-updated.png)
    
    Any topic you've **actively participated in** -- by creating it, replying to it, or reading it for an extended period -- will be automatically tracked on your behalf, and will show an unread post count indicator.
    
    ![unread topic indicator in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/discourse-topic-unread-indicator-updated.png)
    
    You can change your notification level for any topic via the notification control at the bottom, and right hand side, of each topic. (Notification level can also be set per category, look for the notification control on the upper right of each category page.)
    
    ![topic notification control in Discourse](https://blog.discourse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/topic-notification-control-2x.png)
    
    To change any of these defaults, including the choice of a **dark theme**, visit your user preferences.
    
  5. Just make your best guess. Does your issue connect to the old thing or is it different now? If it’s the same, is your issue addressed in the topic already?

    For your own forum, it’s up to you and your community to decide.

Continue the discussion meta.discourse.org

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