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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 topic title 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

Navigation

For search, the menu, or your user page, use the icon buttons docked 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

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

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

mentioning a username in Discourse

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

completing Emoji in Discourse

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

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 docked 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.

topic notification control in Discourse

Notification level can also be set per category. To change any of these defaults, see 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. Jeff,

    Below is a link to the user guides I've generated since we went live. They are a bit wordy, and some of them are fairly specific to our forum, but they are all in response to questions which users raised with respect to the new platform.

    Some of them seem really trivial, but we had various problems with users not being able to distinguish between private and public messages.

  3. 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?

  4. Here's the "How To" list for my forum:

    Some are specific to our use case. They're generally responses to frequently-asked questions.

  5. Yes I can, but I was thinking more on a solution for everyone :wink:

Continue the discussion meta.discourse.org

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