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Discourse 1.8 released!

Jeff Atwood May 31, 2017

We’re thrilled to release Discourse 1.8 today, building on Discourse 1.7 from January.

Narrative Welcome Bot

Perhaps the biggest new feature in this release is our narrative welcome bot, which greets new users with a personal message and offers to interactively “play” the Discourse game with them.

It’s a natural extension of our original, static welcome PM. It took us two releases and a lot of effort to build this. Turns out, even simple chatbots are far more challenging to write than you’d think!

If you’d like to customize @discobot user for your site, please do! You can edit the bot’s username, full name, avatar, about me and other fields in the same manner you’d edit it for any user. Although you can’t (yet) build your own interactive narratives, every single bit of text can be customized as you’d expect from Admin, Customize, Text, too.

User Themes

One of the most persistent requests we heard was for user specific themes — the ability to select an individual color theme just for you, on your specific device, exactly how you like it. And with this release, now you can:

I’d estimate about 10 to 15 percent of people just plain prefer dark backgrounds. Discourse now ships with both dark and light user themes built in (and the site admins can add as many additional themes as they like); just visit your user preferences and select what you want. Oh yeah, and we restructured the user preferences with sub-tabs so they’re simpler to navigate, too.

Stay tuned as we plan to offer a theme design contest in the next few months with prizes!

Topic Timers

We’ve had auto-closing topics forever, but sometimes a little “time out” to get back on track was all a topic needed, not a permanent close. We also kept hearing sensible requests for other time based actions to take in topics, so we’ve grouped them all into the new Set Topic Timer… action for staff:

Set a timer to close, open, delete, publish, or just remind yourself about a topic.

New Box Subcategory Style

In order to better support common FAQ and Knowledge Base scenarios in specific categories, we added new subcategory styles of “Boxes” and “Boxes with Featured Topics”.

Discourse new user of the month

The big boxes may be a little easier to navigate for new users.

New User of the Month Badge

Healthy communities are always growing, and one way to keep growing is to encourage your best new users. In the past we’ve advised staff to keep an eye on the stats in the users page and remember to periodically send out personal thanks and/or swag to the most avid users. But we felt this was too important to leave as advice, so we’ve added the New User of the Month badge and email.

Discourse new user of the month

Every month, the new users with the most likes on their posts, weighted by trust level, will be selected for this award. Note that the users must have joined in the current month and have at least two posts in two topics to be eligible.

Better Invite UI

Invitations now have a proper, and prettier, landing page where people you’ve invited to Discourse can set up their username, full name (when required), and password to taste.

Discourse new user of the month

This also highlights who invited you to the party, so to speak, and lets your invitees confirm their arrival.

New Signup Email Actions

We want to make signing up for your Discourse as easy as possible. So after a new user creates an account, we offer easy ways to resend their confirmation mail — or change that email address if it was incorrect, had a typo in it, or the email didn’t arrive after multiple resend attempts.

Change mail or resend email at sign-up time

Private Email Mode

If you run a secure and private Discourse, you may not want any content leaking out. To support this, we’ve added a new site setting to remove all post and topic content from email. When enabled, you’ll still get email notifications as you would expect, but absolutely no content from the topics on your site will be sent out via email. In order to see the content, the user will need to authenticate and log into the website.

Discourse new user of the month

And More!

You may recall we launched a public exploit bounty program at Hacker One as a part of our security policy in January. We’re continuing to follow up on any concerns and issues raised, to ensure Discourse is as safe and secure as possible. There was a big chunk of work in 1.8 to completely revamp cookie handling and support per-device cookies, so even if your Discourse database somehow falls into the wrong hands, nothing bad will happen to your community.

These are just highlights of 1.8 — there are literally hundreds of other tiny improvements, refinements, and bugfixes in the full release notes.

Easy One Click Upgrade

In addition to all these these fabulous new features, this is also a major security release — we urge everyone to upgrade to it as soon as possible. If you are on our hosting, you’re already upgraded. Otherwise, upgrading is as easy as clicking the Update button in our built in one click updater linked right from your dashboard:

In some upgrade scenarios, you may need to SSH in to update your server. It’s just 3 commands:

cd /var/discourse
git pull
./launcher rebuild app

If you don’t have a Discourse to upgrade, why not? Install it yourself in under 30 minutes, or get a free 14 day hosting trial!

Thank You

As always, let us first thank our customers for their direct financial support, without which there would be no Discourse project at all.

Any open source project is only as good as its code contributions, and we’re lucky enough to have 87 contributors in this release — 5 more than last time! Thanks for the pull request contributions in this release from:

SidVal
davidtaylorhq
cpradio
jomaxro
gdpelican
gsambrotta
rimian
rizka10
glebm
LeoMcA
nbianca
vinothkannans
gschlager
aliibrahim
ryantm
joebuhlig
vvanpo
mcwumbly
fantasticfears
OsamaSayegh
Dax74
lalehmb
featheredtoast
gauthier592
TomekGnomek
pfaffman
cfstras
tarzan
matthewdias
nihgwu
lex111
krainboltgreene
olach
miromichalicka
gotens1211
jsilvanus
claygriffiths
ziptofaf
vietqhoang
rriemann
ndossougbete
ento
dmacjam
fushnisoft
kennym
bekicot
discoursehosting
ElTipejoLoco
rcgordon
ckeboss
jloh
chrisbeach
yjukaku
erlend-sh
aputtu
patdavid
punit2502
JaredReisinger
mcmcclur
chrisgavin
fefrei
lead4good
thorbenegberts
piotrowski
caugner
gherry
rchanley
angusmcleod
Apecengo
mrosack
oldbonsai
rohitkumbhar
phaldan
Angristan
YesThatAllen
ibnesayeed
Fryguy
seanmakesgames
bryant1410
warhammerkid
fearlessfrog
mhinz
iamntz
scossar
piamancini
tnorthcutt
no2pixel

Also, thanks to the greater Discourse community for their numerous contributions toward this release, including translations in Transifex, and posting support / bug request / feedback topics on meta.discourse. All your suggestions make Discourse better for yourself, and everyone else, too.

As far as we’ve come with Discourse, there are so many great things left to do. Keep an eye on the releases category at meta discourse to check out our roadmap … we’ll see you in Discourse 1.9!

Notable Replies

  1. Thanks for another great release - as always, painless upgrades and elegantly-implemented new features.

  2. Awesome! Looking forward to the theme contest. Hoping to make an entry.

  3. Fab. I’m really happy with this release - nice job, everyone involved in making it happen. :rocket: I wrote up a brief intro of the release for my community - see below. I am especially happy with the narrative welcome bot, which I think shows alot of promise especially if new functionality is added to allow sites to develop their own narrative tracks for various purposes. On our site geared towards helping communities to know, use and shape the law, I’d love to see a robot lawyer helping to refer people to organizations that can help them.

    The topic timer is pretty amazing too… it’s a classy feature that puts a surprising amount of power right at our fingertips as moderators. Thanks for building that in.

    In this day and age, the private email feature is not to be underestimated as well - thanks so much for helping sites to keep their users safe. I’d love to see that develop further to allow private email for private categories and messages but not for public discussions.

Continue the discussion meta.discourse.org

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