Discourse Community Forum Software
- Requirement analysis
- Evaluation of possible solutions
- Price calculation & comparison
- Price development
- On-premise setup
- Definition of user management & signup process
- Configuration of the community forum software
(permissions, user, user groups, signup process, email notification, branding, customization of texts, channels & permissions, moderator roles)
- Integration into current IT landscape
- Key user training
Discourse is an incredibly flexible and popular open source community and forum software that can be applied for many different situations. I implemented Discourse as a customer & partner forum that allows customers & partners to share information, and help each other. The moderation is in this case done by the forum sponsor. It is exciting how a community can establish when you give people a space to exchange and discuss.
One of the challenges was the actual on-premise installation as there are different methods (Azure, Docker) and different instructions, that are not entirely clear to follow. Furthermore, it is an open source software, so if using the “free” version, the support is only by the community. I have to admit though that the community support is incredible. There is a hosted version as well available, but in the case of the initiators it was requested to keep that data on-premise on their own server.
The signup process and user management and permission systems was another challenge. It was not a technical issue, but an unclear process and possible future development of other systems. Everyone who wants to set up a community by establishing a forum should figure out if: 1) the content should be public or protected, 2) if everyone can sign up (self signup) and immediately access the forum, if self signup is allowed but verification is necessary before granting full access, or if users are created and the credentials forwarded (foreign signup) to have full control of the forum audience.
Discourse offers a lot, it is fun to use, and motivates to exchange, discuss, develop projects – collaboration wins at the end.