Discourse, 6 months on: Impact Assessment


It’s been 6 months since the Foreman community switched to Discourse, so I wanted to revisit some of the graphs I drew in November (when I was justifying the migration) and see if its had a positive impact. Spoiler alert! It has :)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://theforeman.org/2018/07/discourse-6-months-on-impact-assesment.html


Personally, I was skeptical at first as I was very used to the mailing list. The notifications system that discourse has, and a few other things like polls, images, mention @groups, etc… have all surprised me very positively. I also share the feeling that we have seen a spike on participation since we moved to discourse.

All of that combined with the fact that this is probably easier to find by Google, hopefully will help many of our users find their answers quickly & participate. Thanks @Gwmngilfen !


I still like mailing lists more - imagine if every single open-source project you contribute to (or at least read) switched over to Discourse. Email interface does not really work, there should be rather called “notifications”. You must visit the site eventually.

But it’s not bad experience, I have another tab opened for the whole day it’s not really big deal. Some features are nice indeed, ability to edit for 5 minutes is great (I do lots of typos), polls, decent hotkeys, mentioning people and dozens of other small things.

I don’t have any numbers, but I will just say how I feel about this:

  • Forums are great for random users from the street who pass along, ask a question, maybe return few times and disappear on average. Numbers will increase and it’s good for the project.
  • Mailing lists are great for hardcore users and developers who contribute to multiple open-source. They probably do most of the work. On the other hand, they will very unlikely leave the project because of communication channel.

And one another statement, I have to admit that my imagination goes probably too far: Discourse is like these Dolce Gusto coffee capsules. Very nice coffee, great selection of flavors, easy manipulation, fast and clean preparation. It’s just if everybody were drinking Dolce Gusto it is an environmental disaster. :slight_smile:

Now, to the point. I think the change was for the good. Thanks for the report.