Creating the perfect Discourse Community

A simple guide to building a Discourse community, fostering conversations, and getting more members to join the community.
Priyanshu Anand
October 9, 2023

Creating the perfect Discourse Community

A simple guide to building a Discourse community, fostering conversations, and getting more members to join the community.
Priyanshu Anand
March 17, 2023

Discourse is the name of an open-source platform for hosting debates and interactions in online communities and forums. With features like polls, threaded discussions, and moderation tools, it offers a simple user interface for starting and managing online discussions. Several online communities, such as forums, blogs, and discussion boards, use discourse as a platform for holding discussions and encouraging user interaction. The benefits of a discourse community are given below:

  • Support and collaboration are two ways that members of a discourse community might aid one another in achieving their objectives and moving forward in their job or hobbies.
  • Access to knowledge and expertise: Members of a discourse community may have access to knowledge and expertise in a particular field or area of interest, which can aid in the development of their abilities and keep them current with new advancements.
  • Opportunities for networking: Members of a discourse community may have the chance to engage with individuals in their field or area of interest, forming bonds and relationships that may be beneficial to their professional or personal development.
  • Being a part of a discourse community can boost motivation and engagement since members can interact with others who have similar interests while sharing their passion and enthusiasm for a subject or field.
  • Exposure to a range of viewpoints: Members of a discourse community may be exposed to a range of viewpoints and concepts, which may help them to comprehend a particular topic or issue more thoroughly and to question their preconceptions.


The worst thing you can do is to launch a site that is empty. That would be like attempting to fill up an empty restaurant with patrons! These first subjects are crucial:

  • To further on the nature of your community. The subjects you can currently find on the first page? These are the types of discussions that take place here. This is the topic that your community frequently discuss. Our community is what it says it is.
  • To provide examples of the sort of content you want. To let everyone know that yes, topics like these are welcome on our site. Create more discussions like these!
  • To request involvement. Include some introductory questions that invite participants to talk about themselves and some open-ended questions that invite responses that include anecdotes, thoughts, or images.


Leading originates at the top. The presence of personnel indicates whether or not your community is vibrant and alive. Don't simply say you believe in our community; show it by being personally involved and enthusiastic. Set a good example. Respond to inquiries from the public, assist your community in getting up to speed, and gently lead and mould the community as you go. 

Take advantage of having famous people on your staff or in your neighbourhood if you are fortunate enough to have them. When a well-known person—the proprietor, sponsor, founders, developers, artist, author, or MVP—pops in and reacts, it attracts a lot of attention. The fact that cool, intriguing, and busy people are aware of this group indicates its significance. Try to schedule some participation from celebs; even a little bit goes a long way.

Who is it for?

Determining who your community stands for might be very straightforward or very complicated. For instance, the "who" for starting a community for a neighbourhood board game group is quite straightforward: locals who enjoy playing board games with others. On the other hand, because it must take into account many users, partners, and vendors that will be joining, identifying the community's audience for a web application may be considerably more difficult.

How to gather members?

Link it everywhere first:

  • From the main menu of your website
  • In publications and emails
  • Using your blog on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media

Make a big entrance announcement when your community starts. This will result in an initial influx of new residents, some of whom will remain and spur early growth. Set up social logins like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others to make it simple for others to sign up and interact. For those that join up and use the service frequently, think about providing little incentives or bonuses.


Be tolerant. Creating communities is challenging. It takes weeks or perhaps years. Although you may work hard to make Discourse as entertaining and interesting (as well as free and open source) as possible, software by itself cannot ensure a community's success. You can, though! Your community will be off to a strong start if you incorporate it into your daily activities and work to routinely spark original, engaging conversations among friends.

Community Model

Not only do you need to know who the ideal members of your community are, but you also need to have an idea of how the community will function. One method to offer yourself a foundation for how to get the community moving in the correct direction collectively is to choose and adhere to a community model.

In People Powered, Jono Bacon's book on community strategy, he discusses three possible models. The three models are collaborator, champion, and consumer.

Consumer Model: A community built on the consumer model is one where people come together around a common interest or shared passion. You can think of this as a fan club where you invite your friends to talk about something you’re all passionate about.

Champion Model: The champion model builds on the consumer model and takes it to the next level. Instead of only coming together to talk about passions and interests, there’s an element of helping others in the process. Many champion communities involve Q + A, technical support, events, documentation, or even content creation all centered around the focus of the community.

Collaborator Model: The collaborator model may be appropriate for a project where individuals collaborate to build something. According to Bacon, there are two possible configurations for the collaborator model:

  • Inner Collaboration: Consider inner collaboration as being somewhat akin to an open-source project (like Discourse). The Discourse team has employees who work on the software, but a large number of community members also contribute changes and add new features. Both groups of collaborators are working on the software in this manner of collaboration.
  • Outer Collaboration: Outside Collaboration - WordPress is sometimes compared to outer cooperation. Without actively contributing to the project, Automattic has established a platform where many people can create plugins and themes to expand WordPress's functionality.

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