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Not to be confused with Discord, the chat program and app.

Discourse is the software that runs the NaNoWriMo forums.

The Discourse software is available to host on one's own, or to host on Discourse's servers. NaNoWriMo uses Discourse's hosted services, as hosting the forums on their own led to extreme forum slowness[1] in early October 2019 when adding Regional Lounges to the forums in bulk[2]. Discourse was chosen due to its flexibility in addition to satisfying the basic framework requirements from the tech team[3].


Discourse comes built-in with some features that have been popular requests in the past. Some of these include:

  • A like button
  • Ability to @mention a Wrimo by username
  • Ability to bookmark a post
  • Ability to mute and ignore users.
  • Notifications when a post has been updated or when a new topic is created in a specific forum
  • Email updates and ability to reply by email
  • Improved moderation and administration tools.
  • Mobile-friendly layout
  • Emoji (and not just the NaNo Emoji)

Discourse vs. Older NaNoWriMo Forums

Wrimos coming to Discourse from older iterations of the forums may experience an adjustment period, especially if they aren't familiar with Discourse. That's why Lead Forums Moderator Heather Dudley wrote a Discourse tutorial for the NaNo forums. Read this first if you're new or confused.

The layout is different, both from previous iterations of the forums and from the rest of the NaNoWriMo website (sometimes known as the main site).

  • Because of Discourse's differences in moderation, all moderators are now global moderators. Individual forums do not have specific moderators, although some moderators do keep a special eye on specific forums due to high traffic or personal interest.
  • The forum hierarchy has changed. In previous versions of the forum, a container category would contain its forums but not be a forum itself. For example, in the pre-2019 site, the Resources and Writing Support category contained forums such as NaNo Artisans, Social Media, and Helpful Resources and Sites. In the Discourse forums, the Helpful Resources category is also a forum, and the other forums are subforums. The topics appear in the Helpful Resources > All forum and in the individual forum (for example, Helpful Resources > NaNo Artisans). As a result, some forums have been renamed for the dual purpose of being a forum while staying descriptive of the overall section. Additionally, Discourse calls forums categories; these terms are used interchangeably.
  • Discourse has its own private messaging system, which is completely separate from the main site's NaNoMail. You can send a private message to anyone on the forums, provided the recipient has not blocked you; on the main site, you must be buddies, which is a reciprocal connection.
  • Trust Levels, which gradually grant you the full Discourse functionality while introducing you to the system.
  • Discourse features infinite scroll, compared to the pagination on previous NaNoWriMo forums. Many modern social media sites use infinite scroll instead of pagination, and Wrimos have spoken up in earnest about their desire for pagination[4]. Unfortunately, the creators of Discourse have gone out of their way to make infinite scroll incredibly difficult to implement.
  • There's a bot called Discobot, who walks you through the basic Discourse tutorial. The bot creates your first notification when logging in to the forums and encourages you to walk through the tutorial. Discobot has a following among the Wrimo community[5].
  • Signatures are gone, long live signatures. Usercards are their replacement.
  • Threads are now archived after a certain period without replies. The exact time varies by forum. This feature makes the site relaunch a thing of the past.
  • Threads are automatically locked after 10,000 posts with manual intervention, similar to older iterations of the forum that struggled with very long threads. Wrimos are free to start a new version of the thread.
  • Wrimos can create and submit custom themes in the Themes forum. If they're approved, anyone can use that theme to view the NaNo forums, and the creative Wrimo will earn a Thememaster badge.

Some of the forum names also changed. A current list is viewable in the NaNoWriMo forums article.


External Links