Discourse – free forum software married with features popular with social networks

Discourse is an open source discussion platform. Besides being used as a discussion forum, it’s also a capable mailing list, and long-form chat room.

Discourse was built with high resolution touch devices in mind, and switches automatically to a mobile layout for small screens.

Discourse is built with Ruby on Rails, Ember.ks, PostgreSQL, and Redis.

Features include:

  • Simple, flat forum, where replies flow down the page in a line.
  • Dynamic notifications.
  • Infinite scrolling.
  • Single sign-on.
  • Trust system with 4 levels – Basic, Member, Regular, and Leader. They help to:
    • Sandbox new users in your community so they don’t do stupid things.
    • Grant experienced users more rights over time, so they can help everyone maintain and moderate the community.
  • Spam blocking.
  • Social login.
  • Summarize topics.
  • Badges.
  • Emoji.
  • Two-factor authentication – take advantage of the free Android or iOS authenticator apps on your smartphone for enhanced account security.
  • Official plugins that extend functionality.
  • Comprehensive API
  • One-click upgrades.
  • SEO optimized for Google indexing and searching.
  • Tags – when users create topics they can optionally attach tags. They are a lightweight complement to categories, and to make them even more useful they can be mandatory on topics, per category.
  • Markdown, BBCode, and HTML formatting in posts
  • Automatic backups.
  • CDN support.
  • Blog integration.
  • Automatic & custom avatars.
  • Email invitations.
  • Mailing list support.
  • Themes support.
  • Full page search.
  • Drag and drop attachments.
  • Admin Dashboard – shows the most relevant and essential community health metrics right at the top, as well as trending searches.
  • Expanding links. Links to Wikipedia, YouTube, Amazon, GitHub, Twitter, Flickr and hundreds of other popular websites automatically expand to provide additional context and information.
  • Supports OpenGraph and oEmbed.
  • Internationalization support – translations are available for 25 languages including Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Telugu, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

Website: www.discourse.org
Support: Plugins, GitHub code repository, Blog, Twitter
Developer: Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc.
License: GNU GPL v2.0 (or later)


Discourse is written in JavaScript and Ruby. Learn JavaScript with our recommended free books and free tutorials. Learn Ruby with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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