How To: Use Discourse (New User Guide)

Note that this article has been edited from its original post to focus on the aspects you’ll need to know when using the official Age of Empires forum. For the full article, you can view it here:

Article Source: https://meta.discourse.org/t/discourse-new-user-guide/96331

Jump to:

  1. Basic Terms Used by Discourse

  2. Browsing the Forum

  3. Reading Topics

  4. Taking Part in Conversations

  5. Actions and Reactions

  6. Notifications

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1. Basic Terms Used by Discourse (Nomenclature)

Here are some very basic terms that will be helpful to keep in mind as you use Discourse or read this guide:

TOPIC

This refers to the collection of messages grouped together in a meaningful conversation. A topic starts with an original post, has a title, is listed in a category, and includes all replies in chronological order. On other forums, you may have heard this referred to as a ‘thread’; Discourse uses ‘topic’ since thread is used for linked elements within a topic that can trail off in many different directions.

ORIGINAL POST (or OP)

This is the first post in any topic. This is what determines the focus and title of the topic. (In the case of this post, the Original Post is "How To: Use Discourse (New User Guide)’.

POST

Each user’s contribution to a topic is referred to as a post. Each post has its own author and can be moved to a different topic, if necessary, or even become the start of a new topic if split off by a moderator.

CATEGORY

These are the top-level groups that are used to organize topics. Each topic is placed in exactly one category or “sub-category,” which allows users to filter topics by game or by the subject at hand. Categories are a similar concept to a ‘forum’ or ‘sub-forum’ on other sites.

USER

Discourse sites may be private or public for anyone to read, but you will always be required to register an account in order to create posts or record any actions such as bookmarking, liking, tagging, and flagging. Most site activity, therefore, is based around registered Users.

2. Browsing the Forum

By default, the forum homepage displays a list of categories next to the Latest conversations being discussed by the community. At the top of the page, you can filter topics by switching between the different views:

  • By Category: Click the ‘Categories’ link to see all of the forum categories.

  • By Latest: Click the ‘Latest’ link to see a full list of the latest forum posts.

  • By New: Click the ‘New’ link to see topics created in the last two days that you have not opened yet. New topics are also listed on the categories level

  • By Unread: Unread topics include any you’ve previously opened and read for at least 4 minutes, and that have new posts (replies) submitted to them. Unread topics show a number in a circle that indicates how many new posts are in the topic.

  • By Top: If you click on the ‘Top’ link, the conversation topics will be listed in order of most activity (views and replies) for a specific time period. You can choose whether this is for all time, or select a specific period such as quarter, month, week or just today.

To Search for a thread or topic, access the forum Menu, or jump to your User Profile page, you can use the icon buttons in the upper right corner of the forum.

          notification-panel

3. Reading Topics

A healthy community needs active members to create and post new content, but this activity is not everything. Readers are the true indicators of how healthy the community is, which is why Discourse remembers right where you left off so you can keep up with the conversation.

Infinite scrolling

Click a topic’s title and read down the list of replies in chronological order—following links or previewing replies and quotes as you go. Use your mouse to scroll the screen, or use the timeline scroll bar on the right to see how far into the conversation you’ve read. On smaller screens, select the bottom progress bar to expand it.

Jump back in

Selecting a topic title will take you to the last read post in the topic. To enter at the top ↑ or bottom ↓ instead, click the reply count to open a context menu, or the last reply date to jump straight to the end of a thread.

When looking at the list of topics, those above the light red line are new or updated since your last visit. If you have read all the way to the end of a topic, the title will be light grey instead of black.

Related topics

At the end of the original post you will also see lists of related topics that are similar to the one you are currently reading:

See who is participating

There are several ways to see who is involved in a particular discussion or topic. On the homepage, you will see a selection of avatars (profile pictures) of:

  • The user who started the topic (always the first photo)
  • A selection of the most active participants in the thread
  • Who created the most recent post (usually the last photo)

At the bottom of the OP, there is a box that will also list useful information about the topic, including:

  • Who created the post (displayed as an avatar)
  • When the post was created
  • The number of replies and views in this topic to date
  • The avatars of the most frequent participants in the topic

4. Taking Part in Conversations

Discourse shows all posts in the order they are published; it does not make you chase down multiple threaded paths. However, it still gives you lots of ways to follow the context of conversations.

Replying

Press the Reply button to open the editor panel at the bottom of your browser to join a conversation. You can continue reading (and even search or navigate to different topics) while you compose your reply.

To reply to a specific post within a topic, click the grey Reply button at the end of the topic to which you want to reply. Your post will now be linked to that post. If your reply is the next one published after the post you are replying to, this will appear next in chronological order. If it’s NOT the next post, then two things happen after your post is published:

  • Your post will include a new link in its header with an image to show what it is ‘in reply to’—clicking this link displays that previous post for context next to your reply.

  • The original post includes a count of replies at the bottom. Clicking this link displays the content of the replies.

Drafts

Drafts are automatically saved as you write, though if you minimize the editor or navigate to a different topic, the editor might disappear. To open a saved draft, return to the topic you were replying to or click the highlighted bar at the bottom of your browser, and the editor will reappear with your draft.

Quoting

To insert a quote, select the text you wish to quote, then press the Quote button that pops up. There is no need to quote the a whole message—it helps to be specific. Repeat this for multiple quotes, even if they come from different posts and different users. The quoted text will point back to their original source.

Quoting3

Mentioning

To notify someone about your reply, mention their name. Type @ to begin selecting a username from the list of forum users. Select a name to add the notification into your post.

mention-username

Emoji

To use standard Emoji , just type : to match by name, or feel free to use any of the traditional smileys. ;)

emoji-completion

Alternatively, you click the emoji icon (:slightly_smiling_face:) at the top of the editing window or the more... link when you begin typing an emoji to open a full library of emojis you can use.

Link Previews

To generate a summary for a link, paste it on a line by itself. This will create a preview box for your link right in your post.

Formatting

Your reply can be formatted using simple HTML, BBCode, or Markdown :

This is <b>bold</b>.
This is [b]bold[/b].
This is **bold**.

For more formatting tips, you can run through this 10 minute tutorial .

5. Actions and Reactions

There are several buttons you can use to react to any given post::

  • To let someone know that you enjoyed and appreciated their post, use the like button. (Share the love!)

  • Grab a copy-pasteable (permalink) link to any reply or topic via the link button.

  • Use the to reveal more actions…

    • Flag a post to privately let the author, or the site staff, know about a problem.
    • If you are the author of a post, you can use the Edit button to make changes after the fact. (Note that you will not be able to edit a post after a certain amount of time.)
    • Bookmark to save the post to your profile page so you can find it later.
  • Use the Reply button to respond to a specific post within the topic.

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6. Notifications

There are two types of notifications that will appear to denote when something has changed since your last visit:

  • When someone is talking directly to you—whether by replying to you, quoting a post you made, mentioning your @username in their post, or even linking to a post you created—a red circle with a number (①) will appear in the top right corner of your profile picture.

  • When you have been sent a Personal Message (also known as a ‘PM’), a green circle with a number (①) will appear in the top left corner of your profile picture.

Click on your profile image to display a full list of all your recent notifications.

Opt-In to Notifications

If you are interested, you can also choose to receive notifications about other things happening on the forum, as well. This can be done at the category or topic level by following the steps below.

Topic notifications

You can change your notification level for any individual topic via the notification button :white_circle: at the bottom and to the right of each topic.

Category notifications

Notifications can also be set per category. To “follow” a forum category, click the notification button :white_circle: at the top right of the category level to select your preference.