Moving the forums to discourse

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our forums run with simple machines.
it's somehow ok, but there are indeed feature that are missing.

one forum engine that i've seen working well is .

does anybody want to evaluate and eventually lead the change to discourse?


Discourse looks nice and "fresh".

Lots of features, and I like the way you can reply to a specific post, rather than the whole thread.

I also like the way you can go off on a tangent - by creating a new related topic - and the topics remain linked while the discussion goes elsewhere for a while.

It might have more features than the basic user like me will use but, since the impressive-looking overhaul that Mantis has recently been through, maybe a move to something new would be a good thing. (The forum as it is now is looking very dated. Comfortable, but a bit "clunky".)

My main consideration is: Would the new forum be starting from scratch or would the existing posts be ported over somehow? (I noticed there is a SMF2 import script.)

In many ways it would be a shame to lose some important discussions if it had to start from scratch but, on the other hand, there are probably a lot of threads that are fairly useless to anyone now, e.g. Here's how you get round a problem that was in 1.3 but isn't a problem anymore.

I'm not volunteering to be part of any group looking at this, I'm just wondering what people think about what should happen to the current posts. Should there be a "cull" on the current forum to delete pointless threads/posts before anyone looks at migration? And how could that be achieved in practice?


Wherever this forum lives, I'd really hate to see old postings lost. This forum with all its old postings has been a lifesaver for me. Those old posts have saved me more than once from the helpful looking but unreliable answers in the wiki.

In one case the wiki advised me to use the Story Editor to assign paragraph styles. No matter what I tried, I could not get the Story Editor to do so consistently. I was banging my head against the wall trying to get the wiki's solution to work, and had tried over and over, then in desperation I checked here and found that the advice in the wiki was just plain wrong. Direct editing and direct style assignment from the Properties dialog work like a charm.

Rather than go on a rant about the wiki, my only point - here and now - is that this forum is a storehouse of the best information that exists on how Scribus really works. I don't want that information lost, or nearly as bad, marooned as a nearly hidden link in a new site, but in an inactive state.


I wonder what new features discourse has that would make such a change be worth the effort involved?


a/ personally, i don't like forums. but here is a thing i like even less: wikis.
   i can't really defend/promote a forum. not simle machines. not discourse. (but the second works better)

b/ simple machines (the engine running this forum) is ok, but has some issues (like the ones john jr mentioned) that makes life a bit harder.

c/ simple machines development is rather stuck (the new version would probably solve most of the issues we're facing, but the beta for the rc has been close to release for the last 18 months... well that reminds me of another software...). no plans for the next stable...

d/ the reason for this thread: if somebody wants to discuss about changes, now there is a place : - ) ... and if somebody wants to work on it, she can announce it here!

and yes, the goal is to keep the old posts... and my wonderful karma : - )
(this must be the only place where i have some karma...)


CGood, I agree that there's probably more good information in the forum threads than there is on the wiki. The main problem I have with the forum is that the good information can sometimes be secreted within other information. For instance, a really good tip to do with typography might be written as a quick aside amongst a discussion about outlining fonts. (That, and it can be very difficult for new users to find information as they don't know what keywords to search for.)

If there was someone who could monitor the posts and pick out the best bits to maintain a nice clean FAQ (or whatever, I don't want to get into a discussion about that sort of thing here) then that would probably be a good solution but - unless someone is going to pay someone else to do it - it's probably not going to happen. There are only about half a dozen really active "answerers" on this forum at any one time and they're probably too busy to scrape the relevant info' from the posts.

The Discourse web site has a big list of features and if the import process is rock solid - all the correct links/images are preserved, etc. - then the biggest effort involved (after the initial import) would be for the users getting used to the new interface, and that can be done safely in the Discourse web site demo sandbox.

All in all, I think moving to a new forum would be a good step in revitalising the Scribus "brand". A nice clean modern-looking forum might be a good way to entice people to try it and also, perhaps, be more active in the community.


Quote from: GarryP on February 10, 2017, 02:30:38 PM
There are only about half a dozen really active "answerers" on this forum at any one time and they're probably too busy to scrape the relevant info' from the posts.

euh... i'm taking notes...

the goal is to create a set of not so long documents about specific topics...

: - )



Just to add an extra ingredient to the mix, if the forum was going to go through such a big change, would it be an opportune moment to also move to https? I have no idea how much extra work that would be but I think it might help make users more comfortable (no worrying security icons/messages on their browser). Just a thought.


Does Discourse have a way to search for unanswered posts? I was doing a bit of clicking here to search for posts made but never answered, especially from newcomers, and have found quite a few.

I ask because Scribus needs a larger set of users, since some users, if they stay, will eventually make further contributions in some way. But Scribus has a learning curve, and I suspect it is easy to lose new users through frustration with being unable to get  something to work. This forum, wherever it may be hosted, is a chance to catch the new user as he is falling, and aside from solving that person's problem, we may be able to add another happier user.

But, if they ask questions here that fall through the cracks, then we can lose them. I find searches for recent unanswered posts clumsy as this forum is structured now.


not so long ago crossed my way.

- it's php based (so it won't be a problem to support on the scribus site (since currently everything is php there)
- looks amazing
- and it's the continuation of two of the lead existing forums

it's still beta, but we could try to setup an instance and see if we can import the forums history...


so, any volunteer to collaborate with me to:

- set up a dummy forum.
- find a strategy for importing the current forum's content
- evaluate flarum and define if there are chances it would be usable in a foreseeable future and what could be the roadmap



Unfortunately I don't have the technical know-how to participate in any kind of strategy/installation work and can't commit to any lengthy testing work. However, I might be able to put in the odd hour or so here and there evaluating a sand box copy. Probably not what you need but it's all I can offer at the moment.


Usually most forum software have an importer or a converter, so basically everything should be imported (boards, topics, posts, private messages, avatars, attachments, etc) when migrating to other forum software. In the past I did migrations from phpbb to smf, phpnuke to smf, smf to other paid software and I did not lost anything.

I don't have experience with Discourse or Flarum, I only installed them on localhost/ small vps for testing so I cannot comment on theese softwares. Instead I used SMF since 2007 until 2015 when I migrated to a fork of smf called Elkarte. I am also using paid software for forums, but for an open source project like Scribus I think it's better to use an open source forum software.

After all these years using forums I have to say I like SMF, it's simple to maintain, easy to use, fast and secure. But why I did migrate to elkarte if it's only a fork of smf? Well there are many reasons, first if compared to smf or other free forums I think the development is much more active. Beside that it has some features that smf does not have in the core, like:
- likes
- mention member (@member)
- a notification area for likes, mentions (and quotes in the 1.1 version)
- it's responsive
- SCEditor for posts and PM
- spam protection, bad behaviour in the core ( I see it's also installed here)
- post by email, reply to PM by email
- drafts & autosaving of drafts
- custom.css file for editing styles
- inline attachments (with the new version 1.1 actually in RC fase)
- minify css & js files
- embedded videos from youtube
- Font Awesome icons

and probably other things I don't remember. If you like the look of discourse forum there is also and addon that will make it look like discourse, but I don't use it and not tested, have a look here .

My suggestion to Scribus admins is to try in localhost or in a test environment elkarte and you will probably love it. The migration is a painless process, everything should be imported without problems.

p.s. I am not a developer, I just manage a couple of forums powered by elkarte ( and You will probably notice on elkarte forums that I am registered with the same nickname I use here, I am also a moderator of the board, but like I said I am not a developer of the software and I am not here to promote elkarte.

If you have any questions just ask here or on elkarte forums.

sorry for my bad english


I've had a quick look at and and they looks just fine to me. Easy navigation and bright and modern-looking. They also have "News" sections which might come in useful for Scribus (maybe some kind of "showcase" for the most relevant uploaded stuff perhaps?).

One of the main issues that people have with the current SMF forum is the way that users can be timed-out while drafting a post. ElkArte doesn't seem to have this problem. Another issue is that the current layout is non-responsive and, therefore, the forum is awkward to use on mobile. ElkArte seems to have this covered too. @Mentioning is also provided by ElkArte so that's good. There's no mention, that I could see, of "related topic" posts - where people can go off on a tangent without confusing the main issue - but that may be covered too.

One issue I think it might be worth bringing up is that, on some other forums, uploaded files are sometimes - depending on the software - "bound" to the user rather than the thread. This means that there is a size limit for each user's total uploads rather than the uploads being spread around the threads. I have no idea whether this will be an issue when migrating the Scribus forum - to whatever is used - but it's something that's worth keeping in mind. People may - or may not - lose some of their stuff, but maybe some of the old uploads should be discarded anyway.