Different Forum Software

We’re currently running Discourse forum software. It has its pros and cons. We’re never going to make everyone happy, but I do want everyone to know that I see the feedback and am thinking about all of these issues (even if I don’t respond right away).

If we do switch, one option would be phpBB. It’s a much simpler interface, more like FlyerTalk or FWF. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of Discourse, but we might not need all of the bells and whistles.

I’m open to discussing the best software for us and look forward to discussing with all of you.


I used phpBB for many years and it was “ok” but I remember it seemed much more flexible, modification wise, than a lot of the new platforms seem to be. I have heard about some flaws in phpBB’s code that allowed SQL injection, but I’d imagine that’s long been taken care of.

I vote for more traditional style forum software, but that’s just because that’s what I’m used to. Discourse is definitely more slick than traditional forum format, but I can’t imagine it allows for scalability as easily as vBulletin, phpBB, etc.

1 Like

what about SMF 2.0? can be viewed on tapatalk

1 Like

Before deciding on the forum software, we need to identify what the software really needs to do. We need to know what is absolutely essential, good to have, and fluff. I’ll post a list a little later.


I vote for keeping the current software. The more I use it, the more I like it.


Looks good. Thanks for sharing.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your experience @jaytrader. Before picking discourse, I looked into phpBB and dismissed it over Discourse because a lot of folks think that phpBB is somewhat neglected.

I agree with @m0ksh that we need to think on this a little more and find the best option that meets most of what we need.

I’m guessing we’re mostly in agreement that we’re looking for something like:

  1. FWF (Easy way to mark posts good and bad)
  2. With polling
  3. Some sort of Wiki/Summary Feature
  4. Responsive/crisp
    and much more

no problem.
It’s the same software the dans deals forum uses.


From a forum’s thread list view perspective, I really like to see:

  1. Date and author of post (current avatar list is terrible for a quick glance)
  2. Some kind of vote count (could be red/green like FW had or even just a +/- number)
  3. Date of most recent post in the thread (this kind of exists as “Activity”)
    and within the thread a wiki/quick summary.

Discourse isn’t bad, I actually really like the post editor and ability to just paste in images and have them uploaded automatically. My #1 complaint is the incredible amount of whitespace in all the themes, it wastes so much screen real estate and forces lots of scrolling.
Can Discourse be themed to display things like vote counts?
Perhaps a plugin exists for Discourse to automatically create a second post in a thread and mark it as a wiki (solves the quick summary issue)?


The more I use this the more I like it. Very cool that replies are saved w/o posting and you can go back to them later. I say pick whatever has the best support for bugfixes, etc behind it.

I’d rather have software that is going to last and be updated and supported than something that’s very much like the old FW but ends up dying.


Essential features I’ve gotten used to on FW:

  • ability to vote each thread and each post up or down, and then filter by quality.
  • wiki (already here)
  • pinning (already here, but requires the user to level up)

I believe the first one was a custom feature, which is why it doesn’t exist anywhere else. I believe the new design of SD is going in this direction. Also I’m really liking Discourse so far.


Yes the more I use this forum , the more I like it

Let’s not make any hasty changes but give things a bit of time to settle down and let people settle in and get comfortable . My initial dislike is changing pretty quickly


I like the forum here as well. Not exactly like FW, but good enough for government work. I’d rather avoid the technical fidget of swinging back and forth and adhering to the 80/20 rule.

1 Like

I agree with @plastrd above that my #1 complaint is the wasteful whitespace on the sides of the screen…is there a way to “widen” the content, either on my side or globally?

Change is always hard initially and this platform is a lot different than FWF, but it’s starting to grow on me.

Oh, and how about a customized logo/header? I’m sure we have some talented graphic designers around here somewhere :smile_cat:


It should be easily changeable in the CSS:

Prior to changing it, it read 1110px;


People ALWAYS dislike new forum formats. And then they get used to it. I know voices have been loud about changing the format, but I would hold off. Focus on securing the FWF archive, migrating the user base and moderation. You can always make the migration to new software later.


I totally agree with the wasted white space and too narrow a view. It should be relative to browser width (%) or maybe the CSS could use Responsive Design. I’ve got an ultra-wide monitor!

1 Like

I don’t really mind the white space… in fact I find it easier to read posts on here than FW which uses a much wider area for text. It’s easier on my eyes not to have to jump from the far right of the screen to the far left at every new line.

Overall, I think the current layout is pretty decent and it looks great on mobile. I really dig the notification alerts in the top right corner over my avatar.

Minor gripes:

  1. No method of giving red/disliking a post or topic.
  2. Can’t see who last replied to a thread from the forum topic list without hovering over their avatar.
  3. Can’t see who started a thread from the forum topic list without hovering over their avatar.
  4. Can’t sort by newest threads first (my default sort on FW). Though this is not much of an issue right now due to the smaller size of FD.
  5. Age of thread not displayed in forum topic list without hovering over “last activity”.

Even with the nitpicking above, I think discourse is a good fit for now.


I actually don’t have an issue with this or the software that Phatwallet uses so I’m at a loss when people complains bitterly about either of them. Oh well.


I agree. I think they’re both pretty “slick” relative to traditional forum software. I do think I prefer this one just a bit, as it seems more polished. And you can see the obvious copy-cat features across both platforms, even design wise.