Tips and tricks: what do you need to know about Discourse platform

(big thanks to Fedora for the original version of this page)

Hi, all,

Let’s create a collection of tips and tricks which you’ve learned about Discourse platform, which improve your user experience. We can use this post as a reference for newcomers. This is a wiki post: anyone can edit it, including you. Please make improvements through direct edits — or discuss suggested changes in the replies. To reduce clutter, replies will be automatically deleted after some time, so make sure everything important gets into the main post.


  1. Notifications can be configured by category or by topic

    You can use Watching First Post option of a certain category, so that you track only the first post of each thread. Then, if you find the first post interesting, set notification for this particular thread to Watching
    You can manage all of your categories from one place in your user settings (this is a “magic link”, it works for everyone):

  2. Editing is decoupled from viewing

    When you hit a reply or start a new thread, you get a separate window where you can type and preview the message. While you are writing your text, you can scroll the page or navigate to a different topic.
    For example if you are writing the reply to one thread, you can at the same time navigate to another thread and quote snippets of it into your current message.

  3. You can choose your own default home page

    For all new users the Default Home Page is set to the Categories view, as it provides better understanding of the structure of the forum. Once you are familiar with it you may consider to switch to a different default view, for example “New”, which reduces the visual noise. Find this setting under Preferences: Interface.

See only what you care about

Check out the Navigation Guide for details on subscription / notification settings.

Site still feel too overwhelming or too cluttered? Here’s how to quickly get a default view where you see what you care about — without going through and muting all the tags you’re not interested in.

  1. Don’t worry about things (categories, tags, topics) you’re not Tracking or Watching. Just keep them at the normal level. They’re there to browse to if you want, just like you can browse to an unsubscribed mailing list archive.
  2. Set your Default Home Page to “Unread”. This shows your Tracked and Watched topics. (It isn’t retroactive for categories and tags you add, though, so visit those directly to catch up when you first add them.)

Views and Feeds

  1. There is a text-only raw version of any comment or post.

    To get it take the direct link to the comment, for example: and then replace everything but the number with /raw/ as in

  2. Similarly, there is an RSS feed for each page.

    Simply add .rss to any URL. For example, is the News and Announcements category, and is an RSS feed of posts in that category.

  3. Mailing list mode with Reply via mail support

    You can enable mailing list mode for Discourse in your user settings. This way you are going to receive every new post or comment to the watched threads via separate e-mail. You then can reply to the e-mail directly in your mail client.

    • Check that you send e-mail from the same address as it is configured in your user profile.
    • Discourse sends e-mails in multipart format: text/html with fancy formatting and text/plain with the Markdown version of the same text. Check the settings of your mail client to choose the preferred option.

    More on this at our Guide to interacting with this site by email topic

Fancy Post Formatting Features

  1. Fancy timezones!

    If you use markdown to enter a date in a format like this

    [date=2023-07-24 time=16:00:00 timezone="America/New_York"]

    that renders as:


    and when you mouse over, it’ll show you a list of converted timezones. (The list of timezones is configurable on a per-site basis. If you have a suggestion for modifying the current list, let us know!).

  2. You can make polls!

    There’s a handy tool for constructing them hidden behind the :gear: in the post editor toolbar.

  1. Importing content!

Importing content into a post is quite good from other systems - try taking a Google Doc, Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C to copy it, and then Ctrl-V paste it into the Discourse composer. Works amazing well.

More Site Tips and Help

See posts in Forum Guide tagged with #forum-tips for more in-depth tips, tricks, shortcuts, suggestions, and so on