101 Reasons Why Discourse Sucks

List of Forum Software/Scripts


Last Updated: 13 Oct 2022.


It has been long time since I touched a forum software/script. Way back then phpBB and vBulletin dominated the market. Since then there have been many new comers and I wanted to try to get a decent forum set up without touching phpBB and vBulletin.

After some research I heard a lot about Discourse so I gave it a try. Within a day I realised that it was bad idea to touch Discourse as it is not a true forum script.

Following are the reasons why you shouldn’t install discourse and mess with it.

1. Replies are not in tree structure

Most of the forums have flat structure which means that replies to any post inside thread is not in a tree structure. If you have used reddit then you would know what I’m talking about.

I wish they had this feature so that discussion could be organised better and would look modern.

2. There is not Contact page/form

I was shocked to find that there is no contact us page or form easily available. Your options are to create a page and add Google form in it or use some crazy, and over kill, plugin to do so.

3. There is no page content type

Discourse doesn’t have a page content type. There is a way to create a page but it’s not straight forward and it’s messy.

4. There is no Menu

It doesn’t have a built-in menu system. You have to install plugins to achieve this.

5. There is no support for Breadcrumb

This is a typical breadcrumb structure on vBulletin

They do have a navigation like menu at the top but it’s not a true breadcrumb and it’s one of the most frustrating aspect for me. AFAIK you can’t have a breadcrumb.

6. Lacks Grouping Of Categories

In the default theme it doesn’t group categories & sub categories.

7. There is no Quote link to quote a post

I let you figure out how to quote some else’s post and good luck with that. How do users of a forum will know it?

I can’t believe that developers didn’t think of it. This should have been the highest priority as it’s one of the most common feature in any forum software.

8. Post Reply vs Topic Reply

There are two reply buttons one for the post which is next to each post in the topic and there is a Blue button at the bottom to reply to the topic or original poster.

When you are new to the forum you have no idea about the differences between the two replies.

It’s basically confusing and you may take a while to figure it out. Not all users of the forum will understand it unless they are used to Discourse forums.

9. They don’t support Gmail SMTP

During installation you have to specify SMTP details. They don’t support gmail’s smtp. Their argument is that Gmail’s rate limit will be breached and Gmail will block your forum. They also say it’s against Gmail’s terms of services. I don’t’ agree with it. For a quick installation and testing they should allow it and recommend to change it afterwards when we want to make it live.

10. Infinite Scrolling on the topics/home page

I just hate infinite scrolling. By default Discourse’s home page (topics) has infinite scroll. Go figure out how to change it to pagination.

11. Discourse forum posts rank very poorly on Google search result

Historically forum posts tend to appear higher on Google search result. With my Discourse installation I’m observing that none of my threads are appearing higher on Google search result which is a big disappointment. It has been over few months since I launched my forum and it hasn’t been getting any traffic from Google search result.


I’ll keep adding more shitfuckery as I came across them…..


101. They don’t allow a new user to post in their meta forum

If you are new user on https://meta.discourse.org/ then they restrict you how many times you can post in a day. This is fucking ridiculous.

9 responses to “101 Reasons Why Discourse Sucks”

  1. It is weird that they are missing so many typical forum features and call themselves a forum script? Good that you pointed out. I was about to install Discourse but after reading your post I’m having second thoughts. Do you know which is the best forum software?

  2. I’ve been using Discourse for some time now and I don’t think it’s such a bad software. The features which you mention above lack but that shouldn’t discourage you to try and experiment. It’s free so you can’t expect to get everything you want.

    • Shekhar, You are right, it’s not a bad software and it’s free so I shouldn’t expect much from it. I wish I would have known that it lacks these features so that I wouldn’t have ended up in wasting my time. This is not what I expected for a forum software to lack hence my frustration. This post is a more of an information on Discourse’s features which lack.

  3. Point no. 11 – that is really very disappointing that Discourse forum threads don’t appear higher on Google search result. Do you know why is this? Is it due to the forum’s structure or it is Google which doesn’t like it?

    • It is hard to say who doesn’t like who. I blame it to Discourse. I remember when I was using phpBB in the past, its threads were showing very high up on Google search result.

  4. Discourse is not as bad as you are trying to portray. I’ve been using it on one of my forum and it has been working without any glitch. It does have some different way of doing things than traditional forum scripts but it does work better than almost all other scripts once it is setup.

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