Did you know... (about Discourse)

So I thought it would be cool to introduce some “not so easy” to find features in Discourse now that we’re officially launched! So once a day, I’ll add a new feature to this topic.

First feature:
Tagging. I know, I know, if you’ve posted a thread, you obviously have seen the below image.

However, did you know you can filter by tags?

Or see what tags were “tagged” to a topic by looking under the title?

Or request that new tags be added? Yep, just create a topic in the Community forum, give us your suggestion and we’ll consider it!


I can’t resist … I need to post one,

Did you know you can link to a YouTube video and tell it to start at a particular point.


0m30s means it starts at second 30.


Here’s my favorite did you know: you can embed Pens from CodePen:


Just grab the URL of the pen and paste it here. Awesome!


Great! Hmmmmmm…

Where is the Tag for this thread? I was going to setup a filter to watch out for it.



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:laughing: ha, busted! I knew I forgot something when I created this topic. Tag added :smile:

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ROFL! Great response! My intent was not to catch you.


“Tag you’re it!”


Did you know… that Discourse tracks your readings?

The little blue dot, next to the post number, (of which if you blink, will be gone), indicates an unread post. When the indicator fades away, it indicates Discourse considers the post officially read now.

These statistics are utilized for obtaining your Trust Levels and ultimately maintaining your Trust Level, when you gain TL 3.

Once you navigate away from the topic, if you need to revisit it, Discourse will take you to the next unread post.

So next time you enter a topic, look for the little blue dot to see if you can notice it before it disappears!

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Did you know you can Star and Bookmark topics/posts?

You may have noticed the Starred section at the top of the navigation

But did you notice the Bookmarks section in your profile? (which seems to only be visible if you bookmarked at least 1 post)

You can Star Topics and you can Bookmark Posts. This allows you to quickly keep track of topics/posts that may interest you so you can easily find them later.

To star a Topic, just click the Star (or press f) when on the topic you want to star.

You can click the star when on the Latest/Unread/New/Top Lists

You can click it when at the top of a topic:

You can click it when half way down through a topic:

And you can click the Star button when at the bottom of a topic!

To bookmark a post, simply navigate to the post, and find the bookmark icon (one spot, and one spot only):

If you are an avid keyboard user and use the j and k keys to navigate the posts, once the post is highlighted, you can use b to bookmark it.

So get your star/bookmarking on and never forget a topic/discussion that meant something to you!


If it wasn’t for your post, I never would have known about that link. I don’t see anywhere in the new UI where it offers to browse or even filter by tag. Should that be available somewhere?

Yes, It will be, we are having a couple of performance issues with the feature right now, but once we get them sorted, we will make it more obvious in the UI.

Did you know you can embed your code with highlighting?

Okay, so I guess it is safe to assume that everyone knew you could do this, but do you know how to do it? :smile:

The simplest method is to use backticks `, three of them to be exact (well six… but I’m jumping ahead here) on a single line, like so:

Followed by your code
<a href=“mylink.htm”>My Link Text</a>

Followed by three more backticks ` on a separate line.

Put it all together and you get:
<a href=“mylink.htm”>My Link Text</a>

Which produces

<a href="mylink.htm">My Link Text</a>

Now the cool thing is, I didn’t have to tell it what language I was using. But if your language is similar to another, or you don’t have any characters that would help indicate what language it might be, you can tell it.

So given my prior example, if I wanted to tell the highlighter, this is HTML, I simply put html after the first three backticks like so:
<a href=“mylink.htm”>My Link Text</a>

Which produces (identical, I know)

<a href="mylink.htm">My Link Text</a>

To find out what languages are supported, visit https://highlightjs.org/ and try their demo. Most of those should work here (as highlight.js is what Discourse bases their syntax highlighting on).

Are there alternative ways of providing my code? Yep!
If you are a desktop user, paste your code, highlight it, and press the </> button. That will automatically add 4 spaces to each of your code lines which is another way Markdown identifies code blocks. (please note, you must have an empty line between your text and the start of your code; you also need an empty line between the end of your code and any additional text you may want to write)


<a href="mylink.html">My Link Text</a>

Last but not least, feel free to use tools such as PasteBin, or send us a link to your project on GitHub (or whatever repo you are using).

So now you know how to format your code, spread the word!


Did you know that Discourse has a few different (subtle) ways to let you know you are looking at an old Topic?

This is probably one of the hardest items to get used in Discourse, how to identify an old topic. It isn’t like traditional forums that show you the topic start date on the Topic Listing, it uses a feature known as cold mapping (as shown in the screenshot below).

Now with those with poor eyesight, you’ll have to zoom in, or maybe alter your contrast a bit, because the light blue coloring of the activity column does blend in a bit. If you take a close look at the last two items in that screenshot, the second to last as a light blue 14h and the last one has 16h in gray.

The lighter the blue, the more likely the topic is stale/old. So from a visual standpoint, you can get a general idea of the staleness by looking at the Activity column.

The next two subtle indications can only be activated by using a mouse (sorry keyboard users), but they involve the Activity column of the Topic List and the Posts column of the Topic List. To start out, placing your mouse over the Activity Column will generate the following tooltip:

As you can clearly see, the First post and Last post date/time are easily understood from the tooltip. The older the first/last post, the older the topic.

You can also click on the Posts count and get the following popup:

Now this popup shows the first and last post as well, but gives you two additional options You can click on the first post date (indicated with the up arrow) and it will open the topic at the first post, or you can click on the last post (indicated by the down arrow) and it will open the topic at the last post. Therefore with this method you have the ability to choose where you enter the topic (the beginning or the end).

Lastly, if you attempt to reply to an old topic, you will likely get the following notice above the composer window.

It won’t stop you from posting, but it definitely tries to alert you that your post may not be useful as part of that topic anymore. It may be better to start a new topic using the “Reply as New Topic” option (which is tomorrows “Did you know…”)


Nicely explained! Kudos. I think it was you or TB that pointed me to this technique. But this explanation does it a whole lot better. :smile:


Definitely @cpradio - I’ve never really understood the whole “cold-mapping” thing. (i’m an old-fashioned bear, and I don’t see why it can’t just display a start date - which we’d all understand - and be done with it. )

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I’m doing this one a bit early, as I’m traveling tomorrow, but Did you know you can unpin pinned topics?

Uh, what? That’s right, you can unpin a pinned topic. Yeah, I know, still confusing, let’s try a few screenshots!

See the pin icon? And see how there is a excerpt for the given topic (unlike the second topic). Now click the pin.

Did you see what just happened there? You just unpinned the topic… for you. Yes, that’s right, Discourse allows you to unpin topics for you, and you alone (or we staff can ultimately unpin it for everyone). Also note you can re-pin the topic by clicking it again.

Plus, you can do these from 4 different locations! The topic list (show above), viewing the topic (when at the first post)

Viewing the topic, when reading mid-way through

View the topic, when at the bottom of the discussion

Now you no longer need to see pinned topics on the category list, at the top of the Latest view (for all categories and for specific categories), etc.

Now, you are probably wondering: “What is pinned globally?”, and that’s a great question! In short, it is a way for us to place a pinned topic on the “All Categories” Topic List. Typically pinned topics only exist within their category, pinned globally topics appear outside of their category and under the All Categories listing.

So for topics that are not pinned globally, the last screenshots looks like this:


Did you know, you can flag posts? Or even better, do you know what the options permit you to do?

So flagging isn’t new, we had that in vBulletin in a much more crude fashion, but in Discourse, you have all of these glorious options! So many options, it may become increasingly difficult at times to know when to use each one. So let’s take a closer look shall we?

Clicking on the icon, produces the following window:

So let’s approach these from top to bottom:

This should be used primarily on posts that are taking a discussion off topic. They aren’t related to the original poster’s initial question/problem and are starting to detract from that person getting the help they need.

It may also be used if a topic is in the wrong Category and needs to be moved.

Another acceptable use is when a conversation doesn’t belong on the Sitepoint Forum at all and would be better suited at a different forum.

As the screenshot dictates, anything offensive, abusive, or a violation of our guidelines (such as religious/political conversations or fluff – posts that are nonsensical) are not appropriate.

An advertisement, blatant self promotion, trying to sell you something, etc. Use your best judgement, as all of the ones reported as spam up to this point have been spot on. Keep up the good work!

Notify username
This will allow you to privately contact the person who wrote the post. You may want to notify them of typo, spelling mistake, or maybe ask them a question you do not want to post publicly. All of those are great use cases for using this option.

Notify moderators
Use this option for when you are not sure what to flag the post/topic as, but you feel it needs to be dealt with. Some typical use cases:

  • a topic is getting heated and needs to be cooled back down before someone take it offensively,
  • if sensitive information is posted in the topic/post and should be removed,
  • add code tags,
  • copied post/plagiarism, etc.

I moved 2 posts to a new topic: Code Tags and Opera 12

Did you know you can easily share a link to your post/topic?

So we all know how to copy and paste a URL from your address bar to Facebook, Twitter, wherever it is cool now-a-days… but wouldn’t it be nice if you could do it quicker, or not have to use such a manual approach?

Well you can! There are various Share icons located throughout the system, some easily noticeable, others not-so-much, but they all do roughly the same thing. They share your post/topic.

So let’s start with how to share a post. To share a specific post, just navigate to the post, and click either the (date/time stamp/post number) or the (link) icon.

Clicking on either item produces the following modal popup

And from there you can quickly send the link to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or by Email. Well… you can copy and paste the link to, should you want to share the link in another fashion.

You can also access this popup via a keyboard shortcut. Just use j/k to navigate to the post in question and then press s.

For topics, the keyboard shortcut is shift + s, or you can click on the button.

The topic share will produce the same modal popup as the one on posts, the only difference is the link URL.

So now you know… time to start sharing!