Getting used to the Discourse platform

The new Strange Death Discussion Forum is based upon the open source Discourse platform. While it shares a number of features with BBCode-compatible forum software like XenForo and vBulletin, it behaves a bit differently in some ways.

Most post markup can be achieved through the regular posting UI by selecting text and picking an effect, but if you want to type markup code directly there are a few different options. The default markup method in posts is Markdown-it (which includes basic table support among other things), though subsets of BBCode and HTML are also supported.

Note that the BBCode-style “details” tag is used to hide a chunk of a post similar to how other forums use the “spoiler” tag:


Hidden text

…while the BBCode-style “spoiler” tag causes a blur effect, similar to how other forums use the “ispoiler” tag: Hidden text

Media embeds are achieved by simply putting the raw URL in the post, and the system will expand it to an embed if it’s able to. This works for YouTube videos, though Facebook and Instagram embeds may not work yet due to an API key being required, and I’m sure there are plenty of embed types I haven’t tried yet, so let me know of any issues you run into. Regardless, if you provide the URL in the post, people should still be able to click through to the source if embedding doesn’t work.

I’m still in the process of learning about Discourse myself, so while I’ve done some basic customization and believe I’ve gotten things into reasonable shape to launch the forum, I’m sure there will be some lingering issues. If you see any odd or broken behavior, or have any specific functionality requests, feel free to post your observations in this category and I’ll see what I can do.

Thanks for your patience as we get things started.

1 Like

I just learned that unlike some other forum software, Discourse will expand an entire YouTube playlist into a single embed and give the reader control of the track list. Pretty slick.

Discourse has now added footnote support, though it’s a little strange at the moment. If you use a caret character followed by content in square brackets, like so:

Here's some stuff.^[And a footnote to go with it!]

…then in the preview it will create footnotes with a summary at the bottom of the post.

Where it gets weird is when you actually commit the post, those footnotes will turn into little ellipsis icons in the post instead, with no footnote summary at the bottom, and the ellipses will act sort of like tooltips with the footnote content visible upon click.[1]

I don’t think footnote use will come up much, but I’ll keep an eye on this and see if I can at least get the preview and the final post to match up when footnotes are used.[2]

  1. Like this. ↩︎

  2. That should help to avoid any confusion! ↩︎

It’s a bit odd trying to get Discourse to let you post an image that links to a different URL when you click on it, but here’s some Markdown that worked for me when I was trying to link an album cover to the album’s YouTube playlist. “1” is the image link and “2” is the destination URL, and this is the literal Markdown code for my case that I put in the message text:



…and here’s what it looks like in practice:

Passkeys are now supported for forum login if you would prefer to use one in place of a password.