Discourse Tutorials?

Okay, this Discobot thing is not working for me. The information level is way too low (“how to post in a forum”, duh), it’s buggy, and none of my questions about how to use Discourse are getting answered.

Is there a set of FAQs on the Discourse site that I can browse and extract what I need to know? My web knowledge is probably good enough that I can self-train.


If you follow Discobot EXACTLY you can get through the tutorial pretty quickly. That said, I don’t think they had an educational professional look over Discobot’s programming and he only gives the most basic of basic of how to post.

Try this post over in Newbies

If you have any very specific questions about how to do something advanced (my example would be table formatting), try Googling the topic and Discourse. You should get a page explaining it on Discourse Meta.

You can also try using the Search feature, which actually works on this site now!

I’m sorry, I disagree. The instructions the bot gives are vague and the program can’t cope with a wrong response, nor any response other that the one it’s programmed to recognize. The tutorial can’t recognize the reply “@discobot” if the type is bolded, for example, which is what I got when using copy-and-paste.

Right now it’s stuck trying to process an in-topic search that it asked for.

Short of having an FAQ available and linked to the tutorial to tell the user what an “in-topic search” means and some clue as to what the bot wants, there’s no way to overcome the problem. And ideally I think that’s what you’d want, so you have a richer learning experience than the bot can provide.

The user can’t “skip” a question – no, I’m sorry, yes they can – or they can repeat the entire tutorial each time the program halts. If you skip you miss some information so the purpose of the tutorial starts to break down. That’s going to be pretty discouraging for some people.

I wouldn’t want to conjecture on that. Presumably they use the same bot for all their accounts (that is, NaNo and any other organization).

For your purposes it’s more a question of, how to handle the confusion? Because Discourse probably isn’t going to hand-hold the tutorial users. Unless you could arrange to have people take the tutorial on the Discourse website, in which case people might be able to query their support staff.

Good idea. Thanks.

Hi! To find out what I can do, say @discobot display help.

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You don’t want to Google their response to issues with Discobot :grimacing:

If you have issue with the tutorial you don’t have to do it. We suggest completing it because it helps acclimate people to this site from the old one and show them since features now present. It also distracts then while they earn TL1.

Wasn’t planning to. :innocent:

Might work up a “hints” page for you though – so no one else has to repeat my mistakes…Supposedly my reading comp is above average, but I’m distractable – so it’s a toss up whether my experience with the tutorial is representative. (I did finish both basic and advanced, but the bot let me slide on one question.) So, everyone else might sail through-- hard to say.

Right now you have what – 200 tutorials completed? Where did I see that number… The international users might find it more difficult.

Thank you for asking a question I didn’t know I probably needed to ask.

I didn’t have any issues with using discobot and breezed through the tutorial (and at my age, too!), but there were a few things I wanted to know how to that weren’t part of the tutorial.

Me? I just assumed those things weren’t possible here and didn’t give it another thought.

Now, however…maybe those things are possible. I shall have to look and learn!

Thank you ever so much for being the person who asks!

That would be amazing, if you’d like to! I’m going to be adapting the stuff Sepia did for us into a more official version. Multiple perspectives on what has worked for you are super helpful.

It would give me a chance to use that “hidden text” tool from the advanced tutorial, too. As in, reveal the hint only when you need a hint…Yeah, sounds fun. Let me get back to you on this.


Heather, if someone were to rewrite the text of the steps, would you be up for changing the search in topic step and the flagging step to something a bit clearer? All the discobot tutorial step texts can be customized in the admin panel and changing the wording of the latter one in particular might solve some of the incorrect flagging. :slight_smile:

Until this thread was posted I never gave much thought to to it, but discobot’s search in topic instructions do leave a bit to be desired.


Heck yeah…we’ve had a lot of confusion around the flagging step.

No kidding! Even if we can change it to something like “Flag that as inappropriate…no, really ,it’s okay!” and maybe a warning that it will end up in the real Mod box if they select something different.

My problem was that I interpreted “flag as inappropriate” at the wrong language organizational level – if you can think of the request as in outline form, then I read it at the category level rather than at a lower decision level.

To me “flag as inappropriate” was a complete phrase that read the same as “click the flag icon” and once in the panel I overthought the issue – I chose “Other” and commented that it didn’t require Moderator action. (Of course the program is set up already to cope with bypassing the Moderator for the tutorial, as Sammy Jaye pointed out for me.)

So I guess a better prompt wording from my perspective would be an instruction like “Now flag this content by clicking the flag icon. Then select the choice ‘Inappropriate’ from the list.” Thus you are separating the instruction to take one action into two actions – setting the flag and choosing the kind of objection – which is really what has to happen anyway.

On the in-topic search, all I got was “No result” and I was expecting the “surprise” – a capybara picture maybe?? So I kept thinking I was doing it wrong. Finally had to skip the question. This might be a programming issue? Or due to where my cursor was located on the screen?

I did try using another search term, when I entered “surprise” the word surprise popped right up. Trying it in other forum posts was also satisfying, it’s a pretty good tool for browsing around in those 200-reply pages.

And the third problem I mentioned already I think, when it asks you to reply using its name, “@discobot”, I just copied the name from the prompt post it provided rather than risk spellling it wrong. And the program then asked if I’d spelled it wrong (huh??) so this suggests to me it isn’t recognizing bold type formatting there on a couple of levels.

Hi! To find out what I can do, say @discobot display help.

Those were the main points I wanted to provide “hints” for.

However it also bugged me a bit that the program was slow to recognize the user’s response and slow to deliver the next question. (I’m on a fairly high-speed connection and spoiled in terms of response time…) I couldn’t tell if the program had quit on me or not.

Since users with less responsive equipment are probably going to wait longer – and possibly also be affected by the number of users onsite in the tutorial ?? that is to say, by server load – it might be diplomatic to warn them that DB can take a little while.

The “Create a Poll” item in the advanced tutorial in particular could really use an FAQ link. It’s nice to know it’s there, but I’d need more time to figure out how to implement it. – Maybe something with screenshots on changing the Notifications settings too. – since the tutorials are archived for the user, any FAQ links for followup in the text blocks or at the en wouldn’t get lost after the tutorial closed.

I think that’s all my notes.

Nope, sorry, one more note…If you added text to the Certificate message inviting the user to learn more by typing “start advanced tutorial” you’d probably increase the rate at which users complete both modules.

And didn’t tag discobot. you ‘wrote’ @discobot with the copy/paste but didn’t trigger the tag.

if you had attempted to type it it would have opened the auto-complete username context menu.