Below are frequently asked questions about the Discussions feature and answers to most of those questions.
Will the current Forum (found at Special:Forum) be replaced immediately, when Discussions is enabled on a community?
No, it will not. The two systems will continue to operate independently until Fandom migrates the older Forum posts into Discussions. Your community will receive notice when closer to that time. Additionally, be sure to watch the Staff Blog and Technical Update Blog for details!
However, the Forum "Related Discussions" footer module, which sometimes displays at the bottom of article pages, will be replaced by a Discussions module at the time Discussions is enabled. This module features the current "trending" Discussions posts. Its purpose is to let readers know that Discussions exists and to showcase interesting content. As time goes on, this module will evolve, in terms of both functionality and design.
What content will be migrated from Forum to Discussions, when it's time?
When the new Discussions feature is ready, we will be able to migrate content (all posts, threads and boards) from the current Forum feature. Follows and Kudos will also be migrated for communities that have currently active Forums. Forum URLs for specific posts will be redirected to a new Discussions URL. Forum boards will become Discussion categories, and Kudos will become upvotes.
Why did Discussions replace Forum on new wikis?
Will this replace the wiki-style forums (i.e. the ones typically found at Forum:Index)?
No. The wiki-style forums are not part of any migration or retirement plan. They will not be affected if Discussions is enabled for a community.
When the Forum content is migrated to Discussions, will my edit count go down?
Discussions posts and replies are counted separately, and have a separate total displayed on the user profile page. When Forum posts and replies are migrated to Discussions, those will be counted as Discussions posts and replies in that separate total. There will be no immediate change to the "wiki edit count" since the Forum content will still remain in the database after a migration happens (though it will likely become inaccessible).
Will the Forum thread URLs be redirected?
Yes, after migration occurs, the thread URL (e.g. Thread:1234) will redirect to the post’s new Discussions URL
Why does Forum have to be removed?
The brief answer is that there are some architectural decisions that were part of Forum that prohibit us from easily addressing the most apparent issues -- inaccessibility from Search and mobile compatibility -- as well as numerous other problems which are less visible. To truly address these we would need to rebuild Forum from the ground up. And so, we are -- as Discussions. We realize that many users are curious about the details of this assessment and we’ll make efforts to facilitate a deeper understanding in the near future.
Does my community have to be part of an app, to use Discussions?
No, any community can use Discussions. Discussions works on desktop and mobile web browsers, and users can be directed to Discussions via local navigation links and via a footer that appears on article pages.
How can I get Discussions for my community?
Send in a request via Special:Contact!
Is wikitext supported?
Currently there is no markup/code or rich text formatting of any kind, and there will be further development in that area. Many of the specifics are still to be determined, and it’s helpful to know about the most common uses of wikitext and templates (beyond basic text formatting). Discussions is intentionally built separately from MediaWiki, which means some conventions and processes will have to be updated. We would like to know more about how you use wiki markup, templates, etc. in forums now to help us understand what needs those are meeting. Give us details and examples!
Will templates be supported for voting?
Voting/polls is one area where we’ll be doing specific development for Discussions. The ways that communities use voting templates in these situations are well-documented, and are informing how these important community-building tools are built. It’s unlikely that use of wikitext templates will be possible in Discussions.
Will there be "sticky" function in the future, to pin posts at the top of the post list (or a category view)?
We have no immediate plans to add a "sticky" function. We'll be examining the types of content that admins post and want to "sticky" in Discussions, so please send us examples of such posts. It’s important to acknowledge that on traditional forums, many readers will skip over sticky threads. Posts are often stickied at the top and rarely unstickied, resulting in a large stack of posts to scroll through before you even see newer content.
For now, please note that the Guidelines function exists to make users aware of the rules, and is prominently linked for all users who post or reply for the first time. Admins and moderators can link to guidelines at any time in posts/replies and on their web and app profile pages. Admins can also make a Discussions category for News/Announcements (or similar).
Will Discussions have a highlight function?
We’re working on a new Notifications system, and this will include highlight-type functionality that should be even more versatile than what we currently offer.
Can we message individual users directly using Discussions?
With Discussions, we’re building a brand new Notifications center. One notification type we’ll be adding is support for user @mentions. While the conversation inside of Discussions will be fully public, this will facilitate notifying specific users about a conversation they might be interested in.
Can I embed a Discussions feed on a wiki page?
Yes! Check out the Discussions Activity Feed.
How can I change the look of the web version of Discussions?
The colors and theme are connected to the Theme Designer settings. Also, the design and layout of the Discussions feature are still evolving. Tell us more about the specific elements you would like to change.
Why is there so much unused space in the web version?
Discussions was developed to be highly optimized for mobile use, so in terms of design, we started there. It's much easier to start small and then get bigger, rather than start big and the be forced to take things away. The web layout will continue to evolve.
Will Discussions be searchable?
Yes, we are currently working on integrating Discussions into Search. It will be integrated into the existing search results pages soon.
Can anonymous users post or upvote in Discussions?
No, only logged-in users can participate in Discussions, but they are readable to everyone. Discussions is a community-building tool. In the community apps we have seen many thousands of new accounts created for the purpose of using Discussions, so it's clear that the motivation is strong enough. Discussions is not affected by the "require all contributors to log in" setting on Special:WikiFeatures.
Can I search Discussions content?
Not at this time. Discussions will be integrated into the overall search function in the future.
Can we use spam and abuse filters in Discussions?
The AbuseFilter extension is deeply bound to the MediaWiki edit functions and so won’t be adapted to work with Discussions contribution. However, we are currently exploring multiple options for spam/content filtering for Discussions and look forward to sharing more about this in the future.
What makes a post show up on "Trending"?
Trending posts are simply recent posts that are getting upvotes and/or replies.
Can I put a post in multiple categories? Can I create subcategories? Can I use Topics like on the current Forum?
We will be adding a "Tags" option that will work much like the Topics option in the Forum today, using wiki article names. Multiple tags on a post will be possible. This will build specific connections between posts and wiki articles. Categories will continue to be the top level of organization, with only one category per post.
Can my community ask to turn off Discussions if we try it and don't like it?
The answer can vary depending on the situation. If Discussions is causing problems or not meeting your community's needs or expectations, we want to hear more. Development of Discussions is ongoing and we may have an update coming soon that will address the concerns. Please note that Discussions is intended to become a standard feature on Fandom, and any community that has the current Forum feature will eventually have Discussions since the content will be migrated over.
Will this be used to replace Article/Blog comments or Message Walls?
Eventually, we expect to retire all of the current "thread" features in favor of this newer Discussions platform. The current focus is on the "forum" and "community conversation" uses, and we don't have specific details or timelines for Comments or Message Wall. However, you can expect to see Discussions-based comment functions added to Fandom stories in the near future!
How will Discussions activity be monitored? Will there be a separate Recent Activity module for Discussions?
Regular users have the ability to "report" problematic content (spam, vandalism, violations of community guidelines) to moderators and admins, so we encourage you to think about whether there is a need for moderators and admins to review every single post and reply. While this is important for fact-based articles, it may not be necessary for discussion threads. It's possible to see a full chronological list of an individual user's Discussions posts and replies.
With that said, we know there is interest in a complete chronological activity feed and welcome your continued feedback as the structure of Discussions evolves. A user-created script called Discussions Feed is available to use, and we would like to hear about how that works for communities.
Will Discussion activity appear in Wiki Activity or Recent Changes?
How can users access Discussions from a wiki (since it is not built on MediaWiki)?
Admins can set up links in local navigation and elsewhere, which is encouraged. Additionally, there will most likely be a standard navigation link eventually, similar to how we treat Forum and Chat today. The mobile site's navigation gets a link automatically added.
The footer module at the bottom of article pages also showcases trending Discussions. Right now, this will be how most readers and editors find Discussions. You can expect to see an activity feed added to the Community Page soon, and we are building an embeddable widget for use by editors and admins on main pages and other wiki pages.
Is it possible to "follow" a discussion?
Yes, as of December 1, 2016. Work in this area will continue in conjunction with work on notifications.
Can I set up my profile page in the Community Apps using the desktop site? Can I view users' app profile text on the desktop site?
At this time, the profile content in apps and on the wiki profile page remains separate. We will be exploring ways to access one profile from the other, in the future.
Do user opinions even matter?
Yes! A huge part of how this feature will develop is hearing what communities want from it. While it may not be possible to fulfill every specific request, the themes and trends of feedback will help to guide the direction of Discussions. It's equally important to realize that there can be multiple ways to meet needs and address problems.
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