Tech update: Discourse 1.8 released! Narrative Welcome Bot, User Selectable Themes, and more

The software powering our community discussions is called the Discourse Civilized Discussion Construction Kit (or Discourse for short). New versions are released on a roughly twice a year schedule, and typically include new features each time as well as providing security upgrades.

If you’re curious, you can read about the Discourse 1.8 release in the discourse developers blog. For us, the biggest improvements are:

  • A Narrative Welcome Bot greets new members as they sign up, introducing them to key information and inviting them to “play along” to interactively learn discourse features. To complete the narrative (and unlock the Certified badge!) look for a message from @discobot in your inbox or send a message to @discobot containing the words “start new user”.
  • You can now select a new Dark Theme via your preferences, using a dark blackground. You can set this on a per-device basis, which I like since you can have a white background on the computer and a black background on your phone or tablet.
  • Every month, the new users with the most likes on their posts, weighted by trust level, will be awarded the New User of the Month Badge. Note that the users must have joined in the current month and have at least two posts in two topics to be eligible.
  • A slew of moderator features was launched that will help with curating discussions, including in particular a nifty topic timer. Moderators can now set a timer to close, open, delete, publish, or just remind ourselves about a topic.

As always, we want your feedback and welcome any and all questions about how to use this forum. Thanks! :seedling:

cc: @moderators @namati_staff