Below are frequently asked questions about the Discussions feature and answers to most of those questions.

General questions

How can I get Discussions for my community?

All new communities now come with the Discussions feature. If your old community does not have Discussions, send a request via the contact form!

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.

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.

If the wiki-style forums are in an archived state, the archive banner can be removed once Forum is disabled. Contact Fandom staff if this is needed on your community.

Why did Discussions replace Forum on new wikis?

Discussions will be a standard feature on Fandom communities, and Forum will be retired. New wikis are created with a feature set meant for long-term use.

Why does Forum have to be removed?

Forum was initially developed at a time when Fandom still built features exclusively on MediaWiki. So the Forum had to be built to work with that software, even though MediaWiki wasn't really meant to support a conversation feature of this kind. The developers did a good job -- many communities have since come to use and love Forums. However, making Forum work smoothly with MediaWiki was a lot like forcing a square peg into a round hole.

As a result of this suboptimal MediaWiki integration, the Forum has many issues, some obvious, some only noticeable to the most diligent and tech-savvy admins. For example: those "@comment" URLs showing up in weird places and sometimes never leading anywhere, or content that never gets removed from maintenance lists even after the issue is resolved. Some of the more glaring issues include long load times on threads with many replies, or that the layout of an entire page can break when one user forgets to close a <div> tag in their post. Forum's basic MediaWiki-based architecture was ultimately not set up to accommodate big alterations in the future and stand the test of time.

Over the years, we’ve kept Forum working well -- more or less -- by continually patching the cracks in the dam. This works for a while and most users don’t even notice (which is the point of the patches, to keep things together). But eventually you have to accept the fact that the dam needs to be replaced. Now that Fandom has new options available for developing parts of the site, it has become obvious that trying to enhance a conversation feature despite the inherent limitations is not the right path forward. By rebuilding the feature from scratch instead of patching it up further, we can eliminate a lot of the problems mentioned and make sure Discussions won't have the same constraints and can more easily be evolved over time.

Will the current Forum (found at Special:Forum) be replaced immediately, when Discussions is enabled on a community?

Not necessarily. The two systems can continue to operate independently until Fandom migrates the older Forum posts into Discussions. This is scheduled to happen mid-January 2020. See our staff blog announcement for details.

Migration of Forum content

What content will be migrated from Forum to Discussions, when it's time?

We are able to migrate content (all posts, threads and boards) from the current Forum feature. Forum boards will become Discussion categories, and Kudos will become upvotes. Topics (the names of associated articles) will become article tags. Users who were watching a Forum thread will be following the Discussions post.

When migration occurs, it’s the HTML from the Forum threads that gets reproduced in the Discussions posts. So the posts will look very similar to the original threads, visually. However, editing a migrated post may change it dramatically (see "Can migrated content be edited?" below).

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.

We don't yet have an answer to what will happen to your edit count once Forums are retired and their content (and your Forum edits) fully removed. This will be determined as we prepare the final details for forum retirement and content migration.

Will the Forum URLs be redirected?

Yes, after migration occurs, the thread URL (e.g. Thread:1234) will redirect to the post’s new Discussions URL. Board URLs become redirected to the specific URL for the new category. Special:Forum becomes redirected to Discussions.

Are deleted posts migrated?

Removed and deleted posts/replies are migrated and show in Discussions as deleted, which means they are only visible to moderators and admins.

Can migrated content be edited?

Admins and moderators can edit migrated content. However, this should only be done when absolutely necessary. Some migrated content may contain elements that cannot be processed by the current Discussions editor, such as embedded links, images, text formatting and other custom styling. When a post is edited and re-saved, these elements will be stripped out and only plain text will remain.

Can a migrated post be recategorized without affecting its content?

Changing a post's category may affect all of its content, and therefore strip out post formatting.

If Discussions is already enabled on a community, do the Forum boards come over as additional categories?

Yes. Admins will likely want to merge and consolidate categories after the migration. For example, the "General Discussion" category should probably be merged in to the default "General" category.

Features and functionality

Is wikitext supported?

No. Simple formatting options such as bold, italics, preformatted text, numbered and bulleted lists are available, but they are not achieved via wikitext. Discussions is intentionally built separately from MediaWiki, which means some conventions and processes will have to be updated. If you must have wikitext for a conversation - perhaps because it centers around editing specific templates or specific plans for formatting articles - we recommend using DPL forums or talk pages instead.

Will templates be supported for voting?

Discussions doesn't support wikitext and therefore, templates don't work. However, Discussions has a poll feature that also allows community votes. Note that users visiting your wiki from a community app can't see or use polls, since those apps don't support polls.

Will there be "sticky" function in the future, to pin posts at the top of the post list (or a category view)?

Fandom introduced announcements to help admins and moderators get the word out about important news and announcements. This feature is not limited to Discussions, but can take users to any piece of content on the wiki.

We currently don't have any plans to add any "sticky" feature on top of that, though we may make further improvements to Announcements down the road.

Can we message individual users directly using Discussions?

Yes. You can @-mention specific users in your Discussions posts and replies, which will notify them about your post.

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 then be forced to take things away. The web layout will continue to evolve.

Will Discussions be searchable?

Yes, we are working on integrating Discussions into Search. It will be integrated into the main search results page.

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 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. Please report persistent spam problems to the SOAP.

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?

A post can only be in one category at a time, just like a forum thread could only live on one board at a time. However, you can add up to 10 article tags to a Discussions post. This will also link it directly to the articles you tagged.

How do you link to an individual post or thread on Discussions?

Simply use the full URL for the post, when setting the link.

Example of the full URL for a post:

Example of the full URL for a specific reply:

Can I set up my profile page in the Community Apps using the desktop site?

This content appears on top portion of wiki profile pages as the "Bio". At this time, the Bio text is only editable via the Fandom app. Note that this content is not specific to a community or app, it is a global user attribute, like the avatar.

Connections to the wiki portion of a community

Can I embed a Discussions feed on a wiki page?

Yes! Check out the Discussions Activity Feed.

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.

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?

There are no plans to integrate Discussions into those features.

How can users navigate between the wiki and Discussions?

Discussions is linked on the local navigation menu which remains visible on all wiki pages and Discussions pages. Modules that link to recent or trending Discussions posts may also appear in the footer at the bottom of wiki pages. A user's post count is displayed on their profile page and is linked to their list of posts and replies. In the web view of Discussions, a user's name and avatar are linked to their profile page. The Discussions activity feed can be embedded on main pages and on any other wiki page.

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.

Community feedback

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. Please use Special:Contact to send in ideas and report problems.

Further help and feedback

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