CHECKLIST: Next steps after installing a new Discourse

Setting up Direct-delivery incoming email

Ensuring Discourse is aware when an outgoing email bounces


Watched Words

Discourse has a neat feature which allows you to configure some ‘Watched Words’, which are a form of simple automation which you can apply to certain words when people post. Watched Words are Regular Expressions, and if any text posted matches one of these Watched Words, it can cause an action:

Block - prevents the user making the post with that word in it.
Censor - allows the post to be made but hides the chosen word.
Require Approval - put the post into the moderator approval queue before it is posted.
Flag - allows the post but also flags the post for moderator review.
Link - converts the text into a customisable clickable link.
Replace - replace the matched text with an alternative.
Tag - automatically adds tags to the topic when text is matched.
Silence - requires approval of the user’s (first) post and the user is silenced pending the review.

This feature can be really powerful, enriching the content of your forum, and without adding any human workload. It’s also worth remembering that excessive use of blocking, silencing, censoring, and word replacement can annoy users, so do think carefully before introducing too many rules!

A good way to calibrate this is to Ask The Community!

Some Watched Words examples

Custom Emoji

A nice touch when creating a community is to upload some custom emoji that are relevant to your community. For example is you have a company logo, it is really cool to add this. We have our :pavilion: :pavilion: logo added here, and I also have other fun logos like :ruby: :ruby: and :yorkshire_rose: :yorkshire-rose:.

Set Payment Method Expiry Reminders!

If you have set up cloud hosting and SMTP relay services then you will be likely be paying for these on a monthly basis using a credit or debit card. In some cases the customer may be paying for these directly, or you will be using an account that the customer already had, which adds to the complexity. It’s not too difficult to update a card when it is your card. Quite another thing when it is the corporate card of a large organisation!

On a number of occasions in the past I’ve had to firefight an urgent problem when this corporate card has expired, the person whose card it was has left the organisation, and nobody can be found to put in new card details. And all the time your forum is potentially blocked from sending any further emails.

So I recommend setting some reminders for a month or two before the old card is due to expire, to remind you to get the New Card Details process in motion. Seems like a small and un-SysAdmin-y detail, but the more fail-safes are in place the better. It will be the SysAdmin who looks bad if the site traffic drops to almost zero.

If the cloud and SMTP platforms have the facility to create ‘team’ members with Billing access then definitely do this and give billing access to whoever holds the corporate card at the organisation you are working with. That way they can log in to update billing info, but there is minimal risk if that account is compromised since it only has Billing access.

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