WPChat Relaunches as a Forum Dedicated to WordPress

A few years ago, Leland Fiegel created a site called WPChat. The site contained an iFrame with an embedded IRC client pointed to Freenode. It provided easy access to IRC where at anytime during the week, users could chat about WordPress. Here’s what the old site looked like.

What The Old WPChat Used To Look Like
What The Old WPChat Used To Look Like

After being dormant for the past year or two, Fiegel has turned the site into a dedicated forum devoted to WordPress topics.

WPChat Running Discourse
WPChat Running Discourse

The site is powered by Discourse, an open source, GPL licensed, discussion platform created by Jeff Atwood. In a post published on his personal site, Fiegel explains why he chose Discourse over other forum software such as bbPress, or phpBB.

Discourse just has a more modern feel to it. The instant flow of discussions, the notification features, it just feels much more like a chatroom, rather than a more traditional piece of forum software.

I felt it fit much more inline with the “brand” of WPChat, and just thought people would enjoy using it better.

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of being one of the first members to the forum. It loads quick and is intuitive to use. The site works great on mobile devices. I’m able to administer, respond to, and create threads easily from my phone.

Discourse Is a Breath Of Fresh Air

Discourse is a fresh take on using forums for community discussion. One of the unique attributes it has is a trust system. As members spend more time replying to and creating more threads, their trust level increases. Higher trust levels provide more capabilities to the user, allowing them to take on a larger role of moderating the forum. I find this to be an interesting approach and wonder how well it does on large, established forums.

Discourse 1.0 has yet to materialize but according to the blog, it’s right around the corner. Since it’s only a year old, there’s not much in the way of a third-party ecosystem. If you plan to install Discourse on your own server, be aware of the minimum requirements. As Fiegel mentions in his post, it’s not as easy to install as WordPress.

A Forum Outside Of WordPress.org

While there is a Google+ group devoted to WordPress and other watering holes, the closest one that feels like a forum to me is the Advanced WordPress user group on Facebook. However, Facebook groups in general lack significant features that make them useful such as threads and an easy way to locate previous discussions. You’re also tied to Facebook in terms of what you can do with the data.

Ever since the WP Tavern forum disappeared, I’ve been looking for somewhere on the web to hang out and chat about WordPress. Not everything is deserving of a blog post but may be worthy of a discussion. WPChat is attempting to fill a void I think is missing in the WordPress community, a well-managed, diversified forum, devoted to WordPress, outside of what is already available on WordPress.org.

Membership to WPChat is free and at the very least, gives you an opportunity to try out Discourse from a user perspective. You’ll be able to find me on WPChat via the username Jeffro.


11 responses to “WPChat Relaunches as a Forum Dedicated to WordPress”

  1. Thanks for covering this Jeff!

    And please, if anybody has any feedback, especially if you’re an experienced Discourse user, I’d very much appreciate it. I’m brand new to it.

    We’ve already handled a few registrations, new forum posts, and private messages, and nothing has come to a screeching halt yet, but I will be keeping a close eye on the server to make sure everything runs smoothly from here on out.

      • One of the major issues I have with it is that it won’t work on shared hosting and that it needs 1gb of memory to run the software. Your small to median sized forum owners won’t be able to put it on their shared host servers. It almost feels to me that they did this by purpose to force you to buy heir web hosting packages. I think the software is pretty cool but the requirement to run is inane. Why does a simple looking forum like this require the same amount of memory as a Windows OS.

        • Well, it is open source, so I highly doubt they’re doing anything “by purpose” to “force” you into buying anything. Anyone is welcome to fork it themselves and try to make a version that’s lighter on requirements. You could even contribute the same back to the project: http://github.com/discourse/discourse

          Anyway, I’m not sure why the requirements are so high myself, maybe it’s all the stuff under the hood, but you can certainly ask them about it: https://meta.discourse.org

        • I really don’t think they’re trying to force anything, if you look at their buy hosting page they don’t even seem to publicly offer it yet.

          Right now I’m only paying $10/month for a Digital Ocean droplet, with WPChat being the only thing running on it. It’s ran pretty smoothly so far with a number of people already using it for discussions.

          I’m sure I could’ve found a cheaper VPS but I’m already pretty comfortable with DO’s system from another project. They recommend a number of other providers on their FAQ page.

          Sure, Discourse will probably never power 22% of websites on the web. One of the reasons WordPress is so popular is because it’s compatible with pretty much every hosting environment.

          Although I admit I don’t quite understand the inner-workings of Discourse which make the 1 GB recommended minimum requirement, I don’t find it excessively unreasonable.

  2. Loving discourse already. Just joined WPChat on my mobile, and all was smooth. Currently ‘watching’ a thread on minimalist themes, and I look forward to having Discourse inviting me back there as others reply or mention.


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