Discourse tips and tricks

Post here about your discoveries and cool stuff that Discourse can do. It’s got some neat features you wouldn’t expect!

Here’s some tips on how to set up your profile to make it really shine. You can edit your profile by clicking your picture or letter in the top right corner, and then “Preferences”.

  • Profile Pictures, aka avatars are very small, so you should make yours distinctive. Large simple shapes. Head shots are good, but get in on the face as close as you can. Cartoons work as well. Or, if your vehicle is distinctive, use that instead.
  • Background image can be set for your profile page, and your user card. This will be seen when somebody clicks on your name anywhere in the forum. Make it something horizontal and not too tall. A vehicle works good, or landscape scenery.
  • About me will also display on your user card and profile page. Keep it short but descriptive.
  • Location is very important if you want to meet up with other woodgassers. No home addresses please, a city state will do fine. If you’re more worried about privacy just put your state or province.
  • Website, if you got one, it goes here. Free advertising!
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Now let’s talk about reading the forum. You have much more control than the old site, because you can watch everything, nothing, or anywhere in between. Here’s how it works.

  • Default behavior is to watch only the topics you’ve read for 4 minutes, or replied to. These are “Tracked”. You’ll see “new” or a blue dot with a number, every time there’s a post in a Tracked topic or category.

  • You can choose which ones are Tracked in your User Preferences (see above). Here’s the list if you want everything:

WK Projects, What Not To Do, Wood Chunkers, Woodgas Farming, Ask Wayne, Woodgas Science, Lounge, Beta, For Sale, Events, Fab Shop, General Discussion, History, Off Topic, Projects, Charcoal Gasification, Premium, Small Engines, Meta

Put some or all of those in your Tracking list. It will auto complete the names for you, so just begin typing and hit Tab to start the next one.

  • Conversely, you can Mute certain categories or topics. For categories, do the same as above, in the Muted list.

  • Individual topics can be Watched, Tracked, Normal, or Muted. This overrides the category selection. This control is at the bottom of the topic. Fastest way to get there is the “End” key on your keyboard (sorry mobile users, keep scrolling).

  • You can bookmark a really good post by clicking the three dots [. . .] under a post, then the bookmark icon. You’ll find a list of all your bookmarks by clicking your picture at top right, and click Bookmarks. After you create your first bookmark, the icon will be visible without clicking the dots.

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Some folks will want to speed things up with keyboard shortcuts. Gmail shortcut users will appreciate these, as they’re very similar. If you’re more of a typer than a mouser, then this is for you.

Even if you don’t like typing, a few keystrokes can save you time navigating and posting. Just pick a couple of these and remember them.

Remember: ? will open the keyboard shortcuts help menu.

Top 5:

  1. / : Search
  2. g then h : Go home
  3. n : Open notifications
  4. c : create a topic
  5. Shift-R : Reply to topic

1 thing i have found is badges. Basically you can get badges from doing a few different things, premium gives a badge and so do little things like editing. The badge is displayed by your name when you post. I think this is sort of like an achievement system if you’re into video games like me you should be familiar with that!

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Embedded videos / oneboxing:

When the site sees a link that can be turned into a picture or video, it will do so. It will also do special cases like Ebay and Amazon. This behavior is called “oneboxing”.

To make this happen, put a link on a separate line with nothing before, and nothing after. This includes spaces. The onebox will show up in the preview if you did it right.

To make a link NOT turn into a onebox, just add a space in front of it. This is currently needed for Kickstarter links, for example - the onebox loads an annoying video that autoplays. Fix is coming, but for now you can “cancel” the onebox using a leading space.

Please note, I might fix your post to activate the onebox, especially for Youtube links. If you see an edit from me, that’s probably why.

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Round avatars:

Some of you probably noticed the recent switch from square to round photos for your avatar. This is the Discourse software, not me.

For most headshots this works great with no changes; however you might want to adjust some photos to be better centered and slightly less cropped.

If you want to preview your picture cropped, open it in Paint and crop to the square dimensions you want. Then draw an Oval from the shapes menu, centered over it (hold Shift to keep it round). Whatever is in the circle will stay. If it’s not right, undo a couple steps and try again.

I moved a post to an existing topic: Website display issues

I wish members here would take a little time to complete their profiles so we could know a little more about them like the State or general location they are from and maybe a little background on their line of work. The former old Driveonwood site used to display some of this information. After seeing so many familiar faces at Argos and then coming back home and at my age forgetting stuff this would be helpful to better know this great group of like minded people.


As always, I totally agree with Don. I so wish that when the vehicles were all in the circle. I had gone around and taken a picture of each truck with the owner so I could put names and faces together by truck. Walking around I talked to many people and sometimes we never introduce ourselves and the name tags had all fallen off by Sunday when I arrived. I suffer from a bad memory so when someone did introduce themselves quite often the discussion took right off and my mind concentrated on what was being said, and the name slipped away. I didn’t see many pin on name tags being used; I think they are a must use at such a get together. As I have said, my time was short but I certainly enjoyed every minute and meal. TomC

Yep, location would be most appreciated. We don’t force people to disclose where they’re from, but this is a physical community as well as an online one - if you want to participate with folks near you, fill in your location.

Here’s how:


###Pro Tip: Dismiss the pinned topics!

Tired of the same “Welcome to DOW” topics always being at the top of the latest post list?

Let’s get rid of them!

  • Go to the forum homepage: http://forum.driveonwood.com

  • Next to the title, you’ll see a thumbtack, or a “pin”. Click it - it will fall over. It’s now Unpinned for you.

  • Do this for any topic you want to un-pin. It will not show up again until someone posts in it.

###Never miss a post:

One quirk of Discourse is that new discussions don’t stand out by default. You can make sure you don’t miss anything, by automatically tracking new topics. Here’s how:

Scroll down to the end. In the Other section:

  • Set Consider topics new when to “I haven’t viewed them yet”

  • Set Automatically track topics I enter to “immediately”

  • At the bottom, click “Save Changes”

Now every new topic will show a blue dot and “new”. Every topic with multiple posts will show a blue number with the unread posts count.

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That “preferences” link goes off site and needs a new account made… O.o

I just clicked on my icon then on “preferences” then down to the bottom of the page.


Sorry! Wrong website…

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###A quick lesson in Markdown:

You may have noticed that this forum uses certain punctuation marks for text formatting. This is called Markdown. It’s very simple once you know it, but you might want to run through the basics.

Take this fun 10 minute interactive tutorial! http://commonmark.org/help/tutorial/

###When the site is down:

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. When we’re offline, most people want to know when we’ll be back online (and what’s taking so long!) But I can’t tell you via a forum post, when the forum is down… :wink:

Status updates will be posted to our mailing list:


I recommend you subscribe to all emails. Set your email preference to “notify me for every new message (fewer than 1 per day)”. This mailing list is very low traffic, but when there’s a new post you’ll want to get it immediately.


###There’s an app for that:

For Android users, go to the main forum page, http://forum.driveonwood.com, and open the browser menu, tap on “Add to home screen”. From now on, the forum behaves like an app! You can open it from your home screen, and it will stay loaded in memory when you visit other websites. Browser controls are hidden. You should see a white screen with “Drive On Wood” the first time you load it.

iOS users can also add to the home screen, but it just acts like a bookmark to a Safari page. Still handy! I’m not sure about Chrome on iOS.


Oh, THAT is cool! Thanks for the info!

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