Below are frequently asked questions and answers about the Discussions feature.
How can I get Discussions for my community?
- All new communities have Discussions by default. If your old community does not have Discussions, send a request via the contact form!
Does my community have to be part of the Fandom app to use Discussions?
- No, any community can use Discussions since it also works on desktop and mobile web.
Will Discussions replace wiki-style forums (typically found at Forum:Index)?
- No. While we recommend Discussions for its mobile-friendly format, the wiki-style forums are not part of any migration or retirement plan. A community can have both Discussions and wiki-style forums enabled.
- If your community has wiki-style forums in an archived state and you would like to un-archive them, contact Fandom staff. If your community does not have wiki-style forums and you would like to add them, see Help:Wiki-style forums/set up.
Why did Discussions replace Special:Forum?
- Special:Forum (different from wiki-style forums, see above) was built with custom modifications to MediaWiki, the software which runs our wiki platform. These modifications made it extremely difficult for us to update MediaWiki software and take advantage of all the changes made to it by its developers, the Wikimedia Foundation. Important changes, like security updates, needed to be reverse engineered to apply to Fandom's heavily-customized installation. In essence, making Special:Forum work smoothly with MediaWiki was like forcing a square peg into a round hole.
- In order to bring us up to date with the MediaWiki software, we elected to retire features such as Special:Forum that relied on such custom modifications and replace them with newer versions which can operate on the platform without interference in the future. For more information, see this staff blog post on the importance of upgrading MediaWiki.
What will happen to Special:Forum content?
- All Special:Forum content will be converted into Discussions, as such:
- Forum boards become Discussions categories. On wikis with Discussions already enabled, this may result in duplicate categories. Administrators may want to merge and consolidate similar categories together. For example, a "General Discussion" category can be merged into the default "General" category.
- Forum threads and replies become Discussions posts and replies, and redirects are set up to ensure links to Forum content will point users to the same content on Discussions. The conversion process will also change any wikitext into HTML to ensure that the content appears in Discussions as it did on the Forum. However, migrated threads and replies cannot be edited without side effects (see below).
- Kudos become upvotes.
- Article topics become article tags.
- Users that were following Forum threads will retain their following status for the Discussions posts.
- Deleted Forum threads and replies are also migrated to Discussions but retain their deleted state.
Can migrated content be edited?
- Administrators and Discussions Moderators can edit migrated threads and replies in Discussions. 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, or 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 re-categorized without affecting its content?
- Yes, but only by using the "Change Category" option in the menu located at the top-right of a post or by deleting the post's category and merging it into another category. Editing a post to change its category will result in its formatting being modified as described above.
When Forum content is migrated to Discussions, are edit counts affected?
- When Forum posts turn into Discussions posts, a user's Discussions post count on their profile will go up accordingly. However, their edit count for the wiki will not go down, even if their edits in the Forum space are removed.
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 already on the way that will address the concerns. Please note that Discussions is 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.
Features and functionality
Does Discussions support wikitext?
- No. Simple formatting options such as bold, italics,
preformatted text, numbered and bulleted lists, and links are available, but they do not use 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 wiki-style forums or talk pages instead.
Are templates supported, i.e. for voting?
- Since Discussions doesn't support wikitext, templates don't work. However, Discussions has a poll feature that allows community votes, and clicking on poll options will show which users voted for that option.
Is there a "sticky" or "pin" function to display posts at the top of a post list or category view?
- No, but the Announcements feature allows admins and moderators to get the word out about important news. Discussions posts can be linked from an Announcement, but Announcements are not limited to just Discussions posts.
Can we message individual users directly using Discussions?
- Yes. You can @-mention specific users in your Discussions posts and replies, which will send them a notification about your mention.
How can I change the look of Discussions?
- The background color and image and wiki wordmark are connected to the wiki's Theme Designer. The top navigation on desktop is the same as on the wiki.
- The design and layout of Discussions is still evolving. Feel free to let us know about what specific elements you would like to change!
Why is there so much unused space in the web version?
- Discussions was developed to be optimized for mobile users, so we started there in terms of design. It's easier to start small and then make it bigger, rather than start big and then be forced to take things away. You can switch to a condensed layout from the View dropdown menu to see more posts on screen at once. The web layout will continue to evolve.
Will Discussions be searchable?
- Yes, we are working on integrating Discussions 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 by everyone. Discussions is intended to be a community-building tool, and we have seen many thousands of new accounts created for the purpose of using Discussions. The "require all contributors to log in" setting in Help:Wiki Features has no effect on Discussions.
Can we use spam and abuse filters in Discussions?
- The AbuseFilter extension is deeply bound to MediaWiki, so it won't be adapted to work with Discussions. However, we are currently exploring multiple options for spam/content filtering on Discussions and look forward to sharing more about this in the future. In the meantime, please report persistent spam problems to the Spam Obliteration and Prevention team.
What makes a post show up on "Trending" or as a "Hot" post?
- Trending/hot posts are the posts that most recently received upvotes and/or replies.
Can I put a post in multiple categories? Can I create subcategories?
- No, a post can only be in one category at a time. Subcategories are not possible.
Can I associate a post with a wiki article like Topics on Special:Forum?
- Yes, by using article tags when creating or editing a Discussions post. Up to 10 article tags can be added to a Discussions post.
How do you link to an individual Discussions post or reply?
- Discussions posts have a share icon in the bottom-right corner of the post, which has the option of copying the direct link to the post. To grab the link to a Discussions reply, right click or tap and hold the timestamp of the reply and copy the link from the context menu. This method also works for Discussions posts (in the condensed view, use the title instead of the timestamp).
Can I edit the user bio that appears in the Fandom app?
- Yes, but note that your bio is a global attribute like your avatar. To edit the bio, access your profile in the Fandom app or your user page on any Fandom wiki.
Connections to the wiki
Can I embed a Discussions feed on a wiki page?
- Yes, by using the Discussions activity feed.
Will this be used to replace Article/Blog comments or Message Walls?
- Wikis on the Unified Community Platform have Discussions-based comments and Message Walls. All comments and Message Walls from legacy wikis will be migrated to the Discussions-based system when the wiki migrates to UCP. This migration process works similarly to the Special:Forum migration process described above.
How can Discussions activity be moderated?
- All users can report a Discussions post or reply for Administrators or Discussions Moderators to review. Click here for more information on handling reports in Discussions.
Is there a way to monitor or track Discussions activity similar to, or using, Special:RecentChanges?
- Special:RecentChanges is a MediaWiki tool, so we have no plans to integrate Discussions activity into RecentChanges. We are currently exploring a solution to surface Discussions activity for wikis on the Unified Community Platform.
- Wiki admins can make use of two user-created scripts, DiscussionsFeed or DiscussionsRC, to monitor incoming Discussions posts and replies in a Recent Changes-style feed. For more information on including scripts on a wiki, see Help:Including additional CSS and JS.
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.
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 have already helped to guide the direction of Discussions and will continue to do so. It's equally important to realize that there can be multiple ways to meet needs and address problems. Please use our contact form to send in ideas and report problems.