Support » Plugin: Discussion Board - WordPress Forum Plugin » Small but perfectly formed, fills a big gap among plugins

  • There are quite a few WordPress plugins for discussion, including bbPress and BuddyPress. In my experience, these can be over-complicated, they make the assumption that you want posts to be public, and they require lots of locking down or papering over the cracks. In short, they’ve consumed lots of development time and still delivered something clunky and ill-fitting.

    Enter Discussion Board. It’s genuinely beautiful in its simplicity. In a nutshell, it’ll do these things for you:

    • Give you a front-end log-in and registration system, hiding the admin bar and dashboard, for your forum users.
    • Allow you to make your forum content public, or only available to those logged in.
    • Allow your registered forum users to add their own topics – which are no more complicated than standard WordPress posts, and in fact are greatly simplified, just allowing a title and a body.
    • Responses to topics are done through the standard WP commenting system, with it’s beautiful and straightforward support for nested replies. So no need to quote people any more – just reply to that specific message.
    • Overall, you’re going to have something with very much the flavour of a private blog if you keep the public out, or a community blog if you allow the public to see what’s going on.

    It’s that simple. No text-formatting buttons, no uploads, no categorisation or tagging (try the Hashtag plugin), no complicated forum and sub-form tables. Very minimalistic. And this is its strength, I think.

    Discussion Board gives you a perfectly workable plain-text discussion system out of the box. The types of group that need simple, focused discussion systems vary a little in their specific needs beyond this, and many may need a few extra features this plugin doesn’t currently provide. But because this plugin uses standard WordPress post types and comments, it’s so much easier for a developer to extend it to suit a specific need. There’s no need to spend a day or two hiding the things you don’t need first. You get a nice, clean, standard base on which to build more fancy stuff.

    One other thing I really value is the admin interface. It adds “Topics” as a post type to your admin area, and it adds “Discussion Board” under settings. Other discussion systems can take over your dashboard. Discussion Board has a minimal footprint, follows convention, and keeps itself to itself.

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