In a wiki post above, I’ve completed a list of the relatively-generic help (documentation) topics on the Discourse sites publicised at discourse.org.
Scanning a couple of hundred Discourse sites was an interesting experience. It is easy to identify the sites I’d like to join and the better admins who can set the tone for their forum.
Apart from a few topics, the list doesn’t include any replies buried in responses to help requests. A few links note something unusual on a site. Several links are for optional plug-ins.
I’m surprised that I only found about 175 topics - an average of about one per site. On most sites, almost all the help is buried in replies to requests for assistance and this seems to be much the same even on sites with good help topics.
It is also common to find help requests that could have been solved by a simple search. Sometimes a help request duplicates an earlier request that is still visible on the first page of Latest.
- Do users not read the Latest topic list or the topics visible against each category in the Categories view?
- Do users not use search?
- Do users post a new topic before doing anything else? If so, then that is evidence that Discourse works in reducing the barriers to posting a new topic.
- Is the Discourse default sufficient for most new users? I noticed that many forums don’t even have the default introductory posts, e.g. removing or not editing category descriptions.