Getting Started with the Discourse Platform of UQWorld

Welcome to UQWorld!

UQWorld is based on the open-source Discourse platform and we hope that you—as a new user—will find this site intuitive, easy to use, and ultimately useful. That being said, here is some guidance to get you started with the platform.

This guide is adapted from the official Discourse New User Guide and Discourse New User Tips and Tricks.

Table of contents

Some basic terms

Here are some very basic terms used across UQWorld:

  • Topic
    A topic is a collection of messages grouped together that creates a meaningful conversation. It has a title, belongs to a category, and tagged. A topic begins with an original post (see below) followed by all the replies.

If you’re familiar with other online forums, the term topic in UQWorld might be equivalent to thread.

  • Post
    Each topic consists of posts. When you create a reply, you are creating a post. Each post has its own author.

  • Original Post (OP)
    An original post is the first post in any topic. An OP determines the focus of a topic and all the relevant metadata (title, category, subcategory, and tags).

  • User or Member
    UQWorld is public for anyone to read. However, to participate in or start a conversation, you will be required to register (sign-up). Most activities in UQWorld are based on registered users (i.e., members).

The terms user and member are used interchangeably in UQWorld. The user or member who creates an original post is referred to as the original poster.

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Browsing UQWorld

Look around to find something that interests you.

Topic list

The homepage of UQWorld displays the topic list view of the site. By default, the homepage will show all the available Categories in the community. You can filter the list in a number of ways through the topic list header buttons:


  • By category menu: brings up all the available categories to choose from.
  • By tag menu: brings up all the available tags to choose from.
  • Latest: shows all the topics with recent posts.
  • New: shows all the topics created in the last few days.
  • Unread: shows all the topics that you are watching or tracking with new unread posts.
  • Top: shows the most active topics in the last year, quarter, month, week, or day.

See who is participating

You can see who is involved in topics either from the topic list view or the original post of each topic.
From the topic list view (Users column), you can see the avatars (profile picture) of participants of the listed topics:

  • The first (leftmost) is the member who started the topic.
  • Selection of the most active members in the topic.
  • The last (rightmost) is usually the member who posted the last.
  • If the original poster is the one who posted the last, the first avatar will have a blue border around it.

At the bottom of each original post, you can also see some information on the participants of the discussion (and more!).

Navigating UQWorld

Use the three icons at the upper right of the page to navigate the site:

  • Search: brings up a dialog box to conduct keywords search for topics, posts, user, or categories.
  • Menu: brings up a detailed navigation menu to move around the site.
  • User page: brings up unread notifications and links to personal bookmark, private messages, and preferences.

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Reading topics

UQWorld encourages members to read topics. Reading what’s being discussed in UQWorld is as important as actively joining the conversation. Members who read are true indicators of how healthy the community is.

Keep scrolling

Selecting a topic title brings you the topic view. Scroll down and read the posts in chronological order: follow links, preview replies, and quotes along the way. You can use the mouse scroll button or the timeline scrollbar at the right of the screen.


Jump back in

Clicking the topic title from the topic list view brings you to your last read post in the topic. To directly enter at the top (respectively, at the bottom of the topic), click the number of replies and select the top button with the earliest date (respectively, the bottom button with the latest date).


When applicable, topics above the red last visit line are new or updated since your last visit. The title will be right grey if you have read all the way to end of the topic in your current visit.


When available, you can see list of related topics that link to the post at the bottom of an original post.

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Taking part in conversations

If you’ve got something to say in a conversation, please do!


Press any Reply button to open the editor panel at the bottom of your browser. Continue reading or navigate to different topics while you’re composing your reply. For more space, minimize the editor. Drafts will be automatically saved as you write.


UQWorld is a flat forum. That is, all posts in a given topic are shown in chronological order. Clicking the grey Reply button at the end of each post will create a reply directly linked to the post:

  • If your reply is to the last post published, your reply will appear next as is.
  • If your reply is not to the last post published, your reply will appear at the bottom of the topic with a new link in its header indicating what is this post replying to. Clicking this link will bring up the previous post you are replying to. Furthermore, the previous post includes a count of replies at the bottom—clicking this link displays all the reply posts.

Creating drafts

Drafts will be automatically saved as you write. If you minimize your editor, navigate someplace else, or try to reply to another post, your editor might disappear. To browse through all your drafts, go to your profile and select Drafts from the left menu.



To insert a quote, select the text you want to quote from a post, then click on the Quote button that appears. It helps to be specific, don’t just select the whole message. You can repeat this procedure for multiple quotes from different users and different posts. The quoted text will point to their original source.



To notify someone about your reply, mention their name in your post. Type @ and initial characters of the username. Both name and username are searchable.


Using emoji

Type : to bring up emoji selection box. Select more for the complete list of emoji to select from.


Link previews

Paste a link on a line by itself to generate the link previews (i.e., summary of links).


Not all link previews can be generated. It depends on the available metadata of the page (incl. title, feature image, description, etc.).

Text formatting

You can format the text of your reply using Markdown, a simple markup language. See below for examples:

Type Display
This is **bold**. This is bold.
This is _italic_. This is italic.
This is ***double emphasis***. This is double emphasis.
This is an example of [clickable link](https://example.com). This is an example of clickable link.

For details, check out the Markdown User Reference Guide. If you have never encountered Markdown before, try out the 10-minute interactive tutorial.

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Actions and reactions

There are some action buttons at the bottom of each post:

  • To let someone know that you appreciate their post, use the like this post button.
  • Grab a copy-pasteable link of a post via the share a link to this post button.
  • Click show more to bring up additional actions: flag this post to notify a problem with the post and bookmark this post to find the post later (accessible in your profile page).

You can flag a post based on four grounds (off-topic, inappropriate, spam, or others). Flagging in UQWorld happens privately. It brings the post to moderators’ attention but not to other members. When enough members flag a post, the system will automatically hide the post. Alternatively, you can send the poster a private message to raise your concern.

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Other members can directly talk to you by:

  • replying to your post
  • quoting your post
  • mentioning your @username
  • linking your post
  • send you private message.

When any of the first four happens, a blue number will immediately appear over your profile picture to the right.
When another member send you a private message, a green number will immediately appears over your profile picture to the left.
Click your profile picture to browse through these notifications.


When you’re away (logged-out of UQWorld), you will receive a notification directly in your email.

Based on your preference, you can also receive notification about other things happening on UQWorld, either at the topic or category level.

Topics notification

You can change your notification setting for any individual topic via the notification control at the bottom of the timeline scrollbar.


Category notification

You can also change your notification setting for any category via the notification control, the rightmost button of the topic list header.


You can also access this setting via your user preference menu.

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