Forum Update: User Status and Sidebar have been enabled

Discourse, our forum platform, has been updated to version 3.0. That comes with some nice new features, two of which we have enabled today:

User Status lets users set a status that causes an icon to display next to their name to let other users know their current status.

Sidebar replaces the former navigation “hamburger” menu at the top right with a navigation sidebar on the left side of the screen. The new Sidebar is more complete and is customizable for each user.

More details and instructions on how to use these new features follow:

User Status

The User Status feature is intended for you to be able to let your fellow users know, for example, if you will be offline for a period of time. To set your status go to your forum Preferences (click your Avatar, top right, then the person icon image, then Preferences). In the Account section, at the bottom, you will find Custom Status:


Click the pencil icon to bring up the status setting options:


Click the Status Emoji button to set a custom emoji, such as a palm tree to indicate you are on vacation. If no custom emoji is chosen, the default thought bubble image is used.

Enter some text in the Status Text area to indicate your current status. It is recommended to keep your entry to less than about 40 characters as the excess text will be truncated based on what fits in the box. Also keep in mind that the same Community Guidelines are applicable to your User Status as they are elsewhere on the forum.

Next, chose a time to automatically remove the status. Click Never to make the status permanent. To remove a custom status, click the red trash can icon image that appears in the lower right corner of the Set Custom Status popup window.

Finally, click the image button at the bottom of the Preferences screen. Don’t forget to click Save Changes or your status won’t be set.

Once your status is set, your custom emoji will be displayed next to your name on all your posts or as a flair on your avatar. The details of your status will display if you hover the cursor over the emoji:

image image

If you chose Never for the status removal time, the Until information will be blank. Your status will also show on the popup card that is displayed when your username is clicked:




The new customizable Sidebar replaces the old “hamburger” (three-bar) navigation menu at the top right.

To conserve space on mobile, the Sidebar is only displayed upon tapping the three-bar icon. On mobile, at the bottom of the sidebar, tapping this icon image will take you to the desktop version.

On the desktop version, the sidebar can be hidden or shown by tapping the three-bar icon, top left. At the bottom of the sidebar on desktop, there is an icon image that will pop up a list of keyboard shortcuts. If you are viewing the desktop version on mobile, there is also an icon image that will return you to the mobile version.

When expanded, the Sidebar looks like this:

Each of the four main sections (Community, Categories, Tags and Messages) can collapsed be by clicking the v icon next to its label. The section will remain collapsed until expanded by clicking the > icon.

A dot appears next to each label when there is new content for the user. This can be changed to show a count of new items in the Sidebar Preferences.

The default categories and tags are shown above, but these can be edited by clicking the pencil icon that appears when hovering over the section label. The Sidebar Preferences can also be accessed by clicking your Avatar > image > Preferences > Interface > Sidebar. Be sure the click the Save Changes button on the Preferences screen to make sure your changes are saved.

When hovering over the Community or Messages label, a plus sign (+) will appear to provide a direct link to create a new topic (Community) or Message, for example:


Clicking the image More button under COMMUNITY will show additional options as follows:


The last-selected option from this list will be displayed above the More button until another selection is made (Groups in the above example).


We hope you enjoy these changes. Let us know below or in the Forum Feedback Thread! if you have any questions or difficulties.

EDIT: Explanation of desktop/mobile switching and keyboard shortcut icons added.


That’s awesome, I really love the sidebar customization!!!


Oooh, look at me, I’m testing!! :grin:

Not critical, but I thought I set the status to go off in an hour and it didn’t. Probably my error. Trying it again.


Yeah, it worked. :slight_smile:


There’s a screen of keyboard shortcuts behind a tiny icon at the bottom of the sidebar:

Hadn’t seen those before…

And the keyboard shortcut for the keyboard shortcut screen is… ’ ? '.


Ooh those are super useful! I don’t use desktop forum often, but I’m sure many of the active users here will love these :slight_smile:


That was actually always there on the old hamburger menu. Just perhaps not as noticeable.


Thought I might be able to reorder the items in the Tags section by deleting and re-adding them in the order I preferred. But no. Looks like ‘alphabetical’ it is. :slight_smile:

The Messages section is not editable and shows only Inbox and the ’ + ’ sign to compose a new Message…

…but if you’ve sent a PM that hasn’t been read (?) the Sent folder automatically appears there. Pretty good.

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“New” Missing from Forum Menu
(Former title added to explain post content; my thread was merged here.)

I no longer see it in the “hamburger” pulldown menu on mobile. Is it just me?

It’s my go-to default for viewing, well, new threads and posts.

Of course I just use anyway.

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I noticed that as well and pointed it out.

The “New” link does appear still at the bottom of each thread.

I can’t speak to the Desktop format of the Forum UI, but in the Mobile UI, in the settings, if you change your “Navigation” to link New and Unread, it will show them beside the “Everything” link.

These can then be clicked to open the “Unread” or “New”.

It will only show one, so you have to clear the “Unread” before the “New” will appear.

There was a new thread that announced the changes:

MOD NOTE: The full path to this setting is Avatar > Preferences > Sidebar


Here is what the hamburger menu looked like on 1/2/2023. I miss it too.

That’s nice info, can’t imagine how you tripped over that. :slight_smile: For anyone else who wants to, it’s actually under the “Sidebar” tab, at least for me. The “Everything” designation was mostly useless for me anyway so why not.


Hmm, I’m not seeing the “New” option in that page. Maybe you had to be logged in.

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Because when it disappeared, my anxiety spiked and I went spelunking to see what the heck happened. Only after I changed every setting did I actually go to the bottom of the thread to see the New posts and found the new thread on the topic. Only after I cleared my Unread did I notice the New link appeared.

Trial and error.

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Oh this won’t do at all, then. I skip some threads for a reason. I have to read literally “everything” before I can track new posts? I don’t think so.

Still a nice forum trick you found. I’ll have to stick to a bookmark…

In other important forum quirk news, I accidentally posted this in the wrong thread, and then deleted the post. The forum would NOT let me paste the content here without changing it, claiming I had just posted the same thing.

In other words, the forum dupe checker ignores the reality of deleted posts.


You are probably right you would need to be logged in to see what is New to you. Just thought others would like to see the Hamburger menu we are discussing.

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Or you can dismiss all your “Tracked” unreads and go straight to the new.

After I did that, I started changing the status on many of my old tracked topics back to normal and always clear the ones I am still tracking.

The reason it still checks duplicates on deleted posts is because it isn’t really deleted. You can still go back and reactivate it until the countdown timer on it expires.

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Hmm, but I DO read every update for the threads I’ve watched / tracked. I can’t imagine what those 172 are.

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Or after clicking Everything which takes you to Unread, you can just click New at the top of that page to go directly there.

No, you can tap the Hamburger menu, then Everything, then New at the top of that page.


Agreed. Still holding to the opinion that, like “Everything” & “My Posts”, New and Unread should be seperate entries under the Community header. I would much rather be able to see the counts at a one click glance rather than have to click thru just to see the new count since it is hidden by the Unread count.

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It can also be reached by clicking the Hamburger menu to activate the Sidebar and clicking any of the pencil icons.

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