This is not an attack on Discourse or Xenforo. It’s not even really a comparison of Vanilla vs Discourse vs Xenforo. Rather I’d like to talk more about Vanilla Forums and the mistakes I see in the comparisons others make when they compare it to other forum solutions.
State of the Market
The reality of the community software market is that most of the makers of forum software offer ugly products. The traditional or legacy software is bloated, ugly and not a pleasure to use. As an administrator or owner of these forums there are tons of features and plugins you need to setup, because it doesn’t just work. You can lose days trying to figure things out and stay on-top of bug reports and patches so you don’t get hacked. Of all the old, legacy products, the only one I see that has any sense of looking half way decent is Xenforo and lots of other users are seeing that too. I think the ditch vBulletin band-wagon is really growing and they are getting a fair share of disillusioned self- hosting forum owners.
In terms of the next-generation of forum or community software, I think the field is really a battle between two. Discourse is a newer product, but like Vanilla Forums it pushes forums into a more modern framework. More and more I am seeing people asking, should they go with Discourse or Vanilla Forums. Unfortunately, it seems the discussion about Vanilla Forums is usually based on an old pre-conceived notion of how Vanilla was. Today I hope to set the record straight for those looking to compare and invite you to ask you questions if you have any.
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