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Introducing Orbit's new Discourse integration

November 12, 2020
Patrick Woods
Co-Founder & CEO
Introducing Orbit's new Discourse integration
Welcome to The Observatory, the community newsletter from Orbit.

Each week we go down rabbit holes so you don't have to. We share tactics, trends and valuable resources we've observed in the world of community building.

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For most companies, community happens across many channels, but when each channel offers different types of reports and data, it can be hard to understand who’s in the community, what they’re doing, and what to do about it.

The reality, however, is that community is distributed, and companies must deliver a great experience no matter where their community members hang out.

To help, we’ve already launched an API along with first-party integrations for Twitter and GitHub, and today, we’re growing our family of integrations by releasing our Discourse integration.

Companies like CircleCI, Camunda, Streamlit, and Strapi are already using the Discourse integration to better understand and build their communities, and now, it’s available to all Orbit users.

Now, you can add your Discourse community members to Orbit, and see them alongside folks from GitHub, Twitter, and any number of custom integrations built with the Orbit API.

Members and activities

The integration will automatically sync Discourse members, along with activities like Topic and Post creation, and display them alongside activities from your other community channels.

Orbit Member timeline show various activities, including Twitter, GitHub, and Discourse

On the Member Profile page, you’ll see their Discourse identity alongside their others, like GitHub username, Twitter handle, DEV username, and more.

Screenshot of an Orbit Member profile, including headshot, biography, and social links.


In Reports, you’ll now see Discourse activities right alongside everything else, providing a full picture of engagement across channels. For instance, here’s a high-level look at active members across various channels for the Camunda community:

Line chart showing active member by community, including Discourse, GitHub, and Twitter

You can also drill into more granular activities across channels, as you can see in this chart of activities by type across the Streamlit community:

Stacked bar chart showing activities by type

This means Discourse activity will now appear in Orbit charts, and will impact your community’s Love and Orbit Level, providing an increasingly comprehensive picture of your community wherever it happens.

Badges and trust level

At the member level, you’ll now see Discourse activity right alongside activity from other platforms. Orbit will even pull in detailed member data from Discourse, like Trust Level and Badges.

Screenshot of Discourse badges, including "Devotee" and "Camunda Comrade"

Finally, as with all other member info in Orbit, data from Discourse will be indexed and discoverable via search. That means you can ask interesting questions like, "Which community members have created a topic in our Discourse forum, regularly use Python on GitHub, and live in San Francisco?"

Screenshot of Orbit search facets

Try it today!

To add the Discourse integration to your workspaces, just click Add Integrations on your workspace settings page, then click “Connect Discourse.” View the docs here.

Screenshot of a button that says "Connect Discourse"

If you’re not already an Orbit user but would like to try the Discourse integration, send an email to patrick at orbit dot love.

Thanks to Mary Thengvall, Jeremy Meiss, Randy Zwitch, Odysseas Lamtzidis, and Derrick Mehaffy for help with this post and during the integration’s beta.

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Orbit helps grow and measure thousands of communities like Kubernetes and CircleCI. We're a remote-first company with a product-driven, empathetic engineering team that enjoys the occasional space pun! Check out our careers page for open opportunities.

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