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Is Vanilla Forums Better than Discourse?

You’ve heard of these two platforms in the world of online courses, but is Vanilla Forums better than Discourse? Let’s find out.

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vanilla vs discourse

How are we judging them?

Enjoy a detailed comparison table about features and pricing

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    Can you build YOUR brand?

    Vanilla Forums is quite open to personalization and gives creators a free reign over the aesthetics of their forum. You can include brand assets like your logo and tagline, along with brand colors. If you’ve got blogs and discussion boards, you can embed them in the platform. It also encourages collaboration by providing features that let you create small groups. 

    Discourse has relatively simple features for brand building. You’ll be able to add your logo to the platform, but that’s where the scope for brand promotion ends. You can use various plugins to add features like chat integration and subscriptions. There are a few options to build your own community calendar too. Unfortunately, none of these features are natively supported.

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    How do you manage the community?

    Vanilla Forums gives you access to a variety of moderation tools you can use to manage your community. Through the platform, you can delete, move and merge all the discussions in your community. Member-driven moderation is accounted for through content flagging. To promote interaction, you can encourage interaction between members, message them in private and send notifications as well. In case you encounter any spamming or bad behavior, you’ll be able to respond quickly by banning the user from your forum.

    Discourse heavily relies on a “trust system”. The gist of it is that loyal members will have more access to community moderation tools. The longer they stay in your community, the more power they’ll get. The platform also provides other features like spam blocking and flagging. You can also start a reward system where you assign badges and points based on member participation.

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    Does the mobile experience match up?

    The only way to access Vanilla Forums is through a web browser on your phone or laptop. They haven’t built a dedicated app on Google Play Store or the Apple store. However, you can still use a third-party app to keep your forum going on mobile as well. 

    Discourse provides you with an app that’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices. The application is quite minimalistic, providing user-friendly features for easy navigation. But you won’t find a lot of elements to play with, which makes it difficult to build engagement among your community members. 

Now, a detailed comparison

Enjoy a detailed comparison table about features and pricing

Features
Scenes
Vanilla Forums
Discourse
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Content
Organize discussions
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Private spaces
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Rich posts
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Your own brand
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Content & resources
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Member directory
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no icon
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Downloads
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Online courses
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Curriculum builder
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Quizzes Assessments
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Newsletters
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Engagement
Chat rooms
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Virtual Live Classes
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Events & Webinars
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1-1 messaging
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Discussions forums
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Email Notifications
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Push Notifications
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Zoom Integration
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Gamification
Community Coin System
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Coins for Actions
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Spend Coins
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Peer-to-Peer Transactions
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Leaderboards
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Status Badges
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Monetize
Paid memberships
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Recurring subscriptions
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Gate access
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Stripe Integration
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Customisation
Setup Difficulty
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Subcommunities
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Personalized Onboarding
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Whitelabeling
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Custom Domain
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Single sign-on (SSO)
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Advanced analytics
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Unlimited Admins
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Roles & Permissions
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Webhooks
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Whitelabeled Notifications
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Scenes solves 3 key issues

Finally, a platform to replace them all

If you think about teaching online as a serious business, you'll find yourself tying together multiple tools (alongside Thinkific).

This is hassle-some, both for you as well as your students. With Scenes, do it all in one place.

comparison of different platforms

Watch Scenes in action

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Folks at these companies love the
Scenes experience

With Scenes, you get...

  • forums
    White labeled mobile & web app
  • calendar
    Schedule and host live classes
  • user profiles
    Split members into cohorts
  • anlaytics
    In-depth analytics
  • gamification
    Points system & rewards
  • chat and messaging
    Group Chat
  • chat
    Direct messaging
  • voice bubbles
    Audio chatrooms

The difference is in our DNA

We're content creators, teachers AND community builders.

And, we know how everything ties together to make a business.

We've been teaching online since 2018. We ran one of the world's largest educational communities from 2019-2021 and scaled to $500,000 revenue by selling cohort-based courses. We kept hopping from one software to another because the experience of actually using all available software is bad.

This led us to build Scenes - an all-in-one platform to run your courses, cohorts, webinars, events, voice chat rooms, etc. - on mobile & web (100% white-labeled).

our community story - avalon scenes

Your branded online academy on any device.

Book a demo and see how easy it is to get started.

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