Just wondering if anyone had any suggestions for software that I could use to provide meta discussion of a website that I am working on?

My initial thought would be to use one of the many discussion boards available, but I hate them!, and would rather not go down the route of subjecting my users to using another forum! :)

I don't need anything too complex, just a place where users can raise feature/bug requests or ask for general help from other users.

  • haha, I nearly clicked close as "belongs on meta.webmasters" but thankfully I read the question first. Cute kid, btw. Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 2:39

5 Answers 5


My suggestion is to use Google Groups. First of all it is off site so you don't have to worry about serving pages in the case that your server / host / whatever stops working. Second of all you don't have to do any more work, it is really easy to set up a Google group with just an email address. Third of all it works really well and you can also keep a copy of discussions in your email folder. Unless you have more than twenty messages a day discussing your site this is probably the most manageable option.

Another way is to use a free wordpress blog or something, but then it is not so easy for users to initiate discussions.

  • +1, its also much easier to manage than installing something like phpbb.
    – Tim Post
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 18:21

For feature/bug requests, I would recommend using something like UserVoice.

  • Second that. Hootsuite is using this to great effect: feedback.hootsuite.com/forums/40182-hootsuite-com-web-dashboard
    – JasonBirch
    Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 21:24
  • Stack Overflow used UserVoice before it switched to Meta. It was OK, but I think people just fell in love with the Stack Overflow paradigm. Which leads to my answer... Commented Jul 26, 2010 at 23:55
  • Have you actually used UserVoice for your website, and what were your experiences with it?
    – delete
    Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 1:45
  • I had used it for one site before, I was happy with it.
    – GSto
    Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 14:00

If you can deploy your own installation, have you considered a clone of the Stack Exchange engine? You can host it yourself and customize it as needed. You can find a list of available clones on the StackOverflow Meta.

Between tags and voting, I think you have a lot of what you need. Tags will allow you to categorize between bugs, support, and feature requests and voting will let you know what the community thinks of the idea. I believe that the desire for these things made people want StackOverflow to switch from UserVoice to it's own engine early on.

  • Have you actually installed one of these things on your website, and what experiences did you have with it?
    – delete
    Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 1:27
  • I personally haven't installed any since I haven't had the need, but a friend installed one of them to test out. He said the install itself was pretty easy, but he hadn't started to customize it yet. I could follow up with him, if I get a chance. Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 9:47

For another application service provider option, Get Satisfaction is probably worth evaluating.


Have a look at Zoho forums, it uses a combination of forums, Q&A and user feedback. jQuery recently moved from Google Groups to Zoho due to Group's massive problems with spam.

There is a free version with the basics. If you are developing open source software I believe you can the full-featured version for free.

  • Have you actually used Zoho forums for your website? I use Google Groups and have few problems with spam.
    – delete
    Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 1:28
  • I have used both Zoho and Groups as a consumer, but not in any admin capacity. But I've read a few articles essentially trashing Groups and praising Zoho, e.g. ejohn.org/blog/google-groups-is-dead Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 23:09
  • That article doesn't tally with my experiences. The spam filter on Google groups seems to work adequately. Anyway, I think there is a big difference between a public user feedback for a website (what we are discussing) and a mailing list for discussing software (what John Resig is discussing).
    – delete
    Commented Jul 28, 2010 at 2:08
  • @Kinopiko: Well fair enough, we've obviously had different experiences! :p Maybe the spam problem is only prevalent on the huge groups like jQuery. Anyway I suggested Zoho because it covers the different requirements like discussion, questions and bugs/feedback in the different sections. Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 13:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.