A partial archive of meta.discourse.org as of Tuesday July 18, 2017.

How to educate users about oneboxing


If new users do the discobot tutorial, one of the most important things they learn is oneboxing. Unfortunately, few users actually embark on that journey and so I am often editing user posts to turn their links into oneboxes.

I’m assuming that I’m not alone with this and so I’m curious to hear how others are dealing with this. I have this idea of adding some hint to the editor modal for links, but won’t be able to test this before I’m back to my desktop computer next month. Adding an education message could be another option (it could show whenever a user who has never posted a onebox adds a uri to a post).

But maybe people have come up with less technical solutions?


Ah yes, the old “you can lead a horse to water, but how do you make it drink?” problem.

No good solution that I can think of, other than personal intervention

  • send a PM letting people know they can do it
  • edit their post which ALSO sends an edit notification, and hope they understand the edit notification
  • edit their post AND send them a PM which is a lot of work

You might also (in a friendly way) call out posts where you’ve edited with a public reply:

Hey great point!

I’ve edited your post to make your link a onebox, by putting it on a line by itself:


This is somewhat better than personal PM intervention (or just a silent edit) since everyone reading it can learn from your edit, etc.


This point needs more emphasis. I, for one, am a sponge for learning things called out in that manner.

It is:

  1. A real world usage
  2. A way to improve that situation
  3. Presented right next the problem

I’ve also done the opposite version to people, wherein I defang their unintended onebox by putting whitespace before it and explain what I did and how it helps.