WordPress allows you to create different types of websites. However it is basically a blogging platform and does not offer a solid foundation for community based question & answers website. You really need to depend on third-party developers for moving beyond blogging. There are some prebuilt themes and plugins to start your question and answer sites. However, you should be very careful in understanding the way it works before purchasing. In this review, we will share the Discy theme feature and why you should be away from this theme.
Discy WordPress Question and Answer Theme
Ask Me is one of the popular WordPress Q&A themes from the developer 2code Themes. Discy is a modified Ask Me theme with more focus on Q&A platform. You can purchase Discy theme from themeforest which is part of envato marketplace.
- The theme will cost you $59 with 6 months of support. Additional support for 12 months will cost you $17.63.
- Developer updates the theme regularly.
- You can easily migrate from the Ask Me theme to Discy.
- Responsive on mobile devices.
Features of the Theme
Discy theme comes with packed features required for creating questions. It is basically a replication of the popular Stack Overflow question and answer forum site. Though Stack Overflow is not on WordPress platform, Discy theme tries to integrate all the features in WordPress using the WPQA plugin.
- Similar features like Stack Overflow.
- Pre-built templates for post, page, categories, questions, FAQ, badges, tags, users, etc.
- You can translate to different languages other than English.
- Ad manager for showing AdSense or any other advertisements.
- 20+ sidebar widgets to add related questions, statistics, etc.
- Questions and answers section has features like points system, best answer, user badges and voting.
Installing and Activating Theme
Similar to any other WordPress theme, you can upload the zip file from dashboard and activate Discy theme. Once you start installing, you will find real issues with the theme surfacing.
- The theme does not need any product activation. This is the reason, so many fake sites offer downloading this theme for free. It is a problem as you can’t find the real or fake theme on the live site. It seems the author does not worry about filing DMCA complaint with Google to take down those fake pages.
- The theme does not offer one-click demo import. You need to contact the developer to get the demo content over email.
- In case, you want to modify the core theme files, you can install the child-theme supplied with the purchase.
- There are no automatic updates. You need to manually download the theme files from themeforest and update on your WordPress site every time.
Important: The theme needs MAX_INPUT_VARS value as 3000. If you have lower values, you will not be able to save the settings in dashboard. Some shared hosting companies will not allow to increase the PHP input variables from the default value of 1000. Therefore confirm with your host before buying this theme whether you can modify php.ini file to increase the value.
Configuring Discy Theme
After installing the theme, it will create a new menu item “Discy” where you can configure the theme settings. You can setup each section of the site like questions, payment, CAPTCHA, blog, header, etc., under corresponding sections. Here are some of the options available under “Questions” section.
- Change the layout to simple
- Options for categories, tags and RSS filters
- Point system
- Best answers
- Reporting inappropriate questions
- Question bump
- Premium question
- Author profile pop-up
You can enable or disable each option for setting up your question page layout. Similarly, you can customize other sections for advertisements, badges, points, etc. In addition, you can also control the settings under page editor and user profiles. There are so many options available, however the poor help document supplied with the purchase will not help in configurations. You need to spend hours together to understand the functionality on your own.
Also, the author has poor English translation of the settings page which you may feel difficult to understand.
Discy theme has built-in user management system that shows each user’s profile with picture, cover image and social profiles. In addition, you can allow badges and points to rank users into different groups.
Unfortunately theme has buggy registration process by automatically logging the user and locking the content from viewing.
- After registration, theme will automatically login the user even though email activation is required. Let’s say, if the user does not activate, without his consent his profile with email id will be shown to public.
- Registration will not only lead to automatic login, it also block the entire site from viewing. This is a ridiculous way of designing the registration process. Now that, user needs to open the email and activate or logout to view the content.
- There is a possibility to assign “Activation” role to new users. The purpose is that admin needs to manually approve the users before the role is changed to “Subscriber” for posting questions. However, after registration the theme will still show wrong message like activation required and confuse the users. The correct message should be like waiting for admin approval or something like that. Now, the user has no idea that admin needs to approve and he will keep on trying like a fool due to the false message.
Before configuring the theme, you need to install WPQA – WordPress Questions and Answer plugin that comes prepackaged with the theme. In addition, you can install the recommended Contact Form 7 plugin for adding contact forms on your site.
WPQA plugin will add custom post types “Questions” and “Messages” on your site. You can create questions and view the discussion messages from the dashboard (however, it should be done from site’s frontend).
It is important to know that answers and comments are stored as standard WordPress comments. Let’s say, if you have 1 question which has 1 answer and 1 comment then the theme stores the content like below.
- Question – under custom post type “Questions”
- Answer – under WordPress comments section
- Comment – under WordPress comment section
Author does not mention this anywhere even on the document supplied with the theme. This will drastically affect both SEO as well as managing the dashboard. For example, your blog posts will also have comments stored under WordPress comments section. Now there are no ways for you to differentiate the comments on the blog post and questions. Though you can sort with “Answer/Comment” column, it will not help when you have length answers and hundreds of comments.
WPQA is a single plugin that handles questions on the site. In such a case, it should be offered as a plugin and not as a theme. The plugin is packaged with the theme hence it will not work with other themes. Combining the plugin function with theme will make you lock out with this theme forever. You will not be able to change the theme and also you need to get author’s support whenever you have problem in installing other plugins.
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You can create questions by going to “Questions > Add New” menu in dashboard. The theme supports Gutenberg editor and you will see metaboxes to create categories and tags for questions.
Users can create questions and reply answers on the front end like a forum website with classic editor.
You can earn money by allowing premium questions on your site. Discy theme allows you to customize the following premium settings:
- Add PayPal to collect money from users. Remember, you should have PayPal business account to add PayPal Identity Token for the payment process to work.
- Offer coupon codes.
- Pay for stick questions.
- Buying points and pay to ask questions.
Similar to any other themes, you can add sidebar widgets on your site from “Appearance > Widgets” section of the admin dashboard. You can find more than 20 widgets for adding Q&A related stuff and advertisements on the sidebar. However, half of the widgets are for advertisements with different sizes.
Unfortunately the author offers poor way of supporting with insufficient documentation and poor English.
- You can get the support by contacting the developer through themeforest product support. Note, author only provide supports through the product comments section. If you have private details like server error then you should be careful in posting the comment on public discussion.
- You can refer the theme document available on the developer’s site. This is the only document supplied along with the purchase. In some cases it is outdated and not sufficient to configure the theme.
Issues with Theme and Author
The author responds quickly on the queries, however, simply responding fast does not mean good support. Asking personal email and error screenshot on public comments section is one of the worst ways to offer support for $59 theme.
We got lots of problem with PHP, Max Input Vars along with the registration issues mentioned above. We have reported these issues to the author, however he does not understand the issues leading us to go for refund. He also rejected our refund and we need to move on to envato/PayPal dispute to block the payment.
- The document does not explain clearly that answers and comments are treated as WordPress comments.
- We did not see anywhere the support is only offered through themeforest comment section.
- Though you can add related questions widget in the sidebar area, there are no options to add related questions in the content area like Ask Me theme. In addition, the related questions section will show all answers and comments making it useless.
- There are many comments about WooCommerce installation on this theme. In our understanding, when you install WooCommerce, all your customer details will be shown in the profile section including the email address. Though user can remove email option, he needs to go to profile and remove it. Showing customer email in the public profile view that Google can index is a violation of privacy in many countries.
The author sent us an email to take down this article without any mention of whether he had resolved the problems on the theme. He also started leaving 5 stars reviews almost every few days to increase the user review which is shown in Google. This is exactly the problem with the author of not ready to look in to the details and try to manipulate with all wrong doings. After a while, he sent another email that he fixed all the above mentioned issues. However, he continue to leave fake reviews forcing us to disable reviews in this article. You can still leave comment if you are really using this theme with your genuine experience.
As we have already mentioned, Discy theme simply replicates the setup of Stack Overflow. However, it does in very wrong manner combining plugin functionality in a theme. Neither WordPress nor Stack Overflow automatically login the user and lock the content till activation. You can create an account in Stack Overflow to check how smooth the process works and they never show the email address in the profile which is indexable by search engines. In Discy theme, all the answers on the site will be mixed with blog comments which will be difficult to handle. If you want to create a Q&A site, Stack Overflow recommends using open source platforms like Questions2Answers which you can try for free.
- Stack Overflow type Q&A on WordPress (however, it’s definitely not comparable)
- It can be a plugin like bbPress instead of a theme
- High price and needs high resources to run
- No one-click demo import, no product activation and needs manual update
- Answers and comments will mix with blog comments
- Registration process is buggy and show false information for activation
- Poor documentation