Broken formatting in migrated posts

Especially annoying is where a post uses a list but the migration broke the formatting. I think Discourse expects BBCode to be on newlines or something, whereas the old vBulletin software allowed inline BBCode. Or maybe unordered list BBCodes are disabled for some reason.



That answers that question. Putting them on separate lines doesn’t fix it. Discourse creates lists by putting a star in front of each item. Bit trickier, but @codinghorror or one of his minions should still be able to fix it.

For now I suggest collecting a list of the problem topics, perhaps right here in this topic, and fixing them as you go. This will require users who have the edit ability (moderators, and trust level 4 users). You could potentially flag them as well? Not sure what the mods prefer.

I’d also suggest editing the title of this topic to

Broken list formatting in migrated posts

since that’s a more accurate and descriptive title.

You’re also correct that the old software was more flexible with BBCode formatting, so not all posts will be affected, only the ones formatted in those particular ways.

I’d be happy to help out but I am neither TL4 nor moderator here.

I would wager there are thousands of topics with formatting broken after migration to Discourse. They are easy to find if you search for explicit strings containing the closing BBCode.

For example, you can click the magnifying glass at the top right and type any of the following (including quotation marks),

  • “[/UL]”

I appreciate your enthusiasm for descriptive titles :wink: , but it’s not just lists.

vBulletin used to render [DEL][/DEL] BBCode into <s></s> tags. Discourse breaks the formatting.

Examples (click to expand/retract)

vBulletin used to render [SUP][/SUP] BBCode as <sup></sup> tags. Likewise [SUB][/SUB] BBCodes used to be rendered as <sub></sub>. Those posts are now broken; good luck if you are interested in an old discussion involving physics, units of measurement with exponents, or even superscript footnotes.

Examples (click to expand/retract)

vBulletin used [SPOILER][/SPOILER] BBCode for what are now <details><summary></summary></details> tags. Discourse either ignores the old tags or renders them as blurs. Previously valid posting etiquette has now backfired spectacularly when spoilers are now ignored or rendered as giant chunks of blurry text. (some spoilers that used to shorten posts now just blur, some spoilers that used to hide text no longer do so)

Examples (click to expand/retract)

(I broke the NSFW links when I quoted GuanoLad ~Max)

As shown at the top of this post, it is easy to search for broken formatting. Try searching with these:

  • “[/DEL]”
  • “[/COLOR]”
  • “[/SPOILER]”
  • “[/SUP]”
  • “[/SUB]”


Yeah, there’s way too much broken content to fix even a small fraction of it. If there’s a post that’s meaningful to you, or one where the broken spoilers may create a problem, please flag it as “something else” and explain that you’d appreciate a mod fixing the formatting. But please don’t go hunting down examples, as they are far too abundant to deal with.

The reason I originally singled out lists is because those are the most difficult to read after being broken. I suspect there is room for improvement in the vBulletin->Discourse migration script. Maybe there’s a way to retroactively go back with a fixer script.

All of the [POST] and [THREAD] BBCodes were broken, too… I don’t really know if that’s considered formatting though.


I suggest searching ordered by view count to fix the most popular topics.

The post migration cleanup was mostly oriented around removing spam, which tends to attract more spam if not excised.

At any rate, “fix as encountered” is the best advice I can give at the moment.