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Just signed up on the forum and have some quick suggestions:

I was unsure of what to do once signed up, Consider adding a banner that sets the context for new users, where they can go to get started etc. Check out the versatile theme component for enabling this.

To start off a community, you’d need to go with a small set of really active users. These can be people you work with, or know who’re already doing such work and then get them on the forum to kickstart conversations.

Use tags to identify posts based on the country/location etc, this will help people narrow down based on geography. This can also be done with categories/sub categories. I see you’ve put in efforts to create threads for major locations, but it’s overwhelming. Maybe consider removing them and only creating the threads when the need arises? It reduces the clutter a lot.

To publicise it, start sharing useful information from the forum through all your networks, make sure the content is visible without a login. The banner would help set the context here and get them to sign up and participate eventually

Since there are a lot of such communities and initiatives going around, it’d be useful to highlight the backing and build credibility behind your community. This is an instant win for getting people to participate or sign up

Use discobot to the full potential. Right now it simply greets users according to the default messaging, try customising it to drive a message as well - make people feel they’re valuable since they’ve joined currently.

Unless you have PII, I’d suggest keeping all conversations open to anonymous viewing at the start and slowly restricting access to get signups.

Hope these are useful!

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