a forum software


screenshot of cerca, as deployed for the merveilles community forum

This piece of software was created after a long time of pining for a new wave of forums hangs. The reason it exists are many. To harbor longer form discussions, and for crawling through threads and topics. For habitually visiting the site to see if anything new happened, as opposed to being obtrusively notified when in the middle of something else. For that sweet tinge of nostalgia that comes with the terrain, from having grown up in pace with the sprawling phpBB forum communities of the mid noughties.

It was initially written for the purpose of powering the nascent Merveilles community forums.

Design points

The contributing guidelines further crystallizes other development decisions:

At the end of the day, a maintainer must live with decisions made for the project—both good and bad! That weight of responsibility is taken into account when looking at new contributions.

More information

Cerca supports community customization:

To enable these customizations, there’s a config file. To choose a config file, run cerca with the --config option; the default config file is set to ./cerca.toml.

cerca --config ./configs/cerca.toml

The configuration format is TOML and the config is populated with the following defaults:

name = "" # whatever you want to name your forum; primarily used as display in tab titles
conduct_url = "" # optional + recommended: if omitted, the CoC checkboxes in /register will be hidden
language = "English" # Swedish, English. contributions for more translations welcome!

feed_name = "" # defaults to [general]'s name if unset
feed_description = ""
forum_url = "" # should be forum index route https://example.com. used to generate post routes for feed, must be set to generate a feed

logo =  "content/logo.html" # can contain emoji, <img>, <svg> etc. see defaults/sample-logo.html in repo for instructions
about = "content/about.md"
rules = "content/rules.md"
verification_explanation = "content/verification-instructions.md"

Content documents that are not found will be prepopulated using Cerca’s sample content files. The easiest thing to do is to run Cerca once and let it populate content files using the samples, and then edit the files in content/* after the fact, before running Cerca again to see your changes.

Either write your own configuration following the above format, or run cerca once to populate it and then edit the created config.


Cerca supports use with different natural languages. To translate Cerca into your language, please have a look at the existing translations (i18n.go) and submit yours as a pull request.

Local development

Install golang.

To launch a local instance of the forum, run those commands (linux):

It should respond Serving forum on :8277. Just go on http://localhost:8277.

Inspired by

For some reason, Cerca struck a chord. This little section lists some projects that have been inspired by it.

azlen elza’s forum-shaped notebook runs a personal fork of cerca