Discourse is an online discussion platform that at first resembles a typical forum but is interactive, fast, simple, and user-friendly. Discourse is free and open source and is used by several popular sites including SitePoint, Linux Forums, Boing Boing, Let’s Encrypt, and others.
The platform developers have been working on a plugin for embedding Discourse forums in WordPress for a long time, and have finally released it in the official WordPress.org directory under the name WP Discourse.
This plugin allows you to automatically create Discourse threads when posting posts on the site, synchronize comments between WordPress and the Discourse forum, and log into Discourse using your existing WordPress accounts.
Please note that this plugin is only the interface between your Discourse application and your WordPress site, and assumes that you already have Discourse installed somewhere. You can read the instructions for installing the Discourse itself here, or use a paid specialized hosting for Discourse.
You can install the WP Discourse plugin through the WordPress admin panel in the Plugins → Add section, download the distribution from WordPress.org, or install the latest version from the GitHub repository.
By the way, if you are already using the popular bbPress plugin, then you can import all bbPress data into your Discourse forum using the dedicated plugin.