Welcome Mac Smith to the Discourse Team

Jeff Atwood July 29, 2015

We’ve definitely had some growing pains over the last six months, and most of that could be classified squarely in one area – system administrator technical debt.

We came up with an innovative system administrator interview strategy that involved using Discourse, setting up Discourse, and private messaging us to communicate as a method of evaluating candidates. We also presented candidates with actual scenarios we face, and have faced, as we scale up Discourse hosting.

When the smoke cleared, we found Mac Smith.

Mac is many things: a father, a professional chef, a drummer, and an expert system administrator with nearly 20 years of experience.

I play drums. Drums are fun. I’m not all that flashy or technical but it’s really all about the pocket and how you fit in with the folks you play with. Not totally unlike a job when it’s a fit.

What impressed us the most about Mac — in addition to being the only candidate to answer questions on his own Discourse instance — was his overall tenacity and the completeness of his posted answers, which is essential when you work with a remote team.

Mac is the only other Discourse team member in the USA; he’s from Tennessee. This means the Discourse team is now up to 7 members worldwide, representing 5 countries.

We’re ecstatic to finally have someone thinking about the nuts and bolts of Discourse infrastructure a full 8 hours a day, every business day. Welcome to the team, Mac – we’ll meet you in person later this year in Australia for the 2015 leg of our yearly world tour!

And if you see Mac’s habanero pepper avatar out there, do say hello. Someone likes hot stuff!

11 Replies

Welcome Arpit Jalan to the Discourse team

Jeff Atwood May 24, 2015

It’s been almost two years since someone joined the Discourse team, but we’re speeding things up this year as our hosting service expands.

Today we’d like to officially welcome Arpit Jalan from Jodhpur, India to the Discourse team.

Here’s what you need to know about Arpit: we did not pick Arpit. He picked us.

We discovered Arpit through our meta site where he just … started building things in early 2014, like the first easy Discourse install guide. We were impressed, and when he wrote us in May 2014 asking for any kind of opportunity to work together, I can’t say I didn’t see it coming.

What I didn’t see coming is Arpit’s depth of conviction. I can’t remember the last time I read such an impassioned call to action by someone who feels they are at a critical juncture in their life. It’s really hard for me to do it justice by describing it here, but at the end of it he cites the 1993 movie Rudy as an inspiration – another guy who has all the heart in the world.

We started with Arpit on a year-long internship plan, and his work has been consistently great. You may recognize Arpit’s hand in …

  • Big improvements in our invite system
  • The ability for any Discourse user to export their posts
  • Managing our Transifex translations
  • Many Discourse howto guides
  • Our internal site monitoring script for hosted clients

… among many, many other things that he did to improve Discourse in the last twelve months.

So when his internship year was up, of course Arpit “Rudy” Jalan made the Discourse team.

You might say he’s been ready for this his whole life.

Welcome to Discourse, Arpit. The work is hard, the hours are long, and our mission will take a decade – but I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have on our team.

6 Replies

We’re Hiring a Sysadmin

Jeff Atwood April 23, 2015

Update: As of June 1st, 2015, this position is now filled.

Discourse has been growing by leaps and bounds, and we’re deep into the 1.3 release, which has some exciting new features.

Along with this growth, there have been some growing pains, mostly in the area of keeping up with configuration changes in our infrastructure. Which reminds me, have you followed @discourse on Twitter? If not, you should!

It has become very clear that we need someone here at Discourse working full time on system adminstration and ops. Obligatory XKCD:

Devotion to Duty

We’ve had excellent part-time support from our beloved Michael Brown, aka Supermathie, but despite offering him unlimited poutine, Coffee Crisp bars, Timbits, and as much milk in a bag as he could carry, we were sadly unable to convince him to join us full time.

Canadian Stereotype Comics

Needless to say, we’re sorry.

So, effective immediately, we are looking for an awesome full time 100% remote, work from home system administrator!

For an overview of what exactly you’d be working with, read about our current hosting configuration, and what’s in our server rack right now.

  • Work from home, 100% remote
  • Deep Linux sysadmin background, ideally in a hosting environment
  • Solid automation experience with Puppet / Chef / Ansible
  • Good working knowledge of the tools we currently rely on such as Docker, HAProxy, Nginx, Redis, Postgres, and Postfix.
  • Reasonable Cisco switch experience
  • You’re OK with some aspect of being “on call” in the event that things go sideways, and setting up monitoring with Graphite or Zabbix to make sure you know before that ever happens
  • General love of online discussion forums and Discourse, specifically (yes there will be a test)
  • Some Ruby and JavaScript development experience is a definite plus

We are very open to a devops transition here, if you want to help us build the Discourse software, too, but our immediate need and focus is on our hosting configuration and our hosting hardware.

If that sounds like your bag, email us at We’d love to talk to you. Come grow with us!

9 Replies