Discourse Team Grows by 50%

Jeff Atwood December 2, 2015

The Discourse team has grown slowly:

Look at any successful open source project, and you’ll see that it takes a while. And we’re OK with that. We’ve said from the beginning we are on a 10 year mission. In a few months we’ll be 3 years into that mission. (We’ve also had a lot of part-time help from Michael Brown and Kris Aubuchon in the sysadmin and design departments, respectively.)

That’s six people. But today I’m happy to announce that we’re growing the Discourse team by a whopping fifty percent:

Matt Palmer (Australia)

I’ve known Matt as womble on Server Fault forever, at least in avatar form:


Did I mention Matt was recently – and completely coincidentally – elected a moderator on Server Fault? Apparently he is a sysadmin of some repute. Not bad for a fictional, pointy-nosed furry creature. That is to say, I didn’t know Matt, but I knew Matt as a creature of the Stack Q&A engine, much like myself.

Turns out he lives in Australia, close-ish to Sam Saffron, and the timing allowed us to meet him in person for our yearly Discourse World Meetup. We even had a delightful boat tour around the Sydney harbor, pictured here.


As previously documented we had desperate need in the sysadmin department, so having someone incredibly talented in this position is crucial. We’re very fortunate to add Matt to our team.

Erlend Sogge Heggen (Norway)

You may recognize Erlend from his previous work producing the cool little feature demo videos we use in each Discourse release announcement blog post (1.2, 1.3, 1.4). He started building this completely on his own, just out of a love for the project. And those customer interviews, such as OpenROV and Choice of Games? All totally his idea, he approached us with the concept, and he came up with the questions, too. On top of all that, Erlend has been heavily involved in Discourse from the early days of meta.discourse with tons of useful feedback and insight. It was a pleasure to sponsor his work on these great ideas he came up with for us.


Now it’s very much my pleasure to welcome Erlend to a full time role at Discourse as our first official community advocate. Naturally the whole team participates on meta, but also I believe strongly that it’s the whole team’s job to participate as an active user on Discourse communities. And we do, every one of us. But as the number of hosted Discourse sites has grown, it’s been tough to keep tabs on all of them and jump in and help as needed. Erlend is our man on the street, looking out for everyone, being helpful and letting us know where the whole team can be most helpful.

Guo Xiang Tan (Singapore)

Sam met Alan through his work on RubyBench, which we sponsor through a free hosted Discourse community. (We have a policy of hosting Discourse sites that are part of the open source stack we rely on, as a way of giving back; other examples are Ember.js discussion, CommonMark discussion, and Let’s Encrypt discussion.)


You may also recognize Guo Xiang as tgxworld from meta, or from his fantastic and frequent GitHub pull request contributions to the Discourse project. Alan became one of our favorite project contributors in recent memory, and reminded us very much of Régis, who we are obviously quite fond of.

Alan technically does not start until January 1st, but we’ve convinced him to work part time through December to ramp up quickly for January. We have a lot of internal hosting improvements we want to make, and since poor Matt has a year long backlog of work we put in front of him, he can use all the help he can get.

Welcome Matt, Erlend, Alan

And then there were nine.

Thanks for joining us on our mission – I think Clay Shirky said it best:

In the past, we could do little things for love, but big things, big things required money. Now, we can do big things for love.

Here’s to the next 7 years of completely free, open source civilized discussion software on the web – and hitting the ground running in 2016. We can’t do it without you.


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.


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!