Discourse Team Grows by 50%

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.