Summer of Code 2017

Erlend Sogge Heggen February 28, 2017

This summer, Discourse will be participating in three different “summer of code” projects!

Google Summer of Code 2017

First of all, we’re happy to announce that we’ve been accepted into Google Summer of Code for the 2nd time in a row.

Rails Girls Summer of Code 2017

As per usual (this is our 4th go) we’ll also be participating in RGSoC. That process is run entirely on RGSoC’s end, so please see their website for more information.

Outreachy 2017 (May)

We’re very excited to be participating in Outreachy for the first time this year.

Outreachy helps people from groups underrepresented in free and open source software get involved. We provide a supportive community for beginning to contribute any time throughout the year and offer focused internship opportunities twice a year with a number of free software organizations.

Currently, internships are open internationally to women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people. Additionally, they are open to residents and nationals of the United States of any gender who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander. We are planning to expand the program to more participants from underrepresented backgrounds in the future.

Outreachy applicants are encouraged to apply for both GSoC as well as Outreachy. More information here:


Using Discourse as a community-powered wiki

Erlend Sogge Heggen May 3, 2016

The following is a guest post by Sam Nazarko, CEO and founder of

Are you using Discourse in a novel way? If you’re interested in writing a guest post like this one, please get in touch.

In 2014, I started working on a new project, OSMC (Open Source Media Center). OSMC is a free and open source media player based on Linux that lets you play back media from your local network, attached storage and the Internet.



As the project started to accumulate users, we wanted to help the newcomers as much as possible and ensure that they could get the resources they wanted. The need for a Wiki became abundantly clear but I wasn’t sure that popular Wiki software was the best fit for us. For a while we worked on our own GitHub based Wiki system. GitHub had a markdown editor, but it still left a lot to work out for newcomers and the process wasn’t as smooth as we had expected.

After some thought, we realised that Discourse had everything we wanted. Users familiar with posting and the WYSIWYG editor would be able to edit or add to the Wiki without any additional learning curve, and they wouldn’t need to hold an additional account on an external Wiki site. Mark Theis (OSMC’s web developer) and I got to work. By the end of the day, we had a Wiki category in Discourse and some basic scripts that scraped this forum category every half hour and published the pages on our website as static HTML. We scrape Discourse via the Discourse REST API and build templates for our blog.



It’s working well. Edits are easily trackable, and Discourse’s permission system ensures we have fine control over edits on the website. The new implementation is also very fast, as we build the Wiki pages as static HTML and cache them. Discourse has already proven its ability to handle large numbers of posts, so unlike other Wiki software, I’m not concerned about performance problems as the Wiki scales.

There is certainly room for improvement with our Wiki. We scrape each post from the Wiki category and get the post content as JSON. This JSON contains pre-formatted HTML. In the future, it would be good to be able to access the post as Markdown and have more control over the styling of the content. Editing posts is simple enough, but adding new categories or new articles is still a little too complex for some users, and this is something we’d like to simplify in the future.

The Wiki needs a lot of work, but we’re glad to have implemented something stable and easy to use that will last for many years to come. We are now looking at using Discourse to power our new Newsletter system for the same ease of editing and great durability.

You can get the source code here: (updated)


Free Discourse forum hosting for community-friendly GitHub projects

Erlend Sogge Heggen March 4, 2016

Discourse is proudly and unconditionally 100% open source ever since our public launch just over 3 years ago.


Open source does not exist in a vacuum. We strive to be not just a great open source tool, but upstanding open source citizens, too. We’ve had an informal policy of providing free hosting for other open source tools that Discourse directly relies on. And although it was never announced, if you asked us, we’d offer a standard 50% hosting discount to any popular open source project.

Open source projects with a Discourse forum currently includes:

We love these communities, and we’d love to see more. It’s time to make our informal, ad-hoc policy more public and more open!

Free Discourse Hosting For Your Open Source Project

Do you run a popular open source project on GitHub? Then you might be eligible for a free, hosted Discourse + SSL. Your users can log in with GitHub logins and write posts in Markdown, and we’ve got tighter integration planned down the road, too.

Minimum Requirements

  • Must be hosted on GitHub
    • 2000+ stars
    • 30+ contributors
  • Your project has a clear need for discussions (see FAQ below)
  • Please understand that approval is ultimately at our discretion as we work out the details of this program.

Terms of Service

  • We require a sub-domain with a specific convention, i.e.: This is the only piece of “branding” we require.
  • You will get free SSL
  • There is a bandwidth limit of 100k monthly page views, equivalent to our Standard hosting plan.
  • If you exceed our bandwidth limit – which is very unlikely, unless your project is enormous – you have two options:
    1. We’ll help you move to self-hosting, either on your own server or any Docker compatible cloud (a $20/month Digital Ocean droplet should suffice).
    2. Upgrade to our Business hosting plan at 50% off.
  • Absolutely zero lock-in! You are free to download a complete Discourse export from your web browser and migrate away from our free hosting at any time.

Apply Now!

Can’t see the form? Use this link instead.


Why GitHub only?

Mostly because of GitHub’s popularity, which allows us to set a rudimentary “we think this is likely to work for you” level based on stars and contributors. We’d love to open this program up to all open source projects in the future, but in order to ensure a great hosting experience for everyone, we need to first start with a narrow scope and slowly expand as we go.

What do you mean by “clear need for discussions”?

Discourse is, first and foremost, a tool to host discussion. Not all open source projects need discussions to prosper. Know your project, and consider whether or not it’s the type of project that would benefit from discussions. Some signs to look for:

  • Your issue tracker is being crowded with feature requests and “bikeshed discussions”.
  • Users of your project seek out development advice from other users.
  • Your project gives way to new projects built on top of it that can be shared and talked about.

Building communities is difficult; nobody wants to launch a ghost town, and it takes more than great software to make a community. Be sure to read Building a Discourse Community for tips and ideas.

We already have a mailing list/forum. Will you help us migrate?

Unfortunately we can’t dedicate time for assisted migrations right now. However, we do have a wide range of open source import scripts for Discourse. So, if you export your forum data, import it into a staged up-to-date Discourse site, and export a backup from Discourse, then there is a very good chance we can help you out.

We hope to hear from you!