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Free Hosting for Open Source v2

Erlend Sogge Heggen November 13, 2018

Nearly two years ago we started very carefully experimenting with free hosting of open source projects. Today we’re announcing the next iteration of our free hosting program, casting a much wider net this time.

Free Discourse Hosting For Your Open Source Project

Do you run a popular open source project? Then you might be eligible for a free, hosted Discourse + SSL. Our tight integration with GitHub automates contributor badges and linking between Discourse topics and GitHub issues.

Minimum Requirements

  • 15+ 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.

Basic Terms

  • You will get a sub-domain of your choosing on the *.discourse.group domain, e.g. myproject.discourse.group.
  • You will get free SSL, courtesy of Let’s Encrypt.
  • There is a bandwidth limit of 50k monthly page views, equivalent to half of our Standard hosting plan.
  • If you exceed our bandwidth limit (for several consecutive months) 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 Standard hosting plan at 50% off.
  • Absolutely zero lock-in! You are free to download a complete Discourse export and migrate away from our free hosting at any time.

Apply Now!

Since we’re still doing some of this manually it might take us a few days to get back to you.

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

FAQ

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

Discourse is, first and foremost, a tool to host discussion at scale. Not all open source projects need large scale discussions to prosper. Know your project, and consider whether or not it’s the type of project that would benefit from Discourse’s discussion model. 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!

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GSoC 2017 ends – Outreachy winter round begins

Erlend Sogge Heggen September 14, 2017

Since May this year we’ve been working with a handful of incredibly talented students. Google Summer of Code 2017 has now concluded, and we have some kick-ass new features to show for it. If you’re interested in a similar type of program, you should read about Outreachy further below, which is an internship for people from groups traditionally underrepresented in tech. As for Rails Girls, that is still ongoing; expect an update some time in October.

Four students entered – Four students emerged victorious

Out of the 4 students we worked with this year, all of them passed with flying colors. Not only that, but the projects they worked on were far from trivial.

David Taylor – Discourse Chat Integration

Bianca Nenciu – UX improvements; PMs to email addresses; Canned Replies v2

Jakub Macina – Search filters for tags, images & filetypes; Infinite scrolling in search results

Erick Guan – Login by email link; UTF-8 improvements; Improved Chinese-Japanese-Korean search

A big warm thanks to our wonderful students! We’d be happy to keep working with all of you, so hopefully we’ll still see you on Meta from time to time.

Outreachy – Winter Round

We planned to participate in Outreachy this summer, but with 4 GSoC slots and a Rails Girls project, our mentors were at capacity. We opted to defer our Outreachy participation to this winter.

However, we did in fact get to work with an Outreachy applicant this summer as well! Bianca originally found out about us through Outreachy, but when we realised we didn’t have the mentors available for it we recommended that she apply for GSoC instead, and the rest is history (of kickassery).

Would you like to participate in Outreachy this winter?

Learn all about it here: https://github.com/discourse/discourse/wiki/Outreachy

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Boost your Patreon page with Discourse

Erlend Sogge Heggen June 22, 2017

Interest-based forums are perhaps the ultimate community experience. These oases on the internet are where you realise that geeking out big-time on knitting, robotics, fantasy football or what-have-you is totally a thing, and there’s no shortage of likeminded enthusiasts out there ready to geek out with you. Unfortunately these communities are also the most difficult to support, because general interests are hard to monetise.

That’s where Patreon comes in, with a membership platform for creators. Content creators and community builders are often the one and the same, which is why we’ve made it easy to use Patreon and Discourse together.

A few weeks ago we quietly rolled out our Patreon integration to all of our hosted customers. Along with the self-hosted early adopters (thanks so much!) there are plenty of live examples to look at already:

Here’s how it works

Let’s assume you already have a profile on Patreon and the integration with Discourse has been set up. This is what the integration does for you:

1. A user on your forum decides to become a patron of your Patreon page.

2. Discourse detects that this user (email) is a Patron and adds the user to the patrons group

This group membership comes with a lot of added “cosmetics”, which admins can customise to fit their brand. Patrons can get a custom Title, Avatar flair and Badge.

With the right incentives in place you can take this one step further and give patrons access to a private category or even an exclusive forum for paying members only, like the Video Creators community is doing:

3. Increase patronage through visibility

While that extra flair is a fun and rewarding way to recognise your patrons, it also doubles as advertisement for your Patreon campaign.

A membership business is is a numbers game, and you want to remind your users as often as possible that pledging on Patreon unlocks special perks. The patron flair accomplishes that by being ever-present in daily discussions, serving as an unobtrusive reminder of the special access that only patrons receive.

Ready to start collecting money? Follow our set-up guide and you’re all set. Self-hosted users must install the plugin first. If you’re using this integration on a live site, we’d love to hear from you!

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