Boost your Patreon campaign 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 companies like Patreon come in with crowdfunding 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 give a monthly donation to your project through Patreon

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.

Donations is a numbers game, and you want to remind your users as often as possible that their support is needed, without becoming an annoyance. The patron flair accomplishes that by being ever-present in daily discussions, serving as an unobtrusive but daily reminder that donations are a thing. It’s a positive feedback loop.

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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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)