Citing Discourse in an Academic paper

How would one cite Discourse in an academic paper?

There are guidelines for folks who use LATEX and Bibtex, but I am not sure where to find the relevant information, specifically the author and the year. This is the recommended format for the bibliography item:

author =   {Stephane Popinet},
title =    {{GTS}: {GNU} {Triangulated} {Surface} library},
howpublished = {\url{}},
year = {2000--2004}

Gosh I don’t know. Any thoughts @pfaffman you have some expertise in this area?


Note that especially for academic software one can create a DOI tracking Github repo via Zenodo with Github integration. Probably an overkill in this case though. :slight_smile:

Otherwise, listing all authors in an open source project seems to be a futile task so I would keep it simple and mention e.g. only founders?

Definitely overkill – not even sure about the notion of authoriality in open source software. But who are the founders? Where do I find the info? For example, on the NetLogo site there is a “copyright” page with the guidelines for citing: NetLogo 6.1.0 User Manual: Copyright and License.

I’d go with

  author       = {Jeff Atwood and Robin Ward and Sam Saffron and Neil Lalonde},
  title        = {{Discourse: Civilized Discourse Construction Kit}},
  howpublished = {\url{}},
  year         = {2013--2019}

based on If you want to reflect that it’s built by a community of people rather than the four founding members, I’d use Discourse Development Team or something similar.


Brilliant, thank you @fhe! I think it is for the development community, rather than myself, to decide how they want to be cited.

Keep in mind, if you’re going for technicality here Neil is not a co-founder. While he has been around since nearly the beginning, and deserves heaps and heaps (and heaps) of credit, he’s not legally a co-founder.

Why not

Jeff Atwood, Robin Ward, Sam Saffron, et al.


Not all journals support et al, many require full author listing

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howpublished should probably be if you’re pointing at the software itself, rather than the company?