Finding people to share a Discourse instance with

I have a blog. It’s not very good and it doesn’t have a ton of readers, but I’d still rather use Discourse than Disqus for a comment section. However, if it feels arrogant/wasteful/unsustainable to use a whole Discourse instance for myself. It would be nice to share an instance with someone with similar interests. By “share” I mean that all the bloggers link to a post in the instance for their comment section, but each blogger maintains their own Discourse site.

Consequently, I propose a website (or a Discourse instance?) dedicated to finding people to share instances with as a funnel for potential customers for the platform.

Being a pretty novice UX/UI person, I’m not sure what the flow for this application would be, but it seems pretty similar to a dating site:

  • Let someone tag their interests for easy searching/matching with others.
  • Let them create a profile describing themselves, as well as a curated list of 5 of their blog posts demonstrating their style/interests.

Being an amateur full-stack web-dev person, I’m not sure how hard this would be to make. It feels like a simple Rails CRUD app, but I might be wrong. I think all you need is:

  • Basic database saving user data
  • Front-end for each profile
  • Front-end for searching/browsing profiles
  • I’m assuming the people interested in each other can just use email for contact?

Being an even worse biz-dev person, I have no idea if this is worth it to build/host. Some things to consider:

  • How many people want to use Discourse as comments for their blogs?
  • How often do blogs have similar themes that would enable sharing of a Discourse instance to be beneficial?
  • Would a bunch of little Discourse instances be just a profitable/meaningful as big Discourse instances paid by large companies?
  • Alternatively, if Discourse itself doesn’t want to invest time/resources to create this site, is there possibility for some sort of referral program? I’m not even clear how those work and if that would viable for Discourse.

Nice idea, but I think it’s not easily viable. The legal risks like data ownership and privacy will probably outweigh the cost benefits.

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The legal risks like data ownership and privacy will probably outweigh the cost benefits.

That’s a legitimate criticism, but what data specifically? The data of the users trying to find people to share an instance with or the data for the referral program? Or something else?

I guess that depends on how you plan to monetize.

Without consulting the others, I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is the case. I’m not sure that the ROI is there for us.

The data in the shared instance.

I’m not sure I understand what’s the difference between the data problems between shared instance vs. a normal individually owned instance? Are you talking about the instance where one of the co-owners might want to leave and the ownership problems that might create? Are you also talking about the problem that incurs when more than an individual has access to the admin tools? Or something else entirely?

I meant mostly about how Discourse plans to monetize, but now looking at your pricing, I see how you mostly make money off of big organisations. So, I would have to provide evidence that a group of a few collaborators would buy the same services as a big organisation. I’ll edit my original post to reflect this insight.

Thank you for taking the time to help me understand and your honest assessment.

You also don’t necessarily need to go with one of our hosted plans. Check out @pfaffman’s options at – hosting on Digital Ocean might be more feasible for you.

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Thank you for pointing out this alternative for me. For myself, I’m likely to go for the self-hosted option. I was mostly asking because I wanted to understand what type of projects/initiatives Discourse find meaningful/profitable to see how to properly frame this proposal and maybe future ones.

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Yes, that.

Did you check out our plans at ? It’s still managed hosting and our plans start at $20/month.

I did! I’ll let you know if I find a couple of people to share it with who just so happen to be into:

  • Cognitive modelling
  • Theoretical neuroscience
  • Applied rationality type long-form essays
  • Book reviews

:wink: <- (the winky face is supposed to signal my skepticism of being able to do that and considering just giving up)

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