The Discourse Encouragement Fund

Originally published at: The Discourse Encouragement Fund

For almost a year now, we’ve been doing something that’s considered quite risky for an open source project: Paying contributors. Communities like ours are fundamentally built on intrinsic motivation. Getting money involved can jeopardize the whole ecosystem, but for the past year we’ve been experimenting with a model that lets us pay contributors for mission-critical…


So, where does the money come in to the fund?

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From customers who purchase hosting plans at

The general idea is that paying customers help improve Discourse, both for themselves, and for the greater open source community at large.


I’ve thinking about ways to micro-contribute to Discourse financially. Got this idea:

  • Bring ad plugin to the core, improve it.
  • Enable ads here
  • Offer a micro payment option to remove ads (add this feat too). Meta has a nice and growing user base.
  • Profit

You provide free software and free support. We (members) might as well contribute a little, financially.


It’s fine to contribute by spreading the word about Discourse, it’s also most excellent to contribute by running a real live Discourse community and providing feedback!

Stepping up from that, people can contribute bugfixes, localizations, general support of others, and tons of other stuff.

:moneybag: is important, it is what keeps us in business for sure… but it’s not the only thing that matters by any means.


Regardless of the fact that I am trying to support you with a little bug testing, I would also like to contribute something from time to time. The easiest would be a quick paypal donation. I think many smaller donations will help you as well.

It is difficult to keep a smaller forum alive. Especially for non-English Communites. I am very glad to have made the step from phpBB to Discourse. This opens up many new possibilities. For this and for the support, here in this forum, I’m really grateful.


Thanks, greatly appreciated! But we will gladly accept donations of your time more so than money. :wink:


I did not write it in my post, but since this is the Fund thread, the idea was to forward the money to these contributors.

But whatever works for you.

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I think @codinghorror is right. Communities are created and grown by sharing a passion. Our passion is Discourse. The biggest mistake you can make is to divert focus from that. That’s a great attest to the professionalism of the Discourse team. And in this stage of Discourse’ lifecycle, quality is the most important factor. It is quality that Discourse distinguishes from other systems, and it is quality that attracts attention. And good community leadership should leverage that any way they can. By welcoming meaningful contributions in any shape or form, you build loyalty. And these days, loyalty is worth its weight in gold. Not in the short term, but always in the long term. And corrrect me if I am wrong, but that has been pretty much @codinghorror’s mindset from Day One.