Can we host Discourse?

I read that we are using a shareware-like flavor of Discourse, whereas I read that it’s free software. Would it be possible to host our own instance? And make sure that we have backups of all data?

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What would we gain by hosting Discourse ourselves? We would need to maintain the instance, keep it up-to-date and available. Now we outsource those things to a company that does it well. The PSF is paying for it as an infrastructure cost.

I mean, we already use GitHub and its PRs and the discussion there.

My question for the long term is: what if Discourse disappear?

If at any point switches their business model to something that won’t work for us, or they shut down entirely, then we can continue running it ourselves at that point. Something we cannot do with GitHub for example.

Ok. (Crap, Discourse disallow me to send a message of less than 10 characters! I really want to only post “Ok”.)

If you only want to agree or ACK a previous message, liking it saves the space.


I like it more and more. Not particularly for Python, but as general platform.


I’ll configure Discourse to upload it’s backups to a Python Software Foundation managed S3 bucket right now.

This should mitigate the risk of discourse as a service disappearing and allow us to host ourselves if it becomes necessary.

Context: For now the decision to use the hosted version is motivated by 1) reduction in overhead for PSF Infrastructure management 2) it’s free!

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Agreed. It seems generally nice. I would have two reservations:

  • lack of nested categories may become difficult to work with for very active forums
  • the default settings look a bit suboptimal, especially the various special rules, limits, access levels, gamification, etc.

You can have 2 levels of Categories, we’re currently only using 1 level. So you can do something like Having a “Core” category that has “Committers”, “Devel”, etc inside it. Discourse does not let you arbitrarily nest categories beyond 2 levels though, and the recommendation at that point is to start using tags instead.

We should be able to edit these if needed I think. They won’t apply to existing users, but if we want to change the default settings for new users I believe we can.

As Donald said, we can easily create sub-categories and I believe we will. I just don’t want to pre-create them in the YAGNI spirit. If things start going sideways, we will organically grow sub-categories for the biggest things. We can move things around after they got created so there’s no pressure building a rigid structure from Day 1.

You need to be more specific. What things would you change or disable? Remember that this is supposed to be a platform where the core devs are a small part of the userbase. Gamification for example looks silly for the core team but will make more sense for everybody else.