Ask Your Questions: Jeff Atwood, founder of Discourse

In episode 1x05 Jeff Atwood answered our questions about Discourse, the forum system you’re using now and which he founded and works on. Ask him your questions here and he will answer them soon!

Hi Jeff,

How would you define “success” for Discourse? Is it just producing a better piece of software, or do you have aims to gain a specific level of popularity and market take up?

A couple different ways:

  • how many installations of Discourse are out there? (We track this indirectly with version pings, since we want everyone to be as close to latest as possible)

  • what kind of discussions am I seeing on various Discourse sites? Is the software helping people communicate constructively, or is it just more “Them vs. Us” screaming like in so many newspaper comment sections?

  • how many open source contributions do we have to the Discourse project on GitHub? Is it a vibrant community of contributors and plugins or is the core team doing everything all the time?

  • how many people are aware of Discourse at all? There are still programmers out there who haven’t heard of Stack Overflow, for example. Over time, are we successfully building awareness that there’s a great 100% free open source alternative for a forum? If you asked people “I want a blog”, most of the time you will hear “WordPress” back, because it is a great and free option with a fantastic ecosystem. We want to achieve that for Discourse.

There is also the argument for overall business ecosystem, but that takes time and builds on the above points.

Thanks for listening, I hope it was useful. And most of all I hope Discourse is useful!


I’m a bit late to the party, I only listened to the episode today. Is full keyboard navigation planned for discourse or maybe even already possible?

Thanks & keep up the good work!


We have a community contributed keyboard plugin, but it is not particularly complete. Try pressing ? but consider that feature beta and experimental for now.

1 Like

Wow, that is very cool. I am constantly learning new things that Discourse can do. Thanks @codinghorror :slight_smile:

No question. Just saying I’m impressed at how quickly Discourse is getting functionality and that I like the direction it’s going in.


It seems “many newspaper articles” are tending to get less and less.

neuro, don’t just say - Not a clue, what your on about 'cos you because you discoursed, too late.


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