A platform for community discussion. Free, open, simple.
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Discourse is the 100% open source, next-generation discussion platform built for the next decade of the Internet.

Whenever you need ...

  • a mailing list
  • a forum to discuss something
  • a chat room where you can type paragraphs

... consider Discourse.

Getting Started

  1. If you're brand new to Ruby and Rails, please start with our Discourse Vagrant Developer Guide, which includes instructions to get up and running in a development environment using a virtual machine. This beginner's guide is also adequate for developers ready to sink their teeth quickly; it's the easiest way to hack on Discourse!

  2. Once you have Discourse up and running, be sure to load the appropriate seed data on your forum, either the developer seed data, which is the same data you'll see on try.discourse.org, or the production seed data which includes the Discourse Admin Quick Start Guide and meta guidance.

  3. If you're familiar with how Rails works and are comfortable setting up your own environment, use our Discourse Advanced Developer Guide.

Before you get started, ensure you have the following minimum versions: Ruby 1.9.3+, PostgreSQL 9.1+, Redis 2.6+. And if you're having trouble, please see our TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE first!


Discourse is a Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, an 100% open-source discussion platform that is free for everyone to use and contribute to -- forever. Our key mission goals:

  • A flattened, endlessly scrolling discussion, avoiding the awkwardness of traditionally threaded and paginated discussion, while allowing replies to be expanded in place for additional context.

  • A user trust system that grants users additional rights to assist in moderating the forum as they participate in good faith over time. The goal is for the forum to be nearly self-moderating in the absence of any formal moderators, although excellent moderators accelerate the process greatly.

  • An advanced JavaScript app which runs in modern browsers and works identically on desktop and tablet, without the need for a native app.

  • A contemporary, robust technology stack, free of legacy PHP and MySQL constraints limiting developers and administrators.

The Discourse team wishes to foster an active community of contributors, all of whom commit to delivering this continued vision, ensuring that free, unfettered online discussion can grow and thrive in an Internet age dominated by micro-blogging, and diminishing attention spans. Online discussion belongs to all of us, not just huge corporate websites.

This vision translates to the following functional commitments:

  1. Support only modern browsers on the desktop:
    • Internet Explorer 9.0 (may not be fully functional), 10.0+
    • Firefox 16+
    • Google Chrome 23+
    • Safari 5+
  2. Support the latest generation of tablets, 7" or larger
    • iPad 2+
    • Android 4.1+
    • Windows 8
  3. Deliver support for the latest generation of small screen mobile/smartphones as soon as possible:
    • Windows Phone 8
    • iOS 5+
    • Android 4.0+


Build Status Code Climate

Discourse is 100% free and open-source. We encourage and support an active, healthy community that accepts contributions from the public, and we'd like you to be a part of that community.

Before contributing to Discourse, please:

  1. Review the VISION statement, to confirm that you understand the needs of the team and the focus of the project,
  2. Read and sign the Electronic Discourse Forums Contribution License Agreement, to confirm you've read and acknowledged the legal aspects of your contributions, and
  3. Dig into CONTRIBUTING.MD, which houses all of the necessary info to:
    • submit bugs,
    • request new features, and
    • step you through the entire process of preparing your code for a Pull Request.
  4. Not sure what to work on? We've got some ideas!

We look forward to seeing your cool stuff!

Having Problems getting set up?

Before contacting us for help, please review our Troubleshooting Guide.


Discourse is built from the following open source components:

  • Ruby on Rails - Our back end API is a Rails app. It responds to requests RESTfully and responds in JSON.
  • Ember.js - Our front end is an Ember.js app that communicates with the Rails API.
  • PostgreSQL - Our main data store is in Postgres.
  • Redis - We use Redis for our job queue, rate limiting, as a cache and for transient data.

Plus lots of Ruby Gems, a complete list of which is at SOFTWARE.MD.


Discourse implements the Semantic Versioning guidelines. Releases will be numbered with the following format:


  • Breaking backward compatibility bumps the major (and resets the minor and patch)
  • New additions without breaking backward compatibility bumps the minor (and resets the patch)
  • Bug fixes and misc changes bumps the patch

The Discourse Team

The original Discourse code contributors can be found in AUTHORS.MD. For a complete list of the many individuals that contributed to the design and implementation of Discourse, please refer to the official Discourse website.

Copyright / License

Copyright 2013 Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc.

Licensed under the GNU General Public License Version 2.0 (or later); you may not use this work except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License in the LICENSE file, or at:


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

Discourse logo and “Discourse Forum” ®, Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc.


Discourse is built with love, Internet style.