Building Community with Discourse


I am engaged with a small town community in Sweden (Åkers styckebruk) named “Porten”. Porten is a gathering of some ten local associations trying to collaborate to create a good and healthy community. I’m trying to induce as many as possible of the 10 principles of burning man, mixed with values from open source and various other places I roam and find inspiration from. This has had some success and the community is indeed starting to enbrace some of it. More activities than ever has been spawned over the last year, where these principles and values are getting introduced. Its a slow process, but this is for real.

As many small communities I guess, it has few (if any) means of communicating locally except för Ad-driven platforms such as Facebook. These Facebook and Ad backed forums reak of hate, conflict and where “the good forces” has no real or good means to handle that. We don’t want it.

In Porten, we don’t have people fluent in IT and computers. They don’t speak english very well, but have a need to be able to meet online and discuss. Also we want young people (under 16) to be able to participate. So, its problematic to run our own IT infrastructure.

I’m looking for help setup and run a “discouse” server and collaborate with edgeryders elsewhere in europe that struggle with these questions. “How to build real communities” with the help of internet. I plan to visit Blivande with some of our community members in late june if you would like to meet us.

I reached out to @hugi earlier who might be able to pull in more people to the conversation.


Ping @matthias


Well, we agree about Facebook etc. and that it’s not a nice place over there :slight_smile:

About running Discourse as a forum, I can recommend it a lot. It’s a bit of a struggle to get it up and running though. If you are ok with SaaS hosting with a (small) third-party company, that could be the simplest option for you to get started.

There are at least three options:

  • The official Discourse hosting offer. It’s great quality but not cheap, mostly catering to larger, established forums.

  • Cheaper Discourse hosting, I think there are several offers starting from 10-15 EUR/month now.

  • Discourse hosting with Edgeryders. It’s what the Blivande forum uses, and also the other communities to which you can switch from the top-right “Communities” menu.


This also feeds into the Poprebel project which is trying to address the rising hate across all of Europe. I’m very interested to hear more when we meet end of June. How to address this, especially in rural settings, is a pan-European problem.

@noemi, does this fit somehow with work with towns and cities?

I will visit Blivande in Stockholm on the 28:th of June around 12:00 with some people from our community to meet up with @hugi and hopefully be able to learn more on how to build up stronger and better communities together.

Building on discourse with the rest of the Edgeryders networks vitalises our community and meeting IRL it is even better.

1 Like

@matthias I’ve looked at the options for discourse and found option B (own discourse) to be something I believe we could use.

Can we get help with this and how?

Sure we can help with that, and thank you for the interest :slight_smile:

We probably should start to have a chat about your requirements and an estimate for the budget that such a project would need from our side. I’m available all afternoon and evening these days, either just by direct message here on Discourse, or Matrix or Wire or (if it must be) Messenger or WhatsApp chat. Just let me know how we want to talk.

1 Like

Lets talk asap =)

Hi @erik_lonroth super nice to e meet you!

I’m one of the longtimers here, community manager and Brussels based. The Culture Squad is a sub group in our edgeryders network made of people making more socially engaged culture, in their own local environments. Over the years, some of us worked with municipalities or groups on the ground to build more citizen participation, especially using online community building to complement local outreach. But also making sandboxes for local innovation: for example using public spaces, or underused buildings as international residencies.

Why this could be relevant for you: I think beyond the local platform, it’s worth looking at ways to work in a broader network and creating exchanges leading to more capacity and skills in your town?
A similar group in Romania in a western town also worked with us to install a Discourse application earlier this year, in Romanian. Same with Blivande. They are all just now starting but we find that making people use it takes longer… So be prepared for a ride :slight_smile: happy to chat more and see if we can do something together!

1 Like

This is exactly what I experience here and I would love to collaborate! 4 of us are going to Blivande on the 28/6 at 12:00 to connect with @hugi and hopefully build more connection. If you could join by link or irl?

Update on this.

I’ve started to collect interest from a few associations in my local community and the interest is positive, but slow.

I will try to raise the initial funding for starting the forum @matthias though seeking sponsors. I would love to be able to add some information about Edgeryders and how our effort to connect to this could help us get that initial support. @hugi we need just 500 euro to start the initiative and from that we could likely finance it further.

I feel I should know more about the whole community/network (Edgeryders/Internet of HumansI) than I do since people are interested here to know more.


@matthias, how much would we need to charge for their own instance of Edgeryders Communities?

I will get you properly up to date when you get here. Really looking forward to meeting you guys.

About 500 EUR excl. VAT in setup costs as Erik mentioned, and 60 EUR/month excl. VAT in hosting fees. I talked about that with Erik already. These are our current prices for a very standard Communities instance.

Thanks for taking that part on! Helps a lot.

1 Like

This is amazing and its a good process as well, to gather “community effort” to get going.

I rather have this take time, rather than push it forward without proper support from the community.

1 Like

Take your time, there is no rush.

Of course it’s important to have a proper buy-in (not meaning it related to money but engagement) from the community before introducing some shiny new tech … :slight_smile:

1 Like


I could be helped by perhaps get some access to a “demo” after the summer vacations. To be able to show it to some of the associations… Is that possible? Especially the “Swedish” language part.

If its not available, I might consider looking at how much of an effort that is needed for a translation contribution to the Discourse project…

Swedish translation of the user interface is no problem, we already provide it here and in all the Edgeryders Communities forums.

Just configure it under: top right user menu → :gear: → Interface → Interface language.

You could show that either on this website or on any of the existing Communities websites, to which you already have access with your account. We don’t have a dedicated demo installation at the moment.


You could demo the Blivande forum?

1 Like