Thank you! A note on backups & hosting

Thank you to everyone involved in setting up this site. I have probably spent 2 hours on it testing out various things, and all I can say is that this is the best forum software that I’ve used to date.

It seems user friendly, fairly low bandwidth, and looks like it would be useful to even people with low technical skills - I will tell people about it and watch them use it and note if I see any places where they struggle, but so far I can just say Wow! Great work in setting it up and getting the default settings right.

I’m not sure if you’ve looked at very busy sites using the same software, to note ideas or pain points in organizing information - and learnings, which you can use to orientating the moderators, but I think it could be a worthwhile exercise. I think having a useful taxonomy or way to organize information, might become critical at some point to allow people to find what they need easily. Also, to try to anticipate the sort of issues that will be relevant to community networks in 5 to 10 years from now, and what we can do now to smooth the road ahead.

I think this forum is set to become a valuable resource - as such I think it’s important that the site be backed up- and made available offline. If it’s just hosted on one hosting service, for example, it would just take one missed invoice to lose everything, so I think it is of critical importance to host this on another provider too.

In my experience, if all the instructions on how this was set up, and how it can be backed up, or hosted elsewhere, or offline, is shared here, then people will do it.

I’d be happy to support with any of these activities.

Also consider explicitly stating some basic terms and a content license, as well as a take-down or dispute procedure, that all the moderators are on board with.

Hi Coenraad. We did a fair amount of research and testing off discussion platforms/tools before settling on Discourse. I am more and more impressed with it as a platform, the more I use it. I keep discovering new ways in which the developers have been thoughtful about community and about administrators.

Those are great points about backing up the site. For now this still constitutes an experiment to some degree in the context of the SIDA-funded Local Network project. We hope it will take off and the response so far is super positive. I think the right time to re-visit this is closer to the end of the project (Dec 31)

For now, the setup is brutally simple. It is hosted on Digital Ocean which has some handy features like having pre-configured “droplets” of popular open source software solutions. This site follows the Discourse dockerised installation which is the only version of their software that they support. The site currently runs on a single cpu, 2GB ram, 50GB instance of Ubuntu 18.04 in Amsterdam, which costs USD10 per month. Backups, cpu/ram/hard disks upgrades, CDNs are a click away but I think those discussions are a few months away, well except perhaps the backups which are a good thing to do right away. As the project comes to an end and IF we are successful in building some momentum here, then governance and ongoing funding of the site are definitely on the cards.

As for the defaults, we have mostly gone with Discourse defaults. Discourse allows for a phenomenal amount of fine-tuning but it takes experience to understand the impact of making changes. Suggestions welcome!! Discourse also has a great support community at