How to use the Encouragement Fund

Ideally everything to do with the Encouragement Fund will still go through me (and ultimately Jeff for payment) since the process is not yet formalised with an exact budget or “rate limits”, but if you’re ever told “use the Encouragement Fund” this page should be your next stop.

Marking stuff as pr-welcome

The devs and in particular the co-founders have the final say on pr-welcome qualification. If you spot a likely candidate, inquire with a whisper.

Putting a price tag on a task

This is tricky and like all pricing it’s not an exact science. The easiest way is to compare the task with other pr-welcome tasks. Everything tagged #pr-welcome is in theory a $150-$1500 bounty, and with that in mind you can try to gauge where a particular task lines on the complexity spectrum.

Choosing a contributor to tap

For simpler tasks it’s great if we can work with a contributor we’ve never worked with before. Minimum requirements are:

  • Helpful in a few posts on Meta
  • Demonstrated coding ability through accepted PRs to Discourse core or plugins

Using existing collaborators

For more advanced tasks it’s better to ask collaborators that we’ve worked with before, since we know what they’re capable of.

There’s a rough overview in this legacy list of paid collaborators. When in doubt just ask.

Making contact

The first PM usually goes something like this:


We love that you’re getting involved with Discourse and helping out!

Are you interested in doing the occasional paid micro-gig? We’re looking for someone who could implement this for us: [link to some topic]. We can pay you $X.

Let us know if you’d feel comfortable taking this on and we’ll help spec it out properly.


{Discourse Person}


We’re not strict with timelines, but it’s good to have a soft deadline. This also gives you a midway point where you can check in and ask “how’s it going?”. This is part-time work so we’re very lenient:

  • $150-$300 :calendar: 2-3 weeks
  • $300-800 :calendar: 3-5 weeks
  • $800-$1500 :calendar: 5-8 weeks (i.e. “ideally we’d get it done within the next 1-2 months”)

If the work is not done by the deadline, you have two options.

  1. If the developer still seems committed, keep going. Otherwise;
  2. “no hard feelings! We’ll pass this on to someone else”.


After a task is completed you need to make sure the contributor gets paid. Make sure @hawk and @erlend_sh is invited to your ongoing PM with the contributor and post a reply like this:

@hawk, @erlend_sh {contributor’s-email} is owed X$


When the task is all done and paid for you need to post an update here:

Improving the pipeline

  • Long term: Pre-emptively put a price-tag on tasks, so trusted contributors can browse available tasks and request “work permit”.

    • Prerequisite: Private tags. Pricing tags should only be visible to trusted Contributors.
    • Prerequisite: Extend assignments plugin to groups. Contributors can assign themselves to PRs (limited to one at a time).