Ruby For Good 2018 and the Global Legal Empowerment Network

The Ruby for Good hackathon starts this week. It’s an annual event bringing together programmers to collaborate on social projects using the Ruby programming language. Ruby powers discourse, the open source software that powers this forum!


This year they reached out to us (thank you @marenabrinkhurst for the intro! :seedling:) to ask for project ideas. They’ve decided to work on the events plugin authored by @angus that powers our beautiful forum calendar and to create a new ticket system plugin to help the network team behind the scenes to keep track of discourse-related tasks such as new member onboarding, helpdesk services and engagement.

I’m pleased to introduce our new Ruby for Good friends! @anon12087594 and @willmurphy are the team leaders and will be stewarding this project along. @Kalimar is a Ruby for Good organizer and has been our primary contact since reaching out to us several months ago now. On our side, @angus will mentor the team on developing for Discourse. Angus will also maintain the repositories on github for any code created through the project so he can take them forward after the hackathon ends.

The first priority for Lasitha and Will is to inspire as many programmers attending the hackathon to work on our project as possible! To that end, there’s an opening social event on Wednesday, 4 June at 6pm. Is anyone in DC, esp from the @namati_network team, interested in attending to represent us and meet the team? If so, let me know and we can discuss the details. Also, it’s always helpful to have token gifts to inspire people to join the team. @abigailmoy do you have any ideas, like maybe sharing some prints of your beautiful photos of legal empowerment practitioners in action?

And finally, it’s a huge help to also provide strong emotional reasons to entice participants to work on our project. I’m told that in the past, the projects that were heartwarming generally got the most buy in. Of course Namati and members of this network have amazing stories to tell about how we have contributed to the legal empowerment movement - can you share some of your favorites here? @mckinleycharles @vivektrivedi @michaelotto?

I’m very excited about this project, and look forward to reporting back to you all as the team forms and gets to work on helping to make this great community platform of ours even better.


@tobiaseigen Thank you for the kind words. We are very excited to be working with Namati this year. And yes, if anyone is in DC and would like to join us for our social event on Wednesday 4 June, please let me know and I can provide more information.


This is really exciting! There’s of course endless inspiring examples of the urgent work that’s been done as part of the legal empowerment movement, so why not have a few of these stories told by Namati’s CEO, @vivekmaru, in his recent TED Talk. Here’s a link to the discourse post. Here’s a direct link to the talk, which has generated nearly a million views!

Namati’s recently released Annual Report is also a treasure trove of stories that illustrate not only the impact of the Global Legal Empowerment Network, but also its dramatic growth.

Every corner of this forum carries inspiration, exploration, and collaboration. You can’t go wrong anywhere you click. I’m looking forward to all the progress ahead!


Thank you @Kalimar for organising such an exciting event! I recently joined Namati as a summer fellow and would love to attend the final demo on Sunday if possible. Is the demo open to all? In any event, I look forward to the event’s outcomes. Best of luck @anon12087594 and @willmurphy!


@nidhishaphilip We would love for you to come out and see what we are doing. Sunday, or during the weekend while folks are working too. Feel free to DM me for more information.


Thank you! Will message you.


Wow! I’m told we have 8 developers who volunteered to work on our Ruby for Good project this weekend. Thank you all so much @anon12087594 @willmurphy @pcho231 @NathanKleekamp @howardm @betsyhaibel @jenpen @robbkidd! You are amazing and I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

I hope you’re enjoying getting your development environments set up and getting acquainted with the discourse open source software platform. I think you’ll find it to be pretty great!

See you all at our planning video call tonight! :first_quarter_moon_with_face:


It was really exciting to briefly interact with the amazing group of people (@anon12087594 @willmurphy @pcho231 @NathanKleekamp @howardm @betsyhaibel @jenpen @robbkidd ) that worked on improving our community platform over the weekend at the the Ruby For Good 2018. I understand the worked on improving the dashboard and the ticket system - I’m sure that this will help the Network members navigate this forum better.


Thanks, Nidhisha! It’s great that you were able to attend the Ruby for Good demo event! I am envious that you got to meet everyone involved in all the projects happening that weekend. It must have been a dynamic, exciting atmosphere!

@angus and I met the volunteer team who worked on our project via video call on Friday to get to know them, answer their questions and help them with their planning. It was fun to meet them all and I was inspired by their generosity and determination to make a solid contribution to our work - amazing. :sunny: They decided to focus on creating the new discourse-ticketing plugin. The goal of the plugin is to help the network team behind the scenes with nurturing and supporting the community - it will not be visible to members or the public.

The discourse-ticketing plugin will be released under an open source license, which means it will be available for free for anyone operating a forum using the same discourse software we use. I don’t expect it to be a completed, polished product yet after just a weekend, but my hope is that they will have made a solid start and that @angus and other developers interested in using the plugin will be able to pick up where they left off and work together to improve it, and that in the very near future it will be ready to install and start using.

This is the power of open source! :sunflower:

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Good morning @tobiaseigen

I wanted to check in on behalf of the team. I think we made a good head start on building the ticketing pluign:

  1. Our plugin adds a button to the UI that lets moderators make a topic into a ticket
  2. We built the front-end pieces of a dashboard that will show tickets. We ran out of time to wire the dashboard up to real data, and it doesn’t have filtering capabilities yet, but we believe this is a good start.

@angus our repository is here: GitHub - rubyforgood/discourse-ticketing: Ticketing system for Discourse. This PR: Not quite ready to merge: Fetch real data for ticketing dashboard by willmurphyscode · Pull Request #67 · rubyforgood/discourse-ticketing · GitHub contains work in progress to wire up live progress for the dashboard.

The biggest piece of missing work is the filtering on the dashboard - that will require some work on the backend, and the UI to be implemented.

At this point, I think Angus should take over as primary developer, but I am certainly available for questions if needed. There are a number of issues open on the github repo linked above that should help you see more specifically what we were working on and what we finished. There are two or three issues tagged ask-angus which we wanted your input on: Issues · rubyforgood/discourse-ticketing · GitHub

We also have a temporary staging environment at , on which our plugin is installed. If you’d like me to push our latest code there, I can do so. There are a couple things to note about our staging environment:

  1. It costs one of the team members about $5 a month to keep on, so we’d like to turn it off soon-ish.
  2. It is not secured, so you should not re-use passwords or put real data there
  3. The mail server it uses is a little sketchy, so your sign-up confirmation emails will almost certainly go to spam.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for the opportunity to work with you!

I know I personally find Namati’s mission very inspiring, and would love to contribute again in the future.



Hi Will! Thanks for the update. I will be meeting up with Angus later today to talk about next steps. Thanks all of you for your hard work on this plugin. It’s terrific to see open source software development in action, directly on behalf of this network while also building valuable software that can benefit all discourse-powered communities. Nicely done! :sunflower:

Angus has a sandbox so presumably you can remove yours anytime. I just set up an account for myself on your sandbox to test it out and can see the new UI to add tickets - pretty neat!

I’m pleased to share the great news that Tickets Plugin v0.1 for our forum software is completed! The plugin was worked on this summer by our Ruby For Good 2018 team @anon12087594 @willmurphy @pcho231 @NathanKleekamp @howardm @betsyhaibel @jenpen @robbkidd, and polished off by @angus. Angus remains the maintainer for the plugin.

There is a good chance the plugin will be used by many other forums, which means many more people contributing their feedback and code so it will get even better over time. This is the magic :sparkles: of open source software.

I’m really happy with the way this project has gone - thank you Ruby for Good and thank you @angus!

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