Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

  1. Directory & User Management
  2. Meals
  3. Pricing & Sustainability
  4. Reservations
  5. Wiki
  6. Work
  7. Support
  8. Technical

Directory & User Management

See the Directory page.


See the Meals page.

Pricing & Sustainability

How much does Gather cost?

See the Pricing & Sustainability page.

Why should we pay?

Communities deserve great tech, and great tech is expensive to build and maintain. See the Pricing & Sustainability page for more detail.

Will Gather still be around in 5 years?

Almost certainly. Gather is already in heavy use in multiple communities which depend on it to run their meals programs, common spaces, member directory and more.

Building a bigger community of paying subscribers will only deepen the system’s sustainability.

Can our community contribute labor in lieu of money?

Yes, as long as there is a firm and accountable hours commitment and those offering to contribute possess the necessary skills. Contact us and let’s talk!


See the Reservations page.


See the Wiki page.


See the Work page.


How do I get help with Gather?

It depends on the type of help you need!

Is there any documentation?

Not yet but there will be. We have been focusing our resources to date on building functionality, and relying on communities members to support each other in using Gather.

We recognize documentation is necessary, especially for some areas of the system. We will cover the most commonly asked questions in this document for now. When more substantial documentation is rolled out, we will move much of this content there.

Is there a venue where we can discuss Gather with other users?

There is! Everyone who has access to Gather has access to our support forum. Please introduce yourself there and feel free to post technical questions and enhancement requests.

Where do I report bugs or things that don’t seem to be working right?

Please contact us. We appreciate it!


What technologies and programming languages is Gather made with?

We have chosen a very well established technology stack to ensure Gather’s longevity:

Can we get our data out of Gather for analysis or if we want to go elsewhere?


Currently we offer CSV export of member data. Meals and accounts are not far behind. CSV is great for doing data analysis, importing to other tools, etc.

However, we recognize that CSV outputs are not complete archives of your data. For this reason, we also pledge to provide full SQL and filesystem dumps of your community’s data upon request.

We do not believe in data lock-in!

Does Gather have an API?

Not yet. What would you need one for? Let’s talk.

What about calendars? Email? File storage? Other features?

See the planned feature roadmap for what we have in store. If your idea isn’t there, let us know.

Where is our data?

Our data is stored at Digital Ocean, whose servers are in New York.

What about privacy? Is our data shared with other communities using Gather?

No. All the communities are strictly separated within the application. All data is transmitted over an encrypted connection. It is not stored in an encrypted format, but the server itself is locked down according to industry standard practices.

Can we self-host our own Gather instance?

Gather is open source so anyone is free to setup their own instance.

Self-hosting is also not likely to be a cost-saving measure once you consider the value of your members’ time. Maintaining an active, complex web application takes a lot of time and expertise.

Self-hosting could be a sensible model if you have a lot of developer talent (and time) in your community and you want to do a lot customization. In that case, it would be great to work together to keep as much of that code as possible in the mainline and available for other communities to benefit from.

We like to think that contributing to Gather (either with code or with dollars) is an investment in a movement.

I’ve heard Rails applications can be hosted for free on Heroku. How about that?

Heroku’s free tier is designed for experimentation, not production use, and Gather is a beefy enough application that your members’ experience will likely not be good on Heroku’s free tier. Some considerations:

Then there is support. As mentioned above, maintaining a production web application is not a trivial matter. (We like to say a web application is more like a dog than a hammer!) Heroku helps with some maintenance tasks but not all of them.

Given all this, we’d be much happier if your dollars were going towards supporting Gather instead of Heroku!

What about system backups?

The full system is backed up nightly in the cloud.

What kind of security does Gather utilize?

Gather is a security-first application. We used popular, battle-tested frameworks, specifically Ruby on Rails, Devise, and Pundit, to build Gather. We also have extensive automated tests to prevent bugs or regressions as we continue to work on the system. All Gather traffic goes over a secure HTTPS connection. Email addresses must be confirmed to prevent account hijacking. We enforce intelligent password strength rules. The list goes on.