Killing Slack, convince me we need Discord

So many years ago when it was shiny and exciting we setup a Concrete CMS Slack. Some community members thought it was a mistake as it spread our attention too thin and unless you pay for it you can’t search old content, but we plowed ahead into the future regardless.

Years later, we agree. Slack for an Open Source project is a mistake. Any good answers in there get lost to the 10,000 line limit of free search, and we’d much rather have people asking & answering questions in these forums anyway.

A few weeks ago some poor soul desperate for answers they thought they might be in the history, and they actually found a way to pay for the community slack, only to quickly realize that’s not a sane pricing model for an open source project. We want to avoid that in the future, and we want to make it easy for people to ask questions and get answers from helpful people here.

That said: we’re going to turn off Slack for Concrete CMS. It’s a bit of a wasteland anyway, but this is the official notice that we’re pulling the trigger on that and putting it out of its misery.

Now there’s some discussion internally that Discord might be a better fit. It’s free and doesn’t have the limit on search that has made slack such a bad solution for our open source needs. There’s even some Discord → Discourse (these forums) integrations that look kinda interesting.

The question is, do we really want to have yet another communication channel to spread our community out on? What discussions are required that wouldn’t be better served by just keeping things here in the forums? Is there really an active user base eager to do real time chat support for newbs who are too busy to post to the forums? If we setup Discord, do we make the same sin we did years ago in spreading our community thin with Slack, or is chat a different enough communication medium that we can and should afford to run both.

Thoughts?

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I don’t even know if you’re on Slack (I’m not a fan)
If that doesn’t work, closing is the right decision in my opinion.

Duplicating the community is not a good idea, but if…, and I think Discord is better suited to the topics, like here, then it might be worth a try - with all due respect (Discourse) is great, but it’s probably not easy and readable when it comes to searching, so it might be worth trying to create a more technical “mirror” community there and leave that forum for milder content.
It is worth a try.

I disagree with adding yet another public communication channel, but Slack was convenient for me when I want to send/receive private messages to/from developers. I want you to improve the private messaging function on the community site if we close Slack.

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Kill slack and don’t replace it. The forums are working well enough. Since the current forums were opened it has been great to have communications in one place while slack atrophied.

The benefits of keeping interaction in the one place (forums) far outweighs any dedicated chat system shaving a few seconds off interaction round trip time.

As @hissy suggests, spend the effort on fixing the private messaging system and allowing users a means to organize their PMs would be a more beneficial use of the effort. Improving private messaging would benefit all Concrete installations, not just this site.

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I used to be quite active in IRC, that at least helped me find people that were online to help when I was working on things.

Coming back to smash some things together years later, the immediacy of it all is a little missed, particularly for those on the other side of the world.

I work, add a message post and then wait until the next day to see what I caught… (usually @JohntheFish thankyou)

I only miss the ability to chat to people.

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I say if we start discord, we should have something that optimize for discord which is timely communication.

Discourse or Slack is ONLY good if there is some demands for some streamline communication.

For example, planning an community events (both online and offline), hackathon, AMA sessions and etc, which we don’t have much going on at the moment.

On the other hand, this discourse is great for people asking questions and archiving it.

I’m OK with both closing slack and/or starting discord (I’m actively using Discord already.)

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I can’t really comment on the usefulness or not of Slack as I never used it, but I did find it a bit frustrating at times as some questions asked in the old forum were never resolved because the op crossed over to Slack mid thread, that can’t be good for onboarding new users either. I would rather everything just stayed on here.

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Agree with @hissy & @JohntheFish here. We surely need an upgraded core communication experience. Something a bit more “chatty” as opposed to “waiting for an email”. Slack served it’s purpose in the move to the new forums and is no longer needed in that sense. It’s messaging system is great. @frz Maybe scale it back to a single thread, with pinned links to the forums, and leave it as a place for “chatting” in the meantime?

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It’s definitely tough for me to justify splitting the community’s focus - like folks have said in this thread, it’s tough when folks jump mid-thread over to the chat solution and we lose the resolution. Additionally there are things that just never make it to the forums because they all happen in the chat solution.

The only thing I think chat is nice for is having the informal interaction of just the community hanging out. That said, we have the Community Talk channel here in the forum - maybe we just bump that up more towards the top on the forums home page so it’s more visible?

But otherwise, from my perspective, it’s hard to beat the value of having conversations happen in forums where they are preserved and easily searchable for posterity.

I’m not really an active developer anymore since retiring but I just want to say that I cut my teeth on the local forums. People would ask questions and I said, humm… I wonder how to solve that one and so I’d dig into the code and try to help. The process of burying myself in code taught me the innards of concrete5 and helped me personally in my projects and I hope I helped others with the answers I found. Before finding C5, I was an MS guy who didn’t know anything about PHP so answering those forum questions taught me a whole new ecosystem for which I’m very grateful. The moment it went to Slack, that opportunity disappeared because the folks on Slack are mostly the upper echelon of developers (or that’s the perception) and so it’s intimidating to engage. It felt like beginners don’t belong in there. It was/is elitist IMO and that’s not good for growing a community of support. I’d say kill Slack and build better internal forums.

Maybe I didn’t express myself clearly
I’m all for disabling Slack if it doesn’t have any added value, but the current forum didn’t work perfectly either, mainly because of the structure, but also other elements.

Discourse is great but here it took a strange form - is like this market forum, a bit like a “gossip market for women”* promote their products, but it’s hard to navigate unless you’re looking for something that they just promoted.

This is one of my objections - moderators should not promote their products and services - it’s not very ethical, to put it mildly.
That’s what the Market or Marketplace tab is for.

Another thing is relevance and consistency.
Finding valuable stuff that applies to your problem is ridiculously hard (although maybe it can be done better, Discourse supposedly has it in the package - this is a question for the admins).
Today, the “relevant and done” things just disappear in a whirl of questions about side issues like old CMS versions.

What I will write now may not satisfy many (I don’t mind, I care about the good development of this project), but why a year after publication we still have to read questions about 9.1, if 9.1.2 introduced fixes and 9.1.3 was a critical update for security reasons - we should respect our time and your work.

So whatever decision you make, I’m all for it, but do it right.

It was certainly quite frustrating having older Slack messages disappear but the instant message capability was definitely very useful. Forum is much better for posterity, and I frequently find myself reading an old forum post when trying to find out or remember how to do something. I sometimes found with the forum messages that the email notifications got lost somewhere, which just added to the delay in resolving an issue. Whether that’s still a thing is debatable, as I’d expect the SES service to have few issues. I guess Slack can die, but some sort of chat function would be a nice-to-have replacement.

The current forums can push notification to the desktop. It requires granting permission from a browser then and any forum thread I am following pops up a notification pretty soon after a post is made.

Let these forums be the single point of truth :slight_smile:

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