Slack for online communities. Cant we do better? What about err.. Forums?

Bruno Paz on June 25, 2019

Slack is being used a lot as a platform for online communities to interact. From meetups and conferences groups to specialized programming language... [Read Full]
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We’re working on the generalized, deployable versions of DEV and I think it’s going to fit this space quite well 😉

Edit: a word

 

Is there any way to get on a beta list for this? I help run a pretty big tech Meetup group in Connecticut and we've been loosely looking for a Slack alternative. We're tired of the wisdom of the group being lost to scrollback and the 10k message limit.

 
 

I do miss forums. The big downside of Slack and Discord for me is that they are chat rooms. They are active and immediate. They can be harder to get into posting and reading because of that and it's easy for questions or discussions to be lost to chatter. I think forums and chat rooms occupy very different space.

One of the reasons I love dev.to is because it feels closer to what I loved about forums.

 

The problem is the overhead of setting up and maintaining a forum. It takes less than 5 minutes to start up a Discord 'server' or a new Slack and requires zero experience, compared to taking at least 5 minutes to set up a new Discourse instance and requiring a non-negligible amount of experience to do it right.

Personally, as much as I hate certain things about Discord (see for example horrendous mobile app (no, seriously, Slack's is way better on multiple levels)), I actually do find it to be reasonable for what most online communities actually want (in essence, something akin to IRC, just with a fancy UI).

 

Yeah, I agree about the setup and maintenance. That´s why I think that we are missing a "Forum as a service" platform, that would do that for you.

About the last part, I think it really depends on the goals of the community. a chat based approach can be nice just to shoot some quick questions but for more detailed and organized discussions it's not the best.

 

Yeah, I agree about the setup and maintenance. That´s why I think that we are missing a "Forum as a service" platform, that would do that for you.

Agreed, though right now it would even be a step up if VPS providers that already offer one-click application deployment offered any forum stacks for that.

About the last part, I think it really depends on the goals of the community. a chat based approach can be nice just to shoot some quick questions but for more detailed and organized discussions it's not the best.

Agreed to a certain extent. The only times I've personally found Discord to be inadequate for a detailed and organized discussion were cases when discussing things properly required people posting hundreds of lines of text at a time. If it's something that doesn't require a knowledge dump, I find Discord to be easier to work with because of the inherently real-time nature (which makes it easy to do things like running a meeting as-per Robert's Rules of Order).

 

This is very clear to everyone who thinks a little...But it is risk to admit that. We do not always need a new solution for old resolved problems.

Thanks for your bravery.

 

"People who disagree with my opinion don't think or are scared to admit I am right."

Cool. Cool idea.

 

I am not certain that Paulo was trying to convey that sentiment; I took it as acknowledging people who are willing to try and reinvent the wheel for the sake of finding an alternative, if not better, solution.

As part of our commitment to creating a safe space for the discussion of ideas and in abidance with our code of conduct, I'd like to encourage inquisitive dialog instead of dismissing things immediately with sarcasm. Thanks :)

A huge thanks to you Scott. Of course that was not my intention. And Desmond, sorry if I sounded like that to you, but what I was trying to say is that is so easy to get to that conclusion and seems that nobody is talking that way...

 
 

Yeah, I'm not sure how this isn't being mentioned more. It's simple to setup a subreddit, posts can be filtered with tags, and can be private or public.

Seems exactly what the original poster would be looking for.

 

I agree that Reddit is probably the platform that resembles more like a Forum

 

Slack (and other RTM platforms) is actually very good for live conversations and that's what forums are missing. People used to use IRC for that before but the times have changed and Slack is currently the king. Forums, on the other hand, are much better for structured discussions and long term accumulation of content.

At OneBar (.io) we're trying these two concepts together. The idea is that you can discuss stuff in Slack in the real-time while it's "hot", but later on the most important parts get accumulated elsewhere and are available for the forum-style discussion. We're not currently designing it for online communities, but we've been brainstorming on this case a lot internally. We could pilot something if there's a community manager here willing to collaborate.

 

Dev.to might be partially solving this problem but the real answer is Discord honestly. It's just slack but designed to not make you angry at the world.

 

Discord makes me angry. I used to be heavily involved in a Teamspeak Server and even though it may not have been as easy to use for the average user, goddamn was it just better in every way.

 

For me, this here dev.to is a forum. Just without rooms. And luckily without signatures.

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