More on Slack vs Discourse

I still get asked if this Discourse forum is like Slack, this a really good read:

Quoting most important and relevant bits for tldr:

While chat is immediate and primarily synchronous, communication in Discourse is gradual and asynchronous. We’ve seen far too many community managers treat these two modes of communication as competitors. Quite on the contrary, chat and forum communities can complement one another beautifully, and we aim to show exactly how by breaking it down into […] different levels of understanding.

  1. Ephemeral vs Permanent
    What is the difference between a chat and a forum community
  2. Strengths and Weaknesses
    When to use which tool

Ephemeral vs Permanent

The discussion that takes place in a chatroom is best described as ephemeral, meaning:

Something which lasts for a short period of time.

While a chat platform might keep a searchable record of all your conversations, the highly unstructured nature of chat makes it unsuitable as a long-term storage of knowledge.

In direct contrast to the inherently ephemeral nature of chat, forum discussions are permanent:

  1. Without end, eternal. Nothing in this world is truly permanent.
  2. Lasting for an indefinitely long time. The countries are now locked in a permanent state of conflict.

One mode of discussion is not better than the other.

Strengths and weaknesses

Chat is an essential communication tool, but when used excessively it can have a negative influence on community health. Whereas with forum communities, perhaps the most common misstep is to start one before your project has the necessary momentum, and you end up with a ghost town.

At Discourse we like to think of chat and forum as your extended team’s collective “short term” and “long term” memory, respectively.

Group chat is great for…

  1. Minimum viable communities
  2. Real-time resolutions
  3. Urgent notifications
  4. Socialising

Forum discussion is great for…

  1. All-inclusive dialogue
  2. Communities of scale
  3. Knowledge storage & distribution
  4. Civilized discussion
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Good article on Slack: