We’ve signed up for Discord, which is another real-time text chat platform like our current, primary Slack chat.
Like our Slack chat, the Discord chat group is also open to the public. If you’d like to join, here’s the link: https://discordapp.com/invite/9eegVqN
Using Discord is an experiment and there is no obligation or requirement to join. We’re open to a migration over to Discord or another platform in the future, but I’d like for as many of us as possible to try it out first and make sure that it’s going to be a good fit.
We’d like to make any such migration seamless, as well as generally open up our options for how we handle our chat messages. Accordingly, basic functions like sending and receiving messages will work regardless of whether you’re on Slack or Discord. This is because we’re using a chat bridge app called matterbridge that supports copying messages between multiple platforms.
Why are we doing this?
Slack has some frustrating limitations. Most notably, only the most recent 10,000 messages in a free Slack workspace are available for viewing and searching. The ClassicPress community passed this limit in the first month or two of its existence. At the moment, our “retention time” in Slack is around 2 or 3 weeks, after which messages disappear.
Since we use Slack to coordinate and make a lot of decisions, as well as to manage the day-to-day operation of our software and our community, this is not ideal. Also, we feel that the data contained in our chat messages should be ours, as much as possible. We don’t like the idea of a company deciding to delete them unless we pay them lots of money, which, as a volunteer-driven project, we don’t have. (A Slack paid plan costs around $7 per active user per month, and we have very roughly 30 active users.)
Of course, we try to summarize all of our important decisions on another medium, like here on the forums, and will continue to do so regardless of the outcome of this experiment. However, there are still times when we need to dig up a tidbit of info that was mentioned somewhere in chat.
Other than Slack, Discord is the option/suggestion that has come up most frequently as a polished, full-featured real-time chat platform. It also has a few features that we really like:
- No 10,000 message limit.
- Explicitly stated support for open source projects, including a Discord and Open Source page where ClassicPress can apply to be featured.
- More friendly monetization model. Rather than limiting the functionality of the entire workspace, individual users can sign up for premium features that enhance their experience beyond the existing, already full-featured platform. Read more here.
Today, using Slack and watching messages come in via Discord is pretty seamless. This means that people can continue using Slack without any problems.
You’ll miss out on some “extra” features, like emoji reactions that are placed on existing messages by Discord users, but our bridge app is an actively-developed open source project and this is being tracked as an enhancement.
Using Discord and watching messages come in via Slack also works, but it’s not as easy to tell who is saying what:
We’ll work to improve this situation.
@fwolf has requested an IRC integration, which would be a good fit for people who are willing to do more technical configuration, but want a simpler, no-frills chat interface. This could also serve as a base for a permanent message archive that we host ourselves.
As far as what else is next, what would you like to see? Another reason we’re trying out Discord is because multiple people have asked for it, and our community users’ needs are the entire reason for our existence, so we listen to that very carefully.
Feel free to discuss here in this thread.