Effectively using Discourse together with group chat

Originally published at: Effectively using Discourse together with group chat

Most modern businesses and organisations today are using some kind of team chat application. The usual suspects are Slack, HipChat, Discord, Mattermost, Rocket Chat, Riot, and Gitter, to name a few. 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…


p.s. major kudos to @mcwumbly for his excellent writeup over at the Ember forum, which I completely neglected to give him due credit for upon publishing! :sweat:

His post was the foundation for the entire “Complementary Workflows” section and I even reused his apt take on “Don’t try to move the conversation over while it’s in flight” pretty much verbatim.


Thanks for the additional kudos, @erlend_sh.

I really appreciate how you synthesized a number of discussions over the past couple years in this timely post.

This is an important topic for online communities today and I look forward to any further improvements and guidance you and the team can offer to people trying to find the best ways to use these different tools together.


Great point below by @mcwumbly on using Slack with Discourse. Both that and @erlend_sh blog post have been extremely useful for my communication strategy development.

if anything new came out of the Slack chat, summarize it in a follow-up post on the Discourse topic

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Ty for this post @erlend_sh ! Super informative! And giving some answer to questions i had from a long time.

In our small group we increased the use of whatsapp and as a result Vbullettin forum post collapsed.
Having moved on mobile people feel more easy and immediate to use WA.

I’ve set up a Discourse forum which is much more mobile friendly to counter this trend.
But chat is still very active and forum is quieter than i would like… (Users are still getting used to the new platform so i need more time to see the final effect!)

I would like to know if there are some suggested way to integrate forum and chat.
I see many plugins for chat platforms (not whatsapp) but it seems to me they are meant to push important thread from the forum to the chat to highlight them more.
I wanted to know if there is something to get part or all the chat and import it in the forum.

i agree that chat and forum are different mediums but i think it’s worth to integrate them better!


I very much enjoyed this post. In particular, would you have a reference (paper, news article) that could help me support this quote? I’m trying to make an argument that my [scientific] community needs something like Discourse and stop relying solely on chat rooms.

This could be one reference I guess?

But that’s a long book! I was hoping for shorter references…

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@jonobacon has a good post on this as well!


Another one in the same vein:


In this article, they keep saying that Discourse is not good for real-time communication, a.k.a. chat threads.

Is it the case though?

  • Discourse handles large topics with 100k+ messages
  • Discourse has “user is typing…” feature that makes everyone feel like it’s “real-time communication”, just like a chat
  • One can just create “Chats” category and one topic per chat

So effectively Slack is a subset of Discourse in some sense.

While using Discourse for realtime chats though, one would benefit from tight integration with the threaded discussions and knowledge base if it’s hosted in Discourse.

Am I missing anything?

P.S. The only thing that Discourse is missing when it comes to realtime chats, in my view, is the “compact view” - because chats often consist of short messages but there are many of them.


Well, we are bringing a flavor of chat to Discourse in future releases. It’s something we’re working on now. We think Discourse can bridge the short (chat) and long (paragraph/topic) forms of memory all by itself!


What topic would be a good place to act as a wish list for the chat feature?

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I’d suggest a new feature topic. But you may want to wait until the initial release - I don’t want you to spend all this time writing up great ideas only to find out we already included them, or that they won’t work with the way chat is set up within Discourse.