I’m Ryland and I’m in charge of the product effort at Temporal (an open source startup). We have a relatively small community (500 - 1500) of very passionate users which has taken years to grow. When the team initially had to choose a tool to manage our community, it was just a few people so Slack seemed like a great option. For a long time Slack did fit our needs, but as the community started to get bigger Slack started becoming problematic. Aside from the incredibly steep pricing model, so much information felt “lost” in Slack which meant we were constantly answering repeat questions. This became a problem for our business as answering questions was taking a huge amount of time out of every day.
A few months ago we ran into the 10k message limit on Slack and started discussing our options. Moving a community can be quite scary as you never know how people will react to change. Even though we were worried, Slack presented us no other path forward and so we started searching hard for alternatives. Long story short, after a ton of hard evaluation we ended up going with Discourse. The biggest motivators were:
- open source
- indexable on the web
- pricing model
- support from Discourse itself
- notification controls
- moderation features
About 2 months ago we took the plunge and started the migration. The overall result has been spectacular. Within a week there were already a similar number of daily questions on Discourse as there had been on Slack. Furthermore the entire experience from the moderation side became much more streamlined and efficient as we have tools for tagging, assigning and marking a question as solved. The biggest pleasant surprise for us was the metrics and analytics we now have access to. There is absolutely nothing that compares in Slack to the data models you get with Discourse. Very quickly it felt like building our community is now science instead of magic.
For those on the edge I can tell you Discourse is a great product, we have had awesome support and the user experience is really top notch. I have very few complaints about the product itself although some of our users have commented that they miss the “live and ad-hoc” part of Slack. Discourse doesn’t encourage casual browsing in the same was that Slack forces it.
If you want to hear my official take on Discourse vs Slack, I wrote a post for our users: