Initial impressions

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:


Hello there @rylandg!

First of all welcome to Discourse meta! :discourse:

Next, thanks you for detailed positive feedback it really is motivating to see that you are enjoying the product. Additionally I am sure @ team are extremely happy with the praise.

If you need any help we will be willing to help! :blush:

That’s one of the celebrated features of Discourse. It’s powerful moderation that are available.


From the other post you shared:

How Will This Transition Work?#

While we’re fairly confident that Discourse will be a great fit for our community and team, we’re not going to finalize anything until we see it in action. For now, we plan to stay in an evaluation period so we can ensure that our new tool doesn’t degrade the existing support experience. You will see us push to migrate some conversations to Discourse from Slack when we feel that they have gone out of scope. We’re also considering adding a Slack plugin which can automatically migrate Slack threads to Discourse. The eventual goal is to field all support questions via Discourse and keep a Slack/Discord/etc as a medium for casual discussion and brainstorming. To be 100% clear, we will not be removing Slack in the immediate future although this may happen down the road.

Most importantly we want to hear your feedback/criticism/suggestions about this change or our support experience in general. If you have ideas that you think would improve the community or our support experience please do not hesitate to pm me on Slack or via email (

Lastly, if anyone is interested in being a moderator on the community forums, let me know and we can discuss what that process would look like.

How far into the transition are you at this point? Are you continuing to maintain Slack alongside Discourse?


Hey Dave,

Great question. We do still have the Slack. Partially for announcements to users who have yet to transition (honestly don’t feel its as easy to broadcast with Discourse) and also to catch those users who haven’t been around in a while and still think Slack is the go-to. I felt if we made the Slack read-only, many users would be discouraged and not migrate to Discourse. Instead we kept the Slack channels open and that gives us a chance to have a conversation 1:1 with users still on Slack. I’ve found the conversion rate is much higher than you would get by doing a more 0-100 approach.

  • Ry