I really dislike Slack & Discord for knowledge management, which is usually where forums excel.
It’s partly an education problem?
People see platforms like Discord and are attracted by how quick and cheap it is to set up a ‘community’ on there (how many times do you hear “Join our Discord” on YouTube these days?).
These people may be ill-informed and I suspect they don’t know all the options nor the potential downsides to going onto closed chat-based products.
Do they consider the closed nature, the lack of exposure to internet search engines, the inferior knowledge retrieval and management, the focus on ephemeral chat and how that encourages bad habits and ill-considered, repetitious, low value posts? (And probably a bigger headache for moderators due to the sheer volume of messages?)
I see some unreasonably dismissive statements about Discourse without considering the totality of what Discourse sets out to achieve, why, what features it has, what constraints they have and the sometimes hidden benefits of the way things work:
- exaggeration about the complexity of self-hosting
- total exaggeration about instability (hint: it’s usually a rock solid experience)
- ignoring the sophisticated moderation features and the importance of moderation to a good end-user experience for all users.
- missing the potential to create a very unique and customised experience using the base forum as a starting point.
- lack of respect for the nature of the technology:
- It’s a web app which is largely platform agnostic (whoop!) and will work immediately on almost any modern device, without any installation and no need to visit an appstore.
- lack of understanding about the interface needing to be touch capable across a variety of devices so controls have to be chunky with enough white space to make good finger-click targets etc.
On top of this, the whole ‘free community’ thing encourages people to expect too much for free, e.g. customisation, features, etc.
I’d like to understand more of the statistics behind “people closing forums and moving to discord” - are they - did I miss the stats?
Anyone who’s managed a forum for a decent time would be crazy to do that, no? And give up:
- all their lovely SEO built up over the years? (& search engine results bringing new users for free …)
- their valuable domain name.
- their future potential ad revenue …
- their very own userbase that they are now just going to hand over to a big corporation for free?
Just some of my thoughts for now …
(Good share btw @Noone, very interesting to see how people outside the ecosystem think).