Replacing Slack by Discourse

Hi there,
in our organisation’s community, we use mainly Slack, GoogleDocs and other tools as they are freely available but we are hitting now their limits of their freemium models and reasons discussed in Discourse and Slack (or other group chat apps like IRC, HipChat, Gitter, etc), so we came to the decision that we have to replace them soon.
The core team can’t take care of it, as they are occupied by the work on the platform whos beta will go online soon. This gap is supposed to be bridge by the help of the community.

In the first step we would evaluate software (wherever possible FOSS) and write to vendors for non-profit options.
In order to do so, we need to set up an email archive so that communication can continue if someone can’t join in. So I thought about mailman or others (see List Server and Version) plus nabble.
Mailing list needs to be simple to reach everyone where necessary without having to think about who needs to be in CC. An archive must be created so that new ones can read in as needed, or work can be transferred quickly, or the actions of the movement can be followed loosely. But the archive must be protected.

In the course of the research, I was referred to Discourse as a private email support portal, so I continued my research in this forum. As discourse comes with a load of plug-ins, I getting more and more the impression that it could replace Slack quite nicely, as it is mainly used for posting in channels, referring to external websites and documents.
Basically, we would like to be able to send Emails out of discourse and assign the resulting task(s) to community members.
Moreover, we would like to establish room for discussion as we have now by means of the channels like
grafik
That can be well covered by categories and tags. Besides this, there is for

Email

  1. Discourse as a private email support portal
  2. How to Use Discourse as a Private Support/Ticket System

Tasks

  1. Task manager within Discourse?
  2. Using discourse as ticket system, so no balls are dropped woman_juggling
  3. Tickets Plugin tickets

Feed

  1. Favorites - select your favorite categories
  2. Let users configure categories for /Latest
  3. A more social Discourse layout
  4. Customizable Homepage or Discussion Feed?

I would like to know how stable it is.
It is reliable and reasonable option to cover a workflow as below:

  1. Initiate conversation with person/entity xyz
    -> Create discussion in discourse
    -> discourse sends email to xyz
    -> email should show senders as Name.Surename@community…
  2. answered will added to the discussion
    -> allowing xyz to enter the discussion on our discourse would be appreciated
  3. resulting task(s)
    -> assign to community members
    -> add to calender (meeting, due date …)
    -> all tasks/tickets need to visible to all community members

Thank you, any input is highly appreciated
Stefan

4 Likes

Stefan,

  1. Discourse as a private email support portal

It’s an amazing replacement for email groups (if that’s what you mean)

Tasks

  1. Task manager within Discourse?

Can be done already with stable plugin

  1. Using discourse as ticket system, so no balls are dropped woman_juggling

Can be done already with stable plugin

  1. Tickets Plugin tickets

Yes this one :slight_smile:

Feed

  1. Favorites - select your favorite categories

I’m personally working on this plugin which is presently broken. Would appreciate some additional pledges to deliver this to the community.

  1. Let users configure categories for /Latest

See favourites above, same thing? (Sorry no time to dig on this right now)

  1. A more social Discourse layout

Consider the plugin I support (with @angus) - Topic List Previews.

I would like to know how stable it is.

Very. In two years of running Discourse sites I’ve had < 3 outages over 3 sites which didn’t last for more than 30 mins each, and those were due to an error on my part. Rock Solid.

It is reliable and reasonable option to cover a workflow as below:

1. Initiate conversation with person/entity xyz
-> Create discussion in discourse
-> discourse sends email to xyz
-> email should show senders as Name.Surename@community…
2. answered will added to the discussion
-> allowing xyz to enter the discussion on our discourse would be appreciated
3. resulting task(s)
-> assign to community members
-> add to calender (meeting, due date …)
-> all tasks/tickets need to visible to all community members

I’m pretty sure this can all be done right now.

My suggestion is … try it

It is very low risk to spin up a sandbox in a VPS and start configuring it the way you want things to work.

Your greatest cost will be time (but getting a basic working instance up takes surprisingly little time - less than an hour?)

You can then evaluate it yourself and then with your team and stakeholders and check off all of your combined requirements.

Imho - go for it! Given what you have written I don’t see significant show stoppers, least of all for a feasibility analysis.

There is huge platform, community and dev support here and if you are well funded getting anything customised will be no problem at all.

Robert

11 Likes

thx for that statement, that is all that I needed :relieved:. In addition, all your comments above helping us a lot!

that’s now the plan :slight_smile:

4 Likes