What about a Desktop app, to replace Slack and the like?

So, I’m using Slack in two organizations, and I can’t “like” anything, and finding data is a mess.

There’s http://fluidapp.com/ which I could use to create a standalone discourse “app” for my mac. I can’t help but wonder if anyone else would enjoy chatting with their teammates / co-workers using Discourse alone.

In any case, maybe one day someone will resell seats on a discourse instance to foster small, focused groups of chat, similar to what people get from Slack or Hipchat. Maybe that’ll be me…


This seems like more of a request for chat than anything else. It has come up more than I thought it would.

As far as app purity is concerned, (but again, I don’t think this request reads that way), see


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I actually don’t think I’m asking for chat in Discourse… having to think about the words before posting makes sense, and I see people’s posts show up here plenty fast.

All I know is that I like Discourse far better than Slack when it comes to figuring out what’s been said by who and when. And the like button… I sure do appreciate a Like button vs having to post “yes, I agree” or “I see you” etc.

I think Slack has a lot to learn from discourse.


Chat (disconnected, barely-a-sentence stream of consciousness thoughts, presented immediately and interleaved in real time) and forums (paragraphs of coherent-ish text, presented in order of speaker, often separated by hours or days, even weeks of time) are really quite different.

For example,we have resisted presence features because we view that as inessential and at best a distraction. But on a chat system, that would be a crazy position to take – the whole point is real time immediate response.

To the extent that Discourse works more or less in real time that can blur the distinctions a little, but making the leap all the way to chat is crossing a very big conceptual chasm.



More backstory:
I am a member of three slack teams, two for the companies where I work directly, and one which is a loose group of 25 consultants who “chat” about what’s going on. It’s that group who really need Discourse - NOT chat.

I don’t mean to derail the direction of discourse, but yeah, for loosely affiliated groups, a copy of Discourse is going to be far more useful long term than instant messaging tools like slack. Having it in a desktop app means I can command-tab to it when needed, and not just forget its there like any other website.

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Well, Slack is “free”, and there are many arguments that we should take that position too – host for nothing, for anyone. So that’s the real underlying issue. But some problems

  1. That is far more scale than we could ever hope to take on. Free is a nightmare, unless you are fueled by zillions of VC.

  2. Our signup process is still super rough. Lots of low hanging fruit there which is actually a good thing but for consumer free scale we would need a mirror shine polished EZ onboarding with wizards, and stupidly simple point n click (or tap) to get going for small groups.

I am confident we will get there on 2, on 1, not sure if we even want to go there.