I just ran across this lengthy Twitter thread:
There are more than 100 replies, but the summary is basically a ton of votes for Circle.so, a good number for Mighty Networks, some reference to “why change from Discord?”, and then literally 3 or 4 mentions of Discourse, most of them without anywhere near as much conviction or endorsement as those espousing Circle and others, or heck, even those saying they use Telegram for community. That concerns me. I almost jumped-in and added a recommendation for Discourse to the meager total, but then I had second thoughts. Is Discourse as a system the same kind of thing people are typically thinking of when they look for a “community platform”, should Discourse be more widely recommended in a topic like that? And note that I don’t think it’s so much about real time (chat) vs. asynchronous (forum). Circle does have chat, but it has been recommended in a similar way since even before it did.
I am reminded of a lot of recent (and not-so-recent) discussion about Discourse and CDCK’s goals, the capabilities and intended uses of the platform, potential competition like Circle.so, etc. It’s possible I missed some recent clarification on this, but personally I still feel there is a bit of a lack of clarity as to what Discourse should be/is planned to be in the medium and long-term (this is especially so with the new addition of Chat features). I know it’s intended to be flexible and be able to achieve many different things, but I honestly don’t know for sure if CDCK actually intends Discourse to be a community “platform” in the way that, say, Circle is.
Of course there has been lengthy prior discussion about Discourse vs. Circle in particular and Discourse vs. other tools like Facebook, too. Despite those discussions, I remain a bit unclear on what Discourse’s long game is here. I did also read the recent blog posts on community vs. audience, etc., but while I found them clear in what they covered, I’m still not so clear on what Discourse wants to be.
There are new tools like Circle, Forem, and others arising frequently. I know I’ve raised similar concerns before, and I don’t mean to beat a dead horse. But it seems to me as if Discourse is losing potential mindshare to many of these, and may have entrenched itself in a relatively small niche, just when “community” is all the rage. The upcoming chat plugin might have some notable effect on this, but I also wonder if it’s partly or even largely a matter of positioning or “branding” that keeps Discourse out of such conversations.
If this topic seems redundant or not useful, then I do apologize. But these questions are still open for me, at least, and I hope to be enlightened. Even if it’s with a blunt instrument.