Slack, discord or other chat software?

Hello ATXHS!

I noticed there isn’t a slack or chat solution for members or interested parties. While I think this discourse forum is excellent and has its place I think the space could benefit from having a slack or some kind of instant chat solution to discuss topics in a more dynamic and engaging way.

I’d be happy to help get something like this going but I definitely can’t commit to it by myself. Anybody have any thoughts? Would you consider being a mod/admin?


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Hey Orion,

I think Slack is an awesome tool, I use it at work and for some other projects I am a part of, and it is the best. I think one issue we might run up against is the cost that is incurred once you have a certain number of users in your space. Another thing I worry about is that we end up with a certain number of members that only use discourse and some that only use slack (or whatever) and that could reduce the cohesion of our community.

With all that said, I agree discourse is not ideal. But I would argue that it could be close to ideal (or at least pretty good) given enough effort and time. I think there are things that we can do to make this forum better that will make it easier to navigate and understand, which has the potential to increase engagement and maybe even become as active as a typical slack space might be.

That’s just my two cents, would definitely be interested to hear what others think.


If it’s a feature that people actually want, discourse should have at least one chat plugin… a quick search brought this up: though there are some users having issues recently, it looks like

Another option would be a slack or discord with Discourse integrated, so that the channel includes notifications on new posts and has the ability to export chat discussions into discourse posts. These features ought to be supported by the official discourse chat integration plugin,

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The issue with slack or discord is with moderation.

We moved away from the google groups because a disgruntled member could start spamming the mailing list, arguing and stating fights with a large audience.

We moved to discourse to try and restrain these ugly outbursts to only the people following a given topic, and being able to stop it before it gets to ugly.

If we start a chat program, it would need people set up to moderate. I had used slack at my old makerspace and it was pretty good. But again once an arguement breaks out it has a large audience that eventually just leave to avoid having to listen to it.

Actually ATXHS used to have a slack. But it had almost no activity on it. I tried posting on it a number of times, but it never really started any conversations.


I would prefer not having another Slack to check.


@Tookys brought up the main things in his post and @wynd is on the money (heh literally) on another reason with Slack costs. We currently use Slack for the board and some small special committees, but the costs stack up when we expand it out and like @Tookys mentioned, it has shown to be hugely under utilized. It would be interested to see about plugins for Discourse that would allow for more of that sort of feature like @gmossessian mentioned , but I’d also defer to the Discourse @mod team on their thoughts with that.

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I get the feeling that part of the difficultly here is inherent in the way the space must operate for distancing and capacity, which necessarily removes opportunities to ask questions of others also at the space. As a newbie myself, I find that challenging.

I’ve seen a few cases recently where it seems a person is at the space, and has run into a problem, and is trying to get some help while they are still there. And they may or may not know specific people to direct their question toward, and/or those people might not be available to answer questions in that very specific timeline. And I don’t think a chat program won’t necessarily assist in this case.

This is unquestionably challenging, but I feel like it’s just one of those things that will be for a while, as the world is weird.

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Thank you all for your feedback. Really good points.

@wynd I think the discourse is a great resource that will only get better over time. And agreed on costs, slack can be expensive as much as we all like it. Discord is almost identical to slack and has some great free plans for communities like ATXHS that might be worth checking out although I worry about causing confusion with Discourse and Discord.

@gmossessian there’s gotta be something to get both platforms to talk to each other so there’s a single source of truth and no chance of anyone missing out on any info or updates

@Tookys moderation is always a big issue. not only finding people willing to do it but just the task itself. not sure about slack but I know platforms like discord have tools in place to prevent people from spamming.

@kkremitzki who needs another slack to check? if you don’t want to join you wouldn’t have to and not necessarily be missing out on anything.

@valerie agreed. if it’s been done before and got shut down from inactivity then there’s really no need to rehash

@stepho that’s kind of my thinking behind asking this in the first place. because it’s hard for people to interact at the space it might be nice for those who want to instant message to have a place to do that.

Thanks again @everybody


a person is at the space, and has run into a problem, and is trying to get some help while they are still there

This problem is why Kye was finding mentor-buddies for all the new hackers during orientation, so they’d have someone they could feel ok calling when they were in the shop alone needing to figure something out. If you’re a member and you don’t have someone you can ping from your cell phone for help, talk to Kye… she’s been setting up the various pairings.

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Slack and Discord generally work great for a team not a group. :slight_smile: Discourse is the best we’ve found for a group. And, in my opinion, it is infinitely better than the mess we had under the previous communication utilities! It has its oddities, but they are more than manageable.


I have nothing against Discourse or forum apps. I just like instant messaging :slight_smile:

I’m a member of various slack and discord groups with dozens to hundreds of members and they seem to manage pretty well.

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Your experiences differ drastically from the experiences of ATXHS. I’m not saying good things can’t happen in chats/broadcasts, just that bad things can happen and have happened… repeatedly… for us.

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Oh I believe you. Just sucks to hear that. Truly disappointing how adults can’t resolve conflicts in a polite, reasonable way. Especially in a setting like a hacker space where everyone more or less is on the same boat.

It isn’t really disappointing to me… just a sign of a need for a better form of government for cooperative action. Why? Precisely because we are all adults, empowered to act with the full liberty of adult action. And…

everyone more or less is on the same boat.

That’s the problem… too many hackers: everyone keeps trying to build a better boat, but using the same wood, including some planks from the existing boat we are all in. :slight_smile: We needed something more controlled than the “everyone do as you see best.”

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