Hey all, following up on this proposal: #Helpdesk channel on Slack (proposal to close the channel) and a thread here: I’ve heard a number of people say Julia is not mainstream because it doesn’t have many stackoverflow questions answered but they don’t know about discourse, I decided to work actively on these ideas to look into bridging Slack and Discourse.
It turns out that it is indeed possible and pretty straightforward. I setup some integrations with Zapier (and previously made a version with Slack.jl) and have the basic functionality working:
This integration, when turned on, will post each new message from the #helpdesk channel into a dedicated section on Discourse for bridged questions. There are a number of obvious issues with this including but not limited to people posting messages which aren’t questions outside of a thread and then those accidentally being cross posted. (We can actively work on this by giving gentle reminders to folks to use threads as well as impose some basic rules potentially, like only cross post a message with a “?”)
When a message is posted to this dedicated Discourse section, it will automatically show as a “wiki” entry rather than a normal post so it is editable by all of those with the correct permission levels (this will help distribute the workload more evenly in case there’s cleanup needed for these questions). Here is how things may look on the Discourse side (note that in production, the posts will come from a bot user):
The only other potential issue is privacy. In my opinion, folks are free to use whichever name and profile image (within reason) they want on Slack. Thus, if someone is concerned with asking a question that will be traced back to them, they are welcome to ask pseudo-anonymously. We can also highlight in #helpdesk that all questions are posted publicly and visible to the world.
On the topic of Slack Questions not being on par with other Discourse or Stack Overflow questions, in my opinion, it’s a non-issue. I don’t see an issue with having potentially (but not limited to) simpler and shorter questions crossposted from Slack to Discourse. This will only improve the richness and accessibility of questions on Discourse.
TLDR; this is ready to go and pilot. I would love to hear feedback or suggestions on how to make this idea/system better. I already played around with auto-tagging answers but have not been able to get that working yet (hopefully sometime in the future after the question bridging is done I’ll figure it out).