This post is going to walk through all the details associated with the archiving of the helpdesk channel on the Julia Language’s Slack. Before we go into why this decision is being made, let’s talk about what our public Slack workspace has done for us so far.
When Jon originally created the workspace back in July of 2017, I don’t think he ever realized how big it would become. From all accounts, the growth and use of our Slack has been a smashing success and allowed the community to continue to grow. Just look at this growth:
One of my favorite saying related to growth is: “do things that don’t scale, till you can’t anymore”. Julia benefited from the help desk channel by allowing users to drop in real-time and have their questions answered. When the community was smaller, this was helpful because you needed a critical mass of users on a single platfrom such that you could get a wide variety of questions answered in a short amount of time. We have reached the point in the Julia communities growth where the help desk style Q/A is now hindering our growth rather than helping us expand our reach further. It’s important to note that helpdesk is still the most actively used channel by a large margin:
The motivation behind archiving the helpdesk channel:
- We get to make the Q/A public so it helps people who may have the same question in the future. This point has many implications which are extremely important for the growth of the community.
- Free’s up Slack message cap (currently at 10,000 messages) for conversations to happen there that need to be had synchronously. Slack will remain the place where you can sign up and talk with people in the community about all the awesome things that are going on.
- Increases the visibility of Julia as a language (in language rankings and search results)
- People get recognition on Discourse for being a contributor. Creating positive feedback loops is important for the health of a community and Discourse allows us to do this automatically.
- Better moderation features.
- Build in features on Discourse to show us how recently someone joined and if this is their first post.
In conversations with community members, the point was brought up that this “Live Q/A dynamic” present in the helpdesk is one of many things that makes the Julia Community special. This is something we really hope to preserve in the push to have questions posted on Discourse. The burden is on us as the community to ensure that first time posters, new community members, and those less comfortable with the language in general, have a positive experience posting on Discourse.
The logistical plan moving forward:
- Present plan on discourse
- Post plan and pin to the helpdesk/general channel
- Update welcome messages and “general” channel description on Slack to reflect this change
- Update Julia Website to point people to Discourse who have questions
- Search for other various resources pointing to helpdesk and update those
- Officially archive the channel on November 1st, 12:01 am PDT
- Continue to monitor the discussion on Slack and the like to ensure a smooth transition
Thanks all for helping make the community as awesome as it is today. If you have any thoughts or feedback, feel free to reply below.
Edit: Switched title contents from “archived” to “closed” for clarity.
Edit #2: Switched the title from “#Helpdesk channel on Slack to be closed EOD PDT on October 31st, 2020” to what it is not so as not to confuse folks visiting this thread in the future given that we are holding off on closing the channel.