I use Discord, Slack, Zulip, and Discourse. Unfortunately, I do not have 4x the time and so I’m juggling among these. Knowing who’s active on which platform is useful – e.g. if I want to ask a question and I know @Mason may have the answer then I get on Zulip
I actually spent some time and compared these communication platforms before at my last job. It really boils down to the following spectrum:
Chat <----------------------------> Forum
From left to right, I would place each platform as such:
A chat platform encourages real-time communication. Conservations tend to be more casual. And, it allows people in the community to build relationships more easily. By contrast, a discussion forum promotes longer form of discussions, which typically requires more thoughtful responses (like what I’m trying to do here at this moment).
Slack’s threading model makes it possible to focus on a single topic in the thread. Zulip takes it further by requiring every conversation to be a thread. That’s why they sit in the middle.
Without threading (like Discord), people more or less follows a conversational style of communication. When you get on a channel, you probably just catch on to the latest and usually not worry about the history. In Slack, I am tempted to scroll up and read what I missed because it’s easier to do so with threads.
Personally, I found Slack’s model most satisfying – with the exception that disappearing messages is occasionally annoying.
Julia community on Discord
@anon92994695 mentioned earlier that we have an active community on Discord. It’s called Humans of Julia and I happen to be the admin/mod there. Just some stats:
- 700+ members
- 4k messages per week
One nice thing about Discord is that you get audio/video conferencing channels for free. We have several community projects going on at the moment, and we do use it for our online meetings.
Coming back to this topic…
What happens is that people tend to use whatever most convenient to them.
I’ve heard from people wanting to use Slack because they are already using Slack for work and with other communities. The same can be said for Discord and Zulip. For that reason, trying to force everyone to use the same platform isn’t practical, and we would never be able to do so.
Just my 2 cents.