Are we happy with SLMS forum being on discourse?

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fa360f2e828>

Forked from Zoom considered harmful

@unknowndomain’s points:

It does feel like after SLMS got rid of Slack, Discourse never really replaced it properly and that Telegram never got the traction, it would make sense to use Discord now for SLMS comms, as well as Discord, and maybe consider renaming Discord as the forum so that people don’t get confused.

There was this idea that Discorse could be our everything and that just wasn’t health for the community many people called out issues like the difficulty in making decisions, Dermot has pointed out how difficult it is to interject in a conversation.

I’ve noted how difficult it is to find documentation due to the abysmal search system.

It would make sense to have a forum, real time chat, content platform/wiki and a blog.

That way real time chat can be used to ping for peoples attention, and discuss things collectively as well as using video/audio features.

Forum for longer form discussions that need documenting, something real time isn’t good at.

A content platform or wiki for official documentation of processes, policies, practices, guides, how-tos, etc…

A blog for announcements and news.

Currently all of this happens in one place and it doesn’t work well, even if it is passable.

@unknowndomain What title should this discussion be?

And thank you for your input, we both want the best for SLMS community communications :slight_smile:

While @unknowndomain raises points that should be addressed, I’m totally for Discourse, and totally against inviting ANOTHER chat system into my life.

Discourse allows our conversations to be slow, methodical, rich, and public. Discord, while great for audio, offers none of those for chat.

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I’m not sure that setting them off against each other is really what I meant, the point wasn’t to say don’t use x over y, but that really SLMS lacks depth in it’s approach to platforms, it was believed that having one single point of information was better, but that has bigger issues than the few members who might struggle technically with using all these platforms.

I’d also argue that in the event that a member was more comfortable with one form of communication, having multiple options means that they can use the one most apporitate, and other members can help someone who struggles with the forum but is fine with real time chat for example.

Real Time Chat
The issue with real-time chat like SLMS’s old Slack and presumably the still in place telegram channel is that the messages scroll into the past. This isn’t just an issue because we were using free 10,000 message limit Slack, but also because they’re all the same, Discord, Mattermost, Signal, IRC… They all have the same problem, but they’re far superior for real time chat and socialising.


  1. @expertUser Where is the x thing…
  2. Look what I’m doing right now on the do whats it machine.
  3. I’m going to clear out the fridge, who’s stuff is this?

It’s awful for documentation of conversations and impossible for documentation.

They’re great for documenting conversations as they’re threaded and can be split and merged, but they’re not great for documentation of policy or as a content management platform because the content is lost in the converstaion about the content.


  1. Members what do you think about us changing the logo to blue.
  2. What have members made this week?

Wiki/content management
They’re obviously not capable of conversations but they’re great for guides, information …

  1. How to setup your keyfob
  2. Who is responsible for the doo whats it.
  3. How do I get trained?
  4. Where are the risk assessments
  5. How do I become a senior cat weaver @role.

Obviously great for news non-time criticial news…

  1. Look at this amazing space donation.
  2. Look at this amazing thing we’ve made

Newsletter/email list
Better for monthly/quarterly updates and grabbing attention on time sensitive issues…

  1. We’re doing a poll of members.
  2. Save the space vote against xyz on this planning application.
  3. Join us for this magic event next week.

When you extrapolate what I am saying here:

  1. Mailchimp (SLMS already has this)
  2. WordPress (SLMS already has this)
  3. Discourse (SLMS already has this, just use it differently, change the name to Forum)
  4. Discord (Kill Telegram and switch to Discord and sync it to the membership system to allow some public and private channels).
  5. Wiki (I’ve previously suggested using Bookstack and built a prototype with Chris but it never progressed).

Document what all the platforms are for and how to use them on the wiki with links from each of these to this information when you join them and also consider trying to implement SSO.

I think we are currently using discord only for the video call capabaility. I don’t know if it’s needed longer term. By having a chat system there is a risk it would attract conversations that would normally be documented in discourse. Totally agree on the other list of software though.

In my opinion, Discourse does a great job of providing wiki-like functionality: look what I was able to find in 2 clicks from the front page:

I admit I had no idea we had a blog.

I don’t personally feel the need for a SLMS chat. Telegram et al would be a private place for conversations I’d not be interested in having. Can you imagine a huge group with all members? I would unsubscribe from that so fast.

It’s not hard to imagine really it’s exactly how the vast majority of Hackspaces in the UK operate.

I think this is an age old dicussion that gets raised a lot in tech environments (for example) - which technology should we chose. While I agree discourse is a bit chaotic and doesn’t have some features, I believe it is a good idea to stick with what we have right now. Although I have also wondered whether a move to a different platform would help refresh the SLMS forum. Just before lockdown we had a plan ready to go for communication and resources, based around a discourse revamp I think, although I wasn’t part of that, and I am not sure what happened to it… would be nice to find out


Discourse has my vote - a refresh could be fine, but I love it just the way it is!


Please no, I really do not want us to move away from discourse. The worst thing that existing communities can do in my eyes is to needlessly change things, invariably it gets confusing and people are lost along the way. The discourse may not be perfect but it’s a good way to have a thoughtful discussion and to have a relatively easily searchable record of posts that might one day be useful.
If we put it all into discord there’s no way you can find out how someone managed to get the vinyl cutter working again or what day to put the bins out.
Discord is great at what it was designed to do, be a place for pretty ephemeral conversations about games with a certain amount of live chat and that might well be useful while we can’t visit the space. Long term however is that really what you want to encourage people to do, not actually visit in person and be an in person member who uses the space?


I think Discourse is fine.
Discord doesen’t seem to know if it’s a desktop application, a website, or a phone app.
Using a desktop application to do messaging feels very 1998. like using Outlook or AOL messenger or Eudora :slight_smile:

also: this:

Unfortunately the title of the post isn’t great and suggests an adverserial relationship when the discussion was actually just looking at the value of different platforms for different purposes.

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I’ve updated for you @unknowndomain to reflect the original topic as I understood it

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I think Discourse is good enough as part of a range of electronic communication tools, despite my issues with posts being removed :joy:

Although, there are members who rarely if ever enter the discussion for various reasons.

It’s not but it really doesn’t matter I didn’t really intend for this to become a big thing, maybe it would be easier if it were just closed?