The Community Club

Discussion on: Real-time chat community vs Forum community

mac profile image

Ah this is one of my favorite (and likely most contentious) topics in the community space recently!

For context - we started as a newsletter, then launched a Slack, and then launched this Forem. But we didn't shut down the Slack. Rather we treat Slack and Forem as two different tools for two different purposes, each with their own type of communication. The important thing though, is that we didn't launch both at the same time. We made sure that the Slack was large and self sufficient enough before attempting to support a second platform.

A forum is better for longer form thoughts, things that are often more permanent and have had more time put into writing them. Slack (or any other chat platform like Discord or Telegram) is better for 'in the moment' conversation.

And you can't really compare the two. Different types of conversation mediums leads to, well, different types of conversation. It all depends on the type of community you're looking to launch.

If you're a large enterprise company (think Salesforce), a forum based approach probably makes the most sense. If you're primarily looking to provide 'best answer' support functionality, a forum probably also makes most sense.

If you're just starting out, I'd recommend picking a single platform that best fits your current community goals. You can always layer in a second tool later if/when it makes sense, but focus on knocking one out of the park first.

louiswong profile image
Louis Author

That is a super informative answer Mac! I am 100% with you on each platform serving a different purpose .

Out of curiosity, when you guys were starting out the Slack community (when there was only a handful of members) how did you guys solve the problem of having people saying "Hi", "Anyone online?" at different times because each of them is living in different timezones?

Also, some channels get so flooded when I come back to some of the discord community I can't even follow the conversation anymore, was this a problem for you guys too?