Mautic Community Live Chat

There has been some confusion within the Mautic Community regarding whether we are sticking with Slack, or moving to an alternative system such as Discord. This post hopes to clarify the situation and explain the process we have been through to arrive at the current decision.

tl;dr version

We are staying on Slack for the foreseeable future (see forum discussion here). If Slack becomes problematic in the future we will have an open and transparent conversation in the forums to decide what platform would best meet the needs of the community.

Some back-history

In October 2018, a discussion was started on Slack (see thread here or search for ‘Discord) about several other growing communities who had encountered problems with invitations being disabled, effectively crippling a key communication channel for their projects.  Some examples include React, Grav, and Sia.

There was a concern that, as we were approaching 7,000 community members in Slack, we could also experience this problem.  Other community members also voiced their concerns at the lack of moderation and granular access control features within Slack, which could become problematic as the community continues to grow.

A vote was held and it was decided to explore a popular alternative, Discord.  The Core Team and Website Team started to use Discord toward the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 to explore whether it might be a viable alternative instead of Slack.

At the time, there wasn’t a clear decision made to move from Slack to Discord or public communication regarding this trial use of Discord, and as a result there was some confusion as to whether Slack or Discord was the right place to engage with the community.

Addressing this issue was one of the key priorities that Acquia laid out in their 90-day announcement.

Current situation

Recently there have been significant problems with the Community communication channels including the forums being offline and problems with the website, which have largely been resolved to date.  Effective communication is at the heart of every Open Source project, so anything that threatens this needs to be addressed as a matter of priority.

The disruption and confusion arising as a result of these problems, and the lack of clarity on which live chat system we will be using, has been a significant roadblock to progress within the community, and has disrupted progress in many areas.

Moving circa 7,000 community members from one live-chat system to another is no small task, so we wanted to be absolutely sure that such a move was necessary before initiating a migration process.

Having conducted due diligence research among other Community Managers, it became clear that there are some very large communities using Slack (for example, the Go community are around 44,000 users!), so we reached out to Slack directly to determine what the criteria is for communities to be sanctioned in the way others had been experiencing.

You can read more about the discussions on this forum thread (copied from an earlier thread on Trello).  The outcome from those discussions: it is now clear that, providing we continue to use Slack in the way we currently do, we are not at risk of having our instance limited or restricted.

Conclusion

Given the disruption that the community has faced in recent times, we feel that the best decision at the present moment in time is to stay with Slack for the foreseeable future.  While we do acknowledge that there are some shortcomings, especially when it comes to moderation, we feel that moving systems at this point in time would not be a sensible decision to take.

If, in the future, these issues with Slack continue to be problematic to the point where it is inhibiting growth and preventing progress, we will initiate a discussion on the forum to review the available systems and decide what platform would best meet the needs of the community.

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