Should Ember better define its use of Slack?


#1

I asked this question on Slack (ironically) and (Ironically) I was asked to post here as the post on slack would be removed soon as part of the non-paid-for TOS.

Here is the link to the original question over there:

https://embercommunity.slack.com/archives/C0451CN7N/p1522751893000343

And here is the text - as it will be lost soon!

I just realized that slack doesn’t store the history for OS projects like Ember - this pretty much makes our use of it defunkt. Is anyone looking into moving the project onto another platform? The reason I think this is important is that if you search SO for ember help it’s pretty much all 2 yrs old as the questions are being asked here and consequently lost into the ether. This gives the impression that ember is a dead project - is anyone looking into this?

36 replies oskar [2 hours ago] @wayne-oo https://embercommunity.slack.com/archives/C0451CN7N/p1522697903000228 Matt McManus I’m not sure the best place is to discuss this, so I’ll just drop this tweet here. The TLDR is that ghost is dropping their public slack community in favor of discourse. I would support an equivalent decision for ember. https://twitter.com/JohnONolan/status/980872508395188224 From a thread in #generalYesterday at 8:38 PM

wayne-oo [2 hours ago] completely agree with this - I read that earlier and didn’t actually think about it before posting this - but it’s a good bolster to my point - slack seems to be useless atm for emberjs

oskar [2 hours ago] https://meta.discourse.org/t/discourse-and-slack-or-other-group-chat-apps-like-irc-hipchat-gitter-etc/39630 (edited)

chrismou [2 hours ago] Totally agree. Its a lack of visibility - if I hadn’t stumbled across this slack, I’d think no-one was talking about Ember at all. At least compared to the other big 3 frameworks

oskar [2 hours ago] I wouldn’t say it’s useless but it’s important to consider all the disadvantages. So much info is lost.

oskar [2 hours ago] On the other hand, many people who post in the chat wouldn’t be posting in a forum

wayne-oo [2 hours ago] IMO it does more harm than good

chrismou [2 hours ago] When you’re starting out, you want to know you can get support if you’re stuck. It doesn’t feel like that for Ember right now, unless you go looking for the slack. But again, if you’re starting out and you see React/Vue being talked about everywhere, why would you keep looking? Feels like the Slack walled garden could be stopping a lot of people from even considering Ember

oskar [2 hours ago] Yea possibly. In any case, Slack is not open source and their focus is not on communities. So it’s a dead end unless something radical in their roadmap changes

oskar [2 hours ago] @chrismou i think that’s the important benefit of having a chat. it’s really fast and great for finding help

oskar [2 hours ago] buuuut then we’re back where we started as the information will be lost in a couple of days on slack

wayne-oo [2 hours ago] there’s alternatives where you don’t lose history - I feel like this should be high up on the priorities for emberjs

chrismou [2 hours ago] @oskar Agreed, its invaluable. Though I’d be interested to know how many people want a permanent source of help vs how many people are stuck on one thing and are searching Google for a solution. And how many of the latter even discover that this slack exists in the process

chrismou [2 hours ago] But like you say, it’s a dead end. If these chats were searchable, a lot of the issues would be solved. But OSS isn’t a money maker for them right now.

runspired [2 hours ago] This comes up from time to time and I’ll rehash my same points

wayne-oo [2 hours ago] is this a recent change? I thought slack allowed OSS for free?

runspired [2 hours ago] For starters, there isn’t a comparable replacement (yet).

runspired [2 hours ago] But more importantly, on the question of history, while I wish it were 3-6 months instead of roughly 1-2 weeks, I would rather have answers vanish to be given again than live on past their relevance

runspired [2 hours ago] Answers here get to live and evolve with the community, unlike SO, blog posts, and forum posts that go stale

wayne-oo [2 hours ago] OK that’s a good point - but maybe the slack needs to be more front and center on the ember-js docs/website etc?

runspired [2 hours ago] As for “Has there been a recent change”. No. Slack has limited us like this since the beginning.

parry [2 hours ago] @runspired I agree but I can’t see many people thinking oh there must be a slack for that I’ll have look. They’ll simple google/SO the answer and a lot of questions there are old and outdated.

runspired [2 hours ago] Unfortunately yes, but that’s why we plaster the join slack message everywhere even when answering questions on other platforms

chrismou [2 hours ago] unlike SO, blog posts, and forum posts that go stale – yes, but those posts still exists, they’re still going stale, and they’re not being replaced by anything current

wayne-oo [2 hours ago] @chrismou valid point

parry [2 hours ago] I do feel though that early adopters will get discouraged by what seems to be the lack of use or community support if they don’t find the slack

chrismou [2 hours ago] So now we’ve gone full circle or looking like no-one is talking about Ember, which has to be affecting peoples decision of what framework to use

parry [2 hours ago] Keep the slack and encourage people to post questions on SO? Seems double edged though as it’s twice the work.

wayne-oo [2 hours ago] there’s also the discourse :confused:

acorncom [21 minutes ago] @wayne-oo would you be willing to out to Discourse about this so we can hash it out as a community there? :wink: this discussion is something that comes up regularly and is something both the learning team and the core team wrestle with regularly. But the conclusions have been discussed on Slack and are now gone … :slightly_smiling_face:

chrismou [21 minutes ago] haha ah the irony

wayne-oo [16 minutes ago] lol - yeah I can get a conversation started there :slightly_smiling_face:

oskar [12 minutes ago] @acorncom that sums up the issue pretty well haha

wayne-oo [5 minutes ago] I would post a link to this thread in the discourse conversation but it will be deleted before anyone gets to read it :stuck_out_tongue:

acorncom [4 minutes ago] Post it anyway, we’ll all be able to chime in and reference it for a while

acorncom [4 minutes ago] And I’ll ask some core team folks to post their thoughts as well so it’s not all one-sided

I have seen other people bring this up on Twitter:

I suspect a lot of people have views on this - to me it’s super important and i think tnat slack does more harm than good for EmberJs

Discuss :slight_smile:


Questions? Bring it!
#2

FWIW, we have had this discourse forum for quite a while, and is the most logical place for us to migrate these sorts of conversations to.

I’ve been strongly recommending folks move more Q/A stuff here, as well as use this forum as a way to coordinate larger community efforts (see #presentations for example).


#3

Its a tough one, because Slack (and the community that put so much time into it) do an awesome job. Absolutely invaluable. So I’m in no way advocating getting rid of Slack (or at least, moving away from real-time discussion) because that would be a huge loss.

That said, the message retention really does make Slack unusable as a learning tool. I was referred to a thread in one of the smaller channels a few days after the discussion, and the room was empty. An entire discussion lost to the archive with no way of referencing back. And whats the solution in a situation like that? Multiple screenshots? Copy/pasting the entire chat into my own teams slack instance? In the end they had to summarize what they could remember of it it to me in a sentence.

And with the awesome work that people like @locks and @alexspeller do, it’s painful to watch them answering the same questions over and over, because again, there’s no way of referring back. Nothing to link to. Such a waste of a goldmine of useful info.

I’m not sure what the solution is here, but there’s a bunch of really obvious problems with using a closed system like slack as a primary point of dicsussion. It does feel like there needs to be some sort of sensible split between whats discussed on slack and discourse, but I admit that’s basically unenforcable and could turn into a logistical nightmare.


#4

I’m not certain that I would go that far. Slack is “just” a medium, it certainly isn’t at fault here. I think there will always be a place for synchronous / realtime conversations and Slack works well for that (as would Discord, Telegram, IRC, etc).

I think we as a community are “at fault” if anyone is :scream_cat:. We became lax, and didn’t realize that by answering all questions “in realtime” that we lost the ability to share answers over time…

@Wayne_Douglas – Thanks for kicking off this conversation. :smiley:


#5

Spot on. There’s a “would you rather have your answer now, or your answer available to everyone, forever” trade off, and I can’t speak for everyone, but when I’m in a hurry I’d tend to gravitate towards the former rather than the latter :joy:


#6

As an aside, I believe @locks was looking into a Slack -> Discourse integration that would make it very easy to capture conversation snippets and create posts here.

I think he was looking at https://meta.discourse.org/t/chatroom-integration-plugin-discourse-chat-integration/66522, but could be wrong…


#7

I wanted to weigh in here with my 2c, for what it’s worth.

Firstly I don’t like how this conversation is ending up as “should we ditch Slack for discourse”. I know some people are giving measured responses but my overall takeaway from this conversation is that Slack is broken and we should throw it away. Why can’t we just use both!?

I agree that there are some conversations that would be better served on discourse, and we have been experimenting in the Learning Team channel by every-so-often bouncing overall discussions out into discourse threads (like this one for example). Remember, as developers, we know when to use the right tool for the right job and we should try to apply a little bit of that with our communication system.

Another thing to remember is that there are going to be some cases where people appreciate the more direct touch of using something like Slack. Asking a question and having @locks reply to you could be the nudge that makes you want to stay an Ember developer :joy: The flip side is also true, I know that having a slack channel with 1K people in it can be intimidating.


#8

The problem with considering Discourse as an alternative is that it doesn’t support threads. I’m assuming then that the slack integration would be next to useless in large channels that threads are the main form of communication :cry:


#9

Yes, there is a lot of great conversation going on in Slack, but it’s at the cost of this forum. Imagine if everyone from Slack was paying that much attention to this forum. Answers would be more likely and come quicker, and saved for later searching/reference. There is no way this forum will thrive like it had before Slack, with Slack or any other real-time chat platform.

IMO, Slack is also a bit of a time suck compared to this forum. To monitor Slack conversations takes a bit of time to “keep up”, and I’ll bet most people just skip to the end to ask their question (probably for the Nth time in Slack). But here you know the general topic due to the subject line (or within the first post or two) and can skip those which do not pertain (or don’t have an answer for).

I actually disagree with this. For me, I would monitor new conversations here more closely and would end up replying to more topics. Rather than just asking my own questions in Slack. So IMO more people would contribute to the “support” aspect of Ember via the forum. But again, because Slack exists, many less people visit these forums on a consistent basis to provide support.

Can we somehow solve the stale issue here or another platform? I’ve seen Telegram mentioned but know nothing about it.

Yes, one place for support would be best. Everyone can monitor one place for questions/answers.

^ This.

Because the issue will always exist with a real-time chat platform in place. There can be good intentions, but those probably won’t be followed through (by the majority) when you can get your answer “now”.

[Edit] ^ To clarify, I’m speaking specifically to “support” needs. Slack is still good for other community needs, for real-time collaboration. So Q/A should be here IMO.


#10

It’s more a case of it being “insider baseball” WRT where the conversation is happening - EmberJs looks dead on SO and you’d have to google to find this Discourse - by that point people considering a new framework will already be on Vue, React or Angulars sites getting started… IMO EmberJs is suffering because of the fragmentation - regardless of what is broken or not - EmberJs is losing new developres because the conversation is hidden away and deleted after a week.


#11

I’ve been saying this for years. Ember is the best solution for getting big teams of senior and junior devs to work on a single page app together and make it not suck. Ember could be huge in enterprises, but Wayne’s right. It looks dead and perception is reality. We know it’s not dead, but SO activity, forums, blog posts with answers, those aren’t just technical help, those are marketing. We can make hybrid style things that pull slack Q/A out into something that’s search engine index-able, but IMO as long as Slack lives we will be losing content and extremely valuable long term ROI.


#12

I think we’re on a similar page with this one. But do you mean nested forums, for each Slack channel? Maybe Tags could equate to the same here. Slack and Discourse actually would line up quite well, there are threads in both. The problem is that most conversations in Slack are not using threads. So if converted over here, every chat message would end up being a separate post / (empty) thread here.


#13

If things migrate away from Slack, my hope is that EVERYTHING migrates. One of the really nice things about the Slack channels is the ability to drop in and see the development discussions going on in basically real time. At least to me, it is one of the attractive things about Ember. And I’m not positive those conversations would happen in a Discourse style forum, it seems like the kind of thing that benefits from near real-time interaction and would rather be often hidden from the community altogether (either via other joint Slack groups, IMs, etc.) I could be proven wrong, and hopefully I would be.

As someone who grew up using forums, they are going to have different kinds of interactions compared to what happens now in the Slack group. And not always for the better.

I do agree with the problem, it is really sad there is so much great data hidden away in Slack Archives. I wonder if this happens, could one of the admins kick everyone off the Slack group and then subscribe for a month so they can download all of the old archives - all of that data is still there, it’s just a matter that it’s too expensive to get to with the number of members right now.


#14

Perhaps the response to support and guidance in most cases should be dealt with on Slack the same way they are dealt with in Github issues - the person asking the question is pointed to a more public forum where people are able to help (here, SO - whatever) and slack is more of a community space for discussing things like built with ember, ember talks, addon-development and announcements.

Just a thought - but I am suprised this isn’t a much louder topic - alarm bells should be ringing LOUD and IMO the odd missing feature is irrelevant the whole time we’re taking on water. Otherwise we’ll shoot the s*&t about this until it’s too late - and none of us wants that.


#15

True, but it works both ways. Posting a question, seeing it disappear within 10 mins and knowing no-one is going to scroll up far enough to see it is pretty soul destroying when you’re genuinely stuck on something you can’t puzzle out. If we’re counting on our most knowledgable guys being awake when the questions are asked in order to retain devs, we’re doing it wrong.

Am I misunderstanding? Discourse is a forum - every post is by definition a thread :slight_smile:

To reiterate, as I mentioned in my first post, I’m in no way advocating getting rid of slack. Its just not the best place for support, because no-one learns from the answers, and it very much relies on the right people being awake and online at the moment you ask the question.


#16

Sorry, naming clash here. I thought we were talking about a Discord bridge (name clash)

Although I really don’t like the idea of mirroring all of slack onto Discourse if that is what is being discussed. It seems like the wrong medium for the slack kind of conversation.


#17

I am ok with support and support only moving to something like Discourse. It goes back to my original point, use the right tool for the right job.

Giving up Slack on the whole would be devistating to the Ember community :cry:


#18

HAHA I did wonder… I think there is a need for 2 places to converse

  1. ask questions to learn about ember-js and it’s add-ons etc
  2. discussions about moving ember forwards, actually developing the components (ember-cordova, ember-data etc - a place where the devs can chat) and general chatter that’s not requiring a whole forum and doesn’t matter that it is ephemeral

What #2 is I don’t particularly care - what #1 is IMO very important and potentially causing emberjs pain


#19

100% agree, the ability to see what Core and other Teams are currently doing is important to gauge the activity of the project. And their needs are probably better met with Slack or similar real-time discussion platform. They should certainly still use what’s best for their needs, but it would be great if it was “public” yet.

It would have to be a hard push to get “help/support” off Slack at this point. I guess I just feel that Discourse is a better place for that in the end, although it might be more “inconvenient” than Slack. I’m fine if Slack sticks around for those community needs. It does provide a platform for groups to collaborate in real-time on a project and whatnot. If we can push the majority of support off Slack, messages in other groups would stick around much longer too. :wink:


#20

I think this is the answer - the message should be passed around and repeated and the importance of it should be emphasized and reasoned