The Accord Project is moving from Slack to Discord
As the Accord Project grows, so the community needs to ensure that its choice of platforms support the needs of its members.
Although Slack has served the Accord Project community well for a considerable amount of time, recently there have been challenges and Slack seems to no longer be the best collaboration platform for the Accord Project community.
Therefore, after seeking feedback from the Accord Project Community, and as discussed at recent Accord Project Technology Working Group calls, and as agreed by the Accord Project Technical Steering Committee, the Accord Project is migrating from Slack to Discord!
What’s the issue with Slack? Why are we doing this?
Difficult for members to join
Slack has been the principal means of communication for Accord Project community members. Being able to invite people into the Accord Project community quickly and easily is fundamental to the success and growth of our membership.
Up until recently, it was possible to publish an invitation link which would remain valid for 1 month and allow anyone to join the Accord Project Slack channel. Slack has now changed their policy and these links remain valid for 3 days only.
This means there have been multiple times where individuals have tried to join the Accord Project Slack channel and were prevented from doing so.
The administrative overhead of maintaining this link has become overly burdensome, along with the administrative overhead associated with helping people join when, inevitably, the link expires. (And, yes, we’ve tried automating this but it doesn’t work and/or is clumsy.)
Slack has a 10,000 message limit for free-tier accounts, which is the tier that the Accord Project uses.
A message limit of 10,000 messages might sound like a lot but, on average, that’s only 3 to 4 months of chat history available to anyone in the Accord Project Slack community.
This means that much of the valuable wisdom and advice that is regularly shared by Accord Project members, is lost every 3 to 4 months!
Slack does say that the messages are still there but, in order to access these messages, the Accord Project must purchase a “Pro” plan at a cost of USD $6.67 per user per month!
Please note that the “per member” cost is per every member regardless of whether a member is active in the Accord Project Slack Group or not.
As the Accord Project currently has over 21,000 members, then the cost associated with a “Pro” plan for the Accord Project is prohibitively expensive. (That’s, literally, USD $140,000+ per month, if we do the maths)
The Accord Project has approached Slack about a free “Pro” plan based on the Accord Project being a not-for-profit but our application was rejected.
Even if the Accord Project was able to secure a “Pro” plan by some means, the issue of the invitation link expiring every 3 days would (most likely) still remain.
What are were looking for?
There were a number of Slack alternatives available that were suggested and considered.
Key requirements for the replacement were:
Easy to join
We didn’t want the same issue as above!
No message limits
We didn’t want to lose all the wonderful thinking and knowledge that accumulates over time.
Low or zero cost
We wanted a cloud-based SaaS solution with a free tier
Low hassle or maintenance
We didn’t want the hassle of maintaining or administering a self-hosted solution. Additionally, a self-hosted solution would have associated hosting costs.
Modern & feature rich
We wanted something modern and with functionality and features that we had become used with Slack. Such as integration with our GitHub build tools for notifications etc.
Discord offers a number of advantages over Slack and other options.
Members can use any existing Discord account to automatically access an Accord Project “server” (Discord’s name for Channels).
Individual Members can purchase a paid Discord membership which gives these users individual privileges but there is no fee for “servers”.
No message limits!
Accord Project Members can search the entirety of the community’s messages.
Easy voice, video chat and screen sharing.
With Discord, we’ll be able to create voice rooms for everything from casual chats to event-specific discussions. One-click screen sharing means we can quickly jump into a chat to troubleshoot or share ideas without dealing with Zoom links and such.
As the community grows, moderation and permissions will become more important. Discord offers better capabilities along these lines.
More flexibility for everyone
Discord offers more options for channels and groups, allowing for a fine-grain architecture of channels. For example, we’ll be able to spin-up private chat and voice channels for individuals inside of the server, while creating standalone public channels for events and more.
Invitation links never expire!
…and anyone can invite anyone else to join. This means there is no bottleneck or impediments to people joining the Accord Project community. Members can invite other members, which will allow the community to grow more organically.
There will be a period of two weeks from **Saturday 28-Aug** where Accord Project Maintainers and Contributors will monitor both Slack and Discord.
During this period, community members are encouraged to join the Accord Project Discord Server
Please feel free to share this link with anyone you think may be interested!
Slack goes read-only
From Saturday 11-Sep, the Accord Project Slack channels will become read-only, and all ongoing chat will be conducted on Discord.
Questions or challenges
If anyone has any further questions or experiences any challenges with this transition then feel free to post comments in the #technology-wg or #tsc channels on Slack (until 11-Sep) or Discord accordingly.
A helpful comparison of Slack, Discord and Discourse:
An interesting blog post about using Discord in a business context: