Community Building June 30, 2020

Slack vs. Spectrum for communities: What are your thoughts? 🤷‍♂️

Brayden W @BraydenTW

Yesterday I did a post to find out what you all thought about me starting a community for buildfaster.co on spectrum.chat.

Recap from the previous post

At the time I thought Spectrum was the way to go... but you guys had other opinions 😂

One of the main things that hit me was from what @gabe said:

I run on a community on Spectrum and I wouldn't recommend it. You don't actually get access your your user's email addresses, Spectrum does a poor job of alerting users when there is new content (even as an admin I don't get notifications), and I get the sense that the product is no longer being actively developed since their acquisition by Github. I'm planning on moving as soon as I figure out a better alternative (potentially Slack).

Cons of Spectrum 👎

  • Only Github login
  • Poor job alerting users
  • Not in development anymore

These are all "deal-breakers" as @alexhillman says.

Is Slack the way to go? 🤔

So I decided to go with my second choice. Slack. You can join BuildFaster's channel here

So (again 😂) I want to ask you on your feedback.

This time I want to know more if I should stick with Slack, or move onto Discord. I want to find a permanent place for BuildFaster's community in the next few days so I want you to know that your advice is super helpful.

Thanks so much! You guys are the best 😄

  1. 5

    I'm wondering why you feel you need/want a community?

    Regardless of the tool, what are you going to do that will keep people wanting to come back?

    1. 1

      I want a community right now because it will help me find early users and also it will get the word out. The more people you know (and that know you), the better.

      To be completely honest, I think I will just answer people’s questions in my community and also give them a chance to get their word in for future ideas.

      That’s why I am trying to figure out the best way to build a community for BuildFaster.co

      Hope this makes sense :)

      1. 2

        This sounds like it'd be more effective as a one-to-many email list (e.g. good 'ol Mailchimp or Convertkit) at the start focused on answering peoples' questions and asking them to reply from time to time. Treat your email list like a "VIP section" - which isn't quite the same as a community, but much easier to start and adapt. Then, once you have some momentum, consider launching something that gives those folks access to each other.

        Launching a space to gather before you have people to gather is a common mistake, and very often, kills any chances of community before you've even started.

        1. 2

          Totally agree with this Alex. I'll get working on it :)

          1. 1

            What @alexhillman says, basically.

            It's what 'you' want, not necessarily what your people want. Take your time, get to know your people and create things that they want. This may or may not end up being a community.

            1. 2

              Thanks, I'm working on my newsletter for buildfaster.co and just released the first issue yesterday :)

              I hope to get around 50-100 subscribers by the end of August.

              1. 1

                🙌 That's great!

                Here's some specific steps you can take to grow that list: https://stackingthebricks.com/the-ebomb-recipe-that-works/

  2. 3

    Hi Brayden!

    I second Rosie's question on digging deeper about why you want the community. If it's for FAQ and feedback, then what you are looking for is a chat solution. Not a community.

    You already have a widget, so I'm not sure what the chat is going to do?

    As for Slack vs other platforms, I personally despise Slack. But I'm not your target user. Your users will probably be on Telegram, Slack, and Discord already. So I'd put it where they already are.

    And that brings me to the big question:
    Who is your target user?

    Your designs look great and I love clean code as much as the next gal/guy, but...

    Is it html coders who want shortcuts?
    My opinion: They'll just steal the code.

    Is it people like me, who want easy to use, drop in templates?
    My opinion: You're signing up for a world of pain, in providing tech support and tutorials. :tears:
    :D

    The only 2 use cases I can think of off the top of my head:

    1. Agencies, to show customers, to choose 1 template to start with.
    2. People who are learning to code html.
    3. 1 person freelance website designers.

    Problems:

    1. Agencies don't want to reveal how easy their work is. Or how cheap a template is!
    2. People who are learning to code html for their personal sites... is probably a very small market. I bet they are out there! But finding them is going to be quite a journey.
    3. 1 person freelance website designers would probably only buy templates in a bundle. If their customers don't care what's on the back end, then they'd just use Carrd.co or something instead.

    I could be totally wrong! Just my perspective.

    And I do have some ideas for you, I'll send them privately! :)

  3. 2

    Starting out with a free tool like Slack is good to get chat flowing and create a bit community around your product or service. I tried to go with a larger community platform originally, but without a substantial amount of community members, it can feel hollow. I think using Slack or something similar until you get your first 50-100 community members is better for facilitating a more seamless flow of conversation. It will also allow you to gauge your community members preferences, which will allow you to decide on a paid community tool that will suit your community best further down the line. Hope this helps. Just my 2 cents!

  4. 2

    For MegaMaker, after years of using Discourse, we just started using Playgroup.

    It's made by @benmann. So far our members really like it! 🙌

  5. 2

    discord has worked for one community where I'm in. it's less bloated than Slack imho which might put off technically not so savvy users.

    Another alternative to look at might be Gitter: https://gitter.im/

    1. 1

      +1 for Discord! There's tons of non-gaming communities on there already and I find it way better than Slack.

  6. 1

    For me the most interesting / important thing is that each subject has its own thread, so you can easily check if a question has been asked before.
    This is why I am using Spectrum for https://mockoon.com. With its threads system it can act as a knowledge base. Slack is nowhere there, and the sign up process is cumbersome.
    However, I am looking forward the launch of GitHub Discussions which looks a lot like Spectrum (maybe because, like you said, Spectrum has been acquired by GitHub a while ago). It would make sense to regroup under GitHub as I receive most feedback through Issues.

  7. 1

    I'd say go for Discord.
    I know essentially it was build as Gamer platform but it's overstepped those boundaries. A lot of coding communities moved there for example React. IMO Discord is so much better than Slack in terms of UI.

    Another advantage they have build-in community discovery system which could help with the promotion.

  8. 1

    Do check out rocket.chat, we use it at flixcatalog.com

  9. 1

    With Github introducing messages, I'm not sure the future of Spectrum.

  10. 1

    We are finding a lot of people using Slack and Discord are struggling to really provide a community feel beyond the exchange of information. Would love to demo Panion for you as a third alternative. https://panion.com

  11. 1

    Do you have a specific reason to be leaning towards a chat-based tool?

    1. 1

      Hmm.. not sure. I'm pretty new to building a community and based of what I've heard, it's good to be able to talk with people (potentially interested in your product) so you can help them and convert.

  12. 1

    I'm a noob when it comes to community stuff too but I think I've seen more dedicated ones on Slack.

    But that might just be me 😉