Some recent toots imploring people not to use Discord, because it's a black hole for knowledge compared to other things with web-searchable archives.

Point taken.

But they were suggesting using web forums, and, well, our forum runs on some neglected host beyond its supported lifespan with no easy upgrade path, and… 😩

Nobody uses FidoNet or Usenet or wants to join mailing lists anymore.

What would you recommend as a forum for an project? Ad-free with minimal (preferably zero) infrastructure maintenance requirements.

Alternately, do you have any recommendations for how to make the knowledge in a Discord more web-discoverable?

A naive bot that just dumped incoming messages to static HTML would be super easy. But I think privacy and anti-spam concerns make write-once archives a bad idea. Are there any implementations better thought out?

@keturn I personally prefer & Matrix. I still love IRC, but connecting via the official Matrix integration is pretty much equivalent to discord in terms of experience.

@thatgeoguy It's been long enough since I've been an IRC regular that it always feels weird to go back. There are no reactji on messages! How am I supposed to have a conversation without reactji???

—but back to the topic at hand, IRC has similar problems for discoverability.

I guess have, occasionally, ended up at some IRC log as the result of a web search, but I don't know how those logs are maintained.

@keturn @thatgeoguy "some bot", mostly.
I haven't used it myself, but there's Zulip (kind-of Slack-like but opensource). Similarly I've heard good things about (also open) but also not used it.

I'm also not sure if either of these address your "show up in a Web search" ask though .. but I'd be keen to know if anyone else has the answer to this!

@meejah @thatgeoguy These are also all direct alternatives to Discord: a focus on mostly-synchronous chat with sentence-length messages.

I don't think it's viable for us to _replace_ Discord. It's got sizable adoption among our target audience, and nothing else can compete on barrier to entry.

What I'm looking for is a replacement for the decrepit forum instance that might serve as an adjunct to chat.

Tends toward longer, more asynchronous posts, more focused topic threads. Example use case: support requests.

@keturn So chat logs generally speaking aren't going to be as easy to view / lookup, but I mean, logs on any other service are kind of the same way? IRC usually can be logged pretty easily in most clients or by a bot.

As for reactji / other features, perhaps Matrix on its own is acceptable? Unlike Discord the protocol is federated and folks can sync their own histories as they need to? Sure, there's a "discoverability" problem but any chat system is going to have that - the difference with IRC at least is that there's no official "account making" process standing in the way.

But yeah, there's really no chat system that's going to slot in here. I'm not really sure what the closest replacement for BBS is in 2022, but maybe there's something like that out there? Discourse perhaps?

@thatgeoguy Oh yeah, Discourse! That is the thing people are using these days, isn't it. Hmm.

@keturn I assume you're specifically thinking of public Discord servers? My main experience with Discord has been as a private space; it's not really designed for public-facing content -- which, I suppose, is the core of the problem from your perspective.

I'm not even sure there is any Discord-equivalent which is public-facing. Forums are different in a number of ways, mainly in that they are asynchronous (you usually have to reload a page to see new content) and have a very different way of organizing content.

I'm kinda seeing this niche as a longtime unmet need, really -- but it's just part of the sparsely-populated space I'd generally label "open-source collaborative platforms".

(Possibly a quick way of filling the public-access-Discord niche would be to patch Revolt -- which is more or less open-source Discord -- to allow read-only public access via web and API, this making it accessible to search-engines and other tools.)

Hope this is useful and not just me babbling.

@robotbill Yeah, Gitter has more focus on open communities. Search-engine-friendly archives you don't have to be signed in and joined to the channel to see.

Gitter was acquired by Element (the driving force behind the Matrix chat network) a little under two years ago. It's not clear to me what its future is.

@robotbill The announcement tells a story about bringing more of Gitter's features to Matrix:

but aside from a GitLab integration bot that still posts to Gitter's twitter account for every deploy event, there's been nothing on the Gitter blog, and nothing obviously Gitter-related on Element's blog.

Element has gained beta support for threads recently, I guess?

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