May 18, 2021
Hello again Strapi Community!
Today we wanted to talk to you about our community communication platforms and some plans we have been working on for a few months now. As you may know, for our first StrapiConf we hosted its chat on a new official Strapi Discord server, and we also ran a forum post asking for a bit of feedback from all of you. What we have decided on, and will be implementing over the next few months, is a plan to move from our existing Community Slack to the new Community Discord. Below you will find some details about what we are planning, how long the migration will take, and what you can expect.
We have opened a new forum post for you to provide your feedback on this plan and assist us in finding the best solutions to fit the community's needs We certainly did hear a number of both positive and negatives about the Discord platform, and below you will find the most popular negatives we collected and how we plan to address them.
As you may (or may not) know, the Strapi Community Slack has been around for almost as long as Strapi has. It originally came to be back on Jun 1st, 2016. In that time, our community has grown exponentially year after year and as of the past year or so it’s growing exponentially faster every month.
Since the beginning of the Community Slack, we have collectively sent over half a million messages, and we are only able to see and search through the past 10,000. That’s a lot of lost communication between all of you and the information you have shared with us.
Over time our member numbers have grown faster than the number of GitHub stars we have, and as we continue to grow, so will the number of messages. As of April 21st, 2021, we had just under 15,000 members on our Community Slack. If every single member posted only a single message, a third of those messages would be lost immediately.
You may ask yourself, “if this blog post is about Discord, why are we mentioning the Strapi Forum?” and to that, let me explain a bit about some methods of communication. When you are searching for answers to your questions, there are usually two means used most commonly:
Directly searching on a Search Engine, Documentation, or a Forum. Joining a community IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and asking people live.
For most of Strapi’s lifetime, we only ever had our Documentation and the Slack. Back in August of 2020 we launched the Community Forum and we immediately saw a substantial increase in its usage while also seeing a decrease in our Slack usage. While we can only speculate the exact reasons for this, one key point is the new Community Forum is indexed by search engines. This means that any time you search for a question about Strapi, there is a good chance someone else has asked that same question, and it was already answered. This not only helps you find the answer to your question faster but promotes you to help others with their own.
Just within the first full quarter of the Strapi Community Forum being live (Q1 2021) we had over 600 threads and over 2,100 posts.
Much like the threads and posts on the Strapi Community Forum, our member registration and new contributors have also far exceeded our expectations. Currently, we have just under 2,000 registered members and averaging 50 new contributors per week!
One of Strapi’s User Success team goals is to ensure our Community has the tools and resources they need to succeed. There are 4 sub-teams under User Success:
To date, both the Community Slack and Community Forums have fallen under the Support / Solution Engineering team, my team. To ensure the success of our users, you the community, we want to ensure we are promoting and helping to provide the best tools we can offer.
However, Strapi alone cannot completely manage hundreds of thousands of users, we need to be able to promote our most active community members. We introduced a program last year called the Strapi Community Stars and hand-picked from the wonderful Strapi community those who showed proactive engagement, users who without any encouragement from the Strapi team engaged with others, helped them, developed new packages, wrote tutorials/guides/articles, and assisted with GitHub issues.
Our hope in the future is that with a fresh perspective and new platform, we can continue evolving this program and give the Community Stars the tools they need to go even further. Slack has never really offered the tools we needed to allow for community moderators, and the scope of integrations and bots is extremely limited within the free version of Slack. To upgrade to a paid subscription means we would need to pay a monthly price for each user! At a current price of roughly $7.50/user/month and our current total users at roughly 15,000 that breaks down to about $112,000/month, which just is not feasible.
Discord, on the other hand, has far fewer restrictions for large communities. It has built in tooling such as permissions, roles, and moderation tools with a wide range of added features like voice, video, and screen sharing options that would make troubleshooting far easier for everyone in the community. We will of course, be assisting this ourselves by paying for 15 Discord Nitro boosts and leaving 15 additional boosts to any of our community members who wish to help boost the server (and get an awesome custom role and user color). These 15 boosts give us the following additional features:
In our initial forum thread when we ran a poll to see if the community was interested in migrating from Slack to Discord, there were a few concerns raised, and we would like to address them directly. Naturally, some may not be included on this list, and if we missed a few, please do let us know in the feedback forum post.
Please note that this plan is still subject to change (based on timelines and your feedback). We have already started phase one and as you read this pending one week to collect feedback and adjust the plan accordingly. If you wish to provide any feedback, please do so on our dedicated forum post.
Much of the initial planning for the Discord server was done based on the needs of StrapiConf and we are now adapting the server to fit a more focused community need instead. As such, these were our initial steps:
ETA: May 25, 2021
This phase will be the slow rollout, we intended to give ample time for everyone to make the switch and so this phase will last a few weeks as we slowly start making changes. It will be ran in parallel with phase 1.
ETA: At most 5 weeks, could be shortened if we see an immediate large number of users move
This is the final phase and doesn’t entirely impact the community but we wanted to be sure someone didn’t try to pop onto the Slack only to see it had disappeared. So in order to ensure everyone notices the migration message in the Slack general channel we will keep the server open in a locked-down state for at least 3 months but quite possibly 6 months in which only the Strapi team may post messages. After this timeframe we will permanently delete the Slack server.
ETA: 3 to 6 months
All of us at Strapi wanted to thank all of you for everything you do in the community and we hope this change encourages and empowers you to make Strapi the best headless CMS ever, we would not be here today without every single one of you.
Our community is always on our mind for every single decision we make as a company, as engineers, designers, product managers, and as fellow developers. We love all the feedback you give us on ways we can improve and build the awesome features you all enjoy. Our hope is to speak to every single one of you and provide the best possible platform for our community to communicate with each other!
Finally, we wanted to give a huge shoutout to Orbit.love and their fantastic blog post and many hours talking to us about their move which helped us plan our own. Their other blog post was a key resource when we were planning our Strapi Community Forum as well.
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