Has the Brumtech Slack killed the forum?

(Steve Jalim) #1

Pretty quiet on here these days…

(Andy Wootton) #2

It’s had a good try but I’ve learned more about what the difference between Slack and birmingham.io is. Slack doesn’t persist unless you feed it money so it’s temporary for Brumtech chat, so as a community, we leak shared knowledge through Slack, but the signal-noise ratio here has probably increased.

If I see something on Slack I think is valuable, I copy it somewhere else but I don’t always know what will be valuable later. None of us do.

(Matt Andrews) #3

For me it has… I check in here periodically, but Slack now seems to have the majority of people. But @Woo’s right about the temporary factor… hmm.

(Daniel Hollands) #4

I view them as serving separate purposes - one of them is for water cooler chat (the slack) and the other is for more in-depth stuff (the forum).

I did ask, a couple of years ago, if there should be a b.io chat channel, and the resounding answer was no, so I didn’t - but the fact that @Jess’s slack is so popular suggests I should have gone ahead and done it anyway (although I’m not sure I’d have set-up a slack myself, probably an IRC channel with a nice web-based interface).

In any case, I’d be keen on some integration between the two - I did have the idea for a bot which can post about forum topics within slack (maybe as the result of a search or something), but I’ve not had the time to build it yet.

(Andy Wootton) #5

The problem with this distinction is that some water cooler chats become in-depth and are worth preserving. A mechanism to automate a transfer in mid-stream would be handy.

Which reminds me: I tried IRC to the Slack. I noticed that IRC uses a “Rooms” model rather than channels. After the way functional programming has made me rethink that variables are really places and an alternative model is values in flow, I found that interesting - the idea of a virtual place rather than a communications channel. I’m also (paused while) reading ‘Everything Is Miscellaneous’ which talks about the limitations physical place put on the organisation of data. You can only put a book on one shelf at a time. That is no longer true of data but “I’ll meet you in the Innovation Room” seems a powerful idea: that we naturally associate activities with place and change mind-set as we move from one to another. Does that add value?

(Jim Seconde) #6

Once I registered on Slack it kind of killed it off for me.

(Andy Wootton) #7

Is that because you already have Slack open all the time?

(Jim Seconde) #8

Yes, our work uses it so Brumtech is there as well.

(Andy Wootton) #9

“there”, like Slack is a place too. “Meet me on IRC”, people say, without specifying a room. I guess it’s obvious, for some reason I’m unaware of.

(Jim Seconde) #10

“There” being the native Slack app for MacOS X and native Android app. So my Brumtech Team Slack is online constantly, right next to my work Team.

(Andy Wootton) #11

@maxehmookau pointed out that the MacOS application is Electron JavaScript, not native.

(Jim Seconde) #12

Native in this case meaning you install it as an application by dragging it to the Applications folder as it is a packaged format that MacOS understands and executes.

(Andy Wootton) #13

Slack had told me it was available for Linux. I was about to install it but the feedback from Mac users who considered it a memory hog put me off.

(Jim Seconde) #14

I’ve not found it to particularly be a memory hog, considering how much memory is available in Macs these days

Some of the front end maybe JavaScript but Slack is predominantly written in PHP. The stock, historical image of PHP even managed to make Slack write a blog article explaining why it was written in PHP.

(Ben Paddock) #15

I’d like to expand this further and say that, in the same vein, Twitter has killed the blog post. e.g:

“I’m going to rant about something 140 chars at a time 1/99999999”

“Here come’s a tweet storm”.

It’s not actually Twitter that has done that though and I think this would make an interesting PhD for someone - Are we beginning to suffer from online attention deficit disorder? It’s easy to quickly read and write in snippet form but I think that this is harmful. Good thinking, learning and doing takes time and the way we’re now communicating is hindering this.

(Joshua Jones) #16


The modern internet has caused a huge number of people to struggle with focus and deliberate practice. Deep work by Cal Newport talks about this at length.

The rise of “fake news” which, let’s call it what it is, propaganda is extremely worrying when again a huge number of people lack critical thinking skill and the ability to evaluate objectively.


(Peter Oliver) #17

Indeed, Slack doesn’t seem a good fit for communities. You can’t peek inside without first acquiring an invitation, and its contents are invisible to search engines.

(Andy Wootton) #18

That’s an interesting point that I hadn’t considered @mavit. I joined Slack without trying to look first, because I couldn’t understand the point of it.

People’s different opinions on privacy requirements sometimes surprise me. I can see that relative privacy within a community might be valued by some people e.g. not wanting an employer to accidentally see you are trying to learn something that is nothing to do with your job. It makes Slack less good for demonstrating that the area has a vibrant tech community.