We've been using Slack since before we were called Axiom, but it never felt right. Like a pair of infrequently used Brogues that pinched a bit, Slack didn't fit. So earlier this year, we moved to Discord, where we're a lot more comfortable. Discord is the Nike Air Force 1's to Slacks stuffy leather shoes.
- We moved our established community from Slack to Discord successfully
- We gained, rather than lost people in the transition
- Everyone seems happy with the move
The suggestion to switch came from our CxOs soon after I arrived at Axiom at the end of 2022. We weighed the pros and cons, built a migration plan, and then flipped the switch. We haven't looked back at all since.
While Slack is a very capable platform for real-time chat, a few things were lacking. Search, community building, and moderation tools were on our list.
Users reported that a search in our Slack turned up invalid results. As a result, people would ask the same questions because they couldn't find answers in the backlog. Or someone else needed help finding the results and linking to them quickly.
Slack has a little more friction in joining a new workspace than Discord. If you already have a Discord account, you're in within a couple of clicks. Entering a new Slack is a little more abrasive, and while it's a well-known process, we've certainly seen some people flat-out refuse to participate due to the friction.
Further, the network effect meant that if all the Axiom internal developers moved, the community needed to follow, or they'd get no authoritative answers or support. Secondly, and perhaps more brutally, we owned the community Slack and could (and did) just shut it down, so there wasn't a choice to stay there!
So we migrated in February, giving everyone a good Month's notice. We created an invite link on our new Discord, then made a redirect at axiom.co/discord. If we (or Discord themselves) needed to revoke the invite link, we could easily create a new one and change the redirect with a one-line PR.
Predictably, Axiom staff moved quickly, and the core community of regular users moved with us. The wider community moved a little slower. Perhaps surprisingly though, it only took two months for the ‘human count’ on Discord to exceed the number we previously had on Slack.
Discord has a ton of tools to help build communities. Slack has a very “internal team” vibe, whereas Discord feels way more open to external and internal people working together. The developers who use our products are also familiar with Discord as it’s popular among their software worlds.
Our community is full of awesome people, but bad actors can always turn up. So we've used a moderation bot to ensure everyone follows our community guidelines, which has worked great so far.
We've started heavily using the threaded forum-style view in Discord to support user problems. It's a familiar interface for anyone leveraging forums to get answers to anything more than a one-line quick question.
The vibe on Discord is different. Our users are upfront in telling us when they feel improvements can be made to our products and Discord itself. Some turn into quick wins, while others can be converted into backlog tasks or topics for further internal discussion.
We were initially concerned that people might not want to move. This was unfounded for a couple of reasons. First, our community is relatively small, passionate, and friendly. They seemed pretty happy with the decision we'd made. Second, Discord is a familiar tool to many of our customers. So it wasn’t a big ask to switch from one popular chat app to another.
Overall, we’re delighted with the move! If you’re an Axiom user, do drop by and tell us how we’re doing! 👋 axiom.co/discord.