Since we announced our public Slack community, it has grown to nearly 12,000 members. Many people have asked questions, received answers from the team, and helped out other community members with their problems.
However, the constantly growing number of members also came with problems. Questions were hard to follow, it was hard to verify profiles due to the display name policy, and Slack hid support requests due to their message limit.
With this announcement, we are getting rid of these problems by moving our community to Spectrum – an open-source forum-like alternative to Slack.

The New Chat Page

The first step was to overhaul our chat page.

The new chat page. No longer is there a need to enter your email address anymore – just click "Join".

With this change, we not only migrated the data sources to use Spectrum, but we also applied a few other changes making the page more appealing to users.

Showing Real Names on Team Section

Previously, the "Our Team" section only showed Slack usernames. We now show the real name of every team member to give a more personal experience when joining the community.

As our team grows, this list is automatically updated.

Clickable Profiles

In order to make it easier to directly message a certain community expert or team member about a specific topic, we have made the profiles under "Community Experts" and "Our Team" clickable.
For example, clicking the profile of our team member Nathan Rajlich will take you to his profile.

In order to message Nate, click on "Message Nathan Rajlich" on the left.

Effects of the Migration

A great aspect of moving the ZEIT community to Spectrum is that it gives us a better overview of what questions are asked the most, allowing our team to understand which parts of our platform we can improve upon to provide the best experience possible.
Furthermore, this community enables us to respond to questions in a more detailed way due to the information not being drowned out in a synchronous stream of messages.
But most importantly:

Threads Are Indexed by Search Engines

Spectrum cares a lot about discoverability.
Now, every time you search for a solution to a problem, you might stumble upon an already existing Spectrum thread on Google.

The more threads we have, the more search results will be available.

This means that, unlike on Slack, there is a smaller change of duplicated threads. Eventually, the quality of content drastically improves and it is, therefore, more helpful to our customers and community.

No More Impersonation

Since Slack announced that they are deprecating usernames in favor of so-called "display names", impersonation was always an issue. Because from that point on, the same display name could exist multiple times within the same Slack team.
With our migration to Spectrum; it is impossible to impersonate team members.
Not only are usernames unique and locked to a single user, but team members also have a badge to verify that they are part of the team.

For support requests, only trust members with this badge.

Closing the Circle

Two weeks from today, we will be shutting down our Slack community completely.
Starting today, we ask that messages, including questions, are posted on our Spectrum community. Help us move over by telling your friends/co-workers.
We are also informing all members of our old community Slack workspace via direct message and email.
Let's start Spectrum'ing (in the words of Max Stoiber)!