Right now, the Jupyter community mostly uses a rag-tag combination of Gitter channels for real-time communication. I’ve found Gitter to be pretty under-featured and un-developed over the last year or two. For example, it doesn’t work well on mobile, doesn’t have any kind of alerting system, has a “one room per repository” model but doesn’t link repositories together into organizations, doesn’t support file uploading or emoji addition very well, and just generally hasn’t evolved much in the time that I’ve used it.
My assumption has always been that it was used simply because it was a better alternative to Slack, which (at least historically) was difficult to use as an open channel of communication, and also has some annoying practices around data usage, message capping, etc.
In recent months I’ve seen more people talking about Discord as an online platform for community chat. It seems to have many of the features of slack (one server per organizations w/ many channels per room, web/desktop/mobile apps, search across old messages) without some of the drawbacks (e.g., separate login for each channel). Moreover, it seems much more well-featured than Gitter. For example the Rust Discord server seems to be a healthy place for cross-community chat.
I guess the weirdest thing about Discord is that it explicitly markets itself as a “Gaming chat application”, which obviously is not the same as an open source community platform. That said, in many ways they seem like similar situations (large, open community, requirement for enforcing community norms and rules of communication, need for lots of kinds of topics, etc).
I’m curious if anybody has experience with Discord, whether for an open community or not.