Community forum notifications on Slack

Thanks to a new plugin Discourse, we can now get notifications about Community forum activity from the Slack team.

This plugin allows us to choose individual forum categories to follow, and individual Slack channels to post to. We can also choose whether Slack notifications are generated for just the first post in a topic, or if the entire conversation thread is cross-posted to Slack.

To start us out, I’ve made the following configurations:

  • Data Management category: all new topics and replies are posted to #dm.
  • DM Notifications category: all new topics and replies are posted to #dm.
  • DM Team private category: all new topics and replies are posted to #dm.
  • Support category: all new topics and replies are posted to #dm.

Feedback wanted

The configuration I’ve posted above is just a starting point. I’d love to hear how folks would like to get Community notifications in Slack.

Would you prefer having a separate, dedicated channel for Community notifications? The benefit is having less bot traffic in #dm; the downside is that there would be an additional channel to follow to get important team communications.

A compromise might be to have new posts go to #dm, but replies only appear in a new #dm-clo channel.

In particular, it might useful to route Support conversations to a new #dm-support channel since those posts may have less relevance to the DM team as a whole.

+1 to both of these from me. Even without c.l.o. integration, a dm-support channel seems useful to me, though we might want to clarify to what degree DM developers should also use that channel (and the c.l.o. Support category) when asking for help (I don’t have a strong opinion).


Does the community team have the same membership and access as the #dm channel?

New topics only (no replies) in #dm, please — it’s just too much.


Cross-posting between communication channels seems to me to threaten the clear dividing lines we have been trying to establish between them. Is the ultimate intent to enable Slack users to use its UI to communicate in any venue? Is that desirable in terms of establishing rules, norms, and culture?


I agree with @jbosch and @price. I feel if we have to see postings and replies then the overlap is far too great between Slack and community. Seeing certain initial postings might make sense, perhaps (though I already see them in email). But after that I will subscribe to a community posting if I care about the topic and I don’t want to see more about it otherwise.

The less cluttered we can keep Slack the happier I’ll be.


Agree with everyone else: new topics only. We come here to see replies. Also, I’d suggest the new topic postings on Slack be less verbose: as @rowen said, many of us get emails anyway, and/or check community every few days.

I’m not sure of the point of having a separate room for Community notifications: Community has a pretty good builtin notification system. I certainly wouldn’t subscribe to adm-clo.


Thanks everyone for your quick feedback! This experiment did show that notifications replies aren’t that effective in the #dm channel.

Here’s the changes I’ve made:

  • New posts from Data Management, DM Notifications and DM Staff are being posted in #dm. Since we have, at most, only a couple new topics on any day, I think this will work. Obviously, we can continue to evolve this.
  • I’ve created a #dm-clo channel for full reply notifications from Data Management, DM Notifications and DM Staff. People can subscribe to this channel if that works for them. (Note, I did have this feature requested back in the HipChat days.)
  • I’ve created a #dm-support channel for full reply notifications from the Support category, to help those involved in community support.

I don’t think we’re trying to do anything that drastic. I continue to see Community as the long-form asynchronous communication venue, and Slack as a real-time platform. Collecting real-time notifications from other platforms and infrastructure is a common use of Slack in many organizations (i.e., ChatOps).

Slack notifications may be a way to deprecate Community Mailbot that posts to the dm-devel mailing list.

We don’t have the infrastructure to manage membership lists at this point. Would you prefer not having DM Team appear Slack given that it’s a semi-open venue?

Thanks @jsick! I will probably read community posts more regularly now that they appear in a Slack channel!

Next, can we please have support for embedding tweets with images and/or twitter stream widgets in Community posts? :innocent:

Thanks @mrawls :blush:

I did some digging and it seems like I can tweak things to get native tweet embeds (with images and everything):

I’ll hook it up soon.

What are you thinking for Twitter stream widgets? Something like a Storify preview? (I just checked and the Storify preview is pretty minimal too; here’s the issue there:

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Yay, that’d be great! Yesterday I wanted to embed an html widget that was a hashtag search, like this. But discourse interpreted it as just a fancy hyperlink rather than embedding anything.

Unless there is a strong technical reason to do this, I’d quite rather you didn’t. Email is a much more obvious notification of something than slack is, for me. A slack notification can get lost in the middle of a conversation, but the email is obvious.



There’s no technical impetus for deprecating the mailbot. I’ve got some feedback that Community and the Mailbot create too much email, so I’m always open to finding better solutions for the team. But you’re right that, overall, the Mailbot seems to be effective for DM.

This is hooked up now:

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