Hi @mostapha ，Thank you very much for your reply!
I must apologize first, as my response might be a bit late. I have been quite busy these past few days, working on some interesting statistics gathered from real-time communication communities. In fact, there are far more examples than I’ve listed here, as many questions do not use the keywords I searched for, but I was still able to gather some useful information. I believe this information supports the need for an online communication community in addition to a forum (Discourse) to facilitate the exchange of information among basic users.
Using keywords like “how to use,” “what is this,” and “error report,” I searched for information available in online communities every day for the past year.
- Around 800 questions related to “how to use.”
- Around 1,900 questions related to “what is this.”
- Around 350 questions related to “error report.”
This means that these questions had to be addressed approximately 8 times per day on average, and most of the questions received positive responses. In addition to these topics, the group also discussed other industry-related information.
Among the users who asked these questions, I also discovered the following primary user habits:
- The vast majority of users do not engage in long conversations, preferring a quick question and answer format.
- At least in China, most users do not have the habit of using the Discourse community. Only a small portion of users search for answers in the forum community, and many specific questions do not have relevant answers in the forum. For example, we have to solve system-wide reporting errors for HB-Radiance, not user technical errors, about 3-4 times a day (even today, I am still unclear about the cause of these reports, even though it was running normally and producing output results just five minutes ago).
- Only a small portion of users will attempt to post to seek solutions, and only a few users will try to respond to other users’ questions. Upon inquiry, many users were not even aware of the existence of a Discourse community.
Therefore, I believe that this information supports the need for an online communication community in addition to a forum (Discourse) to facilitate the exchange of information among basic users, which is the core reason for initiating this poll.
I am delighted that you can exchange opinions with me from the perspective of the core development team. In fact, for me, I believe that long-form communication communities are more conducive to the retention and retrieval of questions and information. However, it must be said that there is still a significant portion of the population that remains outside the existing community, and I think we need to make some efforts to keep up with the times to better maintain and manage the community users and establish communication channels between users.
I have looked at the relevant materials for Discord and Discourse Chat in detail and made some comparisons. I hope my understanding is not too biased.
Discord and Discourse Chat are two different problem-solving solutions:
Discord is a very popular online real-time communication community currently, with both Web and native applications. It can customize some bots within Discord servers based on APIs to help users complete tasks (such as the recently popular AI tool Midjourney service placed on it), as well as official communities for applications like OpenAI and Stable Diffusion that users may be interested in. In fact, most open-source projects on GitHub use Discord for online community promotion. By using this solution, users can visit Ladybug Tools communities while also using or visiting other communities of interest.
Discourse Chat, as a plugin, integrates with Discourse and can extract useful elements from real-time communication to collaborate with Discourse. However, this also means that before using Chat, users must have some understanding of Discourse and be regular online users of Discourse. Discourse Chat is still in active development, with a small footprint and only a web application. It does not have interactive bots for developers to develop basic applications but expands the social capabilities of Discourse users.
Based on these comparisons, Discord seems to be more mature and user-friendly than Discourse Chat.
I must reiterate my point that real-time short message online communication communities are a complement to, not a replacement for, existing communities. However, I would still like to hear from the core development team and regular users of Ladybug Tools Discourse about the feasibility and necessity of expanding this communication community from a user’s perspective. For me, I am eager to see a large number of users from China interact with developers, scholars, engineers, and students from all over the world, not just on a technical level.
I hope everyone can take a few minutes to look at this proposal. Although I am not yet able to contribute to the development of the tools, I believe I can contribute to the daily maintenance and establishment of the community.
I wish everyone the best.