Today I had a quick, simple question on elm-spa, one that I’m sure has been asked many times before.
So I log into the elm slack, head over to the elm-spa-users channel (270 people) and scroll up, only to find I can’t view anything older than about 30 days (or 10k messages) without paying.
Fine. There’s a message about upgrading. The $10 a month or whatever is worth it if it means getting answer to simple questions faster.
I ask around, only to find it’s impossible to upgrade slack at the individual level, to has to be done elm-wide (e.g. for 20k people). This means no one in the elm community can view more than 10k messages, or about 30 days of history, on the most popular place to ask technical questions about elm.
These seems crazy. For how thoughtful Elm is about everything else (consistent formatting, whatever) and how willing people are to undergo short term pain (no native code) for long term gain (better packages) this makes no sense.
It’s a ton of effort just going down the drain. Even now, as I type this discourse thread, I’m getting a warning (“your post seems similar to [some post from 2019]”). This makes sense, because having people post (and answer!) the same message/questions over and over is a huge waste of time.
I’m sure people here/on slack are more active, and so probably underestimate the number of non active people this setup is leaving behind. Like, what do you think the ratio between people who have read/benefitted from some stack overflow answer vs people who have even made an account (much less upvoted or answered)? I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 100 to 1. Slack is probably hindering wider adoption (and better packages and all the stuff that goes along with a larger community) by orders of magnitude.
I get these things happen organically and it’s basically impossible for any one person to say “ok everyone stop using slack”. It’s definitely tricky. But it really is a huge shame.
I’ve only used the Slack a few times, and everyone’s really nice on there and everything. But IMO elm would be better off long term if the elm leadership just deleted it. And barring that, if the guide/various plugin maintainers stopped telling people to ask questions there. Barring that, here’s a smaller scale idea:
A niche statistical programming language I used to use (Stata) had a “stack overflow day”, where a few people compiled a list of common questions/good answers and posted them to stack overflow. Would anyone be interested in something like that for Elm?