Forem Creators and Builders

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Forem Core Team

Deprecating "Connect" (chat)

Ben Halpern
A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.
・1 min read

We have made the decision to deprecate /connect as core functionality from the application. Our first step will not be to entirely remove it, but to put it behind a feature flag pending future development. This will give you at least a few weeks to remove it if you are using it.

Connect has never worked quite well enough to justify being baked right into Forems, and while the co-location of chat and async is a pattern repeated across social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. we feel that in the distributed ecosystem of Forem, it makes less sense to isolate chat in too many different places.

Forem has consistently acted as a great complementary tool to chat-based spaces like Slack, Discord, etc. and removing Connect as a focus now will allow us to more clearly devote focus to the undeniably core elements of Forem — the feed, post composition, comment section, etc. We will continue to invest in the most important parts of the experience.

As Forem progresses, we will come up with effective ways to connect individuals in private and public contexts as appropriate, and chat contexts may come back — likely as more of a plug-in than a bake in.

In order to stabilize Forem and deliver a customizable, extensible, decentralized experience, we need to reverse course on functionality from time to time and Connect has never been able to get over that hump as a product feature we can lean into deeply.

Discussion (12)

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ildi profile image
Ildi

Sad to see the chat be removed. Connect is one of my favorite features within Forem but I do agree that it needed a lot of work still.

In order to stabilize Forem and deliver a customizable, extensible, decentralized experience, we need to reverse course on functionality from time to time and Connect has never been able to get over that hump as a product feature we can lean into deeply.

I can appreciate this comment and hopefully Connect does make a come back as a plug-in option at some point. For now I guess it makes sense to stick with Discord for live conversations/team meetings.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I can appreciate this comment and hopefully Connect does make a come back as a plug-in option at some point.

I think it will, but better thought out from the ground up— and more with the whole Forem ecosystem in mind. It was conceived of in a very DEV-centric way and working backwards from there was going to be a challenge.

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akhil profile image
Akhil Naidu

As Forem progresses, we will come up with effective ways to connect individuals in private and public contexts as appropriate, and chat contexts may come back — likely as more of a plug-in than a bake in.

I'm not sure how Forem Connect work in the background and it's dependencies. So think of this comment/opinion as a hypothetical idea.


Rather than removing it completely, make it available as an optional feature via admin panel with an asterisk. This way admins can decide upon to use or not use it based upon the way their community works and connects.

As mentioned above, i'm not sure whether this is possible or not, if it requires a considerble amount of debugging and refactoring => then disabling it for now and updating it to a newer version in later stages seems like the way ahead.

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Thomas Bnt

Rather than removing it completely, make it available as an optional feature via admin panel with an asterisk. This way admins can decide upon to use or not use it based upon the way their community works and connects.

I think it's a good idea! 😄

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andyv profile image
Andy Veda • Edited

Just my 2 cents as a product manager for a product serving more than 50 million users:

If Forem is to compete with the big social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc) in a meaningful way, then something like connect would be crucial. For example, FB chat has so many use cases and connects people in ways that regular posting/comments can never achieve.

This is similar to the markdown chat feature. If Forem is to compete with the big social networks in a meaningful way, then it should move away from markdown as it is too esoteric and niche for the average user.

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9comindia profile image
9comindia

I support this 100%.

Reason:

I tried Telegram groups recently to checkout the features; it's all very sophisticated, encrypted and all the individual chats can be erased for both the users without a trace; felt like a haven for dangerous people.

Telegram is on the rise for sure, but I don't want to provide such unsafe environment of private chats to people on my platform. Public discussions is the way forward for me.

We can replace the "connect" icon link with "Create post" link for mobile users.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

We can replace the "connect" icon link with "Create post" link for mobile users.

Yup!

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yshmarov profile image
Yaroslav Shmarov

You can stop the further development, but would it be possible to just leave it as a feature flag (without deleting the feature all-together)? It is a feature that is used in forks (at least mine)....?:)

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kristoff profile image
Loris Cro

Seems a sensible decision, and it's always easy to add stuff, never easy to remove it, but that's what prevents a tool from becoming a kitchen sink. Thanks!

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thomasbnt profile image
Thomas Bnt

Sooo saaad :c

All tools to speak with other in one platform.

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ussaaron profile image
Aaron Martinez

Thanks for the update, Ben. I'm also dissapointed to see it go but totally understand how the current model may not be meeting expectations. Do we have any kind of a time frame for deprecation?

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MasterMindLegion

Will messages remain functional or they will be removed? Thanks.