CHAOS Forums and Slack

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Jim Vondracek
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CHAOS Forums and Slack

Traffic and discussions on the CHAOS forums have gone down noticeably since we began also using Slack.  Slack is nice for its immediateness, its basically like a chat app, but its not great for discussions that require nuance or a little bit of detail - in that way, its like Twitter, I guess.  It (or at least the way we're using it) doesn't track topics over time - what was said earlier gets lost in the flood of chats about this whale or that prison hootch. On the other hand, its great for immediacy and off-the-cuff stuff.  

I also worry that things get communicated on Slack or there are conversations that happen on Slack that never make it over to the forums, leaving some people out, which may perpetuate a sense of insiders/outsiders.  For a membership organization, that would be a real problem, if its true.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about.  A new member can't become a member without signing up on line - so defacto sees what's on the forums.  But s/he may not see the Slack sign-up or, because people are busy and some limit their social media, never signs-up on Slack.  So, the meet up today at two breweries that was shared on Slack never gets seen by the new members, who don't go to it, who don't develop friendships, who don't get further engaged, etc.

Another example -  I don't think the Munton's order ever made its way over to the forums from Slack. So, quite a few members probably never knew about the opportunity to place an order.  

Also, Slack (or at least the way we use it) doesn't seem to be a very good fit for more nuanced conversations - about brewing or the club.  Its a quick-hit kind of thing.  

I'm wondering if, now that we've been using Slack for a while, its time for us or small working group of us, to have a conversation about how we want to communicate with members and foster communication between members.  I'm not at all advocating for not using Slack, its great in many ways.  I want us to figure out how to best use it (and the forums).  

I'd be happy to be a part of that conversation, or convene folks for it.  Or perhaps this is a board conversation.  What do others think?

Rich
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I'm not so sure Slack doesn't

I'm not so sure Slack doesn't or can't do all those things. I think Slack could replace the forum entirely. Something that works good and we don't need programmers to maintain. Just needs more channels to organize the conversations a little. The discussion on there has been, imo, more lively and timely than the website. It can also be set to pull in feeds, like the events. And the website is not mobile-friendly, at I am reminded typing this.

Jim Vondracek
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I agree, Rich.  One good

I agree, Rich.  One good option is to do some work on Slack and migrate over there entirely.  

liorbela
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I was wondering why I see

I was wondering why I see pics from events on Facebook but nothing is mentioned here. To be honest, I find it hard to attend many events considering my 90 hours weeks. However, for other members, I think that we should all get a chance to know when events are happening considering that we are all paying members.

Is there a link to the Slack group? 

Jim Vondracek
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Here you go, Lior - https:/

Here you go, Lior - https://www.chaosbrewclub.net/forum/brewhouse-announcements/chaos-has-slack

We're doing a bad job right now of communicating with members, because lots of folks like Lior aren't on Slack, either because they don't know about it or don't like the chat style/method of communicating.  Its fostering an insider/outsider dichotomy that is harmful.  Also, too many conversations on Slack don't work well now - too much chatter and background noise and not enough topic tracking.  

Slack may be the way to go, but then we've got to address the problems with it and figure out how to use it well. If I were a member, and I saw Facebook posts with photos of the meetup at Whiner and Marz yesterday but I didn't even know about it, it would make me fell less engaged and not a part of the community or club.  That seems obvious.

 

Rich
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Jim, it's worth pointing out

Jim, it's worth pointing out that these impromptu meetups simply weren't happening before the slack channel opened up.

Jeff W
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So, when we started using

So, when we started using Slack, we agreed that anything having to do with the club as a whole would be shared on the website. To say that the club is not doing a good job of communicating with it's members is not accurate, as other than yesterday's meet up, I can't think of anything related to the club as a whole not being posted to the website. I feel like yesterday's meet up was kinda last minute, though could have been posted on the websites event calendar.

In regards to the Munton's order, we created the policy that members could place an order with James at our monthly meetings. This did happen. There was some follow up needed for the order, which took place between James and the member ordering grain on Slack as it was a quick wasy for them to communicate. In that respect, Slack was a useful tool for the grain buy, and actually a great communication between the club and a member.

Jim Vondracek
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I suggested that this was

I suggested that this was something that a working group or the board might want to have a conversation about, but perhaps I'm the only person who sees a problem here.  

I'll try one more time to make the point. Aside from about 15 of us, most of the club doesn't participate in Slack and that's where most of the conversations happen. Almost by definition, that means there's not good communications.  I'm not suggesting we abandon Slack - the opposite, as I've said before, I'm suggesting we work on how to make it and our overall communications works better for the club.  

But if I'm alone on this, democracy rules.  

Rich
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Jim- I certainly think it's

Jim- I certainly think it's worthy of discussion, was just putting my two cents in. Looks like there are 48 members on the slack channel, BTW, but obviously some people are less active than others, kind of like website forum. I think Slack also has a cost when you get to a certain level of usage, so that's a factor.

Brandon Kessler
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Jim - I can totally

Jim - I can totally understand your concern with club members missing out on conversation and overall "bonding" within the club. It's true - not everyone is involved in Slack.

That said, I haven't seen more participation and discussion (in 3+ years that I've been here) than there is now on Slack. It's refreshing. Granted, it's not all great content or something to write home about - but I think that's the beauty of Slack... throw out an idea, BS about it for a while, let it blossom or die, and then move on. Our forum (especially since it's not mobile friendly) isn't conducive to this format.

You do bring up the elephant in the room, however. I don't think there's a way to stop the Slack snowball, but I do think that anyone who recognizes a topic (on Slack) as being "worth" sharing with those not on Slack, to start a thread on CHAOS' forum. This is the only way I see forward.

The benefit of this club is the members and knowledge between said members involved. If we don't convey this to possible future members (and current) that we can provide meaningful content amongst each other, then we're at a loss. 

PS, I appreciate everyone's input on this (previous and future). That's what I love about this club - vary in opinion and new ideas!

Ben r.
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I see Slack and the website

I see Slack and the website as serving two different purposes - the site is great public announcment of what is going on (the big parties, etc) and also is probably the single most meaningful interface we have with potential members like me, Nick R. and many others who just happen across the club while browsing.  Slack is more casual, fast paced, and [obviously] mobile-enabled.  And far better at that, because the site is nicht sehr gut on a phone.

Personally I prefer the site for seeing what's going on overall and catching up on things - and have always assumed (maybe wrongly) that our membership is more likley to see things there.  So I see value in both.

Kyle N
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I really believe the

I really believe the underlying lack of activity here is the lack of a mobile site. While computers are pervasive, not everyone sits in front of them a lot (or is allowed to access certain sites at work). 

StevenLane
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I've heard from many new

I've heard from many new members that seeing an active discussion on the website was a factor in their decision to join.

I can understand people prefering another discussion platform, but it does screw us over to fragment the discussion with part of it hidden.

When new people come to the site, we need them to see discussion, brewing, and partying. If any of those pieces are missing, we fail.

 

Matt Omura
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Great points by all above. I

Great points by all above. I believe we simply need to be better at transitioning ideas/events/whatever from Slack to the website. It's a win either way. 

roussel
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Slack is NOT intended to

Slack is NOT intended to replace the forums on our site.

The forums are still VERY active with over 20 active topics getting posts in the last week alone. I believe as an 501c3 education non-profit the knowledge we share with the community is important and should be maintained to help the homebrew comunity at large, aw well as, current and future mebers of CHAOS.

I started the Slack channel as another comm channel for CHAOS members (board, alchemists, brewers, friends, and trial). This way active members of the club could quickly and easily discuss, plan and share amongst one another.

We are using the free tier of Slack, so anything older than 10,000 messages goes away.  I think at this point it would be cost prohibitive to move to the next level at $6.67 per active user per month.

Yes, the forums need to be updated to a mobile friendly template to make them more imviting to use on teh devices we all have in our pockets.  But we can and shoudl have different comm channels for different needs...social, site. forums, slack,... these are all viable and useful to CHAOS as a whole.

As far as the dichotomy of Slack haves and have nots...

  • I have a public forum topic that let's the membership know we have Slack, and how to erach me to sign up.
  • We have brought it up at our monthly meetings since April or May of 2017
  • Members have been sharing with other members who have chosen not to join about how they like it and to contact me to sign up

So to me those who are NOT on Slack are those who have chosen to not participate, as they may not want the notifications/interuptions (BTW you can turn on DND to mute it if you wanta a break from all the "sharing") or to install another app.

We may have an early adopter thing going on, where only thos ethat are most active in the club are those that are partciapting the most on slack, but if someone has a solution on how we can spread the love LMK.

FWIW....we have had a lot of usage in 2018 with about 6,000 messages in the last 30 days

SeanC
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I agree with the general

I agree with the general sentiment developing, but my 2c. I’m glad there is a more mobile-friendly, fast-paced ecosystem for those that want it. I get that a lot of conversations happen and events realize that wouldn’t forum-only. I, however, choose not to participate in slack (for now.) Same with facebook for me - net-net, I’m good this way. I'm sure others feel the same way. 

That doesn’t mean I don’t regret missing out on some good stuff there or feel a little out of the loop sometimes. So i'd like the affirm the idea that slack people could do better transitioning the more meaningful conversations over to the forum.  It would not only serve the overall club better, but it would probably increase the number of slack users. 

roussel
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Thanks fro your 2¢ Sean

Thanks for your 2¢ Sean

I added a new addon that people allows any to /export #channelname and then download the channel convo as HTML and then copy and paste what they wnt to then post in the forum like the next post on James Faircloth's bottle washer...

roussel
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2018-02-27T20:43:54Z

2018-02-27T20:43:54Z jafaircloth: <@U9FC56Y3Y> uploaded a file: <https://chaosbrewclub.slack.com/files/U9FC56Y3Y/F9GS6MQQP/image_uploaded...|Image uploaded from iOS> and commented: Yes, bottle washer loaded with SaniClean for 15min before going to the bottle filler.

2018-02-27T20:44:38Z jafaircloth: Washer fed by 600gph pump

2018-02-27T20:44:52Z jafaircloth: Recirc setup

2018-02-27T20:57:30Z stewpid: What bottle filler do you use?

2018-02-27T20:57:45Z jafaircloth: MoreBeer 

2018-02-27T20:58:34Z jafaircloth: Counter Pressure

2018-02-27T21:20:18Z boollish: oh btw

2018-02-27T21:20:25Z boollish: so somehow Munton's put an extra sack on our order

2018-02-27T21:20:31Z boollish: of a 50/50 MO and Propino blend

2018-02-27T21:20:37Z boollish: I"m not sure what we can do about that, but, we have it

2018-02-27T21:21:48Z kyle.nordquist: Lol

2018-02-27T21:22:03Z kyle.nordquist: Looks like I'm going to have to brew 3 beers now

2018-02-27T21:22:24Z kyle.nordquist: They're already basically the same thing, just different season

2018-02-27T21:31:05Z b_kess: <@U9FC56Y3Y> did you built that? If not, where did you get that bottle washer? 

2018-02-27T21:31:26Z b_kess: That's something similar to what I want to build the club - except that's a much better design 

2018-02-27T21:32:56Z b_kess: And do you think that boiling is necessary ? 

2018-02-27T21:35:08Z jafaircloth: I built it. Tub from Home Depot. Washing Rack from MoreBeer. Pump from Amazon. You need 700gph in order to push enough pressure through the 12 heads.

2018-02-27T21:38:56Z brock: …but you said yours is only 600gph

2018-02-27T21:39:02Z brock: oh god don't drink james' beer

2018-02-27T21:39:13Z jafaircloth: I typically, power rinse with 150 degree water when I get the bottles. Then let dry in a fast rack. Then store in cases. On bottling day I boil all the bottles, let cool, dry and then put on the sanitizer just before filling. IF the bottles have been sitting dry and still have labels on them (empties from my neighbors) I will soak in a keg tub full of PBW. Bottle brush, then go to the power wash step.

2018-02-27T21:39:31Z roussel: <@U9FC56Y3Y> does the bottle rinsing base work with a fastrack?

2018-02-27T21:39:52Z brock: man, your process is a hell of a lot better than mine

2018-02-27T21:40:46Z jafaircloth: I have a bunch of pumps. Actually I take that back. To run the bottle sanitizer I have a 1100gph hooked up to it. The 660gph couldn’t push solution with enough force to hit the bottom of the bottles. So I had to upgrade.

2018-02-27T21:41:58Z rich: Sheesh <@U9FC56Y3Y>, that's intense

2018-02-27T21:42:17Z jafaircloth: Reed, no this wash rack is from a competitor of Fast Rack. I do see that Fast Rack has a new bottle bottle washer they are they are trying to sell. Marks also has a system that washes bottles as an add on to the keg washer.

2018-02-27T21:42:36Z jafaircloth: Pumps are your friends kids. Saves the backZ

2018-02-27T21:44:36Z rich: I mean, I rinse mine pretty well and everything...

2018-02-27T21:44:40Z roussel: So you need the rinsing base ($35) and rack ($28)

2018-02-27T21:45:50Z roussel: I used to run them through the dishwasher with no soap on sanitize mode, and then siak them in a tub of starsan on fastracks

2018-02-27T21:46:41Z jafaircloth: Correct.

2018-02-27T21:47:54Z jafaircloth: CE970 - Base + CE971 Rack. Then with a small drill bit bore out the wash heads just a bit.

2018-02-27T21:49:37Z jafaircloth: I can’t claim originality for this design. I skimmed it at Pipeworks on a volunteer bottling day doing 22ozs

2018-02-27T21:50:04Z roussel: But since we are littered with fastracks at the BH the economical way for us to get the FastWasher $55 which includes the pump

2018-02-27T21:50:39Z roussel: And I think Brandon can probably get us one for free with his FastFerment contacts

2018-02-27T21:50:45Z jafaircloth: Nah - get this setup. You’ll be needing the fast racks to drip dry all of the beers coming off the sanitizer

2018-02-27T21:50:53Z b_kess: I GOT A GUY

2018-02-27T21:51:22Z roussel: <https://fastferment.myshopify.com>

2018-02-27T21:51:26Z b_kess: <@U9FC56Y3Y> you could just build CHAOS one, right??! :laughing:

2018-02-27T21:51:34Z jafaircloth: FastRack came with their system after I already built mine.

2018-02-27T21:52:02Z jafaircloth: I’d be happy to build at CHAOS. Order the parts!

2018-02-27T21:52:07Z roussel: <@U9FC56Y3Y> I agree with your tub, but I'm trying to be fiscally responsible to keep <@U4Z8JR1FG> at bay

2018-02-27T21:52:29Z jafaircloth: I can earmark some of my “donation”

2018-02-27T21:52:47Z jafaircloth: Send me that 501C3 #

2018-02-27T21:52:56Z b_kess: That fastrack one is pretty sweet though 

2018-02-27T21:54:02Z jafaircloth: You’re gonna wanna get the Fastwasher 24. In the end you’re at about the same $

2018-02-27T21:54:21Z roussel: Can you put the more beer rack on the longnecks in a case, and then just flip it over or do you have to load it by hand?

2018-02-27T21:54:23Z roussel: I agree

2018-02-27T21:55:03Z jafaircloth: I just load in by hand

2018-02-27T21:55:15Z roussel: Fucking Peasant

2018-02-27T21:55:33Z jafaircloth: 12 at a time for 15min, then swap in the 12... assembly line style.

2018-02-27T21:56:24Z jafaircloth: Saving my Scheckles for that 12-16oz canner :rolling_on_the_floor_laughing:

2018-02-27T21:57:00Z boollish: if you guys want one, we should just get hammered in Portland and buy one

2018-02-27T21:57:14Z matt: whatever we do, can we please, please put it on wheels?

StevenLane
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This is all beer talk, and

This is all beer talk, and all of it should be on the forum. This is stupid, either we replace the forum, or we make it work.

Slack is team messaging that caters to small cliquish pools of people. We need a social network that connects everyone.

 

Brandon Kessler
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Stupid as it may be, we're

Stupid as it may be, we're just not going to get the involvement we currently have with Slack unless we turn our site mobile friendly ... and I don't see that happening anytime soon unfortunately. Time and money are our big shortfalls here.

StevenLane
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We know prospective members

We know prospective members look at our online conversation as an important factor in joining. Anything that cuts that down is more than stupid, it is dangerous to our growth.

Whatever platform we choose needs to be visible to outsiders. I'm sure there are feeds that can create a window to the conversation; we at least need to do that.

IMO, a Facebook group would have accomplished the same goal, but with the benefit of being integrated to our Facebook page, which has a lot of followers. I'm admin on a few Facebook groups that have grown organically to 10,000+ users. I can easily integrtate page promotions to my groups, and it works really well.

Slack is an island.

Rich
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For the record, I believe you

For the record, I believe you can set up automatic imports of blogposts, FB, Twitter, etc, or about any online content for that matter(without being a programmer).  It is not an island, it is a collaboration tool, you can make it what you want.  It is just better technology.  Certainly all of it could be done on the website if we're willing to pony up for it, but I don't even know if that is a realistic option without a captive, bored developer in our ranks.  

I don't agree that the desire to interact and discuss things with your fellow club members in a real-time, open, efficient way is cliquish or exclusive.  It is exactly what we should be doing I think, and what has been happening to an increased degree since the Slack group took off.  Why shouldn't club all club members, rather than just the board, have a forum where they can interact as a club, as an additional perk to being a paying member?

Ironically, this has been the liveliest conversation on the Forum in a whilesmiley

StevenLane
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Yes, we could have the forum

Yes, we could have the forum on another platform, and our website could display feeds revealing the conversation. I think that could work, but we need to pick a direction together and not divide up.

On Facebook, I have seen a stream of strangers tag their friends on our page and events, then a few of these people signup for Trial Memberships. We even see a pattern of girlfriends tagging their bae, and then they go and buy him a gift membership. Often they add a comment to the gift purchase, "Here's a great group of guys for you to hangout with!" We have an established presence on Facebook, and combining our page with an active group would pull in way more people.

Can Slack facilitate organic growth in the same way? If it can't, then it's a closed system that is island-like, which is kinda cliquish. The initial use case scenario for using Slack was, "We're meeting at Goose Island at 8 tonight." And the desire was that you could ping everyone in real time. I get that, and some kind of hangout bat signal is a cool thing, but it's not worth dividing up the discussion and hamstringing our sales funnel.

Team Management versus Social Networking? Duh, we're a social club. I'm not a fan of Facebook, but it is exactly what we need, and it probably has many more options for exporting and displaying content on our site.

Boollish
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I don't think anyone is

I don't think anyone is suggesting that Slack will in any way replace our forums. It's not a tool for growing the club from a sales perspective, but it's a place for us to post all of our real-time bullshit about what we're drinking and where, and what stuff we need to buy, or if someone can empty the dumpster, or real-time recipe advice, wthout clogging the forums.

I might be just one member, and at this point one of the "inner circle", as it were, but I think Slack has really benefited me in keeping in touch with club members, and very, very little of what I say is necessarily appropriate for a forum, unless you think bullshitting with Faircloth about dropping $2k on an electric canner or posting pictures of guys in leather vests and camo pants is worthwhile for members to see.

I've gotten a lot of value out of Slack. Very little of that value requires a forum.

When the Lo Rez gathering started becoming more than just 2 or 3 people grabbing a beer, we probably should have posted it to the forums, but it was a really last minute thing and the logistics were still being organized Saturday morning. I agree with Rich and Todd that before Slack, this kind of thing would have just been one person texting their buddy for a beer at the new brewpub, and the 8 people that showed up to LoRez is a great improvement from the previous iteration of James drinking alone on a Saturday morning (I did that too. Don't @ me).

But, that being said, we can always to better to be more aware of people who don't have mobile Slack. We should probably also see if Jay doesn't want to add a big social media section on our front page that includes our Facebook, Twitter, and Slack.

 

StevenLane
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James, I even think pointless

James, I even think pointless banter has value. Who would want to join a humorless group? I got a chuckle out of the canning exchange. Recipe advice would be great to for prospective members to see (Wow, these people help each other out.) Your point about Lo Res is the slippery slope. Many hangouts are not premeditated, and it seems weird you would have to switch to public mode to announce it. You'll tire from making that decision and just keep doing what is easiest.

Seems like everything should be viewable, sure we have some tedious discussions and painful arguments, but there is no better insight into our culture. Slack just seems like a bad road to go down.

Considering our site is on Drupal, which has many options for responsive mobile friendly themes, it is weird we haven't managed a theme update. It would be cool if we could do everything on our site. I could do all the design customization.

Conrad was the first to bring up breaking our site up into components, and then choose platforms that are best for each of the tasks (eg. membership, discussion, reservations, events, etc.).

Pulling up roots and picking a new platform could be a great thing, but we should look at the big picture and make the right choice. Facebook is not without issues, but it does more for us by pulling in more people. 

Ben r.
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Taking a step back, there

Taking a step back, there actually are parts of the website that do exist and we don't seem to be using very well.  

  • Recipes? Looks like those were added c.2015, but have died off.
  • Links to resources, articles? 
  • Merchandise tab that goes to...

All these take time and effort, but if we are serious about getting the CHAOS website to be relevant, its not just about the forums.

Brandon Kessler
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Nrichardson1991
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It appears I’m not in the

It appears I’m not in the Slack anymore. Can someone add me. [email protected]

Nrichardson1991
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Nevermind I was dumb

Nevermind I was dumb

Matt Omura
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FAKE NEWS. SAD!

FAKE NEWS. SAD!

Steve3730
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Reading through some of this

Reading through some of this discussion I think there are valid points. People visiting a website will gauge the activity of a club,restaurant,topic site(i.e candle making) by its activity. If conversation and club activity is happening behind closed doors I believe it can negatively effect the club.

A great analogy would be if you wanted to go out to a bar to be social and you looked in the window and seen the place empty versus the bar across the street that had groups in there talking and hanging out, you'd choose the one with people in it( taplist are the same in analogy)

I've asked and post more on slack due to the lack of activity on our messageboards. So maybe a mobile friendly site is the answer to marry slack and our website?