The Eternal Debate: Slack or Discord?

Hackathon communications have come a long way, and now we have options. I know everybody has hot opinions on this, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on:

What is your preferred method of communicating with attendees at hackathons?

I’ve grown to really like Discord over the past few years, and I think it has a lot of advantages over Slack (like being 100% free). What do y’all think?

Most of the “techy” clubs at our school use Discord; we use it for team communication and for our hackathon club. For our events though, we decided to use Slack (after lots of internal debate) for the following reasons:

  • Sponsor Channels – We like to provide a channel to all of our sponsors with prizes, since we don’t want the general chat spammed with API questions or help requests. Slack allows users to join only channels they’d like, and as a result their channel list is relevant to them. Meanwhile, on Discord, channels are either public or hidden, which would spam attendees with too many channels.
  • Personal Channels – Attendees can also make their own private channel on Slack for team communication, which you can’t do on Discord.
  • Identification – Most people that already use Discord do so for gaming reasons, and as a result we get people that join our club server with names like fluffy senpai uwu or gamergirl420 or something. It’s easier that people have to register for each Slack channel they join with a new username. In addition, profile pictures on Slack are unique to each channel, while Discord changes it for all channels – personally, I don’t want my face as my Discord picture.

I do agree that Discord being free is great though! Last year, we used the free option for Slack and thought we were fine, but we reached our message cap shortly after the event and now we don’t have access to all the history unless we pay. :frowning:

I feel personally attacked.

Slack all the way for professional environments/events. Makes everything so much easier to keep track of. People can, and probably will, splinter off into sub Discords anyway.

Ah yes, the struggle is real with this one. We’ve been having discussions about this at Junction for a while now and it just feels like trial and error tbh. We haven’t launched a Discord yet but might do so in the future because Slack seems to always be a “discard after use” platform where it just dies off after the event ends and it’s hard to build a sustainable long-term community there.

Then again Discord has its own quirks and it definitely isn’t the most “professional” platform (which might, in turn, help build a more casual discussion)

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Yeah, I feel like turning on your hackathon chat platform and getting hit with “AWESOMENATING THE GAME JUICE OWO” is probably a little unprofessional, haha. I think Discord has a big advantage of being much easier to join and stay in though without it being inconvenient.

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