Making the switch from Google Groups to Discourse

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Heath Blandford

Mar 23, 2022, 11:21:02 AM3/23/22
to Hive13 Makerspace
We are gearing up to make the switch from Google Groups to a tool called Discourse, and a few folks have asked two primary questions:

1. Why?
2. What is Discourse?

So, let’s start with why...

First, let me be very clear that Discourse is not a replacement for Slack. It is a replacement for Google Groups.

We want to replace Google Groups because it sucks. Mobile experience is awful and the whole thing is barely on life support from Google. Discourse is self-hosted. This means that we are in control of the data and are not at the whim of a google cut-off (see: every messaging app that Google has ever made and Google+).

Discourse also serves two purposes! It’s both a message board and a mailing list. You are able to create and reply to topics via email.

Now, what is discourse? 

It’s a “traditional” forums type service that allows you to post “topics” with messages, and then people get to respond in threads. It is a much more effective place to have a long-term, asynchronous conversation about all things Hive13. It serves as a middle ground between the ephemerality of Slack and the glacier-like wiki. It also has a very powerful API that easily lets us maintain visibility in Slack as well as build any other features we want to on top of it. This was a feature we had with the mailing list until Google broke that integration.

Hodapp has put in a lot of effort in documenting some of the finer details on the migration here: I’ll let him fill in the gaps when it comes to the operational side of this migration (i.e. staged users & accounts, etc.).


Discourse does not replace Slack, it replaces Google Groups. It allows a lot more flexibility and power. Keeps us in control of that data. This post is a great example of what should be posted to Discourse instead of Slack.

We have an instance running currently at, feel free to check it out. 

- H
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