We must acknowledge that chat applications like Discord and Telegram are more popular and convenient to use these days than forums (here you can argue with your personal experience, but I'm talking about the general trend).
There are many reasons for that, while the most important ones are notifications, app icon badges, and instant, truly reactive interfaces, which, in sum, significantly increase engagement and retention.
That's why many of us maintain our communities not only on forums but also on these chat apps. Even Flarum has a Discord server.
In addition to the above-mentioned features that make chat engagement and retention much higher than forums, there is another important issue that we need to address when running our communities on these platforms.
- Information segmentation (some valuable content may be posted in one community but missed in the other)
- Lack of control over data (you don't own it, and if something happens with a third-party service, it might be lost entirely)
- Duplication of the same topics because users join all channels, leaving the same question and waiting for the fastest response, abandoning topics in other communities
- Inability to search across all your communities simultaneously, as they are separate and only Flarum is indexable, while others are not
- Inability to gain search engine traffic even if your community has superb content, for the same reason as in #4
- And so on
This is where discussion mirroring from Discord/Telegram to Flarum, and vice versa, could significantly help and resolve most of these problems, including critical ones:
- You own your data; even if a third-party service fails, all mirrored messages remain in Flarum
- You can take advantage of Flarum's SEO capabilities
So, how should it work?
I envision an extension that allows us to connect our Discord servers / Telegram chats to Flarum and configure automated synchronization of messages in both directions, i.e., sending messages from Flarum to chats and storing messages from chats in Flarum.
I propose that we consider this idea and potential solutions, with the goal of finding the best implementation scenario.