Discord vs. Slack - Help me Decide
In mankind's history, there’s been an ever-growing need for effective communication amongst individuals of different backgrounds, races and in different locations. Our world’s technological achievement has led to the creation of various tools that make communication, between a wide range of audiences, seamless.
In this article, we will compare two popular tools used for communication on a global scale:
- Discord, which is mostly known for enabling communication among gamers.
- Slack, which is mostly reckoned for communication within work teams.
Let's dive right in!
Discord, on one hand, is a proprietary VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) application and digital content distribution platform. It is designed to aid video gaming communities by enabling users to communicate via video, audio, images and text as the need may be. It was first released in May 2015.
Slack, on the other hand, is a cloud-based collaboration software used by businesses and teams as some sort of virtual office where conversations happen, decisions are made, and useful information is shared.
Discord and Slack are generally very similar, both being software used by teams for communication within an environment that is sub-categorized into channels for effective organization of discussions. The major difference between these tools is in their target audiences and as a result, they possess different strengths feature-wise.
Slack primarily targets being the communication tool for businesses. In their words "Slack is where your team comes together to collaborate, important information can be found by the right people, and your tools pipe in information when and where you need it.” Discord, however, targets the gaming community. It aims to stand as the go-to communication platform for gamers.
As a result of the different audiences targeted, Slack focuses on features that are business-enabling such as audit, document management, identity management, and searching. Discord, on the other hand, focuses on chat, voice calls, and high-speed performance.
On the subject of suitability, one could argue that a platform that can be used for gaming where split seconds are important, would definitely suffice for real-time communication and information distribution within businesses.
Both platforms have very similar features. They both support text, audio and video communications, files sharing, channels, direct-messaging, one-click invite system, advanced search, notifications, multiple team support, push notifications on mobile, bots etc.
Because their target audiences are different, each of these communication tools tend to promote some features above others. For Slack features like file sharing and direct integration with over 800 applications would suffice. For Discord, its audio chat room feature is a case in point.
In this section, we will look into the technical specifications of both platforms as well as highlight their resource consumption capabilities.
Slack runs on the web and the following Operating Systems: Chrome, iOS, Android, Mac OS and Windows. It permits screen sharing and allows for integration with a wide range of productivity tools used by businesses for various tasks. It text chats, allows file sharing (media inclusive), private and public channels and advanced search.
On the topic of resource consumption, Slack isn't very much favoured as it is widely observed that CPU and memory usage increase linearly as you add more accounts to the Slack desktop client. There’s even a famous joke that tells how in the past, scientists sent people to the moon with computers that ran on just a few kilobytes of RAM, whereas modern devices with over 2GB of RAM have a hard time running Slack.
Like Slack, Discord also supports usage on a wide range of platforms from the web, Android, iOS and Mac, to Windows and Linux. In addition to text chatting, it allows for audio and video communication. It also permits file sharing (media files inclusive) and message deletion is allowed, although all messages are permanently stored on the server.
Note: This means that whatever messages an individual deletes, they are only deleted for that individual alone.
Discord also supports advanced search, private and public channels as well as user groups.
On the resource consumption side, Discord consumes slightly lesser RAM than Slack does, especially during heavy usage.
The desktop client for both platforms are built with Electron and this means that every update also comes with Chromium( the over 20 million lines of code, ~30MB [packaged] Web runtime), Node and all the other Electron components unless the update is a delta or differential update.
Note: RAM consumption isn’t always what most people (who complain about these tools) think it is. Naturally, the operating system is optimized to pull up RAM from places where it's not in use whenever it needs it. This means that after making use of memory, these tools will not dump memory until the system needs it for something else as there is a chance of the application needing it again. On this ground, the high resource consumption claims are somewhat dismissable as it is determined by an individual’s usage.
Both platforms operate a "freemium model." This means that basic features are offered and accessible at no cost at all while users have to pay to unlock extra (premium) features.
Slack has three pricing tiers — Free, Standard, and Plus with prices ranging from $0 to $12.50 per month when billed annually and $0 to $15 per month when billed monthly. A primary differentiating factor among these tiers is in the amount of storage available and the number of integrations allowed which is 5GB and 10 integrations respectively for the free tier.
On Discord, users can access most of its features on the free plan and there is no limit to the number of members allowed per server. There is also the optional upgrade available; the Discord Nitro subscription model unlocks a few more (extra) features.
Slack, on the other hand, has a very limited free version which restricts access to just 10K of your team's most recent messages and 10 third-party or custom integrations. Access to most of its features (e.g shared channels, single-channel guests, multi-channel guests, OAuth with Google, voice and video calls, screen sharing etc.) are tied to the paid version.
This might be somewhat alarming as some of these are basic features that one would expect to be available for free just like on Discord.
Slack supports over 800+ application integrations for different purposes. It integrates seamlessly with the following tools: Asana, Sentry, Trello, Guru, Adobe CC, GitHub, Dropbox, MailChimp, and dozens of other tools that can be found here. These enable teams to keep everything about their discussions in one place and properly organize work and information distribution.
Discord on its part doesn’t support nearly as many integrations as Slack does, however, its rich presence feature makes it possible for developers to create experiences that allow players to jump into games with friends, spectate during matches and send party invites. As described on the official website, rich presence allows you to leverage the totally overhauled "Now Playing" section in a Discord user's profile to help people play your game together.
Slack and Discord are both amazing communication and collaboration tools for teams. They are specifically engineered for different audiences, however, the striking similarities in the features offered indicate that both platforms would suffice in more use cases than generally intended.
Hence, it is mostly a thing of preference in cases where both platforms meet the requirements of the individual.
Find more information on this topic via the following links:
Discord vs Slack: What are the differences?
What is Discord? All-in-one voice and text chat for gamers that’s free, secure, and works on both your desktop and phone. Discord is a modern free voice & text chat app for groups of gamers. Our resilient Erlang backend running on the cloud has built in DDoS protection with automatic server failover.
What is Slack? Bring all your communication together in one place. Imagine all your team communication in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. That’s Slack. All your messages. All your files. And everything from Twitter, Dropbox, Google Docs, Asana, Trello, GitHub and dozens of other services. All together.
Discord can be classified as a tool in the "Web and Video Conferencing" category, while Slack is grouped under "Group Chat & Notifications".
"Fast and easy set-ups and connections" is the primary reason why developers consider Discord over the competitors, whereas "Easy to integrate with" was stated as the key factor in picking Slack.
Airbnb, Dropbox, and Medium are some of the popular companies that use Slack, whereas Discord is used by Bitupper, Kistriver, and SuperBuddy. Slack has a broader approval, being mentioned in 4796 company stacks & 3483 developers stacks; compared to Discord, which is listed in 45 company stacks and 38 developer stacks.
I want to host an online Jeopardy game with less than 30 participants. During each round of the game, I'll stream some videos. The point is to gather friends together to play the Jeopardy game and watch random stuff. Please let me know if there's a more suitable platform other than Discord and Zoom. Thanks, everyone!
Personally, I think that Discord works much better than anything else, even if you don't have Nitro (which is what they call their premium plan). You could seriously do this Jeopardy thing with just Discord (and maybe a bot to make it easier)
Zoom would only let you have a crappy meeting that hackers could easily join. Discord actually has DDoS protection, Zoom just has things that can easily be bypassed.
And if you do want Nitro, it's only $9/mo or $99/yr
From a StackShare Community member: “We’re about to start a chat group for our open source project (over 5K stars on GitHub) so we can let our community collaborate more closely. The obvious choice would be Slack (k8s and a ton of major projects use it), but we’ve seen Gitter (webpack uses it) for a lot of open source projects, Discord (Vue.js moved to them), and as of late I’m seeing Spectrum more and more often. Does anyone have experience with these or other alternatives? Is it even worth assessing all these options, or should we just go with Slack? Some things that are important to us: free, all the regular integrations (GitHub, Heroku, etc), mobile & desktop apps, and open source is of course a plus."
We use Discord to tracking some action and errors (logs / alerting / assertion). it's free and simple to use with mobile application et notifications
Our Discord Server is our n°1 community stop; we gather feedback from our users from here, discuss about new features, announce new releases, and so on.
We even use it for internal meetings and calls !
as many people say that you can only hold 30 to 10 people in one discord call if you were to make a server and add a chat or a VC you can hold up to 99 which is more than zoom and you can also use the text chat, general chat or anything else that you add and the best part you can hold pretty much infinite people I have personally seen servers with up to 100k people in it. One of the better parts is that you don't necessarily have to download it you can search it up on google and make an account it's as easy as that. Another thing is due to the original purpose of the website/app is that it's very customizable meaning that your students can customize heir profile pictures and names, but not to worry in a discord server you can have it where only you can change their nicknames so let's say things get too confusing or you want to be able to see who they really are you can just change it to their name. One last thing I will say is that you can have customizable ranks and so on so if you desire to split people into teams you can do so and with that, you can customize what they can do like give people ranks or de-rank them. Like I mentioned earlier about VC's you can also screen share and do videos so you can see their screen or their face.
Keybase is a powerful and secure team-organizing software. And because Keybase is so transparently good at what it does, Keybase is a foundational software that facilitates the future of work: effective, inclusive, secure Remote Teams.
Keybase is a free, end-to-end encrypted, open-source program with almost limitless flexibility. Each Keybase user or team is a unique cryptographic identity. Each message or interaction that a user has with a team or other user, is verifiable and digitally-signed. Custom combinations of users/teams/bots, can be designed to catalyze Remote Teams of all kinds, this process can also be automated. Keybase includes Git integration for versioning, bots from multiple platforms to facilitate audio/video-conferencing, a Cryptocurrency wallet, and many advanced privacy features to make you more or less traceable.
Services like Slack and Discord are centralized platforms that perform analytics on your behavior and can sell or leak this data to 3rd parties. Any audio/video features available within Slack or Discord, are bound to be less secure and less flexible than excellent alternatives such as Jitsi. Slack and Discord do have a fun, causal feel to them, which can potentially facilitate social engagement in certain conditions (also many users are already on these platforms).
Centralized and Proprietary team platforms such as Discord and Slack have a large market presence (at least in the USA) based on their first-mover advantage, name recognition, and network effects from size. However these products do not have the flexibility or power of Keybase. Keybase excels on its own excellence, and also has an open and active developer community.
Find us on Keybase: @remotorteam (Keybase username) @remotor.public (Public Keybase Team)
We tried out a handful of communication tools including Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts Chat, before settling with Mattermost.
The customisability offered through your server's system console is unrivalled and in some ways overwhelming with the sheer amount of options that you're provided with.
All communication tools share 99% of their UI with each other, and Mattermost is no different, but that's not a bad thing. It also seems to have a less cluttered interface than the others we had tried, although I can't pinpoint the specific design choice that is the reason for this.
The fact that we can have control over all of our data (we're self-hosting it through AWS on a single EC2 instance) is also a great plus which none of the options that we looked into offered.
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Today the impossible happened, our beloved Slack crashed sending chaos into offices around the globe. “Wow, how am I now going to vote for the flavour of our new office candy???”, I thought. But even though it might not have felt like it, everything else around us was still working: the world was still spinning, South Korea was winning over Germany at the World Cup, and today’s quotas and goals had to be met. In these situations, people most often turn towards traditional messaging tools like messenger, WhatsApp or email and hope for the best — that Slack will be back up soon. However, these temporary remedies are not without their complications: undelivered messages that you thought were read, lost documents, mental breakdowns, wasted time, etc.… In general, for us it creates a problematic gap in our office chat history.
But what if I told you that these crashes could potentially never occur again?
Yes, this is real life, and it’s exactly what mesh technology is about so we are going to explain it. In this scenario, if Slack ran with mesh networks, its users would not have been affected by its current technology’s single point of failure, which in this case was the crash of the server.
Lol okay, how is this possible bc this is real life???
Mesh networks might not sound familiar to everyone so let’s compare it with other well-known networking topologies. Consider a Local Area Network (LAN), where devices are connected to a central access point (imagine it like a star with the central access point in the middle and the devices located at the ends). Be it LAN or wifi, the idea is the same, so when I send a message on Slack, it first arrives at the Slack server (the central access point) and from there it is sent to the recipient.
In mesh networks, devices are directly connected to each other. They form a local network using existing connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi as “connectors”. Devices can act as “routers” and forward messages and files to others, enabling the content to hop between them until it reaches a destination. This eliminates the need for a central entity.
Let’s apply this concept to today’s crisis. If slack ran on top of mesh networks, their consumers would still be able to communicate and send files even though they were not connected to the crashed server. Once it was up and running again, all their group conversations which would have taken place during the outrage would be uploaded back to Slack’s server once they were back online.
Honestly, it’s that simple. To Slack, it would not only be convenient for its customers in situations like these (because we would never have Slack crashes), it would also considerably reduce their own infrastructure costs and prevent them from having moments that they might find embarrassing.
So slack, if you see that mesh networks could potentially help you, come talk to us.
Discord combines the text and image sharing of Skype and Teamspeak 3's high speed voice connection to create this reliable software platform. With the implementation of choosing whether you wish to chat with friends in a 1-on-1 conversation, to joining a community channel and meet up with new people.
Discord provides the opportunity of letting the user join a channel with ease using nothing but a link they can paste into their browser. Discord also gives their members a wider experience being cross-platform, including Windows, Mac, Linux as well as IOS and Android mobile devices.
Discord, on top of all the above, allows the user to post images in both channels and 1-on-1 messaging, aswell as play .gif and .mp4 files.
Implemented also is the custom profile and friend system, allowing the user to add or remove friends, giving the user a vaster experience customizing their own way they wish.
Discord is an overall very well produced platform allowing a diverse experience in communication and multimedia.
Slack is gorgeous and runs on multiple platforms - that's benefit #1. You can easily talk on your iMac then switch to your Android device on the fly.
The one thing I don't really like about it is how it handles multiple organization accounts.
I am a software consultant so I typically work with multiple teams over the months and it's odd to 'log into the right account'. It's not intuitive at all.
I would like there to be a way for users to easily pick a 'Persona' and not accidentally post to the wrong company.
Slack filled a very complicated role and did it elegantly.
Its very well designed and easy to use. Adding integrations can be complicated but their documentation with images makes it very easy.
Also I contacted support and get a relevant answer quickly!
All this on the free plan, you better bet we will be upgrading soon.
Internal Communications made easy
I first heard about Slack from my friend Matt (shout out to Final!). He was helping me out with some Rails issues so we started using Slack and I liked it. Specifically, the chat interaction. But also all the integrations. I wasn’t thinking of it as a tool to end all tools at first, just a chat tool with some cool integrations. Then I created a Slack account for StackShare, and that’s when things got real.
Sentry got easier to stay on top of, Heroku was easier to see activity from, discussions were more fluid, and the mobile app was killer. Most of the tools I use either don’t have a mobile app or have shitty ones. Slack is like a replacement for all the mobile apps my tools should have.
I don’t find Slack particularly useful for focused discussions, so I doubt it will replace email anytime soon for us. Things like product discussions/debates are best via email. It forces you to think before you type and have a clear back and forth with someone.
Small gripe: I wish Slack would disable email notifications by default, I still haven’t figured out how to turn those off.
Slack is an instant messaging and collaboration system It unifies your entire team communications, making your workflow, well, flow a lot better. It is a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services. Slack teams allow communities, groups, or teams to join through a specific URL or invitation sent by a team admin or owner.
Slack is our go-to communication tool and it's slowly replacing emails across all departments of the company. We built our own Slack Bot to help us with simple DevOps stuff; Honeybadger notifies us in real time of errors happening on production in our monitoring channel; CircleCI reports builds status and deployment info as well.
Durch die einfache und plattformübergreifende Nutzung sowie die Möglichkeit schnell rollenbasierte Kanäle zu erstellen, bietet sich Discord hervorragend für die Kommunikation im Team sowie auch mit den Spielern an. Wir nutzen Discord statt Slack, da wir unseren Fokus im Gaming Bereich haben und Discord hier stark vertreten ist.
Discord is home to many game development communities, including AGDG (Amateur Game Development General), RGD (Reddit Game Development), and Game Dev League. When I'm working with WebGL, they are always very knowledgeable and helpful in answering my questions about physics, vectors and data structures.
We first used slack and switched to Discord later to stay near at where the community is at, while still be able to have private conversations and stay in contact. Discord offered everything we needed and used from Slack previously, plus the community-part, so it was an easy decision.
Team comms is essential. The R&D team is distributed over two offices, as well as the chance that people are working from home. Slack provides lots of options of keeping individuals and groups up to date. We also use it to integrate into services such as Github and Sentry.
Slack is a lifesaver, not only for our day to day team communications and it's direct links into our other tools, but for Beta testing as well, with our custom Slack bot in our beta group being an invaluable asset to avoid giving our testers direct JIRA access.
Discord is used for all the discussions with our community, and discussions between our entire staff (including Community Managers, Chat Moderators and BATs). We also use a Discord bot we developed to deploy new code to the server.