OpenGenus Study: How discussions shape open-source projects?

In this study, we have explored how communication within a community shapes the future direction of an open-source project.

131 users participated among which 39 users started popular open-source projects and 92 are top contributors in open-source projects.

Key observations:

  • The best way to get into a discussion is to make a contribution
  • The potential discussion platforms are Slack, Discourse and GitHub issues.
  • Maintainers prefer Discourse while contributors seem to have an inclination towards Slack

Which platform you use, plan to use or prefer for community communication?

Options given: Slack, Discord, Telegram, Discourse, Gitter, GitHub issues


Have your participation changed a future decision for the open-source project?

Yes : 32.82%
No : 67.17%

Which of the metrics are the source of effective discussions?

Options given: general, contributions, issues, feature requests


See previous study details and participate in current study here


Discord and Telegram did not find much utility in the open-source community. On the other hand, Slack, which is similar to them, has found wide adoption. This might be related to usage plan, UI and other strategies.

For my experience, Slack and Gitter channels are commonly available to most projects while Discourse finds place in potential and well managed projects.

Apart from these big players, there are several alternatives that I would like to shed some light on like:

  • Rocket Chat
  • Bitrix24

There are several other alternatives such as Cisco Spark, Jabber, Mattermost, Salesforce Chatter, Yammer and others. These might have found some use but I have certainly not seen any of these for open-source projects. Additionally, I believe these might not be even a good fit.

GitHub issues are still good and having an additional platform certainly helps contributors and maintainers equally.

1 Like

@lee Nice insights

I believe platforms like Gitter and Discourse have a sense of openness by default and hence, good to communities that welcome new comers.

On the other hand, platforms like Slack, Telegram and Discord are closed communities by default. One need to be a member to enjoy. Thus, it closely aligns with projects that have company employees working on.

The fact that whether one needs to be a member to enjoy is a critical point that shapes the discussion platform to go for. Personally, I like open communities like Discourse.

It is nice to see that 32.82% of discussion lead to better decision making and changing the original plan. This means that projects are, infact, immersed in the open source community and the community of contributors do have a control over where the project is heading to :blush: