Spectrum is a new platform for you to join, start and build online communities.

Would you recommend this product?
42 Reviews4.2/5
Spectrum fills in a void between Github and Slack. One-liner: > Spectrum is a new platform for you to join, start and build online communities. Pain: > I’ve (@mxstbr) been running large communities for my open source projects on these platforms for years, and have personally felt the pain of managing discussions with hundreds and thousands of people who contribute from all around the world. Solution: > Every conversation on Spectrum starts as a thread, its own place to provide rich context for the conversation ahead. Once a thread is published others can join the conversation. Explore their launch communities: https://spectrum.chat/explore including React, Sketch, and Product Design.
Upvote (16)Share
@mxstbr @yvoschaap Hey Yvo, thanks for adding us here 😀 We originally started Spectrum because we were continually frustrated by the lack of community support from running a large (9k+ members) Slack team for designers and developers. As soon as we started working on Spectrum as a replacement for our own Slack team, we started hearing from a bunch of other companies and organizations who were all feeling the same pains as us, and were looking for something better. Some of the things I'm most excited about that Spectrum offers are: - open platform first: as a member of many communities, I'm able to view all of the conversations across all of my communities in one unified feed, to avoid the annoying time it takes to navigate between Slack teams or individual forums around the web. As a result, I also have a unified set of direct messages and notifications, which means I don't have to play whackamole with navigating between different community sites or Slack teams to keep up. - communities are public by default: this means that content is more accessible, doesn't necessarily have to be hidden behind an authorization wall, and lets threads get indexed on search engines to make content more easily discovered on the internet. We also allow communities to have unlimited conversations + messages, which means that even communities who can't afford to pay will not have to worry about a continuous churn of information and discussions getting lost. - threads first: all conversations on Spectrum are thread based, which means you can follow discrete topics within a community, easily save or link directly to a conversation, and resurface a conversation at any point in time when there's something new to say. Spectrum is still in beta, which means we're really focused on gathering as much feedback as we can - so if anyone here has any questions at all just let me know and I'll be happy to answer!
Upvote (21)Share
@brian_lovin any moderation features coming? Ban users, spam prevention etc?
@tamedo hey Tony, right now we support thread freezing, deletion, and message deletion. For paying communities you can have multiple moderators with these permissions. As far as moderation features - yes, we're working towards blocking users, thread approval, member approval, spam detection...the whole thing! It's just going to be an iterative process as we tackle these things one by one :)
@brian_lovin Thanks for the reply. Looking forward to these features. Loving the product, keep up the good work!
@mxstbr @brian_lovin Amazing product, congrats! Do you consider translating it into other languages?
@yvoschaap thanks for hunting us! Hey folks! 👋 To elaborate a bit on why I'm personally excited about Spectrum, it all comes back to my open source projects. They're used by lots of people worldwide, but no matter what app I tried there was no way to sustainably create a community around them. Existing platforms quickly break down when you have more than a couple of dozen folks talking. (especially when it's deep, technical discussions) Brian and Bryn, who had a Slack team for their SpecFM podcast network with 9,000+ members, ran into the same issue. No matter which platform they looked at, none of them really work for this use case. That's why we tailor-made Spectrum for ourselves. By forcing conversations to be threaded, there can be one, five, ten or a hundred of them going on at the same time but they'll never interfere with each other! Contrary to a forum though, they're still real-time, making them feel more present and active. It's also a single login to get to all of your favorite communities—no more juggling tons of passwords and notfication settings and all that annoying jazz. 💯 To get a feel for what Spectrum is about I'd recommend you head right to the explore page (https://spectrum.chat/explore) to find and join a community that interests you or to create a new one! (for example, what about the ProductHunt community? https://spectrum.chat/product-hunt 😉) While this might sound like we've got it all figured out, there's still lots to do. (which is why Spectrum is still in public beta) We're constantly experimenting and trying out new things, so we'd love to get your feedback: What do you think we should tackle next?
Upvote (14)Share
@yvoschaap @mxstbr I like how you experiment with new features, techniques and even new user interfaces! Startup founders that themselves are the in the focus of the demographic can really understand the product and users needs, so that's why I recommend Spectrum to every community I know, although as you said there are some polishing and features. Features can be added as we go but what matters are founders that understand the problem and the love of users. I'll try as much as I can to help with new features or reporting bugs.
@mxstbr Wait, what! Was Spectrum not hunted before? Shoots, I missed. Coincidentally, I signed up for Spectrum a few weeks ago and was wowed by its interface and features. And the irony is, I created https://spectrum.chat/producthunt (yes, anyone can join) but did not hunt! Kudos for building a wonderful product - looks like my two-week-long search for community products will end here. I have few questions *important* which I would ask in some time.
@mxstbr @brian_lovin @uberbryn So here are the questions, once answered will help me decide whether I should continue searching for a product like Discourse.org or should I wait for your product to outshine everything that's out there - will custom URL for individual communities be supported? - will you offer a self-hosted way to build and maintain the community (of course, with certain limitations? - will mobile apps be available? Discourse dot org is super expensive for my need, plus I looking for something that has great UI and at the same time is not short of features required to build communities. If it is too early to answer the above questions, just let us know what's on your mind :)
@adithya everything is subject to change right now, but: - custom urls: likely - self-hosting: not likely - mobile apps: definitely. It’s a good question. We did a lot of research with teams who use Discourse. The main issue - as with other forum software - is that there are no “warm bodies”. It never feels like you’re together. People pop in, ask a question (or answer a couple) and leave and wait for an email. Spectrum is meant to be more social and casual so that people can just be around each other (which was a big benefit of public slack teams, but they had a lot of other issues) Anyway, hope that answers your question!
@uberbryn Thanks for your answers, makes sense. Price and interface are the two primary reasons I was not able to consider Discourse. Nearly 7/10 communities which I have seen use Discourse (either self-hosted or subscription) but the pricing per month seems to be on the higher side which most of individuals/teams or startups may not be able to afford. Have you thought of a flexible pricing based on the features? Say for e.g. $5 per month per additional staff/team member that can help you moderate a community or $30 just for the custom domain or something on these lines. Don't you think you will more reasons to consider your product over other products that are available? Since it is still in beta, wanted to hear your thoughts which in turn may open up opportunities for more premium users. Opinion: One size fits all isn't a good approach to take, considering the kind of free alternatives available, even if it doesn't provide all the features a user/co wants.

I've used this to join styled components and Figma communities and It's been much better than alternatives. Only it needs to polish the product a bit more.


It's so organized - One feed, one account, one inbox - Indexable for future readers - Conversations are alive for ever


Do better with notifications - Edit messages - Suggest other similar threads both when creating a new one and when you've chatted in one

Upvote (11)Share
Hey, thanks for the review! We're doing our best to stay on top of everything posted in https://spectrum.chat/spectrum/h... and https://spectrum.chat/spectrum/f..., just in case there's anything specific we can help with :) Otherwise - I definitely hear you about notifications, and that's something we're tweaking pretty regularly to try and find a good system that is clear and high signal for people.

I've been using Spectrum for several months now, since Alpha. The team has really taken the time to listen to what these early users have had to say and improve the platform as a whole.

I think this truly solves a big issue for those people trying to manage a community. It also makes participating in community discussions a way more intuitive and user-friendly process. One account, one inbox.


The organization of it all is top class. The team has really put thought into these interactions, & the pain points of managing a community.


Mobile could be better. Notifications can be a little confusing at time. Both of these things I'm confident the team will address in time.

Thanks for the feedback Mason!
I've created a room for Bitcoin enthusiasts. Let's test it together! Join here: https://spectrum.chat/btc
@alexanderisora there's also https://spectrum.chat/crypto, you should join that too!