An Anniversary and a Milestone
We're celebrating two huge milestones this month: 200,000 members of the community, and 7 years on Discord.
Reactiflux is one of the largest chat communities of developers on the internet, and undoubtedly the largest chat community for React developers. We were also one of the first to join Discord, after Slack decided 7,500 members on the free product was too much of a burden. Our earliest members joined on October 13th, which means that we joined Discord exactly 5 months after its May 13th, 2015 launch date (they even added syntax highlighting for us!).
It's a little wild to contemplate the difference in scale from 2015 to 2022. Slack disabled invites after we had 7500 total members; now, we routinely hit 15,000 online members at peak times. In 2015, our largest competition was the #reactjs IRC channel on Freenode; now, there are a over a dozen high-quality communities operated by independent educators, venture-backed startups, and educational businesses. In 2015, the
react package on npm was downloaded about 140 thousand times per week; now, it's downloaded over 17 million times per week.
We've had 3 admins who have stuck around this whole time: acemarke, Gabe, and vcarl (shoutout to benigeri, who created the original Slack group and managed the move to Discord, and taion, who contributed a lot of early work to build the server but has since moved on). They, along with our other admins, moderators, and MVPs who joined and contributed since, are who made the server what it is today — the best place on the internet to get help with React.
As we scaled, we inexplicably managed to avoid most of the most common pitfalls of large online spaces. We've never had to deal with large-scale raids, for instance, or a bad actor persistently harassing members through alt accounts. We've also avoided common heavy-handed moderation tactics like disallowing "political topics" or banning members based on personal dislike. In some cases, this has led us to be too slow to react appropriately to members causing problems, but it's also allowed us to be a place where people can learn from their mistakes and grow. One of the difficulties of operating a huge online space is that, eventually, you begin to acquire a representative subset of the world — for good and for ill.
In the past year, we've been able to make investments to improve how the community operates more quickly because our admin vcarl went independent. We:
- added thread-only channels (before Forums stole our thunder!)
- refined our guidelines for promotion in the community
- added significant automated moderation of our #job-board channel (including removal of all web3 and blockchain postings)
- added an anonymous method to report messages to the moderators
- made it easier to track potentially problematic messages for future moderation discussions
- created a system for making consensus-based moderation decisions
- added a bot to index messages to the web from consenting members
We're hoping to do a lot more for the community in the future. Reactiflux has been powered entirely by dedicated volunteers for its entire life — we're now exploring ways that we can build it into a self-sustaining enterprise without sacrificing the organic community that makes it great. One part of that is working to elevate content creators without a large following; if that sounds like you, drop us a line! And if you aren't already a member, join us!.