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I have used Discourse quite a bit, and it was a top consider when we were looking for a new platform.

Public web archives are a goal, and either we'll deploy a bot to publish them, or I've heard rumors this feature may be added to Zulip itself.

In the meantime, it's kind of nice not having everything immediately publicized. We've had (knock on wood) exactly zero problems with spam users, even though it's open to everybody with a Github account. I'm also (if temporarily) enjoying the freedom to talk a bit more intimately, for example I'm discussing a major project I'm considering taking on.

Public archives is definitely on the Zulip roadmap; much of the preparatory backend work for supporting was merged last year.

One thing I'd be interested in feedback on is how folks would feel about an ugly/janky version? There's a few different versions we've talked about:

* Being able to use the main Zulip user experience, with "public user" data (no unreads, can't send messages, etc.). This would be best as an actual browsing experience.

* Having a totally new webpage that's mostly just HTML+CSS (better for search engines) similar to our digest emails.

Possibly we'll eventually do both, but I'd love feedback on which of these open source projects care about the most.

(In any case, it'd be configurable at the stream level, so you could have some but not other streams that are public in the organization be publicly archived; we already have the data model for doing that).

Of these two, I find the second more appealing. The main use cases I have in mind are linking discussions from issues, and in general creating a permanent record of the work we do (our IRC logs got lost, I should have been on the ball to preserve them).

For people who actually want the Zulip experience, I have no problem just asking them to sign up for real. Since we have open signup based on github login, it's a pretty small barrier.

I think (2) sounds more useful too. You may also wish to consider a 3rd option: a machine readable export format (XML?), which would allow users to make their own human-readable archive formats.

That's already easy to do with the Zulip API.

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