How is EffectiveDiscussions different?
How is EffectiveDiscussions (ED) different from other forum software, chat software, and other things?
ED compared to chat software
Why choose EffectiveDiscussions (ED) instead of chat platforms like Slack, Discord and IRC? Well, ED can be better for public communities, because:
In a chat, things people have said, scrolls up-and-away and is gone quickly. Those who visit only once in a while, won't know what has been discussed previously, and might repeat old questions. With ED, the discussion is instead split into separate topics, and you can see which topics have been popular the last week or month (partly implemented) — the topics won't "scroll up and disappear".
With ED, people can find your community, and your answers to their questions, from search engines like Google. However, Google doesn't work with chat software — so, if you choose a chat platform, it would be harder for people to find your community.
ED is more user friendly, in the sense that when a new person visits the community, s/he directly sees the currently active topics and can start reading. Whereas with chats like Slack and Discord, s/he sees an empty page with a login form.
ED can show a list of unsolved questions and problems. The chat platforms cannot do that.
Anyway if you're looking to setup an internal chat (but no public community), then Slack or Discourd should be a lot better than ED. ED lacks lots of features they have, has no mobile phone apps, and is new and unknown.
ED compared to forum software
How does EffectiveDiscussions compare with forum software like Discourse, Flarum, phpBB?
ED attempts to show the most useful / insightful comments first. Other forum software shows all comments in a flat list. So, if there's a discussion with 100 replies, with other forum software, you need to read everything to find the important stuff. But with ED, you'll quickly find the important information.
The other forum software doesn't have any good chat features. But chat channels, and a sidebar where you see all your channels at a glance, and can switch channel via a single click, saves time — e.g. for quick questions, or collaboration between the forum staff.
Other forum software doesn't warn you about bad ideas. You'll find out if other people disagree with a certain comment, only if you spend time reading all the replies. With ED, though, you'll see directly if there are people who disagree.
ED can list all unsolved questions and problems, so your support staff find them easily. Other form software cannot do that.
On the other hand:
Other forum software, like Discourse, is a lot more production ready and stable (whilst ED is new and unknown). They have lots of useful features that ED lacks.
E.g. Flarum is written in PHP so you can install it on a small inexpensive server.
ED currently (May 2017) doesn't really support plugins or chat bots.
ED compared to project management tools, like Campfire
Project management software tends to have less well-functioning chat and forum features, since that's not their only focus. For example here and here are blog posts about problems with a popular project management tool (Campfire) that made those people use a chat discussion system instead (Slack). ... Hmm there's also TaskWorld with a Slack like chat. Perhaps it works better. Anyway, none of these project management + team chat software I've seen, is intended for creating public communities where you can talk with customers / users / other-interested-people.
If you want to add / remove things here, or if you disagree with something, you can post a topic about that in the forum.