When choosing the platform for our new community we evaluated a number of solutions. We considered everything from building a custom solution to trying to roll something out using Wordpress.
In the end we landed on a bit of a hybrid.
The core of our community is driven by slack. Slack is a real time chat application that runs on any system from native mobile and desktop apps to a first class web app that runs in your browser.
The great thing about slack is that it allows us to write our extensions via their api. So far we’ve developed a help system that has allowed us to hack slack into a stackoverflow-esque platform.
To ask for help with ruby, simply join the #ruby-on-rails channel and type
/helpme I need help getting carrierwave to work with amazon s3 . This will post your issue to http://struct.tv/help_requests , announce your issue to the channel and place you in a new chat room specific to your issue. If people want to help they can join the room and you can work to a solution while avoiding the noise of the chat channel.
Easy Screen sharing / Remote Pairing with Screenhero
Slack recently purchased screen hero and made it free for all slack users. To use slack to remotely diagnose a problem, or pair with another developer simply have Screenhero open on both computers and type
/hero @username to connect with another user.