There has indeed been so much amazing discussion on the Slack that’s now inaccessible due to our status as a free account. But I assume it’s not worth collecting funds and paying for Slack accounts when less-expensive alternatives exist. (Even though Slack only charges for active users, not all registered users, FWIW.)
But first, as for that past, inaccessible content @ericholscher, have you confirmed what information is included in a Slack export? Their docs seem to indicate that you can export the entire message history for all public channels.
(If not, perhaps we can raise funds for a one-time upgrade and export.)
If we can do an export, perhaps we can migrate that content to an archive, if not (more ideally) a new platform that we can actively use. For example, it appears that free Ryver accounts and Mattermost installs both allow you to import a Slack export.
Whether or not we actually migrate old content to an actively used system, it would be great to move to a system without Slack’s restrictions, such as the above two, or the free version of https://rocket.chat/ or Chanty https://www.chanty.com/blog/using-slack-alternatives/ or something else that’s similarly free or inexpensive.
If we continue to have both a forum and chat system, I agree with @alexfornuto that some integration between the two would be a major plus, even if it’s as simple as auto-publishing a link in chat to new forum threads, and easing the process of exporting chat content back to the forum. That Discourse plugin looks great for both but I’m not sure if it makes it worth sticking with free Slack. Maybe that’s a fair trade-off, for now, though.