I just want to make sure I understand the issue and confirm that we really need a separate tool, rather than reconfigure this one - so I hope you don't mind if I ask a few follow up questions?...
Have you tried using private chat groups on the forum here? They are real-time. And we could create a forum on even just a thread for random chat, which also would provide a real-time conversation venue.
Having used Slack a lot and Discourse a reasonable amount I've personally found Discourse (i.e. these forums) a superset of Slack's functionality. I've seen conversations between the Discourse devs and various folks on twitter where they've tried to resolve similar questions, but it never seems to get far. I'm not sure why, but it seems like no-one has quite managed to clearly articulate either why Discourse is, or isn't, an adequate real-time chat platform.
What are the delays and spacing that you are referring to?
I want to create the most vibrant possible DL community. If we have it all in one place, but that place doesn't provide what people need, then it won't be as good as it can be. But if it's split over multiple places, then by definition each place will have a weaker community and less momentum, and will also mean more places for people to follow.
Would love to hear any thoughts other folks have about this too. @brendan maybe you have some comments too? @xinxin.li.seattle?