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    I’d love to go back to just IRC. Why couldn’t IRC as a protocol be good enough and then just design specialized clients around it to include features as desired? Slack, Hipchat, discord, etc don’t actually convince me that the IRC protocol + client specific “add-ons” wouldn’t be enough.

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      IRC has problems, starting with a fundamental lack of multiline message support.

      That’s not where you want to go if you’re trying to convince developers to use basically anything else. (I mean, I like IRC too, but only despite some of those major flaws.)

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        I’d love to go back to just IRC.

        me too, but slack has blown up because they took (some of) what’s good about IRC and made it pretty, and made it accessible for normal people. that doesn’t mean it’s good - there’s so much that’s bad, including but not limited to the ‘always available’ expectation that asshats^H^H^H^H^H^H^H some people use to evaluate whether you’re a ‘team player’.

        i think my biggest gripe with slack actually (apart from ‘always available’) is how they implemented discussion threads. it’s my opinion that the model sucks terribly, because threads live ‘outside’ of their channel, and it requires me to use a trackpad/mouse to access the threads rather than keeping them in the channel and providing shortcuts to open/collapse them.

        that said, if slack the company built native desktop apps (i don’t care so much about mobile), i might complain about it less. they certainly have the wherewithal to do it.

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          I don’t want to use IRC. There are a lot of times where I remember asking another developer how to do something and I’ll go back to search for it in the chat history.

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            Understandable, but in my mind that could easily be a client side feature. Admittedly, most users won’t want to grep logs, but if the platform is open there could be solutions for search locally and server side. I think the most meaningful thing is that the protocol is open so developers can continue to grow the ecosystem in a way that suits their needs.

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          When I used Slack briefly, I was shocked that the method of logging on to “sites” was so primitive. There was no centralized identity, like Discord’s. It was more or less like IRC, but in IRC clients you can just enter your credentials per network once and never think about it later. Maybe this has been addressed in later clients.

          The article is business analysis and thus borderline offtopic, but the biggest threat to Slack (as a company) in my opinion is Microsoft Teams. It’s evolved at a blistering pace, for companies already on Office 365 it’s a no-brainer, it has a ton of centralized control features that enterprises love, and the desktop and mobile clients are decent.

          Discord is impressive too, especially the seamless experience on mobile. I don’t use it for anything “serious” though. It’s a mistake to paint Discord the platform with the taint of its worst communities (even if letting these communities thrive is a bad thing in general). Just like Reddit a Discord community is what its members and mods make of it.

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            Slack’s original appeal was that it had a much better user experience than prior work chat/email/collaboration tools including the now-dead HipChat and Campfire.

            I much preferred HipChat actually; I never quite understood the appeal of Slack. I also don’t quite get the appeal of Discord, but I don’t really know any good alternatives (riot.im is NOT it, it’s even slower and worse than Slack). The Stack Overflow/Stack Exchange chat is still the best webchat I know of by the way.

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              I also don’t quite get the appeal of Discord

              People ditching Slack for Discord is hilarious to me; it’s like ditching Facebook for Instagram. The underlying reasons for the problems are all still there. https://cadence.moe/blog/2020-06-06-why-you-shouldnt-trust-discord

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                Yeah, dunno. I think for a lot of people it’s mostly just a matter of UX; a lot of the points in that article are kind of “invisible” (until you run in to them, that is). I never liked Discord’s UX myself though, the low-contrast text alone was enough to turn me away (although that article says it’s mostly fixed now).

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                I also don’t quite get the appeal of Discord

                Compared to Slack? As well as Discord’s UX improvements over Slack listed in the article, I’ve seen one open-source project choose Discord over Slack because Discord’s free plan includes unlimited message history, compared to Slack’s 10,000-message limit.

                I don’t really know any good alternatives

                I’ve only used it a few times, but so far I quite like Zulip and its threading model where each message is not only within a channel, but also under a “topic” (like an email subject line). I’ve encountered problems finding, rereading, and linking to past discussions in Discord and Slack before—I expect that Zulip’s topics feature would mitigate those problems.

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                  Personally, I was turned off just by Discord’s low-contrast text, although the link posted in another comment said that’s fixed now. You can have the best chat in the world, but if I can’t read the actual text then, well…

                  Zulip looks nice at nice at a glance, I haven’t heard of that before. And it’s completely Apache licensed too. Guess that’ll be the first thing I try if I ever need to set up a chat.

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                  The best alternative I know of is Mattermost. It runs well, seems to have a good API, and gets the job done.

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                    It has a good mobile client and self-hosting is super easy…and a $5 prgmr instance will handle it with headroom to spare.

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                    Element (was riot.im) may be slow, but there are tons of matrix clients. Also, Element is three different apps (web/electron, ios, android), I assume you mean the web version is slow? And which server are you using it on? A crowded server (e.g. matrix.org) makes is slow as well.

                    But what’s important is that matrix is federated like IRC and email. Not centralized like mattermost, rocket.chat, zulip, slack, discord, teams, hipchat, …

                    And an open and evolving standard.

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                      I only used the web version, for one chat hosted on riot.im. This was a while ago but the general “feel” wasn’t very fast or good at the time, at least in Firefox (it seems a lot of these things tend to preform better in Chrome, but I’m not going to use Chrome just for one thing).

                      To be honest, I don’t really care all that much about centralized vs. decentralized/federated; just being an open platform like Zullip or MatterMost is “good enough” for me, although even that isn’t a hard requirement. By far the most important factor I judge these apps on is just basic UX.

                      There’s only one other web client in that list by the way (FluffyChat; I don’t really want to install software for very occasional/casual use of chat) and it errors out with Failed to create WebGL context: WebGL is currently disabled. Okay, so I enable WebGL and can create a username now, and then I get Overflow on channel: flutter/platform. Messages on this channel are being discarded in FIFO fashion. The engine may not be running or you need to adjust the buffer size if of the channel. I’m not sure what to do with that, so I gave up.

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                        I hope you reconsider and try out matrix again in the future.

                        Another thing that I forgot about mattermost and rocket.chat. They are open core, just like gitlab. Some features require paying. While with synapse/element (server/client, matrix is just a protocol) (and e.g. redhat) you pay for hosting & support, not features.

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                      I thought Hipchat was a giant garbage heap. Slack is vastly less likely to fuck up my messages or do weird stuff when I view history. The thing Slack has going for it is that it basically works.

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                        I find it funny that I had the exact opposite opinion when I used both. I didn’t like Hipchat at all until I tried Slack and realized how much worse things could get.

                        I told the manager that made the call to switch from Hipchat to Slack that he was moving us from garbage to a garbage fire.

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                          Hipchat was regularly doing things like duplicating messages in the scrollback, dropping them, or reversing their order (either pairwise or for entire days).

                          I was on the Linux desktop client for both, if that matters.

                          What problems did you find with Slack?

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                            Search was outright broken. The desktop client would crash when I searched, then, when I relaunched it, attempt to get me to pay for an upgrade to their service. That was so regular, I wrote a script to blow away its cache.

                            If I used it while on battery, it cut the amount of autonomy I could expect before needing to charge by about two thirds.

                            It would arbitrarily turn the sound on for my laptop speakers and set my volume to max if my bluetooth headset went out of range. So, when I went from my desk to the conference room down the hall, if I did not remember to close slack before I did that, next time someone posted a music video to our chat, slack would just start playing it at full volume.

                            Attaching a screenshot routinely crashed the client.

                            It would make my fan spin loudly when it was left running in the background.

                            I was using the desktop client on a fully patched, always up-to-date Fedora GNOME system.