1. 37
  1. 14

    A+ rant.

    there are lots of little apps running on Heroku dyno’s that automate the “send me an invite” process, but fundamentally these are closed systems.

    This is my core issue with slack.

    I cannot link to a discussion in a Slack channel in a tweet. I cannot refer to it in an issue report, and I cannot cite it in a presentation.

    I’d never thought of this, but it’s an excellent point. Links to great discussions on mailing lists/usenet/etc get posted all the time, similar discussions on slack will all die when Slack inevitably goes out of business.

    I’m not convinced about IRC. IRC is good for synchronous chat, and it doesn’t really try to be much more (unlike slack with pinned messages and discussion threads and uploads). IRC is a great place to hang out, and I enjoy hanging out with other people on freenode. It seems like one of his arguments is: “when people talk using a medium w/o hours of latency that discriminates against people in different time zones”. That doesn’t resonate a whole lot, but otoh I know Dave is an aussie and if he used my project and my project communication strategy didn’t cater to him, that would be my loss.

    Ironically, I met Dave on IRC, prior to the first gophercon.

    1. 8

      I agree with this post, and yet Slack remains the path of least resistance. I finally broke down and created one for my main open source project. Since creating it a few weeks ago contributors have started trickling in and a community is slowly forming.

      We can still export chat logs via bots and create the desired permalinks to discussions. Clojurians slack does this, although I’m not sure what the tool is that they use.

      1. 5

        For what is worth. We are currently using matrix.org on our local hackerspace and in open source projects I’m involved bridged with IRC. Most of us via riot.im

        We are mostly very happy with the result and UX. It certainly helped us get have more active participation on our chats.

        1. 3

          As someone living in UTC+9, time zone comment is spot on.

          1. 1

            Doesn’t that happen with IRC too though? People can have conversation off to the side that exclude people in other time zones.

            1. 6

              Yes, which the author explicitly mentions. Slack is a twofold problem, and the second fold (real-time-ness) is also a problem with IRC/XMPP/wall/what have you that’s not a closed system.

              1. 4

                It’s a much bigger problem with systems that don’t provide Slack’s painless server - side history.

              2. 2

                Yeah, the article specifically states that asynchronous communication is the best way to handle decision-making in an open-source project community.

            2. 3

              The real reason Slack has taken over from many things that used to run by email is that with slack (and glitter etc) you don’t need to run your own server. It’s similar to github’s success: let someone else administrate things, you can just carry on coding.

              How do we make hosting these types of things so painless that people don’t actually host anything? IMO we need something less like matrix.org / email which is all about more people hosting servers, and go to a system of no people hosting.

              My favorite approach is that of things like simpledefects which is unfortunately now defunct. Essentially, just replicate a database of issues/discussion threads. Instead of code, where resolution is largely a manual process, these discussion databases can resolve automatically. The clients themselves do the replication of information.

              1. 4

                Why do you need to run your own email server instead of using something like freelists?

                1. 3

                  I use freelists and am very glad it exists. However, when I was looking to move off Google Groups, it was literally the only option. That’s sad.

                  1. 4

                    If only someone would commit to, and revive Librelist.

                    1. 1

                      I loved Librelist, but I’m sure a large part of the reason it died is that the idea of being responsible for an SMTP server makes my stomach churn.

                  2. 1

                    Freelists get tagged as spam by many blocklists that spam filters use, so using these lowest common denominator hosts usually mean you end up struggling to receive/send mail based on how you receive mail.

                    Google was blocking one I ran for a long time, it was a constant annoyance. Solving spam at the transport layer of communication causes all kinds of fucked up issues I don’t think anyone wants to deal with.

                2. 3

                  What bothers me for open communities is the lack of moderation tools. You can’t ignore people, the only option is to find an admin and kick a user completely.