Slack: the chat tool we love to hate?

It’s so interesting to see that Zulip really is the great solution on paper, but I really dislike it in practice, because if how they’re trying to re-invent the chat wheel. It’s too confusion and topics are too separated imo. Might depend on the group of people using it.

In a similar discussion among the de-RSE organisation the Clients: (https://www.mattermost.org) and (https://rocket.chat/) were highly advertised

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The same discussion has been repeated in several other lang forums:

  1. Python: https://discuss.python.org/t/python-committers-is-dead-long-live-discuss-python-org/30, https://discuss.python.org/t/what-about-zulip/197/7 (tl;dr: Python uses both Discourse and Zulip (I only know the latter being python.zulipchat.com))
  2. Rust: https://internals.rust-lang.org/t/exploring-new-communication-channels/7859 (tl;dr: Discord (I can’t access the link) and Zulip)
  3. Clojure: https://clojureverse.org/t/ann-searchable-slack-archive/3777 (tl;dr: Zulip)

I think it is better to experiment with several platforms at once and observe which one naturally sticks longer.

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Or we can build our own in Julia :slight_smile:

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Let’s embed an IRC client and small bittorrent implementation (for files and images) into the Julia REPL and call it a day. :troll:

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:joy:

Don’t forget the bitcoin mining :nerd_face:

Hi. So, it appears that https://julialang.zulipchat.com/ was created, and it’s open, so people could go in and try it out. Even so, there seemed to be a few community members that didn’t like it for some reason. I’m curious why. Anyway, Zulip would be glad to offer this community a sponsored account (since Julia is open source licensed). Perhaps it might also be helpful to see how it is being used by other projects: https://python.zulipchat.com/

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The inability to see history over at Slack is a serious problem. Are there any thoughts about fixing this? Is there anyone logging searchable history?

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I hate slack. Most of the people I talk to on slack seem to hate slack. I had the impression that even it’s “defenders” were luke-warm at best on it.

The problem is the overwhelming power of the network effect. Some of use were trying to use Riot again more frequently (which also has seamless gitter integration). At the same time, often if I had a comment, I would post it on slack. Because everyone, including the seeming majority of people who hate slack are on there. I’m on there, even though I hate slack, because it doesn’t do me any good to talk to almost nobody elsewhere.

So what do we do? We’d need everyone to switch, basically at the same time. I don’t really see any way that can happen.

It’s so depressing because this is just a microcosm of the way everything in human society seems to work.

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I quite like it. I’m in a bunch of slack teams, it’s uncomplicated, and does most of what I’d want chat software to do. It may be just that it’s the one I’m most familiar with and it was amazing to move groups to slack from email-based communication. There are slack teams I need to be in, so I’d rather not have to download yet another app.

For me, the key is to not expect it to be good for everything. I stopped doing things like GitHub and Google drive and todoist integration, because GitHub and Google drive and todoist native apps are better places for that.

I think the only way would be for a bunch of core people to agree to stop using slack and only use the other thing. Whether there’s any way for that to happen…

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It’s a problem, but I’m not sure how serious it is. If you want/need something to be persistent, there’s discourse and GitHub. Yes, a lot of fruitful conversation happens on slack that it would be nice to have a record of, but there have been many discussions that have been shunted to a thread here for that reason.

What channels on matrix (Riot) are active with Julia projects? I’m in the main gitter-bridged room, but that’s the only one I’m aware of currently.

Part of the problem is that there aren’t really any specific projects that are very active on Riot. Riot also has a problem right now in that “communities” (organized groups of rooms) aren’t fully implemented yet. So, it’s great as a personal chat (it has been my primary personal chat client for a good while now) but until “communities” are fully implemented it’s a bit lacking for Julia. I think the big appeal it had for many of us was that it has seamless integration with lots of other chat clients (of course not slack, because slack doesn’t like to work with anything). So, even if we could get everyone to switch to gitter (or, I think zulip but I’m not 100% sure), everyoen would then have the option to use riot.

The thing that’s really been raising my ire lately is that slack sabotages itself to not work on some browsers. It’s really infuriating because it definitely is self-sabotage: testing has shown that it’s only sensitive to the user agent string and it always works perfectly fine on any browser if one can guess what user agent string slack deems worthy. They have a linux app now, but why should I install bloated useless crap for something that can and does work perfectly fine in the browser?

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Have you tried the slack integration? It works well for my purposes though it lacks threading and reactions obviously.

I was not able to get it working. If you have a way of doing it, I would be very appreciative if you could tell everyone how to.

I’d be happy to work on that with someone once the hosted matrix.org integrations are up again (https://matrix.org/blog/2019/04/11/security-incident/index.html), but we’ll certainly need an admin’s help on the slack side of things to do so.

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Perhaps it’s time to revisit the use of Slack? Just this last week, Mozilla has chosen to migrate from IRC to Matrix, hosted by Modular.im. Modular’s pricing is $1.50 per active user per month, with free guest users who can read historical conversation. Could we form a donation pool and get Julia a server?

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We currently have about 850 active users on Slack, that would be more than 1200 $ per month.

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KDE is currently using modular.im to host their chat, and I can’t imagine they’re paying over $1000/month for that. If there was actual interest in moving the community over to matrix with a custom modular-hosted homeserver, we could reach out and see what kind of custom pricing might be available for open-source community projects like Julia and KDE.

Alternatively as a more gradual step, if an admin of the Julia Slack wants to reach out, I can set up some bridges to matrix with the native matrix.org bridge so some of the larger rooms are available on matrix as well as slack (or they could do it themselves; it’s a relatively straightforward process).

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One big attraction of Matrix is that the Julia community could set up their own server, say an open-source ‘homeserver’ such as Synapse (I think the point of Modular.im is that it runs the server for you). Others in the Julia community could also set up synchronized servers. If I read a thread about the move to discourse right, a server could be as cheap as $10/month; even if Matrix requires a more costly server, I guess it would be nowhere near $1000.

I think Matrix is a great option.

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