Kartik Agaram

Kartik Agaram

05/14/2021, 2:24 AM
Periodic "let's move off Slack" thread. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27149123 I wonder if it's worth redoing the Zulip survey from https://futureofcoding.org/episodes/046


05/14/2021, 10:40 AM
It’s Never Graduate Week at the Recurse Center — the annual alumni conference and so I’ve been hanging out at Virtual RC, in many Zoom calls, and back on Zulip. I can’t help it but I find Slack’s user experience overall — while it has quirks that I’m also happy to criticize — a million times better than Zulip’s. I’ve noticed that Zulip is actively sabotaging my engagement in the RC community, while Slack is encouraging me to engage in this community. But ultimately I find Slack vs. Zulip the wrong framing. I’ve come to the conclusion that the way we’ve been using Slack here, and the kinds of discussions we have here, something like https://www.discourse.org would be better suited for us.

Ivan Reese

05/14/2021, 4:24 PM
Yeah, I'm warming up to this idea again. My wishlist: • Data goes into a database we own, or at least there's some well-supported API that lets us query a lot • Web interface that is static HTML with progressive enhancement (not a SPA) • Nice clients for mobile & desktop • Free, or free for groups like us, even if that means it doesn't include hosting — or, perhaps, pricing that isn't per-user, so we can find someone to sponsor it. • Support for all the basics — rich text, embedded images with painless upload, emoji reactions, threads • Moderation tools • Readable / searchable on the web, without an account, visible to search engines Rationale: We shouldn't move just because Slack has some minor annoyances that don't exist in whatever we move to. We should move because the new platform gives us ways to double down on the things that make our community unique, without giving up on too many of the nice things we have today. Things that make our community unique: • we're programmers interested in experimentation • looking for something "better", even if that means dealing with a few hurdles • Lots of ideas for how to improve things — future is here, just not evenly distributed So a new platform should let us have the modern conveniences of something like Slack (low friction to join & post, not-ugly UI, decent support for various platforms) but it should also let us modify / augment / interconnect with the platform. Mariano has been doing an amazing service for the community, fighting against the walled-garden of Slack, trying to build tools like a searchable history. I love this, but I think his efforts have been really constrained by the fact that Slack doesn't want folks to do this sort of thing.


05/19/2021, 6:38 AM
We shouldn't move just because Slack has some minor annoyances that don't exist in whatever we move to.
I don't know how widespread this is, but my experience with slack is far more than minor annoyance. There has been a string of bugs that have made it at times completely unusable for me. For instance, at the moment threads don't render at all for me in firefox - I just get a blank pane. Often, about 15s after I load the page it will replace the conversation pane with a blank pane and I have to switch to another channel and back to continue reading. On one workspace I'm in it continually resets my viewpoint to last year, so I have to scroll down for a few minutes every time I load the page. For a period of about 6 months (thankfully over now) I consistently had >10s latency on typing messages. I still read the weekly emails but I hardly ever open slack to join the conversation because it usually doesn't work.
Web interface that is static HTML with progressive enhancement (not a SPA)
Nice clients for mobile & desktop
Anything that had more than one client, or even just a single client that didn't keep adding new bugs would be wonderful.
6:43 AM
"0.87 fps"

Doug Moen

05/19/2021, 2:23 PM
This reply is about "the future of forums". I prefer the original vision of the internet as a decentralized peer-to-peer network, where you choose your own client and communicate using standardized network protocols, over the current model of walled gardens. A web forum like Slack, Discourse or Zulip is centralized, too much like a walled garden. The model I want is more like usenet, email, activitypub, matrix. Discussions are distributed across multiple federated servers talking a standard protocol, and many projects use this protocol, so you have a choice of clients and servers. Matrix looks like a good protocol because it is a distributed database with a hierarchical namespace that just happens to be used for chat, plus it has interest and momentum. It is extensible, and it could be extended to provide the features we want from Slack, Zulip, Discourse.

Joshua Horowitz

05/20/2021, 6:21 PM
@Stefan Momentarily ignoring your point about Slack vs. Zulip being the wrong framing (sorry 😁), I'm really curious to hear more about what kind of things make Zulip so miserable for you. Is it bugs, bad design, missing features, or what? (I ask in part because other communities I'm part of are interested in Zulip, and I've generally heard positive things about it from other RC people, so I want the other side of the story!)


05/20/2021, 11:10 PM
@Joshua Horowitz I use social networks more on mobile devices (iPad and iPhone), because when I’m at the computer I usually do something more important. Zulip’s support for mobile is terrible, as both mobile web or app versions. With Slack, I can just quickly check what’s going on from my phone (like I do now) and stay in touch. With Zulip I feel like I have to go back to the computer for everything because the mobile version and apps are so cumbersome to use. Both Slack and Zulip have weird threading models. I can see why Zulip works better for some, as it’s easier to filter for what you are interested in, because it’s still a bit closer to a classic forum where everything is part of a topic, but you still need to manually filter if you want to focus on each topic and the default view is as messy as an unthreaded Slack conversation with people talking about several different things. That’s why I’m in favor of switching to a proper forum instead, which encourages clear topics and threading and slower communication in general.