https://futureofcoding.org/ logo
#thinking-together
Title
# thinking-together
s

stevekrouse

12/13/2018, 12:58 PM
If you have a favorite alternative, I'd love to hear about it :)
j

jarm

12/13/2018, 1:15 PM
Another coding community I’m in moved to Rocket Chat from Slack earlier this year and it’s been a success. It does not have threading so if you would miss that, I think Zulip has threads
That one has almost 2k people in it and surprisingly (?) everyone made the leap quite effortlessly
🤯 1
b

Bosmon

12/13/2018, 1:24 PM
I think threading is an invaluable feature but I find the way Slack has implemented it is utterly baffling.
☝️ 3
d

Duncan Cragg

12/13/2018, 1:43 PM
esp when you use both mobile and web
j

jaukia

12/13/2018, 1:51 PM
What are the advantages of Rocket Chat over Slack?
s

stevekrouse

12/13/2018, 2:16 PM
If the main think we'd switch for is history, I found a way to stick with slack! https://levels.io/slack-export-to-html/
👍 1
j

jarm

12/13/2018, 3:49 PM
Yeah there are a bunch of slack archive tools, I think eventually slack will abandon non paying communities like this (they have a history of hostility and are being led to IPO by a Goldman Sachs bro) so depends on if that matters / timing when to jump ship
☝️ 1
s

stevekrouse

12/13/2018, 3:52 PM
Interesting... I was hoping for more of a ferver to jump ship now, but it doesn't seem like anyone but you and I really care at the moment, I'm thinking we stay until it makes a lot more sense to leave. I'm excited about the data export, because that means this convo data will never die (except maybe for private messages which feel more transient and less important anyway). It makes switching feel less urgent
s

Stefan

12/13/2018, 5:33 PM
As much as I dislike Slack, changing platforms is just going to be introducing a lot of friction. Yes, it’s annoying that moving isn’t easy, and it’s exactly what Slack is counting on as a business model, but let’s face it, no other tool is significantly better than Slack across the board. Sure, individual features are better in a lot of tools, but ultimately we’re just trading what some people like better with what other people like better. Is that worth trying to have ~200 people pack up all their things and move countries? If the main worry is that we lose access to older posts: hands up, who has searched this Slack recently and found what you were looking for in a post from more than a month ago? I think our time would be better spent thinking about how we can preserve some of the valuable content in here outside. Should we have a website showcasing all the projects we’re working on? Should we have a wiki where we try to curate the main recurring themes, technologies, important papers and books, etc.? If we want to preserve knowledge, we have to take it somewhere else anyway. But I doubt that destination should be another discussion forum.
🍰 2
j

jarm

12/13/2018, 5:51 PM
Yeah there are a few competing concerns that are worth picking apart. I think the “hands up if you searched” question is chicken and egg; the fact that slack is so transient and knowledge is distributed and hidden implicitly in conversations, means that search is not powerful in the first place. My dream would be a chat2wiki bot :) But yes every group is different; the group I mentioned earlier moved sooner rather than later partly in response to feeling slack’s aggression towards open source / open standards.
j

jonathoda

12/13/2018, 9:26 PM
If the community is growing we should favor the needs of new members over the old. And not to insult anyone, but is there really any evergreen content on here now that people will scroll back to read? Slack certainly doesn’t encourage that.
☝️ 7
d

Duncan Cragg

12/13/2018, 9:56 PM
When I joined I scrolled back on all channels and harvested a mountain of links to interesting material. Then went through reading or viewing it all, or most of it. Very valuable experience!
j

jonathoda

12/13/2018, 11:23 PM
Slack’s notification policy is intrusive. The only option to constant notifications is to manually poll which is also burdensome. Slack encourages chatter, not long-term discussions. I am trying to limit these sources of interruptions to my work. Places like google groups offer more civilized email digest options.
👍 2
s

Stefan

12/14/2018, 10:46 AM
If we focus on what works well — either here or with other solutions — I think that will be very helpful in making a good decision. Just stating what we don’t like doesn’t offer much guidance on where we should go.
n

Nick Nikolov

12/14/2018, 10:46 AM
What Duncan said - this slack org has amazing gems when you scroll back - makes you think some kind of forum-like structure might be more appropriate
I wonder if Discourse / https://spectrum.chat/ are good alternatives here? even if we leave SLack for casual chats?
oh in fact Spectrum has real time chat
but convos are threaded/searchable by default
and it’s geared towards communities.
has anyone used it?
s

stevekrouse

12/14/2018, 11:05 AM
I've used spectrum. Quite like it actually
n

Nick Nikolov

12/14/2018, 11:08 AM
is it comparable to Slack? or different usecase?
feels like some kind of Forum chat hybrid
s

stevekrouse

12/14/2018, 1:58 PM
It is comparable actually but feels a lot I more like a forum
m

Matthew Parker

12/14/2018, 4:04 PM
Check out zulip https://zulipchat.com . It's used for the internal Recurse Center chat. Great for having multiple convos going on at the same time.
j

jonathoda

12/14/2018, 4:12 PM
@Stefan I reject your attempt to police the conversation
https://slackdigest.com/ might help with the intrusiveness of Slack. But it won’t help with the UI disaster of threads, which were an afterthought in Slack. Best to use something actually designed for long-term conversations, not chatter. Like forums.
👍 2
n

Nick Nikolov

12/14/2018, 5:13 PM
Zulip does look good
i

ibdknox

12/14/2018, 5:43 PM
I found zulip even more distracting than slack
r

robenkleene

12/14/2018, 6:02 PM
Based on issues with Slack brought up in this thread, the first thing that comes to mind is Discourse https://www.discourse.org (which was mentioned earlier but not really discussed). E.g., less emphasis on notifications and easier to highlight evergreen content. That's really more a difference of a forum versus a chat though (Discourse is forum software). I wonder if a having second place (that's a forum or maybe even a wiki?) would be better rather than switching to another chat platform? Personally I find all chat software to have all the issues people brought up here.
👍 1
s

shalabh

12/14/2018, 6:02 PM
I see no benefit to moving to another chat app. Forums or mailing lists enable a different kind of discussion. We could even have one in addition to this chat.
n

Nick Smith

12/15/2018, 5:33 AM
I've just spent some time trying Spectrum out and I really like it! It's a hybrid between a forum (like Reddit/Discourse) and a chat app (like Slack). You can create short or long-form posts ("conversations") and reply to them via instant chat (like Slack). Conversations can be organised into channels (or just lumped into a general channel). Spectrum is completely free as well (with unlimited, searchable message history). Users DON'T need to create an account to browse the forum, and the forums are indexed by Google search (which would help us with discoverability). Spectrum joined / got acquired by Github only two weeks ago.
I'd be very happy to hear the thoughts of others here if they did a quick sign-up and perusal of Spectrum to give their own verdict
@jonathoda Spectrum also offers several options for email digests
s

shalabh

12/15/2018, 6:09 AM
I tried Spectrum too and was impressed. The only thing I didn't like was that replies in a thread cannot be long form? The original post can is long form but for replies I had to use
shift-enter
otherwise the replies are submitted on enter? If anyone wants to play around you could even use my playground: https://spectrum.chat/programmablesystems/join/51d5233b-11a5-40b5-903a-6349bd9e463e
n

Nick Smith

12/15/2018, 6:20 AM
Yeah seems it follows the Slack model for replies, needing a shift+enter to create a new paragraph. Original posts, on the other hand, are long-form by default. (Spectrum is young - maybe it will better support long replies in the future)
j

Joe Trellick

12/15/2018, 7:48 AM
I’ve been feeling like this community would benefit from a more topic-oriented structure for its discussions, but I wonder how hard it is to get everyone to move over. I like some of the aspects of Twist ( https://twist.com/ ) that they tout (less notification stress, stronger persistent threads), but because of network effects I haven’t had a chance to try it
n

Nick Smith

12/15/2018, 8:01 AM
Interesting.. Twist seems to have a UI / experience nearly identical to Spectrum, except it's designed for private groups (and has a 1 month history limit)
d

Duncan Cragg

12/15/2018, 9:07 AM
We should just bloody well write our own!
😝 2
s

shalabh

12/17/2018, 11:29 PM
How about something really simple and completely free - e.g. groups.google.com?
👍 1
y

yairchu

12/18/2018, 2:32 PM
Just because I’m already there I like reddit. However now it seems that my normal-job is getting on slack so I’m getting into here too I guess 🙂
s

stevekrouse

12/18/2018, 2:35 PM
@shalabh this community started on google groups actually and people wanted to move here. So funny
d

Duncan Cragg

12/18/2018, 2:48 PM
did it? got a link for the back cat? 😄
d

Duncan Cragg

12/18/2018, 3:21 PM
I like the idea of Matrix/Riot
😄
s

stevekrouse

12/18/2018, 6:13 PM
Yeah good point. I'll give it a whirl
s

shalabh

12/18/2018, 6:34 PM
Since we already have a chat app, maybe we just need a forum app? These enable somewhat different forms of discussion, both are useful. I find chat provides a more connected feeling and great for sparking ideas but forums are better for deeper discussions.
I'm suggesting we just start a new google group without 'nyc' in its name and see where it goes?
n

Nick Smith

12/19/2018, 2:20 AM
I'm not at all a fan of google groups: I don't think it provides a good forum interface. It doesn't have channels/categories for starters. And it doesn't allow you to edit posts (it's just a glorified mailing list).