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If I were setting up a chat network for local peeps, would it be better to do or /#XMPP?

IRC is easier to onboard peeps, but is kinda weird and has no real mobile support. It would feel more intimate, and focused.

Jabber is more useful with talking to the wider world. Better clients, all over the place. But takes a while to create accounts, to convince others to use it.

Whatcha think? My goal is better tools to communicate with neighbors. ^_^

@maiki The problem with IRC is that everyone has to be online - no messages kept for later. Also IRC isn't very secure - no encryption and anyone can impersonate users (NickServ isn't fool proof)

@salixlucida I thought the low bar of entry to IRC has long be surpassed by jabber, but I am checking my beliefs, so thanks!

And yeah, IRC would require a lot of hardening, which I am not looking forward to. Very good points! ^_^

@maiki I haven't seen normies use IRC since the late 1990s. You might try #Matrix instead. The "everything is a room" thing is really weird and disconcerting, but other than that, it is okay. For clients, there is Riot web, Riot Android. (I presume they have an iOS version, but I've never looked.)
@maiki So I think it really comes down to Matrix or Jabber / XMPP.

@lnxw48a1 I recently stopped tracking : talkgroup.xyz/t/gonna-stop-tra

I don't sign up with services to test them out, I run my own server and test that, ya know? I would love to try out Matrix, but I can't find clear guides on what that entails, and for several releases the upgrade paths were too intense for my liking.

Screenshots look pretty, but I need a different mobile client aside from Riot. That is just screaming single-vendor ecosystem, and I'll take over that any day.

@maiki Actually, I haven't installed a #Matrix Synapse server because there were a couple of upgrades which triggered resource consumption bugs a few months ago, right about the time I wanted to set one up. I'm still sitting on the sidelines waiting. (A second issue was that single-vendor thing you mentioned. It may be federated in theory, but due to the overwhelming dominance of matrix.org, in practicality it is centralized.)

@lnxw48a1 As a service provider, anything I host is an endorsement, ya know? I will be saying, "hey folks, this is good stuff, and you should trust it". has options (few as they may be), and is fairly active for such a broad field of interest and passion. Matrix could still live or die based on the personalities of a few people. I am not sure I want to put folks in that scenario, so may mature, but it isn't like we are missing anything in the meantime. Let's see how it evolves!

@lnxw48a1 @maiki I’m still learning about messaging apps so I genuinely appreciate this thread. Tons of helpful info. 👍🏻

@maiki
I think web chats like Rocket.Chat, Mattermost etc are more accessible to people who want to casually engage.

Anything more specific (eg requiring install of a dedicated IRC app) is for established community with a strong preference imo.

Webchat might not be optimised but it's accessible and the important part is getting people in the door.

(Rocket and Mattermost both have decent mobile apps tho.)

@xurizaemon yeah, I like both of those projects, especially Rocket.Chat. I was running a server for about a year, but it wasn't coordinated or anything.

I am a little concerned about the mobile apps, though, and the second-rate experience one gets if they don't show all the messages to Google or Apple. That isn't great, and could be off putting. But I could just never mention they exist; the web version of those apps works as well. ^_^

@maiki
Mattermost will try & "upsell" to the app version if you use mobile, not sure about 🚀.

Your concern is that push notification engine is sent via Google/Apple for mobile apps?

@xurizaemon worked nearly the same, from the time I use it via mobile browser. That is a +.

Yes, vendor push networks are a concern. I forget the details, but there are 3 or 4 failure points, where the content is leaked to those services, and degrade UX if one tries to make it more private.

Google and Apple convinced all the push apps that sending "postcards" was the best practice, and that is not acceptable. ^_^

@maiki
I'd challenge that IRC feels more intimate too. IMO avatars make a big difference to community engagement (even if some people don't like using a face shot).

A project I work with, #civicrm, transitioned IRC > Mattermost a year or two back and has had a big uptake in casual and ongoing engagement. (I have no stats, just observation.)

@xurizaemon I'd love to accept that challenge, but it would require running an IRC server. ^_^

My thinking was: when IRC is novel, folks become really engaged, and they feel like they are part of something different. Because they are socializing (rather than say, working on a project), they learn differently, and overlook the feature list. Hence, IRC becoming a special "place", and being more intimate.

But maybe folks are soulless, ADHD-addled morons, in which case $VENDOR_CHAT is the best. 😩

@maiki
Was thinking this over the weekend. One thing I like from IRC is that it flattens project structure - support and dev and community are often all in one channel.

I'd say to projects moving from one channel to many: project team, keep reading your new user and new dev channels. Such a good window into what people find hard.

@xurizaemon I find that train of thought very interesting, and it reminds me of a similar observation, so let me put this out there: we don't design chat systems for humans, we design them for various levels of distraction/"multi-tasking".

Generalized chat systems, meaning those that appeal to the most people, they have to accommodate all attention styles. Some like a new channel for each day of the year, others prefer a single place for everything.

@xurizaemon Bringing the two points together, chat systems that can't appeal to the most people are going to be really complicated to design and setup. Which is probably why we get so many different systems spawning out of the demongate constantly.

@maiki
I have feels about how we enrage (haha that autocorrect can stay!) in community when distracted also.

I don't think I can cope with many social media places now b/c they feel so adrenalised. Distracted humans IMO are less good at identifying triggers and calming (assuming the individual even wants to).

Not a coherent thesis just feels.

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