Internal chat structured for a community


(Daniele Scasciafratte) #1

Today only a forum or a mailing list is not enough to manage a community.
A chat is a perfect way to share fast feedback and also to do a meeting or talk with people.
I am evaluating to move the new volunteers/fsa to an internal chat with channels for cities or thematic so irc is not enough (also not so much attractive for non-tech people), mailing list is too much and telegram is a chaos (so much off-topic stuff).
The mainly problem is create thematic channels to split the discussions and prepare the new volunteers to use right the tools that we have.

For that reason I evaluated Slack (the plan with unlimited messages is only with payment) but for non-profits is easy to get it but you have to show that you are a real non-profit association (american based) so it is a complicated step…
So I chosen a free software alternative (yeah!), rocket chat (after tested it, have many useful features) the problem is the hosting of that software, sandstorm.io (is free) is not enough (limit the bot support).
Mattermost and Let’s Chat are interesting but don’t have all the features of Rocket Chat.

I think that I am the only one that need something like that, for people that don’t know slack and similar I suggest to you to try because are not easy to explain but the principal point is that with a single website you have access to everything without turn on your brain to understand how works and find stuff.

Someone have suggestion or a similar experiences?

PS: Telegram is not enough, I don’t want create 20 channels and remember every ones.


Thoughts on Mozilla using Closed-Source Software
(Robert Reyes) #2

Slack is one of the best options. You may use this to automate the invitation/sign-up process: https://github.com/outsideris/slack-invite-automation


(Rubén Martín) #3

I would oppose to proprietary solutions that create silos and lock-ins for the community.

But the conversations about a slack-like tool is interesting to explore.


(Daniele Scasciafratte) #4

I know that there are many tools for slack (I use for work and with 8 different communities)[quote=“nukeador, post:3, topic:9573”]
I would oppose to proprietary solutions that create silos and lock-ins for the community.
[/quote]
This one of the reasons that I don’t want to use it, also for the reason explained in the first post.

I hope in other feedback and suggestions because the WordPress community use Slack for the global chat (10000 people) and also the Italian (400 people) without use a mailing list or internal forum, only a platform where write the meetings report and share new idea.
Also as platform is more modern and attractive respect a forum.


(Robert Reyes) #5

I tried RocketChat, but it is somewhat resource hungry if you’re running your own webserver.

A good Slack alternative would be http://www.mattermost.org however, it seems to be as resource hungry as RocketChat.

Though Slack is not open source, I would choose it based on ease of deployment (they’re hosting it) and user management (as most developers are already using it).


(Rubén Martín) #6

I think that slack-like is not a replacement for async communication, but more to sync communication.


(Daniele Scasciafratte) #7

They are not tools for a webserver, better a vps because theyr require many technologies and if also are written to be fast and light (Mattermost is in Go, Rocket chat in Nodejs).
As you can see on https://rocket.chat/docs/installation/minimum-requirements for a chat of less 100 people they suggest a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 so depends so much about the traffic.

Sure but not all understand the differences :slight_smile:


(Rubén Martín) #8

Maybe instead of discussing about the tools (final solutions), we should start talking about the problem statement.

  • What’s the problem we want to solve? (problem statement)
  • Describe the ideal scenario if we solve the problem (without any tool in mind)
  • What’s blocking us?

(Daniele Scasciafratte) #9
  1. Improve the communication between people involved in a project and not annoy the people not interested.
  2. Have a unique resources where a person can find everything ex: a list of channel in the same tool of the chat
  3. Integration with services and bots to improve the communications
  4. Track or be updated of all the activities done by volunteers
  5. Mobile support

The new/volunteers start to discuss about their activities and plans in their channel as example of the Firefox Club Cagliari while the Firefox Club Benevento discuss in their channel.
Also the same people join the thematic channel about WebExtension because they are promoting that technology.
In the meantime the Localization team are working on define the glossary in another channel.
Also they can use the WebRTC technology for a meeting or get last updates from a GitHub repo or another services without look on it.
Finally all the people on the chat know each others and start to exchange experiences get a friendship useful to enforce the community itself.

Actually is: where host the platform, it is a week that I try software and contact hostings for a free vps for an open source community without success.
For me the best tool is Rocket Chat as already explained but require a machine where install it.


(Rubén Martín) #10

These are solutions, not the current problem. What’s the current situation you want to change?


(Daniele Scasciafratte) #11

Well they are the problems but I can change the form:
Actually with one channel on telegram for FSA became very spammy and off-topic easily and also there is not contact with the rest of the community.
Also are missing notification from bot about the status of project and it is not possible to focus on specific activity with one channel.
At the same time is difficult to track the status of the activities of a volunteer with that channel.


(Daniele Scasciafratte) #12

I am talking with Sandstorm for the problem of Rocket Chat and bot integrations :slight_smile: maybe I can find a free hosting :slight_smile:


(Rubén Martín) #13

I would wait for @CaptainCalliope and other from Participation Software Lab to chime in here, I’m sure we can find solutions that we can pilot inside Mozilla infrastructure.


(Lyre Calliope) #14

Thanks @nukeador for the ping, and hi @Mte90 !

I want to chime in about the Participation Systems initiative.

Amongst our goals is figuring out how to consolidate tools and migrate towards solutions that best serve the needs of mozillians and Mozilla overall. We haven’t been very loud yet, but we do have information on current projects here: https://wiki.mozilla.org/ParticipationSystems

We’re still working on our framework for action, but given progress made in MozLondon, understanding user needs for infrastructure overall is definitely leading the work. I think there’s an important place for piloting infrastructure in our strategy, but user research is where we’re focusing much of our energy at this time.

I was actually planning to reach out to you this week for a requirements gathering interview around discussion forums! (We have much duplication in this space as well.) Perhaps we can also talk about opportunities for aligning our efforts. I’ll email you so we can coordinate. :slight_smile:


(Lyre Calliope) #15

Also, moving this thread to the #participationsystems category.


(Rubén Martín) #16

It would be super cool to be able to have a mattermost test instance for example and explore with a small group if it solves some of the current pain points. This way we can prototype and test our assumptions earlier.


(Lyre Calliope) #17

There’s a mattermost instance in heavy use by MoFo: http://chat.mozillafoundation.org/.

Also, @CommunityIT has been wanting to get a proof of concept up for a platform called Matrix that could unify things like IRC, telegram, etc: https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/t/matrix-and-irc-mozillians-custom-client/2911

There are a lot of moving targets in this space and I’d love to see how we can pull them all together!


(Rubén Martín) #18

Is Matrix still something we are looking into having in mind mattermost wide integrations?


(Daniele Scasciafratte) #19

I started to test RocketChat with 3 volunteers on SandStorm, there are few problem of sandstorm (they run every app in a sandbox with url problem for use with a desktop client as example) but seems more friendly and powerful as settings respect mattermost.
As I can see have many integration and also the emoji reaction useful for voting that mattermost don’t have.


(Daniele Scasciafratte) #20

Good updates, I bought a vps and now the Italian community have rocket chat for internal use on http://chat.mozillaitalia.org/ from today.
We are organizing and inviting the Italian volunteers to start to use and organize our activities.