Continuing the discussion from Trying out Slack?:
Telegram is a client so good that people inevitably end up using it for all conversations they want to have. Almost all the groups I’m in on Telegram are Mozilla groups. But the conversations inside these are all closed conversations. I’ll explain how:
- Someone who is not a rep would find it weird to be joining a Telegram group called “Mozilla Reps”. (I thought about why. This is because Telegram groups allow only 200 people maximum. Unlike slack or IRC.)
- When someone is not inside a group, there’s no way they can figure out what conversations are happening inside that group.
- Thus, it becomes a closed conversation.
Althought it is desirable for people to be using IRC, discourse, or better alternatives like slack (or even matrix), this just won’t happen (at least in the short term).
But there’re excellent bots which can be a member of both a Telegram group and an IRC channel and send message across from either. RemoRely on #remo (which’s linked to Mozilla Reps on Telegram) and TelegramProxy on #mozillians-chat are excellent examples. I’ve been running grambot for #advocacy-in (since June) and #india (starting today).
There are two challenges in bridging like this.
- Technical: People need a server and familiarity with some program to run a bot
- Cultural: Not everyone is convinced about the importance of having open conversations. Here are some of the concerns I’ve heard:
- Don’t want silly chit-chats to be public.
- Don’t want to spam IRC.
- IRC channels are for devs.
- Bots make Telegram groups spammy (Telegram, irritatingly, makes /commands very very difficult to not get sent to groups)
Technically, we just need 1 bot to run to bridge any number of Telegram channels with IRC channels. It would be very easy to find a server to run this. And it can be managed by some volunteers.
But, about the latter, there needs to be so much done.
- Keep talking about the importance of open conversations
- Resist the urge to classify all messages that aren’t very high quality as spam and stop getting annoyed by such messages.
- Encourage communities to have open communication channels. (But most communities do have some open communication channel.) So, make sure that these channels are indeed used for communication.
Let’s make it a common practice to bridge closed Telegram groups to corresponding open IRC channels.