Trying out Slack?

A while back @majken mentioned trying out Slack, but after we realized you had to be invited, we kinda backed away from the idea. I came across a webapp that lets you put up a form that automatically invites people to your team. I threw it up on Heroku, you can request an invite here.

My reasoning behind wanting to try Slack out:

2983571908746098376049798709827. Right now, a lot of brainstorming (especially for Discourse) happens on Telegram, in closed groups. A lot of us are in that group, but that only lets people who are in the group talk about the ideas. We’re not doing actual “work” on Telegram, but if we can let more people see it, we can definitely get more ideas.

289057101962190587. I think we all realize that IRC is kinda dying. I’m in two Mozilla groups on Telegram, and they’re usually more active in an hour than we are for several days. Granted, there’s more of them, but we’re also pretty active on Telegram. Again with the “closed” thing.

2039845723587009870987987. IRC only lets you see what’s going on after you joined, and you have to set up a bouncer or search logs to know what happened before you were around. You can search the logs in Slack, and see what was going on before you joined.

  1. Slack has a ton of integrations.

01189998819991197253. Slack has emoji.

Wordpress has moved from IRC to Slack, as has Hangops, a weekly DevOps discussion/show hosted by Brandon Burton (solarce). Both have >700 users, so it definitely scales better than Telegram, which only allows 200 people per group.

What are your thoughts on testing Slack?


I love it already. :smile:

I love the customization and the interface. The option of Private messaging - really cool.

I think it’ll be nice to have this so that it’s more known to more people other than the “small teams” on telegram.

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I’m pretty old school but I believe we should push for anything that lowers barriers to entry or participation.

There’s also something to be said for mobile. At my last place we moved from IRC to Hipchat and the mobile experience (with push notifications) alone made me a believer.

IRC’s been the de facto communication channel. We should make sure we have some transition plans in place before we all jump ship.

When we made the move from mailing lists to Discourse I had setup an auto-responder pointing posters to Discourse and explaining the “why”. Who can take point on this?

So am I, so I was reluctant at best to try out Slack. My biggest concern right now is, what if Mozillians who already use IRC want to get involved? This lowers barriers for some (people not involved with Mozilla yet), but raises it for others (people who already use IRC). They can use IRC clients to connect to Slack, but I honestly prefer Slack’s client over Textual.

If we end up using Slack, @tad could set up an entry message so that chanserv messages people when they join.

I totally see the point in trying out Slack.

My main concern here is the fragementation though. At Mozilla we’re currently using so many different platforms, I’m not sure if this is helping with getting new contributors (IRC, Telegram, Mailing Lists, multiple Discourse instances, Kanbanize for Bugs in Bugzilla for some teams, Wiki, …). As long as everything is nicely documented on the Wiki, this shouldn’t be a problem, but still…


Fragmentation is my concern too

I don’t want another app on my phone when I already have 6 or 7 for Mozilla

Agreed. Discourse was supposed to help unify everything into one, but it almost seems to have done the opposite, but that’s a discussion for another thread.

On one hand, this does increase fragmentation, because it’s throwing another app at the current communication problem Mozilla has. But, on the other, it decreases our (community ops’) fragmentation. Our discussions often move from Telegram to IRC to Mumble to Discourse. Ideally Slack would replace both Telegram and IRC, but that’s something we wouldn’t figure out until we use it for a while.

My thoughts are that Discourse and IRC/Slack/Telegram are typically used differently, at least for us. The IM programs are used for rough ideas and high-level brainstorming. Discourse is used for more refined proposals. That way, we know what we want, but we’re not filling up inboxes in the process. It also doesn’t stop people from adding their opinions if they weren’t in the synchronous discussion. It’s just easier to throw out ideas in IM than it is on a more forum setting.

That seems unnecessary. I have two - VictorOps and Slack. If you count Telegram as a Mozilla app, three. Telegram is nice and all, but it’s closed, which discourages participation. I’d love if all teams were on somewhere that people can actually access.

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This is my only concern really. The majority of what we do is for the Mozilla community and I feel like it’d become a lot harder for them to interact with us since we’d not be using bugzilla or irc.

Telegram lets you generate a join link you can share, though if it’s Telegram vs Slack then Slack would be better for our purposes.

I recently read an article about Telegram. I firmly believe Telegram use
must stop. It is incredibly insecure and it has a horrible privacy story.
I am completely confused as to why so many Mozillians are very enthusiastic
about it. The UI is nice, but you can get similar UI in other mediums.

In fact, it shouldn’t be difficult to make an IRC client that looks just
like Telegram.

In the meantime, it’s not cool to discuss ideas for Discourse on Telegram,
they should be discussed on Discourse :frowning:


Telegram is fine

Their crypto is weak but really nobody bothers using telegram crypto for
anything really secret. Mozillians are enthusiastic because it’s open
source and cross platform, and it just seems to work

Right now I’m stuck with:
-Mailing Lists
For Mozilla. Ideally, that would be cut down into 3. Mail, IM of some type
and a cute next big thing tool like discourse

I don’t use Telegram with any expectation of privacy. They use their own questionable crypto. I wouldn’t say they have “a horrible privacy story,” though - they seem to have users’ best interests in mind, even if their way of making things secure is flawed.

I mainly use it because it’s convenient and cross-platform. IRC is not built for the mobile age, and it shows when you try to use a client on your phone.

You have to give them your real phone number. That is bad enough, but combine it with questionable security and that’s horrible.

Is there any reason that IRC couldn’t be the back-end for a telegram-like mobile client? Is it the technology or just what people usually expect an IRC client to look like?

Telegram has usernames.

Also, IRC doesn’t have push notifications, clients are messy etc

You still have to give them your phone number.

I think talk of Telegram is somewhat muddying the waters here. It’s not currently suited to use in any official capacity - particularly because of the current limitation of 200 on groups - and I’m not sure anybody is proposing that we do so. Rather, we want to do the opposite, and move away from us using it for small discussions before it becomes an established, somewhat-closed, platform we use.

I’m not sure I totally agree. I use IRC, and getting started with Slack wasn’t any sort of a hurdle for me at all. It basically feels like a browser based IRC client with some extras sprinkled on top.

Exactly - it only increases fragmentation if we attempt to do the absolute impossible and cater to absolutely everybody who has, or might in the future, contribute to Community Ops, by using all tools simultaneously. The same argument (of fragmentation!) could have been (and probably still is) deployed by some people against Discourse. It’s only really a problem if we’re silly enough to try to use all of them for the same thing.

What if, then, we kept the IRC channel as a ‘helpdesk’, where people outside of Community Ops, or those using our services (MCS, Discourse categories, etc.) can ask for our help, with Slack becoming the place where we discuss ‘internal’ things.

I’m not aware of any instance where the discussion would’ve worked through Discourse, though, and most of the time those discussions result in a Discourse post, after an initial level of thinking, questioning, and refinement (and so on). Discourse and Telegram/IRC/Slack are fundamentally different kinds of communication tools, and can’t be used in the same way.

The problem I see with these discussions is not that they’re not on Discourse, but they’re not open for others to read in future or participate in, in their infant stages, when not yet on Discourse.

@tad mentions push notifications, and along with history, I think that’s one of the only ones. Of course - this could all be built on top of IRC. Most people will use a bouncer with IRC, and there’s no reason that the bouncer couldn’t implement those things. Indeed, there are such bouncers out there, like IRCCloud.

From my use of Slack so far, for all I know it could be powered by an IRC backend with certain features (history, push notifications, emoji [and emoji responses], file upload) built on top.


Note, we did try out slack, for the FxOS ideation process.

Didn’t work out for me, didn’t investigate deeply on why.

One nice thing about IRC is that you can actually be offline, I consider that to be a strong feature.

I’m just dropping this here and running away :stuck_out_tongue:

(open source alternative to Slack)


Looking at this from a community health perspective, I don’t feel like Community Ops switching to it’s own tool is a good thing to do.

There’s an increasing divide between functional areas in Community, and trying to close that divide and create a truly One Mozilla by rebuilding regional community is really difficult when every team is trying different platforms to communicate.

I’d suggest Community Ops focuses as a team on finding platforms that solves the core, primary needs across Mozilla, deploying, and mantaining those platforms.

I like mrz’s suggestion:

21:12:24 < mrz> you said get the managers in the room.
21:12:29 < mrz> it's not so much that they pick a tool
21:12:36 < mrz> but that the pick which ones NOT to use and which to kill off

I’m not sure that’s quite what’s being proposed. My impression from @tanner (and feel free to correct me if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick) is very much of trying out - and seeing if this tool (or this type of tool) does work well for us, and might work well for other teams - rather than definitively switching to.

I agree, and I think at least a part of that was what was being proposed (but obviously we don’t need to host Slack).

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The impression I got was that Slack was being tested as a tool for this team.

I think there’s something missing from this experiment as a whole.

We don’t have metrics to record satisfication with Slack. For example, we don’t have a clear vision for a switch, or even a problem statement. It’s great saying that Slack has all these cool things, but we need a definite problem statement to decide whether it solves problems that Community Ops has.

And then we have the whole thing of getting a problem statement from the rest of Mozilla. Determining what isn’t working for us is significantly more important than deciding what could work for us.

I’m moving focus to empowering participation, so I’d be very interested in doing community research into community tools.