Create an official Rocket.Chat for Ardour

Rocket.Chat is a libre, modern, self-hostable and hackable chat platform.

IRC is very hard to get into for new users and is extremely antiquated and lacking in features.

I think it’d be beneficial to the Ardour community if the IRC was either replaced or bridged to an official Rocket.Chat instance, so users can interface with the discussion via more modern tool.

What is bugging me abotu IRC specifically are missing features:

  • Lack of history - you need to be online all the time of you’ll miss the important stuff
  • Lack of mentions/notifications - users can easily miss of someone mentioned them, so conversations suffer, unless everyone is online all the time, which is not a reasonable thing to expectof users
  • Lack of sub-rooms (called channels in Rocket.Chat) - so the discussion can easily get messy as everyoen is forced in the same room
  • Lack of file uploading - users reporting problems can’t show a screenshot or share an audio file to present problems or ideas
  • Lack of link embedding - every links is a total mystery, becasue IRC will not show it’s contents - IMHO this hurts readability a lot

There’s more but the rest are minor complaints I have about IRC :smiley:

I am really happy that Ardour adopted a modern forum platform, now it’s time to up the chat game as well!

What do you guys think?

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Had a quick look at Rocket.Chat (never heard of it until today). Looks like a promising solution, I also see they are implementing group voice chat so this may be useful for me privately too.

Rocket.chat is great, but for every instance I want to join, I need to create a new account for that instance, there is no universal account that a user can create like from their email or something, then join any server he/she wants to. I could be wrong though, just trying to clear my and everybody else’s doubts. Riot.im is great option too.

Please let me know if I’m wrong.

Well, it’s same as for forums - you need to make an account for each one.
I think this is because Rocket.Chat doesn’t treat itself like a centralized network - because then there would have to be a single auth server handling the log-ins, and the entire self-hosted security and freedom goes away or at least is diminished.

Maybe they’ll address it somehow though?

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Ardour-Menu > Help > Chat works anonymously and should remain so.

I think that most of you’ve listed as advantage is a disadvantage :slight_smile:
e.g. Images (or even videos) are distracting when providing online support, and in most cases you just get 90% meme pictures instead of useful content.

IRC does notifications just fine and there are clients that can keep a history, too. In either case: it’s a real-time conversation that we want. Not play remote chess with hours of delay between replies. That’s what the forum is good for.

IMHO The lack of sub-rooms is also a pro, the community is small enough to not be fragmented further. I think that there is no good way to split Ardour related realtime discussions across several rooms.

As opposed to many other chat clients, I’m still amazed by the content-density of IRC. You can have 40-50 message on a screen. as opposed to say only 4-5 with “modern” chat clients.

I’m still looking for a good replacement but have not yet found any. So per default “never touch a running system”.

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I am fine for there to be bridges (there’s one for Matrix already). But other than that, everything Robin said.

Also, why Rocket.chat rather than the upcoming nova.chat or other similar bridged multi-message-protocol clients?

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One option may be gitlab + mattermost or https://mattermost.com/download/ – That also has a reasonable IRC bridge.

PS. just now on #arodur IRC:

< Xard> IM solutions come and go but IRC seems to stay :)
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Riot.im uses the matrix protocol as well, and it can bridge many other protocols including IRC.

I see, but it should work best for businesses rather than normal support or chat rooms.

Well, I honestly struggle to use IRC and I’ve given up trying.

Even if there’s a client that keeps the history - it’s only the history I personally saw. I see that for some situations that’s preferable. My experience is mostly like that:

  1. I ask a question
  2. 15 minutes pass
  3. I have to leave
  4. Someone answers my question when I’m away
  5. I never get to read that reply, and I can only read traces of a discussion that emerged from it

I expected we’ll have very different ideas of what good usability in a chat tool are, though I wonder if more Ardour users would like to have a different quick text communication available.

As for anonymity in conversations - I’m not a big fan. You can’t build a community where nobody has an identity.

Regarding the memes - yeah, it is definitely decreasing the signal/noise ratio, however I think a community is also about bonding and having fun together - that’s why most chat servers I frequent have a dedicated room for random unrelated chatter or posting silly images.

Maybe it’s silly, but I think it helps make people feel like they’re a community. I’ve had some great times in chat rooms with strangers making jokes and posting unrelated things.

Maybe Ardour users wouldn’t really care for a modern chat service - or they are perfectly happy with IRC - I don’t know, I hope to learn in this thread :smiley:

@paul- I’ve never heard about nova.chat, checking it out. I’ve proposed Rocket.Chat because I have some experience with it and I like it.

I have tried Riot.im but I felt very lost in the architecture of that system. Maybe I’m just special :smiley:

It is technically involved, but I run a Quassel server for IRC. It remains connected to the channel at all times (except when the machine it runs on goes down, which hopefully is rare, since it also runs ardour.org :wink: It provides full history. Not practical for most users, I know, but I would almost rather open up this Quassel server to other people than pick some arbitrary new-hotness chat/IM system over IRC at this point in time.

But of course, that means you need a Quassel-client, and there are not many of them, so you’d effectively be as locked in as with the-new-hotness.

Again, I have no problem with bridges existing. But asking us to move away from a tried and tested platform that does precisely what is needed the vast majority of the time is a very big thing to ask.

Most of the new chat systems seem to be using bridging, and in particular are using the library that originated with Pidgin to help. This seems like a far better model to support than picking a new chat protocol. It is federated/distributed, and should we decide to switch to Slack (!!!) it would continue to work (nova.chat at least is fully bridged to Slack already, as well as IRC).

I’m not opposed to the “new chat systems” - I use Telegram all the time for family communication, and I am in a few Discords. But when I am on Discord (or Telegram) and I compare it with IRC for what we do on IRC they both seem hugely inferior in almost every way.

Also unfa, nobody answers your questions when you’re not logged in and I don’t remember the last time you asked a question :slight_smile:

By architecture you mean you don’t like the UI? or how it works? It can be used as a bridge for the Ardour IRC protocol, using matrix. You can scroll back and view your recent history just fine. And whenever someone mention’s you, you can right click on the channel and view mentions only to view if someone has replied to your comment/issue. And because of the matrix protocol, you can post images, links and emoji’s as well.

I just had to click on explore room and type in #freenode_#ardour:matrix.org and I’m in.

EDIT: I recently learned that you can even host your own matrix server.
For better clarification watch this video - Destination Linux - EP 180

On the point of anonymity: “You can’t build a community where nobody has an identity.”

I don’t think this is true at all, counterpoint being all the IRC communities I have been a part of over the years. :slight_smile:

And as a side point, as we’ve seen now, anonymous or not, people will be equally nasty (or nice) to each other online whether they’re behind a fake name or a real name.

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Hmm, I think it’d be cool if the WebIRC could allow users to browse and search this history!

Oh, that wasn’t my intention. I just thought maybe something like Rocket.Chat could be a nice alternative front-end to the conversation for users.

I was thinking of my overall IRC experience, not just in the Ardour IRC :smiley: And yes - I tend to use it less and less. It does the job for very simple stuff, like hopping in and asking for something when someone can give me an answer quickly.

When I think about it - maybe what I thought Rocket.Chat could do for Ardour is really better suited fro the forum instead - it’s easier to search for answers previously given, though I really miss some “Random” or “Offtopic” category, because frequently I have hard time figuring out which of the existing ones fit the thread I want to create.

Anyway - I’ve had some time to think about this and I’ve came to a conclusion that it doesn’t seem like Ardour needs anything like that, at least not now. And probably time spent setting that up would be a waste.

I think I misunderstood the anonimity point - I thought you were talking about a situation where all users have random IDs and you never know who is who. I don’t say users should only come by their real names :smiley:

Also about Rocket.Chat - you don’t have to use your real name there and IIRC (lol) registering accounts is optional too.

There’s also an option to join a Rocket.Chat federation so you can talk to people from different servers (I haven’t tested it but I think it’s a bit like mastodon then).

Hi, Mixxx developer here. I highly recommend Zulip over any other chat system. Mixxx had an IRC channel for many years but it barely got used. We have been using Zulip for 2.5 years now and it has been amazing to watch the community grow in that time. I do not think the community growth would have happened to nearly the same extent without Zulip.

Zulip is IMO better than any other chat system because it forces discussion to be organized into a 2 tier organization of streams and topics. This also makes it easy to have asynchronous conversations and go back to read the preceding context when someone replies hours or days later. I recommend giving it a try on the Zulip chat for Zulip development or say hi on Mixxx’s Zulip chat.

The company behind Zulip offers free hosting for community open source projects, or you could run it on your own server if you prefer.

Indeed, Discourse and Zulip are actually quite similar. Both are free web applications for text communication. The differences are mostly the focus of the UI design, with Discourse focused on a more traditional forum concept and Zulip focused on real time conversation. We just switched the ancient phpBB Mixxx forum to Discourse and discussed whether we really need a forum when we have Zulip. We decided to keep the Discourse forum focused on user support and use Zulip to focus on developers and users who want to be more actively involved. Also, Zulip does not yet support viewing discussions without creating an account, which is problematic for search engine indexing prior user support discussions. This is something the Zulip developers intend to implement at some point though.

The lack of organization in IRC, Rocket.Chat, and other chat systems makes it quite difficult to have multiple unrelated discussions concurrently, so the UX does not scale well to a large community. Zulip makes this seemless.

Easily sharing screenshots and large log files is very helpful. If you find that people clutter the space with memes (which has not been a problem with Mixxx), you can create a stream or topic just for that and you can unsubscribe if you don’t care to see that.

Actually, I would not want the #ardour IRC channel to be more organized than it is. Part of the benefit of having all discussions in the channel in the channel is that it allows arbitrary people to contribute, whether that is when helping users with problems or discussing the role of harmony in music or cider.

The #ardour IRC channel is not there facilitate private or even “group” chats - you can easily do that with IRC on either an as-needed or a permanent basis. For example, we have other channels populated (almost) entirely by people actually doing ardour development and nobody else. They are not private, but they are not advertised. You can create channels for ad-hoc conversation at will.

But the main channel, despite the occasional chaos and the occasional new user who doesn’t understand the chat conventions, benefits a lot in my opinion from not being subdivided and organized.

You can, but there is much more friction to do this with IRC or Rocket.Chat than there is with Zulip. In those systems, you need to get everyone to join a new channel which is usually more trouble than it’s worth. In Zulip, users subscribe to streams which are analogous to IRC channels. Within those streams, every discussion has its own topic.

I suggest exploring other communities’ Zulip servers before deciding you wouldn’t benefit from it.

that’s precisely the logic I would not want to see.

btw, “getting everyone to join a new channel” if “everyone” means “the entire current population of #ardour” is unlikely to ever be a useful thing to do. We typically have 150-200 people in the channel, of whom perhaps as many as a dozen but more often half that are likely to participate in any particular discussion. so that’s not really a barrier.

as i’ve noted above, i do use other “modern” chat systems, and i definitely see their benefits in the right contexts. the current composition and function of the #ardour channel doesn’t seem to me to be something that would benefit from the things that they (tend to) bring.

possible counter: we’d get a different community, and a different community dynamic with a different chat system, and that would be a benefit in itself.

This has been our experience with Mixxx. With IRC we had many people come for a few minutes then leave and never come back. Many people still do that since we started using Zulip, but now some come back and stick around long term.

A benefit of Zulip’s organization is that it makes it much easier to catch up on discussions when you have been away for a while. If you don’t care about a topic, you can just mark it read and move on to what you do care about. With systems like Rocket.Chat or Slack, it’s much more work to catch up on what was said while you were gone. This is nice for core developers, but it’s even better for occasional contributors who aren’t sitting in the chat every day, which lowers the barrier to entry.

I’m not trying to tell you how to run your community, just sharing what we’ve found helpful. If IRC works for, it works for you. But if it’s alienating other people who have an interest in joining the discussion, it may be worth switching if you care about having them in the discussion.