[Development] Changes to Freenode's IRC

André Pönitz apoenitz at t-online.de
Thu May 20 20:57:18 CEST 2021

On Thu, May 20, 2021 at 11:59:31AM +0000, Andy Nichols wrote:
> >> The chat channels are fragmented these days. There’s the Qt discord channels,
> >> QtMob on Slack, Qt and Advanced C++ on Telegram. 
> > Are any of these channels endorsed by the Qt project?  The IRC channels are, that's
> > why I'm raising the question here.
> They probably should be.  We list those in our "Online Communities" wiki.  I'm active
> on the Qt Discord and its quite lively and interesting.
> >> Not to mention freenode ones, that no one uses anymore,
> > This is a falsehood (they're active both in terms of traffic, and importance of the
> > discussions happening there -- like the release meetings).
> IRC has been relatively "dead" for a while now compared to how it used to be.  Even
> now that we are doing everything remotely IRC is pretty useless compared to other
> chat services for collaboration because everything is so manual (sharing code,
> sharing images, sharing video, having voice calls, sharing a screen). 

And IRC can't make coffee and doesn't fix your bike either.

If you have some tool that happens to have some chat functionality does not make other
functionality of that tool a requirement when looking for a chat service.

> To get any history you have to run another service, or look at an archive (which I
> can't even seem to find now for the Qt freenode channels). 

Works as designed. Freenode never endorsed public logging.

Chat is for ephemeral contents, like normal speech.

You don't run around with a running voice recorder all day, or require public logging
of everything you and the people around you ever said in real life, do you?

> I expect to be able to log Into chat on any of my machines (and my phone or table)
> and see push notifications when I've been mentioned.

_I_ expect online chat to work similarly to offline chat: when I am in some room, I can
hear stuff, when I am not in some room, I don't hear anything, and most of the things
I hear will be forgotten a few days later. If I hear something important, I might
take a note, in an explicit, extra step. Under no circumstances I will be able to
"remember" something someone said in a room I wasn't in a year ago, my only chance
is to talk to someone who was. And this is a _good_ thing.

> All of these things we have now with Slack, Discord, Teams, etc.  Those services
> have set a new standard of what we expect for a chat service.  Dealing with IRC has
> the same level of experience now that it did when we dialed in with modems.  

Please don't use "we" unless you are sure you voice a consensus opinion.

I can't say anything about Slack or Discord, as I don't use them, but I do have an
opinion about Teams which I am requested to use at work.

For me, Teams has the worst chat-like functionality I've ever used, and that includes
'talk' or even telnetting into someone's machine and using 'write' there (so yes,
it's been a ride...):

There is no sensible way in Teams to keep up with what people said in various
discussion in various channels without excessive (and time consuming) mousing around.
Even individual messages are collapsed if they are "long". There's no way to arrange
things to be read linearly without interruption. And even if you expand stuff it
will be collapsed next time you come back. I am quicker browsing "useless" lines
for interesting information than to click around and then to browse that anyway.
And thanks to having no public protocol I don't even have a theoretical chance to
get a client that does what I want. So: Thanks, but no, thanks.

And that is just the usability aspect. The deep disrespect of anything in the vicinity
of privacy is another sore spot. Ever tried to control your "own" data there? Like,
cleaning up your "own" call history?

> As far as what chat service we *should* use that is harder to say (having previously
> did battle inside of tQtc over this very topic for our internal chat and getting
> nowhere).


> I expect that something like Matrix would be the only thing the more outspoken
> members of our community could handle, and I think that would probably Be a
> reasonable compromise as it does seem to be quite good.  I personally like Discord
> but I can understand why people would have hesitations about that.  I did notice that
> the Godot (open source Game engine) community have recently officially moved there
> development chat to Discord from Freenode (IRC) and The server is very active and
> vibrant.
> I would like to get back to doing more of our development discussions out in the open
> (like it should be), but right now IRC is not something I want to go back to for
> that.

I also think that having development related discussions in internal Teams channels
is counterproductive not only for the parts of the community that cannot participate.

Using IRC would already (re-)enable that participation. If there is something better
than IRC which provides at least IRC's feature that _I_ use, than fine with _me_, I
do not insist on IRC exactly, let alone on a particular network.
> I would also like the follow up on one of my previous points.  IRC *is* a barrier to
> entry when contributing to a project.  It is a pain to setup and use because it is
> archaic.  One more papercut in the list of challenges to contributing to Qt.  There
> are students now (born after 2000) who are interested in being more involved in Qt,
> but have Never used an IRC server.
> Also there was a point about: "do require no registration".  I find that to be an
> unreasonable thing to require.

It's my #1 requirement for things that I do take part in voluntarily. If a thing
has _optional_ registration - fine. I might even use it. Voluntarily. But as a 
_requirement_ it's an absolute no-go.

> If anything we should have more verification in our chat.  We run Qt Project as a
> meritocracy where it is important that someone is who they say they are (like a
> maintainer).

I don't think someone's position in the hierarchy should matter in a _chat_. If people
think if their status matters for personal communication - fine, let them register and
brag with their titles. But what's wrong when John Doe simply answers your questions
even if you don't know his CV by heart?

> If we choose to just move to another IRC service, then it's likely that I'll just
> continue to ignore it as irrelevant like I do now with Freenode.

Looks like the both of us won't have much of a chance to chat casually online.


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