Should we even hold open meetings on Slack?

Mumble.
I can agree to some extent slack is a channel more suitable for people actively developing the project and we “should” have a “place for the masses”.
We do have the forums.
But forums lack real time features that we find in slack.
And forums are for support and long term debate shaping.
Irc channels? Adding a dedicated chat room to forums where it is possible to archive the contents?
A separate CP + BuddyPress install?
Being me I would opt for a BuddyPress. I can build a test one if we get to understand what we need from it. Build and manage it I mean. Obviously respecting all the guidelines the community team will decide for its operation.
Only problem I have is I am not able to put it on a decent domain due to a budget shortage at present, but I am sure I can manage to find a solution for that.
Let me know what you think.
EDITED TO ADD:
Obviously if we decide for another option (like an irc channel or adding dedicated chat rooms to forum) I am eager to step in also. A BuddyPress is just my personal approach…

I have complete confidence in ClassicPress for websites.

As far as a real-time discussion platform, we’ve looked at a number of alternatives and none of them come close to the usability of Slack. This is also not something we’d want to host ourselves.

If we don’t want or need real-time discussion, then we already have a place for that: right here on the forums. The only “catch” for that is you need to make a single thread per issue.

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I would say no, we shouldn’t be holding open community meetings on Slack. I don’t mean we shouldn’t use Slack, and I’m not suggesting that we look for some alternative on CP itself. I just wouldn’t be extending an open invitation to the community. You can tell them it’s on, sure. If they want to make the effort that’s fine, but don’t advertise it as if it’s some sort of opportunity for the general public to get in and have their say.

Slack is a place for quick-fired chat and it’s not really going to be any sort of a medium for the hypothetical 70-year-old grandma to interact with the community. The forum is the place for that. I don’t see Slack as being a suitable place for an online “open community meeting” for the general public. As @thewolf points out, if you are going to do that then it needs something that can be dropped to the lowest common denominator.

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There is a difference between a committee meeting and a community meeting.

I’m all for keeping committee meetings members-only for commenting while others can still attend and read along – same as now. Those meetings have a specific agenda and community input would probably take them into the weeds and overtime.

For community meetings, which may not even necessarily have a structured agenda, I think everyone should be allowed to participate.

For clarity, I think both are best handled with Slack.

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That’s a very good distinction. I agree with everything up to the last sentence.

I think community meetings would need something simpler than Slack. But I’ve got no idea what that is. :thinking:

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So have I. But having confidence in something and demonstrating that confidence are quite different things.

Bingo! That is precisely what I am getting at. So when we have an open meeting, which is it?

Sorry, I completely disagree. If we are holding a committee meeting, Slack seems like the least worst option. (I say “least worst” rather than best because I don’t think it copes well with more than four participants if the subject-matter is more than just a casual chat, but I don’t think any other tool makes a better job of it.)

Agreed 100%! If we are holding a community meeting, then the very differentiating factor is the desire to make it open. I don’t think just saying “anyone can participate” makes it genuinely open for the reasons that @thewolf has given. Making it an “open” meeting also means making the means of communication as open as possible.

The thing I’ve noticed is that Slack is not actually very good for real-time discussion when the number of participants gets above four. Slack excels for real-time discussions between or among two or three people, as well as (ironically) for general chit-chat that is not in real-time at all.

I’d be perfectly fine with that too. It doesn’t showcase ClassicPress, but we know it works well. And, of course, @wadestriebel ends up porting Slack discussions over to the forum anyway, which is another indication of Slack’s inadequacies. (And no, the issue there isn’t just the 10k limit; trying to find old comments on Slack is a bit of a nightmare in any event.)

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So, I think this becomes the question: “Do we even need real-time discussions for widespread community involvement?” What’s the point?

One of the issues for me is time zones. For the small number in the committee it’s not hard to come up with a mutually agreeable time. But, for that last meeting, it was a choice for me between 3am, 4am and 5am. Real time discussions for a large group of people at a set time (if we are talking about all CP users) is always going to be limiting anyway.

I agree with @james… the forum is a much better place for it.

We are forgetting something. The meeting is not just being held at slack. @wadestriebel mentioned the bridge, which helped me remember. It is also being held on Discord at the same time. Maybe in anouncements we should start mentioning: The meeting is held on Slack AND Discord. I have found that discord is a lot easier to deal with for a lot of the more casual users in other projects Im a part off. It might still not be perfect, but it is an alternative.

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My two cents from very different perspective.

Slack is not an open architecture, they closed XMPP support some time ago. So, for the openness it is not the best solution. If we at CP aim for openness, we should use as many open tools as possible.

From my own perspective: if I can’t connect to Pidgin, I don’t use. So, now I am (mostly) on Telegram and (almost never) on Skype. Just because they allow me to connect with Pidgin (How weird it is? Feel free to write those words back to me. :slight_smile: )

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We tried Rocket.Chat but it was nowhere ready for production, tons of bugs, lots of lag when loading messages (and this was only with like 10 of us).

The bridge can offer connections to other chat providers. Here is the link to the repo: https://github.com/42wim/matterbridge

bridge between mattermost, IRC, gitter, xmpp, slack, discord, telegram, rocket.chat, steam, twitch, ssh-chat, zulip, whatsapp and matrix with REST API (mattermost not required!)

If I am being honest I Slack being our central hub for a long time (if not ever), this is where the majority of our users are and there is no easy way to move them. We had this discussion last year when discussing whether Slack was the best choice and ultimately it doesn’t matter. If we could go back in time and change from Slack to another provider we would, but we can’t.

Our best solution, for now, is the bridge. If there is enough interest in adding a new provider we will definitely look into supporting it.

What is the goal? To save the history of the meeting? To easily link to web pages (or have apps that integrate with link previews)? To interact in real time? To hear and see people (video call)? To have the @mentions ping the people mentioned? To actually decide things, or discuss and decide later? To hash out details of policy in the open? To determine best approach on matters that need some expertise to discuss?

I think every meeting needs its own approach. They are all different. Slack is only good for a few things, but once you get a lot of conversations going, it becomes the central hub. Using different channels helps keep it organized, but it still doesn’t help with the way that conversations often fork tangentially. Publishing a summary of meeting notes helps everyone that couldn’t attend.

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I’m not a fan of Slack for meetings of more than 5-6 people, but it’s great for small, focused task team meetings.

My preference for mass meetings would be video calls with chat (Zoom, maybe?) Not aware of free versions that would do the job, though. Zoom free version, for instance, would limit meetings of more than 2(?) people to 40 minutes.

BTW, just discovered https://airwidget.app/, it broadcasts Slack channels as a widget (iframe). Any guest visitor could watch commitee discussions almost real-time, right here on classicpress.net. No need to join Slack or install anything on a client side. Widget is free. I’ve connected it to my testing Slack workspace, seems to work properly. Can be a nice “spectating mode” solution for those who have troubles with joining Slack directly.

I’d offer to create a page “ClassicPress Live” (or something) with this wiget. It takes 2-3 minutes, no coding skills required. This page is also a meeting transcript. Advanced option is to place there a detailed tutorial “How to join our Slack meetings”. And later link to any alternative chat platform for community meetings or live support if it appears.

So do I. But don’t know if it’s popular in UK and Western Europe.

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That is pretty cool, thanks for sending it through! I will do some testing this weekend :slight_smile:

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Brilliant! If it works I see that as the perfect solution.
:clap:

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This is nice, but it is still subject to Slack’s 10,000 message limit.

So (at least for now) we still need to post meeting transcripts to the forums.

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This is a big plus. Because joining a channel is buggy (I can’t join CP on Slack), the API is closed.

I still prefer to have as many conversations and meetings here, on a CP site. Is it important to have a “live” meeting during 40 minutes, or can we chat during 2-3 days, or even a week? We are from around the world, from different time zones, busy and have other duties, so having more flexibility is a big plus. Frankly, I didn’t see any need for Slack, except online collaboration during development/coding.

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I am not sure what you mean, if you go to https://classicpress.net/join-slack/ do you not get asked to verify your email?

If not, it would be great to know so we can look into it :slight_smile:

This isn’t a CP site, the forums are powered by Discourse.

This is why we are trying to be very cautious about what happens on Slack vs the Forums. For more drawn out discussions we move them to the forums because people do need some time to process and reply.

I don’t really agree. I think Community Meetings and Committee Meetings should still take place on Slack because they are more real time. Additionally, as I have mentioned previously, our biggest user base is still Slack, and I think the informal community engagement we get on Slack is incredibly important.

That being said, we are listening to feedback and are looking into options - like the one @norske brought up :slight_smile:

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Some time ago, a @ClassicPress email was required. Now, ok, I can use my own. But Slack don’t recognize my email and demand to create an account again. Sorry, too buggy (or, maybe, this is not a bug, this is a feature?). I will leave it for developers, maybe they are comfortable with it while I am too old and too sensitive to bad UI and UX. Sorry.

Maybe I am missing something, but don’t get why it should be “real time”. At least, most of them.

Heartily agree, if it will help to attract more developers, it should be used.

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But it’s a classicpress.net address, so it is under control, whereas Slack is not.

Slack is very handy for quick collaboration and sharing links and images and “how to” information. It’s not that great for meetings IMO.

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