Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

somename
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Re: Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

Post by somename »

If the NMC team is interested, I'd like to help with forum migration to another forum s/w (Discourse).

Reasons:
* SSO (including Github)
* Better in every respect
* Makes it easy to create how-to's and technical notes (markdown support, easy image (screenshot) upload)

Disadvantages:
* URLs would be changed (if the new forum s/w were to replace the existing, otherwise this one could be put in read-only state and the other could run off discuss.namecoin.info or something like that)
* It would require a bit of help from the current maintainer (to dump the DB and import it from the new s/w - estimated 2 hours of work)

I'm willing to help with this.

biolizard89
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Re: Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

Post by biolizard89 »

biolizard89 wrote:Is there a way for anonymous users to use Gitter? It looks like a GitHub account is needed. Does GitHub allow registering throwaway accounts over Tor? What information is mandatorily collected during registration by GitHub and Gitter?

I do like that Gitter appears to offer an IRC bridge. Does the IRC bridge work over Tor?
I still haven't gotten an answer to the above. For the record I would strongly prefer to have one meeting location. I don't strongly care whether it's IRC or Gitter, but splitting the community is not helpful or productive.
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phelix
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Re: Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

Post by phelix »

biolizard89 wrote:
biolizard89 wrote:Is there a way for anonymous users to use Gitter? It looks like a GitHub account is needed. Does GitHub allow registering throwaway accounts over Tor? What information is mandatorily collected during registration by GitHub and Gitter?
It works with all garbage info.
I do like that Gitter appears to offer an IRC bridge. Does the IRC bridge work over Tor?
Sorry, I could not get it to work. Don't want to waste more time on IRC - it makes me loose my temper. Whoever wants to take this route has to figure it out themselves.
I still haven't gotten an answer to the above. For the record I would strongly prefer to have one meeting location. I don't strongly care whether it's IRC or Gitter, but splitting the community is not helpful or productive.
We could even set up a brigde. I won't do it, though.
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cassini
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Re: Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

Post by cassini »

phelix wrote:Sorry, I could not get it to work. Don't want to waste more time on IRC - it makes me loose my temper.
Guess what, after five minutes wrestling with Gitter's clumsy web interface I gave up and started looking for alternative access options. Soon I discovered https://irc.gitter.im/ et voilà!
So I'm wondering what advantage Gitter gives us over IRC when Gitter needs IRC anyway ;)

Preliminary conclusion from using Gitter only once so far:
PRO:
  • Gitter stores all the conversation automatically. (This could be seen as a privacy issue, though).
  • Rich API, plus a real (!) REST API.
  • Messages can be edited as long as they are no older than 10 mins.

CON:
  • Gitter is proprietary software.
  • Awkward web interface. Unnecessary pop-up and slide-in windows cluttering the screen and persist for a much too long time each. Very slow when used over a mobile connection.
  • We probably won't be able to motivate Luke-Jr using Gitter. During the IRC dev meetings he horned in quite a few times and contributed extremely valueable info or cave-ats.
  • Lots of spam from the Gitter team. (Some messages do contain unsubscribe links but each one works for that particular subject or room only).
biolizard89 wrote:Does the IRC bridge work over Tor?
I haven't tried Tor but I just tested switching IPs. There is no problem at all if the IP change happens instantly (e.g. my mobile provider assigns me a different IP every few minutes). If I manually change the IP (which takes longer than a few seconds) then I need to login to IRC again. Or enable auto re-login using the token I got from the https://irc.gitter.im web front end.
BTW, you need IRC over TLS. Ignore the "invalid code 67" message, then /join namecoin/lounge. Markdown codes work but IRC formatting (e.g. cntl-B for bold) does not. Several IRC commands don't work.

biolizard89
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Re: Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

Post by biolizard89 »

The bridge bot that Phelix linked to looks interesting. I don't see a huge problem with automatic logging; it's likely that intelligence agencies are already logging our IRC. I don't think proprietary server-side software is a huge deal, since trusting Gitter is comparable to trusting Freenode. (I wonder when someone will make a decentralized IRC competitor....) I definitely wouldn't use the web interface, so being able to use IRC (either via the link that Cassini provided, or the bot Phelix linked to) is critical. Cassini's comment about Luke-Jr is spot-on -- it's extremely helpful having Luke around, so I'd rather not inconvenience him.

I'd say that the bridge bot that Phelix linked to might be the best option, if someone's willing to run it. Does anyone here have a VPS or something that could host the bot? My VPS is a bit unstable, so I'd prefer not to use it if possible.
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phelix
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Re: Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

Post by phelix »

cassini wrote: CON:
  • Gitter is proprietary software.
Well, it's not that freenode is actually free, is it?
[*]Awkward web interface. Unnecessary pop-up and slide-in windows cluttering the screen and persist for a much too long time each. Very slow when used over a mobile connection.
You can disable the pop ups (they were disabled for me by default). I must admit I had expected what you describe at first but it worked amazingly well for this kind of interface. (Way better than some Google foo).
[*]We probably won't be able to motivate Luke-Jr using Gitter. During the IRC dev meetings he horned in quite a few times and contributed extremely valueable info or cave-ats.
+1
[*]Lots of spam from the Gitter team. (Some messages do contain unsubscribe links but each one works for that particular subject or room only).[/list]
That struck me odd, too. It has not become a problem for me so far, though.
  • Too much concentration on a single company (Github)
Hmm. This is the disadvantage most important to me. But they are doing a very good job.

biolizard89 wrote:The bridge bot that Phelix linked to looks interesting. I don't see a huge problem with automatic logging; it's likely that intelligence agencies are already logging our IRC. I don't think proprietary server-side software is a huge deal, since trusting Gitter is comparable to trusting Freenode. (I wonder when someone will make a decentralized IRC competitor....) I definitely wouldn't use the web interface, so being able to use IRC (either via the link that Cassini provided, or the bot Phelix linked to) is critical. Cassini's comment about Luke-Jr is spot-on -- it's extremely helpful having Luke around, so I'd rather not inconvenience him.

I'd say that the bridge bot that Phelix linked to might be the best option, if someone's willing to run it. Does anyone here have a VPS or something that could host the bot? My VPS is a bit unstable, so I'd prefer not to use it if possible.
We could run it on our main server. Could even set up a separate container.
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biolizard89
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Re: Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

Post by biolizard89 »

If we can try running the bridge bot on our main server, that would be a worthwhile experiment.
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hla
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Re: Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

Post by hla »

I'd rather stay with IRC. While it has usability issues, nobody seems to have invented anything better. An easy way to let people catch up is make log files publically accessible; this is a common practice.

Ultimately, any proprietary solution isn't going to be able to compete with the ecosystem of IRC software. Even XMPP conferencing, which is probably superior in some ways, is rather obscure and doesn't have the same availability of clients. Which is why you see Gitter offering an IRC bridge.

It seems to be part of a troubling trend towards managed, web-based services and away from if not distributed, then just standard Internet protocols. It's almost a miracle that the federated e. mail system is still used. Usenet is basically dead. It's also a trend that seems incompatible with Namecoin, as web-based managed services and client-side cryptographic applications (i.e. JS crypto) are, rightly, not well-regarded. So I'm wary of aligning with this trend in general. (It used to be most people were accessible via either open or reverse engineered and thus in practice open protocols; XMPP/AIM/ICQ/MSN/Yahoo, but now they've been absorbed into a privacy disaster (Facebook) and a service which should probably win some sort of world record for obfuscating its protocol (Skype). Can't say I find this an improvement.)

Requiring registration to chat strikes me as very antisocial. Are we assuming everyone has a GitHub account now?

On the subject of Discourse, I'm also dubious. I normally browse with JavaScript disabled for obvious security reasons, in which case Discourse becomes basically unusable, providing a quite awful-looking, read-only interface. This doesn't seem like an upgrade to me, and changing URLs is a big no-no from a web perspective. Using a forum which makes it impossible for security-minded Tor users to post is not really an option.

The one option that might be decent is to use XMPP conferencing with a web-based frontend, such as Cadence, for people who want it. I believe XMPP conferencing supports backlog.

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Re: Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

Post by domob »

hla wrote:I'd rather stay with IRC. While it has usability issues, nobody seems to have invented anything better. An easy way to let people catch up is make log files publically accessible; this is a common practice.

Ultimately, any proprietary solution isn't going to be able to compete with the ecosystem of IRC software. Even XMPP conferencing, which is probably superior in some ways, is rather obscure and doesn't have the same availability of clients. Which is why you see Gitter offering an IRC bridge.

It seems to be part of a troubling trend towards managed, web-based services and away from if not distributed, then just standard Internet protocols. It's almost a miracle that the federated e. mail system is still used. Usenet is basically dead. It's also a trend that seems incompatible with Namecoin, as web-based managed services and client-side cryptographic applications (i.e. JS crypto) are, rightly, not well-regarded. So I'm wary of aligning with this trend in general. (It used to be most people were accessible via either open or reverse engineered and thus in practice open protocols; XMPP/AIM/ICQ/MSN/Yahoo, but now they've been absorbed into a privacy disaster (Facebook) and a service which should probably win some sort of world record for obfuscating its protocol (Skype). Can't say I find this an improvement.)

Requiring registration to chat strikes me as very antisocial. Are we assuming everyone has a GitHub account now?

On the subject of Discourse, I'm also dubious. I normally browse with JavaScript disabled for obvious security reasons, in which case Discourse becomes basically unusable, providing a quite awful-looking, read-only interface. This doesn't seem like an upgrade to me, and changing URLs is a big no-no from a web perspective. Using a forum which makes it impossible for security-minded Tor users to post is not really an option.

The one option that might be decent is to use XMPP conferencing with a web-based frontend, such as Cadence, for people who want it. I believe XMPP conferencing supports backlog.
Very well said, this is what I wanted to express at the beginning of the thread with my dismissal.
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somename
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Re: Suggestion: Switch to Slack, Gitter, or OSS equivalent

Post by somename »

hla wrote: On the subject of Discourse, I'm also dubious. I normally browse with JavaScript disabled for obvious security reasons, in which case Discourse becomes basically unusable, providing a quite awful-looking, read-only interface. This doesn't seem like an upgrade to me, and changing URLs is a big no-no from a web perspective. Using a forum which makes it impossible for security-minded Tor users to post is not really an option.
URLs could be redirected, but JavaScript is obviously a show stopper for some. Fair enough.

> Requiring registration to chat strikes me as very antisocial. Are we assuming everyone has a GitHub account now?

The project already uses them for repos and such. If the devs are using Github and also hosting this forum, personally I don't see a significant difference between having an account here vs. at Github (and in fact I already have one at Github, so having another one here doesn't have a big positive impact). But personally I'm not really concerned about this, I'm just trying to make a point that the current approach has its compromises as well. (The same applies to chat).

Superior privacy means low(er) participation and low participation (which also strikes me as "antisocial" in its own way, by depriving the project from its due share of participants) delays getting to a point where Namecoin becomes popular. It becomes a vicious circle that's hard to break.

I agree that good privacy is essential and perhaps Redit or some other venue could be used by those who are fine with centralized services, while this basic project infrastructure could remain privacy-focused.

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