Exploring new communication channels

I think you misunderstand my point. I was arguing that the solution to @djc’s point is to make the same conversations accessible, simultaneously, from all platforms via bridging. Migrating at all is a failure mode, not a solution.


I think you misunderstand my point. I was arguing that the solution to @djc’s point is to make the same conversations accessible, simultaneously, from all platforms via bridging. Migrating at all is a failure mode, not a solution.

This is a very theoretical point, as the chat system rosetta stone doesn’t exist and individual bridges bring a lot of maintenance with them. We would need a whole team of volunteers for that.


Hi there! As an avid discord user (I use discord nearly constantly) I would be extremely disappointed if Rust switches to Discord.

The number one issue here is that Discord is 100% inaccessible, and the /r/blind team has been told it will stay that way.

For example, Discord has been rather rude to the /r/blind team, where /r/blind made a post on Discord’s subreddit asking if Discord will ever be accessible, and if not, they had custom clients that they could use. Discord responded by saying that using a custom client will get your account permanently banned from Discord and to contact them on Discord if they have more questions.

Discord has also said things to blind users like “get a better magnifier” and other things along that line. There has also been a support ticket open for (I think) about 4 years now asking for this, and there hasn’t been a single response from Discord.

Now, besides things like the above, there are other reasons I would prefer Rust doesn’t switch over to Discord. First off, the client is really terrible, with bugs nearly never getting fixed. The most often thing that will happen is Discord adds some half baked feature, makes a huge announcement for it, and then never fixes the bugs that come from it. Semi related is when a css change was pushed to the client without being checked, and it caused the “jump” buttons in the list of pinned messages to look completely wrong. It was about 24 hours before it was fixed.

Someone that would probably be less likely in the context of Rust, is the Discord community. From what I can tell since using Discord near constantly is that the majority of large communities on Discord is significantly more “toxic” than the ones on IRC or Slack. I’m not sure if something like this could come up for Rust, but it’s possible.

Discord also has a horrible terms of service. Custom css, custom clients, anything using your own Discord token, is completely forbidden, and will also get your account banned. On top of that, the API is horrible, with loads of inconsistencies and horrible documentation that is literally unreadable on mobile among other things.

I really really hope the Rust team(s) don’t decide to switch to Discord, it would ruin a lot of what I love about Rust for me.


As others mentioned above, Mattermost (https://www.mattermost.org/) seems to be a solid alternative. In particular, Redox uses it for all their chat (https://chat.redox-os.org/redox/channels/town-square) and it seems to work well for that community.


Another datapoint: using Mattermost at work (including a Matterbridge to an external Slack team), and it works just fine.

This indeed sounds like a problem and something we should take quite seriously since a chief motivation in moving from IRC was to improve accessibility.


Does anyone (r/blind for example) know if Mattermost is more accessible? Interesting thing to look into.

EDIT: Here are some links regarding Mattermost accessibility (I’m not expert enough on this topic to know if this is good or bad):

That last link might be the most informative.


Was it really? I was under the impression that the variety of IRC clients made it possible to pick one that is compatible with whatever accessibility tools one might be using. (As opposed to systems that mandate a single client which may or may not work well in every situation.)


I’m using “accessibility” (or rather “accessible”) in a more general sense here. For IRC the main problems are that you need bouncers and such to make IRC work well, which newcomers to IRC often don’t have. There’s https://www.irccloud.com/ but iirc it has some problems.

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I guess it’s worth mentioning that in this sense, IRC is inaccessible for me. I gave up on using the IRC channels many months ago, and I’m an IRC veteran that has auto-rejoin configured already (that is what everyone means by “bouncer”, right?). But the pervasive lack of what is now considered incredibly basic chat functionality, in particular any form of history (yes, we have bots for that, but they were literally broken more often than they worked) eventually made it impossible for me to actually participate in any meaningful discussions in those channels unless the conversation started after I got home from work and my internet was in such an exceptionally good mood that it never once bounced me. Which simply never happens.


I pinged discord staff about this; accessibility is important. The toxicity thing is a per-community issue and doesn’t really apply to discord itself; IRC has the same, if not worse reputation, for example.

Regarding the accessibility issue,

Regarding TOS, they’ve only ever banned people who write bots who cause service outages.

So yeah, I’m not sure what issues you’ve had in the past, but it at least sounds like things may be different today.


Yeah that… It is also common to have a setup with weechat + tmux on a server which you SSH into or use http://glowing-bear.org/ and some android app. I do this myself. The basic goal of all the varying solutions is to always be online and to never miss out on backlogs.

So that we continue to have choice and reduce fragmentation, is there a reason we can’t keep the canonical source in IRC, and add bots to mirror the IRC channels with equivalent Gitter and Discord channels?

I’m especially bummed that net-wg suddenly switched to Discord, as I’m not going to keep yet another chat client open.


There’s https://www.irccloud.com/ but iirc it has some problems.

IRCCloud, most notably, is a paid service to use it with the features we were discussing above (especially always-online).

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What’s wrong with Slack for text conversation?

Discord is nice for gamers, not for programmers. It’s game focused (twitch, facebook integrations, game statuses, voice channels). Overall UI is… inconvenient in comparison with text based chats (Github, Gitter, Slack, HipChat, what else?).

Telegram (Viber, whatsapp, fbchat, etc) is a phone chat, it’s definitely out of league here.

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Right; I think those were the problems I had in mind. Thanks!

That’s a big loss! That’s also where the futures team is doing a lot of their communication, and we’ve been hoping to add you to that team as well. Is there any chance you would reconsider the cost/benefit here?

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I’ll investigate if I can set up a personal connect-to-discord-via-IRC thingy.

However, continuing what I suggested: there appears to be a tool, discord-irc, which mirrors various IRC channels and Discord channels. Could this be used so that people who prefer Discord’s UI can use that, and others who prefer IRC can use it? Serious question. As an example, the whatever-the-net-wg-discord-channel-name can be mirrored to irc.mozilla.org/rust-net-wg.

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no need for an IRC bridge, just connect using the browser. or a dedicated matrix client.

I think it’s important that the Rust project picks a platform and sticks to it, the fragmentation is certainly a pain point, but I think it’s been (and is) worthwhile to have a period of experimentation.

I think Discord is a reasonable choice, it’s stable and has good clients. Though, I do think that Discord’s threading model isn’t conducive to productivity - it’s easier for conversations to get lost or become hard to follow. This becomes particularly evident as the number of participants increases (which it will much more than IRC due to a lower barrier to entry). I also have reservations regarding it being entirely proprietary, although I understand the pragmatism argument.

I’m also not a fan of IRC, for all the reasons that are usually mentioned, so I’ll avoid going into them. I also don’t think any of the other options I’ve seen mentioned are viable - Telegram, etc - I believe that any tool that isn’t designed for a “workplace” sort of communication would struggle to scale and remain productive (though, I certainly could be wrong).

I’ve been using Zulip a lot as part of the NLL WG and I’ve found that it’s an excellent tool for communicating and keeping track of what’s going on. I’d be extremely disappointed if the NLL group moved away from Zulip (though I’d understand if it meant all WGs were in one place). Zulip has rough edges, it’s mobile app needs some love, but it’s really great once you get over that initial unfamiliarity and I’d urge other teams and working groups to try it out for a few weeks before making a decision on their preference.