Should we introduce chat functionality into the edgeryders platform?

It’s easy to miss a lot of stuff that happens in Edgeryders. It’s getting better now that @inge and @anon82932460 are curating and posting summaries that highlight news. Like the countonme feedwhich can subscribe to here like this:

The countonme updates are a kind of “best of” selection of discussions happening on the platform. Or announcements of interesting opportunities and calls for participation.

What you may not know is that, a lot of the day to day chit chat, hanging out and collaboration happens in Edgeryders self-hosted Riot space (an open source alternative to slack).

This was set up in order to avoid clogging the platform with lots of noise and rather keep it as a space for thoughtful, slow interaction.

But, over time I at least am finding that it has been evolving into a helpful resource for quickly coordinating activities, throwing out half-thought through ideas etc for quick feedback before putting them fully “out there”.

We share videos and links to interesting news, check in on each other, gossip, discuss politics and all other stuff you can file under " communication between people who like hanging out and/while working together".

So I looked around to see what options there might be for integrating something like that straight into the edgeryders platform.

Any thoughts on this - why it might be a good idea or not?

ping @richdecibels @zelf @amelia @alberto @matthias @hugi @MariaEuler @inge @johncoate @jasen_lakic @natalia_skoczylas @mrchrisadams @noemi @Sohayeb @zmorda @HadeerGhareeb @erik_lonroth @woodbinehealth @markomanka @Yosser +++


We discussed this briefly via Riot chat before, and here is the proposal that I came up with then:

Requirements. The proposed chat-inside-Discourse system should be “like IRC”, and public: people can see activity without needing to be logged into a Discourse account. Different from how Discourse is now organized into topics, it would be one location, instead of one person having to set up a topic and then invite everyone. Participants should not get notifications unless someone specifically pings them. Other chat rooms like this public one could also be set up but be made login protected (otherwise people won’t really feel chatty, as it’s all public again, and like on Twitter you gotta watch out for what you say or you lose your job …).

Proposed implementation. I think Discourse is very close to be used like that. We’d set up one single, public topic under Campfire called “Fireside Chat” or something, owned by user edgeryders to make it official. Then we need one special line of code that sets the notification level for everyone to “Normal” for this topic, right when they sign up to the platform. This means they only get notifications when they are @mentioned. (Otherwise, after some time in the topic, Discourse would set a user’s notification level to “Following”.) And that chat thread would be linked somewhere prominently, maybe in the horizontal header menu, or even replacing the current “Campfire” link on the frontpage.

Finally, to make this use of Discourse even more like a chat we might implement that all messages posted are deleted after, say, four weeks. And also prevent search engine access to this particular chat topic (via a simple robots.txt measure at least). Together, that should create an environment where people will feel more free to contribute than in a place that never forgets anything.

Suitability of Discourse as a chat solution.

  • you can have multiple topics, to implement multiple chatrooms
  • images, videos etc. can be posted, just like in normal Discourse topics
  • people can freely “leave” a chatroom by adjusting their notification settings for the respective topic
  • there are notifications about who else is typing a reply right now, just as in many instant messaging services
  • there are realtime topic updates without requiring reloading the browser page
  • there are desktop notifications (just without sound, but we could try to add that; probably there is a browser extension that allows to do this easily)
  • it’s close to Discourse, so we don’t make people use yet another platform

Ok, a mobile app version is maybe missing. There is a Discourse app, but I don’t know what it can do.

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would this chat bring together all Edgeryders communities or would there be a separate one for each project (Wellbeeing, NGI, Poprebell…)

I don’t know- what do you think?

even so more communication between the people of the different projects would be nice, I think that should be more punctual if we see overlapping potential. Otherwise people in the different projects join the platform for different reasons, so I think a chat per project would make sense and also enable us to see how it develops differently in the different community parts. How many members would need to have many people beeing online at the same time to make the chats flow?

I’d not start per-project chatrooms before there is a need for that. The danger is that, by splitting up the online space too much, there would be not enough interaction to make each space viable.

Once a common “Campfire” chatroom becomes too crowded, we’ll branch out of course.


My same thought. I’m looking for more of the cross-pollinating that would make it more of a general go-to site for me, and hopefully others. And because of its more casual nature, it can have more visuals and ultimately maybe fulfill some of the functions that FB handles now, which could help get away from the sometimes bad taste FB leaves in your mouth when you think about their hidden practices.

And for me, I big majority of the people who come here I would like to know more about, and thus get to know them. Hopefully this improves the chances. Plus no ad profiling.