Mozilla is shutting down their IRC servers and moving to Discord, a proprietary chat service.

Hey Mozilla, aren't we forgetting something here? Our very own "Mozilla Pledge for a Healthy Internet” states:

> Principle 2 The internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.

> Principle 6 The effectiveness of the internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.

@popefucker @fribbledom have you tried to get a non-technical user to join an irc chatroom recently?

@nightpool @fribbledom people not wanting to do easy things isn't an accessibility issue

@nightpool @fribbledom logging on to IRC is as easy as clicking on a link and using a web client.

@popefucker i'm not saying like capital-a Accessibility i'm just saying this is a choice that puts making mozilla more accessible to every day users over any misplaced notions of purity and I think it's a good decision for those reasons.

@popefucker if you think irc web clients are "as easy" to use as discord, then you're just plain wrong. I ran a IRC support channel for a popular non-technical project for 3 years, and we had tons of affordances like iframe'd web-clients but the UX was just ABYSMAL and our retention rate was so poor that we also moved to discord a couple years back

@nightpool @popefucker thelounge is the best web IRC client I've seen so far. Really great, but also ... bloated

@nightpool @popefucker i'm all in favour of an open web but for chirst's sake irc needs to die so we can replace it with something modern

@nightpool @popefucker @fribbledom I'm an old school tech user and I find irc a pita compared to discord and slack.

@nightpool Not recently, but over the years I introduced a lot of non-technical people to IRC. After some "Can you all hear me???" it worked just fine usually.

@popefucker @fribbledom

@nightpool @popefucker @fribbledom


I send them to a web-frontend with the channel name, and voila, they’re using IRC.

Mozilla is the only entity we have for the web that stands up (or did) for open standards and open-source. Their decisions as of late sets a very bad prescience.

@popefucker @nightpool @fribbledom I run Arch i3 with self-made configs. I've had problems with IRC multiple times. IRC's challenging.


I'd love to hear about your experience. Which barriers did you hit, and what exactly was challenging about it?

@popefucker @nightpool

@nightpool @popefucker @fribbledom I can't recall the lot, but I do recall the Void Linux nameserver being a problem. And while I jumped onto a couple of forums, the language used to denote # this and instance that, had me initially going to freenode as a chat room, or its host as a chatroom - the two-layer language was a little off. Finally, saving those settings (while not technically a feature of IRC) gave another headache. Still never managed to get onto that Void channel.

@nightpool @fribbledom Doesn't Discord frequently make bad decisions when it comes to accessibility though?

@SwooshyCueb @fribbledom I'm talking about "accessible to end users and non technical users" not capital-A Accessibility

@nightpool @fribbledom considering how often people accidentally make brand new accounts by mistake, I'd say it fails there too

@SwooshyCueb much better that then the myriad UX issues that come with trying to find an IRC client or (in the best case) using one of three shitty iframe'd irc web clients

@SwooshyCueb not to mention the inherent problems with the protocol itself—discord provides just a straight-up better way to structure communities at scale then IRC. Channel fragmentation is real

@nightpool I'm not saying IRC is better, just that Discord doesn't seem like a great choice if the move is accessibility-motivated.

Maybe Mattermost is a better choice?

@nightpool @fribbledom

@nightpool @fribbledom

That's a not an excuse for using #discord. There are a lot of open source chats with equal or better accessibility:
* #RocketChat
* #MatterMost
* #Martix
* ...

Also free and open source software is about basic rights and not "purity" as you put it.

Also proprietary software is an accessibility barrier for privacy and security conscious users.

@nightpool @fribbledom

when discord locks you out of your account and forces you to give up your phone number that's an accessibility barrier
when discord recaptchas you every login that's an accessibility barrier
when discord bans your account no questions asked because they catch you using a third party client that's a god damn accessibility barrier

Accessibility is much better in IRC and other text based protocols than webapps.
You do not need to be a blind user to appreciate a protocol that can be used with accessible programs instead of a browser. It starts when IRC clients are much easier to theme with high-contrast colors and easy to read fonts.
The lack of image embedding prevents things like somebody posting a lord of the rings meme without alt-text to communicate something, so blind readers are left behind.


And what seems to be neglected in the discussion is that IRC is a protocol that does not demand authentication. Just join and ask your question. No registration, no waiting on double opt-in e-mails, no need to solve reCaptchas. Just enter the chatroom and start chatting.

And even when you think this is not too much efford, you're still demanding people to use a strong identity, when a anonymous one, i.e., an unregistered pseudonym, would be sufficient.


@fribbledom have they actually said discord? i haven't seen anything that says they've selected a replacement
@fribbledom still the only alternative to Google monoculture tho...


I'm not trying to bash Mozilla here, really not. Big fan of Mozilla and what they did for keeping the net as open as possible...

We still need to be able to criticize them when they take a wrong turn, though. I hope public discussion can make them at least reconsider said decision.


seriously? I'm on discord, full disclosure, but even a mook like me realizes that their sharp, ad-free interface is most likely funded by the most egregious sales of user data.

mozilla is losing a significant amount of cred with this one. It's not as if there aren't plenty of great alternatives.

@fribbledom Why couldn't they at least move to something like Matrix.

@kyle @fribbledom Discord's web and Electron clients are generally more sensical, better optimized, and less glitchy than Riot on web or Electron

@fribbledom as far as I understand their reasoning, there's just no viable open alternative. Although I don't know why running a Jabber server is not an option. It should at least solve the problem with the lack of authentication in IRC.

@fribbledom wow this is truly disgusting. I audibly gasped when I read this.

@fribbledom Has mozilla confirmed anywhere that Discord is their final choice? Their blog post said they were going to be evaluating options, and hadn't chosen anything yet.

The Rust projects were already using Discord, and they mentioned that they were leaning in that direction for their remaining IRC channels. However, the Rust community doesn't represent Mozilla as a whole.


I guess an official statement is still pending on that subject, but it's what I hear from people on the "inside".

So there's at least a clear tendency, and I think this needs to be brought up right now, not when the final decision has been announced publicly.

@fribbledom absolutely, I agree. Discord is a miserable choice for FOSS communities, so I hope it's not true. I hear the complaints that IRC is tough to moderate, but I do think there's some stuff out there (e.g. Matrix) now that can carry the open-ness torch with easier moderation/administration.

@stephenjahl @fribbledom I *like* Matrix; I run a homeserver, and use it for a bunch of stuff.

But it's certainly not as polished as Discord, *particularly* for the “we would like to run a community of stuff here” case. Communities *exist*, but their current status is “we're gonna tear them out and replace them with something actually useful”, so…

@RAOF Yeah, I'm using it as well, and really like it. FOSS friendly and persistent room history across clients have been fantastic. I agree, the community stuff is definitely a little rough.

I think another point of concern for someone like Mozilla is synapse performance in large rooms... It's a little depressing when joining a room with more than a few hundred people in it brings my server to its knees :(

@stephenjahl Zulip *also* looks really good and might be a better fit for what Mozilla wants, and they already use it for some things (Some Rust teams, at least, use it).

@RAOF I have not used Zulip, have only browsed the features page on their site. I quite like their room/stream "topics" feature. So many busy rooms can be cleaned up by that, and it's much preferable to threads (in my opinion).

@fribbledom wow, Mozilla is the last entity I'd expect to do that, that's disgusting, but given what they've been up to recently, I can't say I'm totally surprised.

@fribbledom Someone's gonna open a triple-service bridge. If it's possible with Discord, that is.

TBH, I don't know what's going on in the Mozilla IRC tho.

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