I've pushed a lot of rocks up a lot of hills, and every now and then one of them goes over.

@mhoye Thanks for your effort and transparency on this work. I've been following it (not a closely as I had hoped, but still) from the perspective of another similar org (Wikimedia) in a similar situation.

The links are making the rounds, multiple times, in the Wikimedia IRC channels today :)

@Greg @mhoye There is already a Matrix deployment in existence for the Wikimedia Foundation (tgr has the details) which we'd love to expand O:-)

@matrix yep! :) It's mostly stalled out due to lack of ownership/driving, but here's the task graph:

@strypey @Greg @mhoye I didn't hear that CC switched to Slack, thats depressing. Is there already a issue in their face about that?

@strypey @liaizon @Greg I'm wondering what CC uses now - I stopped working with/paying attention to them due to a lost faith in their commitment to their principles.

@strypey @liaizon @Greg wondering if they're realised their hypocrisy and have finally agreed align their tools with their (purported) values, like Mozilla (finally) have...

@lightweight @strypey @liaizon they never really had that strong of free software principles at the board level.

@Greg @strypey @liaizon Yeah, they don't really realise the debt of gratitude they owe Free Software culture that literally spawned their entire movement and gave them most of the useful tools that helped them make it real.

@liaizon @strypey @Greg they stuck with irc for a long time, and it was a disaster for their community. Their participating community was small and stagnant until they switched to slack. The people who champion IRC just _do not see_ how awful it is, how hard it is to start using, and how much of a barrier to participating it represents.

@liaizon @strypey @Greg If you care about being an open, participatory organization and then choose IRC, then the hurdles people need to clear to participate are "learn unix, then learn IRC, then figure out what channel to be in and who to talk to with no scrollback." In terms of “Ease of getting involved” it is one of the worst possible choices.

@liaizon @strypey @Greg The fact that people who champion free software have thought IRC was good enough for 30 years has set free software back exactly that many years. Terminal snobbery is the worst.

@mhoye @strypey @Greg I don't disagree with your synopsis. But there are options that are open that are user friendly like mattermost, rocketchat and... Matrix, which is coming a long way. Also just recommending a web client like goes a long way to solving most of your critiques of IRC...

@liaizon @strypey @Greg None of those options existed when CC had to make its decision, and there _really are not_ IRC clients that rise to the level of "good" for people who aren't already Unix veterans.

@mhoye @liaizon @Greg yes, @strypey speaks the truth. I found their obstinate anti-FOSS position - to the point where they wouldn't even look at the many already mature FOSS options - extremely discouraging, particularly as they were consulting about their "values" and mission statement at the time, and the use of Slack specifically contradicted several of their stated values. I lost respect for CCHQ over that. And wrote this re IRC & Slack:

@lightweight @liaizon @Greg @strypey
And if your idea of "mature" FOSS options meets our list of requirements - "is usable in a web browser", "has a robust API" and "is accessible to people who rely on screen readers" then by all means, show me this wide variety of mature FOSS options. But don't conflate "I don't want to change my tools because I have reasons" with "this is definitely good and can work great for everyone" and call that a set of principles.

@strypey @mhoye @liaizon @Greg and yes, we anticipated that Slack would ditch the IRC bridge. We warned them, and they decided to put their faith in a VC funded startup. They were blinkered and unprincipled... and wrong.

@strypey @mhoye @liaizon @Greg organisations that, in the name of increasing diversity, abandon their founding principles and alienate their most active and committed supporters, may achieve diversity, but at the cost of depth. It corrupts almost everything they (claim to) value and costs them those who know the history & hold a wealth of tacit knowledge. I think it's possible to achieve greater diversity without erasing an organisation's identity.

@lightweight @strypey @liaizon @Greg I’m a carpenter, and I only ever use a hammer, using screws is an affront to my identity, you can’t hammer in a screw and I can use the hammer to make more nails or hammers so that makes it better, you can’t do that with a screwdriver, and if people use screws they’re abandoning years of hammering practice, I’m in favour building different things or bigger buildings but not at the cost of hammering nails being all we ever use to build them.

@mhoye @lightweight @strypey @Greg can you all please untag me in further discussions of this issue. I have no interest in hearing the defense of VC funded tools. If you need a subscription to access the "Hammer" then that is not a tool that is a capitalistic virus that needs to be burned to the ground.

@lightweight @strypey @liaizon @Greg We have shit to do. The world is on fire and software is helping that happen and we need to get everyone on board as fast as we can to fucking fix it, and seeing FOSS purists day they won’t get involved if they can’t use _their special tools_ to do it is like hearing that somebody only waters their bonsai with their traditional handmade watering can when you just told them their house was on burning down.

@mhoye @lightweight @strypey @Greg Capitalism is the *reason* the house is burning down. If you can't remove the capitalism from your tools then the fire is already spread too far.

@liaizon @lightweight @strypey @Greg you bought your hardware, you buy your bandwidth and you use proprietary firmware blobs throughout both. You’ve already made this compromise a thousand times. All of us have.

@mhoye @lightweight @strypey @Greg And we are working really hard on ALL THREE of those issues. Those are all equally important. The software is the front we have made the most progress on but projects like #NYCMesh and #Freifunk and #SSB are working on the infrastructure/bandwidth issues. Projects like the #Reform and #Pine64 are working on the hardware and the blobs. We have to tackle this from all fronts.

@liaizon @lightweight @strypey @Greg And now you’ve made my argument for me: that we have to use the tools available now, even if they’re not free and open, as we work towards the world where they are.

@mhoye @lightweight @strypey @Greg *my* point is that there are tools that *are* open that are ready to use today. Yes some of them might have proprietary blobs or non free code in them. The point isn’t purity. The point is autonomy against a capitalist virus and the only way to move forward is to use the tools that are available. If they exist in a open form we need to utilize them. If they do not we need to figure out how to open them or replace them.

@liaizon @lightweight @strypey @Greg I guess this is the crux of our disagreement, then; “If they exist in an open form”, as in; being open is enough, or the only important factor. And I say it’s not. Usability matters, accessibility matters. The human is always more important than the code, and openness is a means - one of many - to an end.

@mhoye @lightweight @strypey @Greg “The Medium is the Message” in this context is not a factor that can be removed.

"The human is always more important than the code..."

And certainly your colleagues are humans too. Currently I handle debugging and troubleshooting in both customer-facing and internal conexts.

The number one reason why I have to initiate a process of trial and error, rely on 3rd parties to align with my incentives, tell the customer we need more time for a given issue, get on phone calls escalating to engineers under NDAs who can't give me straight answers is the proprietary parts of my corner of operations.

That's not to say that trial and error or phone calls can't happen in FOSS, but due precisely to its openness I have an order of magnitude more examples of working solutions to assist me and phone calls I could make. That is directly correlated with customer satisfaction by way of expediency.

The knock on effects of all that are why "we've already made the compromise" is only appropriate for my short term planning. Long term, I will improve the visibility my customers have into the technology they pay for, the tools are inconsequential.

@Greg @strypey @lightweight @liaizon

@mhoye @liaizon @strypey @Greg Sorry, but that's an apologist argument. We need to be open first, and proprietary only if there's no realistic alternative option to achieve a viable system. It should always be seen as an unpleasant compromise, to be replaced as soon as possible.

@lightweight @strypey @liaizon @Greg When the choice was between IRC or Slack, that choice was effectively between software purism and organizational effectiveness and relevance, and I _guarantee you_ that what your organizations leaders hear when the purists advance that argument is these employees saying, loud and clear, that they think their own beliefs about software are more important than the success, and sometimes existence, of the company.

@mhoye @strypey @liaizon @Greg The choice was never between IRC and Slack. It was between IRC and Slack/Discord/Yammer or - if the org didn't want to be beholding to a multinational corporation's proprietary platform - Gitter/Zulip/Rocket.Chat/Mattermost/Riot&Matrix. They all developed fairly concurrently. Ultimately, leaders of communities like CCHQ were deeply lazy. They mistakenly assumed that Slack enjoys a network effect and used that flawed logic to defend their decision.

@lightweight @strypey @liaizon @Greg can’t tell you how hard I’m rolling my eyes at this, but I promise you that the other reason IRC has descended into irrelevance is the sneering condescension and accusations of laziness from its advocates.

@lightweight @strypey @liaizon @Greg but the truth is, I don’t need to have this argument. IRC is dying, quickly and almost entirely for reasons it’s champions believe are features. I don’t need to convince anyone of that, all I need to do is move on.

@mhoye @strypey @liaizon @Greg I never advocated for IRC. If you read my essay, I said IRC is crap compared to a new messaging system, and I enumerated the advantages. But I also said that any open community who chooses Slack (or MS Teams or Discord, etc.) is betraying its values and its community.

@mhoye thank you for persevering with project sisyphus and for placing your trust in Matrix :D

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