So given the Matrix outage, I went and made an XMPP account.
People like to talk down flagship servers in the federated ecosystem, but honestly hunting down an xmpp server as a host with was a pretty needless exercise. I went with xmpp.is. Are they any good? No idea!
It didn't help that out of the pro-XMPP posts boosted into my TL, not one of them recommended a particular instance to set up an account. Without recommendations, I default to wanting something authoritative.
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I think part of the appeal of IRC, Discord, Slack, and Matrix is that when you make an account there, the idea is that there are already people there that you can talk to and engage with.
Joining Discord is like going to the mall, and you might bump into some people you are acquainted with or make new acquaintances.
XMPP feels like a much more personal space, where I might be caught quite off-guard getting an unsolicited chat request from anyone in the fediverse.
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I think it also hearkens back to the difference in paradigm of microblogging like Tumblr/Twitter/Mastodon and "friend" networks like Myspace/Facebook.
Most people don't join Facebook to meet new people: they connect with people they know offline who are likely to have an account. Twitter, on the other hand, is all about talking to strangers.
This is what I think led to Mastodon picking up traction so rapidly compared to Diaspora. It facilitates meeting new people.
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I think I'd be quite happy if XMPP supplanted text messaging for me. It all depends on how the tech usage within my social network evolves.
And while I don't see Matrix as a better Signal/Whatsapp, I do see it as a pathway off of Slack and Discord before those platforms degrade to the point of unusability. I don't see anything in XMPP's ecosystem being usable for group and community management.
@ishara XMPP is really geared toward setting up your own server, imo. That's when all the benefits of it shine. Worth checking out https://homebrewserver.club/ for a good guide on setting up Prosody with modern defaults.
The reason XMPP feels more personal is because it *is* more personal. It's not public. It's private direct messaging. Meanwhile, the majority of Matrix usage has been as an IRC clone, which focuses on public rooms that can be joined/left by anyone.
@ishara There's a good article explaining the separation you feel between XMPP and Matrix, in the way they have ended up today: https://blogs.gnome.org/tbernard/2018/05/16/banquets-and-barbecues/
tldr: all communication falls into 1 of 3 categories:
1) Personal (direct chats)
2) Private (group chats)
3) Public (room chats)
Historically, XMPP fills 1 quite well, even though it can do 2+3 with MUC (multi-user chats) -- it's just not as clean.
IRC was written to do 3, and to do it efficiently. That's why it doesn't really do 1+2 well.
@ishara Slack, Discord, and Matrix all inherit their main design from IRC (room/channel based) and thus naturally predispose themselves to case 3 better than 1 or 2.
I personally use IRC for 3, XMPP for 1, and only really need a clean way to do 2. I see 2 as a closer extension of 1 (i.e. direct chats that add more participants) than it is an extension of 3 (i.e. rooms with restricted entry). But you can certainly extend your metaphors in either direction.
@ishara Note: nothing in the protocol really prevents either XMPP or Matrix from addressing all use cases -- but rather, the protocol lends itself to certain client apps being created. XMPP's focus on delivery has caused more messengers to be written (and thus be terrible for handling big public rooms). Matrix's focus on rooms has caused Riot to look a lot like Slack or Discord (and thus be terrible for direct chats).
@trwnh That's a great article that articulates a lot of feelings I've expressed in much less eloquent ways.
I definitely think that it's OK to have different programs/infrastructure to handle those kinds of chats: you don't need fine-grained permissions systems in a 1-1 chat room like you do in a huge public IRC channel.
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