The Numba project has been using Gitter for real-time support chat and a small amount of development discussion, and this has served a purpose for some time. However, it has a few issues that make it a cumbersome and inconvenient platform (these are my opinions, but I imagine others may feel similarly):
- Threads don’t really work (many chat features don’t work in them, they’re not supported on the Android app, long threads cause the CPU to spin at 100%, threads can’t be muted or marked as read easily)
- Search doesn’t work too well, nor does scrolling back more than a short distance through history
- Linking to old posts doesn’t work too well
- Marking posts as read seems to be generally very difficult (need to scroll up / down, in / out of threads, the notification jumps up and down the screen and sometimes disappears, sometimes @ notifications don’t show)
- Support for mobile apps and browsers and apps seems limited
There are numerous other platforms that might be an improvement over Gitter - one possibility would be to move over to Slack’s free tier, which I expect would bring some improvements:
- Better threads (ability to subscribe to updates to them or not)
- Better mobile apps (thread support, general stability)
- In general, fewer bugs / UI quirks
Slack’s free tier does have the limitation that only the last 10,000 messages can be viewed - my view is that this isn’t functionally too dissimilar from the present situation with Gitter, where most chat is ephemeral, and Discourse posts or Github Issues are created for enquiries of a longer-term nature. (One might argue that far fewer than the last 10,000 Gitter messages can be located / accessed anyway).
I’d like to solicit community feedback / thoughts on moving from Gitter to Slack or another platform. In particular:
- In your opinion, would moving from Gitter to a free Slack be a positive change?
- Or, would it cause you a negative impact? If so, how?
- Do you have experience moving from Gitter and/or to Slack or another platform?
- If so, what advice would you give?
- Is Slack the best platform to move to? Do you feel that another platform would be more appropriate? (e.g. a lot of communities seem to be on Discord - e.g. Python and LLVM communities).
- Is there anything else we should consider?