Communication tools

Context: Historically, we used Slack as the main communication tool for the organisation. We switched over to Status desktop in November 2018 but for a variety of reasons (message reliability, lack of collaboration features, etc) it hasn’t been adopted as much as originally intended. Based on the Engagement Survey feedback this has lead to silo-ing of communication, unknown/sporadic adoption of multiple tools, and in general has made it harder for us to connect.

After discussions in Istanbul it seems like a good idea to try and implement an organisation wide communication/collaboration tool and re-assess after 3 months or so. A few of you have reached out to recommend your preferred tool :slight_smile:

Currently, outside of Status, I think that:

  • Nimbus use Gitter,
  • Embark & Design use Discord,
  • PeopleOps (and @petty) have been trying Twist, Discord & Mattermost.

Given the range of considerations (recommendations, price, ability to search, ability to interact/react, share photos/gifs, current usage/adoption, ease and speed of setting up) it seems like the path of least resistance would be to try using Discord for the remainder of 2019. We could have this up and running tomorrow with little-to-no overhead or cost. Discord also has a neat voice channel option that a few teams have been playing around with.

Beyond the short-term, Jakub mentioned he’s been looking at using matterbridge to bridge communications across multiple clients - so ultimately everyone could use their own preferred tool but access the same information.

Next steps:

  • We’ll check in with individual teams over the coming week to see if you’re interested in joining a Status discord.
  • Note: No one is obliged to migrate. If you prefer then keep using whatever tools you’re currently using!

Note: PeopleOps will continue to check Status and other clients for messages in case people need to reach us. We’ll be everywhere :slight_smile:

Thoughts/comments welcome!

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The Embark team has been using Matterbridge successfully to bridge between Discord, Status, and Gitter.

We’re running this on a tiny DigitalOcean instance that I have tons of credits for, and would be more than happy to add extra integrations if anyone needs them.

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I’ll just chime in saying, the design team is 24 hours into using Discord as its communication tool and it’s been a game changer for us.
We communicate more, keep it more informal and office-like. images and videos shared inline have increased our productivity and shortened the feedback loop. Feels like we’re more connected and are able to get decisions made faster.

The only bummer, party parrots cost $4.99/month to upgrade :frowning:

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One issue that I have with discord is that it does not support threads, so there is a single context of the type of communication being done within this tool. So while you can always section off topics into channels, it will always be short form communication.

This means if discord is what we go with, we will have to develop a stronger culture around the longer form types of communication like this discuss, and push people to it accordingly.

This is the specialty of twist, but their notifications kinda suck (I think on purpose to unify with their branding of “not bothering you as much as slack”). The voice channels are quite nice as well for real-time office chat that doesn’t need to muddy up text channels. It certainly makes me feel more connected to the people I’m working with.

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@maciej can I get an invite? :smiley:

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My only issue with Twist is that it doesn’t have a supported Matterbridge adapter. Otherwise, it also checks all the boxes for me (native mobile app, notifications, voice.)

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+1 on Maciej’s comment.

Another angle of comparison. I’d prefer any tool for which a bridge to Status has already been set up or can be set up with minimal effort. I don’t want to risk losing contributors who managed to jump through all our hoops to find existing public channels.

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+1 for bridging to status - this is something we wanted way back when we dropped slack - using status as far as it can be used while still having a fallback for productivity in the cases where status is still under development.

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I would recommend having a collective status group in discord…atleast while status is in development. Gitter is a p.o.s imo

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Gitter’s simplicity helps me avoid distractions. Now all I care about is syntax highlighting and username mentions, not party parrots :wink:

Folks have been pinging about joining our Discord server, and looks like some teams have moved across entirely. Ping PeopleOps if you want an invite link!

So if we get you syntax highlighting and mentions you are back on Status?

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And a web interface like https://gitter.im . The GitHub repo notifications on the right sidebar are nice, but not a deal breaker.

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Follow up from this week’s townhall: please shout if you have strong opinions (either way) on opening up our discord to community members.

As per Keycard team:
#keycard channel can be opened for sure
#payment-network should remain for core contributors only

Am I right in saying that once someone is added to the Discord server they can see all the channels? So the only option to make some channels limited audience is to convert them to private and pick a distribution list?

that with stability, yes.