[ros-users] [Discourse.ros.org] [General] An instantaneous chat platform for the ROS community

Geoffrey Biggs via Discourse.ros.org ros.discourse at gmail.com
Tue Feb 12 23:47:23 UTC 2019

[quote="Mbuijs, post:6, topic:7794"]

my preference goes out to Slack due to better support for threads to have more detailed discussions. Theres no reply to functionality in Discord, which can make it very confusing when responding to something a few lines back.


One of the things about instantaneous chat is that you shouldn't need to do that too often, especially if we have multiple channels set up for major segments of ROS development. So it's not a killer need for me. I do agree that it is a very nice convenience, though.

[quote="Mbuijs, post:6, topic:7794"]

Furthermore Slack has nicer functionality for sharing blocks of code (e.g. highlighting).


Discord does support pre-formatted text (its messages are all Markdown), but as you say it doesn't go beyond that to things like syntax highlighting like Slack does.

[quote="wjwwood, post:13, topic:7794"]

One big issue was the ability to get access to historical chat records publicly via a website or some rest API, and the fact that Slack limits chat backlogs if you dont pay for it (not sure if thats still the case).


The backlogs are still locked up and it's still per user and still *really really expensive*. It's 850 yen per user per month (sorry, the website absolutely refuses to give me prices in $US), and twice that if you want features like exporting, not just keeping, your backlogs.

Actually the sheer cost of using Slack is probably the biggest thing against it, in my opinion. It's not really suitable for an open source community. Imagine if we wanted all the people signed up for this Discourse to be able to use it with full privileges: the cost would be over $400,000 per year by my rough calculation. Slack does allow for "external guests" at the paid tiers, but they need to be individually invited to each channel they are needed in. If they are given access to multiple channels, then you get billed as per a paid user for each guest. If they are given access to just a single channel, only then are they free, but you can only have 5 per paid user, so we would still need to pay a huge sum to get everyone into Slack.

[quote="clalancette, post:7, topic:7794"]

Serendipitously, I came across https://matrix.org/blog/home/ last night. It might be another option to consider.


I agree with @ruffsl. That one does look really nice. Tellingly, the iOS client is frequently updated and doesn't look like crap. The exception is support for VoIP: While the protocol provides support, only the web, Android and iOS clients provide it.


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