Marxism-Fennekinism
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It’s really hard to search for or browse past topics when it’s one stream of messages. Also really hard to follow up on past topics with more discussion later on or have two groups discussing two different topics simultaneously.

@OptimusPrime@lemmy.ml
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Please don’t use Discord for FOSS projects

Six years ago, I wrote a post speaking out against the use of Slack for the instant messaging needs of FOSS projects. In retrospect, this article is not very good, and in the years since, another proprietary chat fad has stepped up to bat: Discord. It’s time to revisit this discussion.

In short, using Discord for your free software/open source (FOSS) software project is a very bad idea. Free software matters — that’s why you’re writing it, after all. Using Discord partitions your community on either side of a walled garden, with one side that’s willing to use the proprietary Discord client, and one side that isn’t. It sets up users who are passionate about free software — i.e. your most passionate contributors or potential contributors — as second-class citizens.

By choosing Discord, you also lock out users with accessibility needs, for whom the proprietary Discord client is often a nightmare to use.1 Users who cannot afford new enough hardware to make the resource-intensive client pleasant to use are also left by the wayside. Choosing Discord is a choice that excludes poor and disabled users from your community. Users of novel or unusual operating systems or devices (i.e. innovators and early adopters) are also locked out of the client until Discord sees fit to port it to their platform. Discord also declines service to users in countries under US sanctions, such as Iran. Privacy-concious users will think twice before using Discord to participate in your project, or will be denied outright if they rely on Tor or VPNs. All of these groups are excluded from your community.

These problems are driven by a conflict of interest between you and Discord. Ownership over your chat logs, the right to set up useful bots, or to moderate your project’s space according to your discretion; all of these are rights reserved by Discord and denied to you. The FOSS community, including users with accessibility needs or low-end computing devices, are unable to work together to innovate on the proprietary client, or to build improved clients which better suit their needs, because Discord insists on total control over the experience. Discord seeks to domesticate its users, where FOSS treats users as peers and collaborators. These ideologies are fundamentally in conflict with one another.

You are making an investment when you choose to use one service over another. When you choose Discord, you are legitimizing their platform and divesting from FOSS platforms. Even if you think they have a bigger reach and a bigger audience,2 choosing them is a short-term, individualist play which signals a lack of faith in and support for the long-term goals of the FOSS ecosystem as a whole. The FOSS ecosystem needs your investment. FOSS platforms generally don’t have access to venture capital or large marketing budgets, and are less willing to use dark patterns and predatory tactics to secure their market segment. They need your support to succeed, and you need theirs. Why should someone choose to use your FOSS project when you refused to choose theirs? Solidarity and mutual support is the key to success.

There are great FOSS alternatives to Discord or Slack. SourceHut has been investing in IRC by building more accessible services like chat.sr.ht. Other great options include Matrix and Zulip. Please consider these services before you reach for their proprietary competitors.

Perceptive readers might have noticed that most of these arguments can be generalized. This article is much the same if we replace “Discord” with “GitHub”, for instance, or “Twitter” or “YouTube”. If your project depends on proprietary infrastructure, I want you to have a serious discussion with your collaborators about why. What do your choices mean for the long-term success of your project and the ecosystem in which it resides? Are you making smart investments, or just using tools which are popular or that you’re already used to?

If you use GitHub, consider SourceHut3 or Codeberg. If you use Twitter, consider Mastodon instead. If you use YouTube, try PeerTube. If you use Facebook… don’t.

Your choices matter. Choose wisely.

— Drew Devault

@OptimusPrime@lemmy.ml
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Discord is a black hole for information.

There are a wide variety of open source projects especially in the game dev community that use Discord as their end all be all for communication and to disseminate information. The problem with this is that 99% of the conversations that take place in Discord are missed. So many solutions to so many problems are just swept away in a never ending cascade of chat messages which remain undocumented elsewhere. Joining Discord servers is god damn nightmare, for whatever reason server admins just love to split the community across what feels like hundreds of unnecessary channels no one will ever use or look at. Explaining your problem in the help channel is ignored.

Discord was great when it came, it really saved those of us who couldn’t afford a VOIP server from Skype. Now, people have replaced their ENTIRE FORUM with it, and their forum where information is easily consumed is practically abandoned.

Cortez

@OptimusPrime@lemmy.ml
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Chats like Discord or Matrix can be considered a black hole for information because it is a closed platform, meaning that the majority of the content and conversations that take place on it are not easily searchable or accessible by those who are not members of the specific server or group. Additionally, there is no central repository or index of information, making it difficult to find specific information or conversations that have occurred in the past. Additionally, with the vast amount of conversations, communities, and servers on the platform, it can be easy for important or valuable information to get lost or buried among other content, making it difficult for users to find or access.

This isn’t really a proper open-ended question that would spark larger discussion.

@OptimusPrime@lemmy.ml
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How could I phrase it to broaden the scope?

Why FOSS projects shouldn’t use chats as their main platform for Q&A?

A loosely moderated place to ask open ended questions

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