Re: freenode vs. minichat

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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#1 by surio » 21 Apr 2013, 15:53

I know there was one suggestion in the past on this forums, so let me bring this up again.

Why are we not having an IRC channel on freenode? Is it not more convenient? Last I checked it's virtually zero-effort to set one up.

We can use some embedded irc client in place of minichat too?

Plus, I can use emacs or chatzilla, which is much better than the current set up for scrolling old replies, or for maintaining a log of the troubleshooting. It also provides an excellent overview of who's online etc..

So, for all these practical reasons, I propose we go with other distros and set up a IRC page #porteus for ourselves.

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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#2 by Hamza » 21 Apr 2013, 16:24

No.
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#3 by surio » 21 Apr 2013, 16:35

That was clear, succinct, and to the point.

If you don't mind my asking, why not?
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#4 by Hamza » 21 Apr 2013, 20:44

I would accept to open an IRC for advanced users but no way to disable mchat.

What about to windows users who comes on the forum and what happen if they doesn't know IRC or can't/won't use it?
We can use some embedded irc client in place of minichat too?
No.
Last I checked it's virtually zero-effort to set one up.
You don't know what is needed to run this and what security we must put. What about users which could access to ports 80 and 443 only ?


BTW, #porteus is already taken by someone.
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#5 by wread » 21 Apr 2013, 21:25

What is IRC and how does it work compared to mini-chat?
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#6 by surio » 22 Apr 2013, 13:32

Hamza and others:

Sorry. I was typing for all questions and my own thoughts, so it got a little long.

In order to use the mini-chat, I have to register myself in the forums. This imho, is an unnecessary step and pointless. Most people who register don't always participate in the forums. They simply want to solve the problem they are facing and just use the distro. Using my own case, I have never registered in *any* of the ubuntu forums, but I have managed to solve all the problems by using the IRC channel and a temporary nickname.

If I compare the workflow between using the mini-chat and webIRC, webIRC wins hands down. Unlike the forum signup (which is needed for chatting), for freenode, there is no sign-up, email/account verification, and many workplaces ban the access of third party emails in workplace -- which people use for such forums.

In web IRC, I can use a throwaway name "phantom", "fixedman", etc... fill a captcha, use the channel name, and I am already in and talking! http://webchat.freenode.net/ Beat that in terms of simplicity.

Regarding effort and security,

EFFORT: freenode handles the backbone of the operations, namely the channel servers and the nickname servers. All maintenance and software upgrades are done in that end. We simply embed the FOSS borowser plugin called "qwebIRC" which actually uses port 80 as per the documentation (http://qwebirc.org/). Already we have an embedded chat, and this is just as embedded.

SECURITY: I don't know what your concerns are, but all channels that I participate in have FOSS channel bot/bots configured for security. If someone trolls, floods or tried to spam the channel, the bots automatically kick them out and ban them from re-entering. No effort from our side. I've seen this happen in ubuntu channel. A few warnings, then the bots botted them out!
Internet Relay Chat bot
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/IRC/Bots
https://launchpad.net/ubuntu-bots

Pick one, configure it for our channel, and that's it... forget about it:
Comparison of Internet Relay Chat bots

Now, we come to the actual usage:

1. In IRC, the moment I log in, I can see how many users are (not) logged in, and if I can type something in the first place. By contrast, the minichat is like pot-luck for me. On every occasion, I type a hello, and just hang around, hoping to get lucky. Honestly, the mini-chat on porteus feels like a big step backwards once you have used the web/IRC interactive help a few times.
2. In IRC, the chat log is so much more easy to follow, it is not as limited as our mini-chat (only 10 chat lines are displayed). It is easy to copy the log, it is easy on the eyes (plain text is always easy on the eye than funny HTML embedding).
3. Chat command history for IRC is much much longer. Runs to 1000s of lines instead of just 10 lines. It is so easy to keep a copy of the log, once your problem is solved, for future reference.
4. We can keep track of multiple conversations more easily in the IRC windows
5. Easy to hold team meetings and work collaboration (coding hackathlons) in a much better way. I attended one such meeting recently, and it was a very good experience... voting, internal dialogue, everything is just one switch: +m, +i, etc.
6. Believe it or not, IRC will foster more people to hang around, to chat with each other, to just stay and help anyone that drops in, etc. I have seen this in many channels: ubuntu, vim, emacs, crunchbang, fuduntu, linuxdistrocommunity, rescatux, etc. Some of these IRC channels even helped me in stting up FileZilla, rsync, etc.

Please don't take my word for it. I urge you to drop into one of these forums yourself and check out the turnaround time, and the rapid, multiple problem solving that takes place.


#porteus is not taken by anyone. I think thee previous guy that suggested IRC already created it on behalf of us.
Here's the original link: viewtopic.php?f=48&t=94&p=5024&hilit=IR ... chat#p5024
If you or one of the mods got in touch with freenode admins, they'll simply transfer the ownership to you, as you have the clear name of the distro going for you. Even if you didn't get porteus, it's not the end of the world. We can register ourselves as #porteus-slax and move on.

Anyway, this is getting rather long. It's for you all to decide. I can help you with somethings if you want me to. I will summarise:

1. We got a great distro and a great community also. Moving to IRC streamlines us with the other mature distros that offer the IRC as a quick and easy support platform!
2. Switching to IRC is probably less effort than maintaining a large user database who have to register before using the chat for help. Remember, webIRC is anonymous, CAPTCHA quick, and BOT monitored.
3. Just like the mini chat is some embeddable PHP plugin, the qwebirc is a FOSS plugin. Fit it, forget it. For the advanced users, there's always Pidgin or Chatzilla.
4. All the server load for the chatting users is maintained by freenode, so it's all out of our hands, one less hassle, that is. They are FOSS too.

Personally, I believe that this move will align us with a lot of other popular distros.

P.S: I will probably edit this as and when needed.
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#7 by Hamza » 22 Apr 2013, 13:44

Still no for me.
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#8 by surio » 22 Apr 2013, 15:01

Hamza wrote:Still no for me.
Even if you didn't get porteus, it's not the end of the world. We can register ourselves as #porteus-slax and move on.
Ah the beauty of internet forums. :o You are using a tentative and throwaway remark from me, as the perfect excuse to not take this conversation forward. :roll:

I did not say that porteus-slax should be the name. I simply used a variation of the porteus name as an example. Since the wikipedia page itself mentions porteus started out as Slax Remix, I used that "slax" as a placeholder. If it will please you, how about using #porteus-linux then? Besides, did you read the full para? I told you clearly that the "porteus" channel name was registered by a forum member for our usage, nearly 2.5 years ago (I gave the link also) You are just using this as a convenient excuse for not wanting to have a discussion, :)

Given how much pain I took in composing my thoughts rationally for everyone's benefit, I would have appreciated a more rationally worded reply from you. I mean it in a nice way. :) Sorry if I offended you again.

Now, Please tell me, other than the non-sequiter issue of the "possible name" for the channel (for all you know, one email to freenode admins will revert the name back to us!), what else do you want more discussion on?

Thanks,
S.
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#9 by brokenman » 22 Apr 2013, 20:12

This imho, is an unnecessary step and pointless.
On the contrary It is certainly necessary and far from pointless. Think spambots or dickheads with abusive comments.

Most people who register don't always participate in the forums. They simply want to solve the problem they are facing and just use the distro.
No problem. They can do this even without registering. If they want to participate, then they need to register.

1. In IRC, the moment I log in, I can see how many users are (not) logged in.
You can see this at the bottom of the mchat window too

2. In IRC, the chat log is so much more easy to follow, it is not as limited as our mini-chat (only 10 chat lines are displayed).
The chat has a history which you can view.

3. Chat command history for IRC is much much longer. Runs to 1000s of lines instead of just 10 lines.
In both cases the history would be purged regularly if serverside.


4. We can keep track of multiple conversations more easily in the IRC windows
Yes. Most definitely.

5. Easy to hold team meetings and work collaboration (coding hackathlons) in a much better way.
Big plus

6. Believe it or not, IRC will foster more people to hang around, to chat with each other, to just stay and help anyone that drops in, etc.
Perhaps this is true. Either way one needs to log in somewhere and stay logged in to offer help. This is attainable in both mchat and IRC.

If I compare the workflow between using the mini-chat and webIRC, webIRC wins hands down.
No doubt about it.

I have used irc since its inception and am very comfortable using it. This is a matter of taste i guess. I like the simplicity of mchat and it's integration into the forum. We could start an irc channel if there is a community interest in it. People enjoy having a choice. Let's see how interested the community is in it.
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#10 by rayyu » 23 Apr 2013, 01:08

(hello. random input by new member)

I've tried IRCs before and have personally found them convoluted. The chat on the forum is nice, it's casual and easy to use.
Though IRC channels seem to be really popular for developers xD If there's an IRC, I probably won't be dropping in. Though maybe it'd be confusing for the developers, to have both IRC and minichat, because they'd be dividing themselves between two chat places. I dunno, personally I don't see the appeal in IRC, but then again I've never used one extensively.

I like that you have to register to use minichat. In IRC, anyone can pop in and say abusive things (I've seen it happen) and then leave. I don't know what the system for banning in IRC is, though. But a troll or an asshole is less likely to make the effort to register just to be a jerk over minichat.

Then again, there's a reason why IRCs have been in popular use for such a long time =)

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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#11 by Hamza » 23 Apr 2013, 10:55

I do apologize for my sentence about Slax. I had to remove the sentences to not offend future readers.

Once again, I do apologize.
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#12 by wread » 23 Apr 2013, 12:15

I have little experience with that kind of stuff, but say, did you hear about "Padre" in Slax forums?
This participant came (and comes?) repeatedly mostly with cynic observations of very bad taste. We would prefer to keep those users away from this forum, I mean..... :evil:
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#13 by surio » 23 Apr 2013, 14:40

@brokenman,
Thanks for engaging me in discussion. :good: :)
brokenman wrote:This imho, is an unnecessary step and pointless.
On the contrary It is certainly necessary and far from pointless. Think spambots or dickheads with abusive comments.
Firstly, I fully sympathise with how much of a problem spammers and spam bots are. A friend of mine runs a investing and simple living forum, and spammers would actually create accounts and deface our painstakingly created wiki pages with viagra ads, hand bags and other such silly nonsense and post threads for crap. When we moderated more aggressively, they sent the spam bots which actually brought the server completely down! We are now behind cloudflare, and things are still bad. So, a registration mechanism is absolutely necessary on the face of it. In fact, in the fuduntu distro forums, there is an additional step where you must write an intro post after registration and validation! :shock: Only then the moderators will unlock you. So, please do not misunderstand me, I am not arguing against the registration in general.

Now I want clarify and to clear up this point as to what was the "unnecessary step" n my explanation. Let me make you read that remark from the context of my full para. Let me quote my lines again.
surio wrote:Using my own case, I have never registered in *any* of the ubuntu forums, but I have managed to solve all the problems by using the IRC channel and a temporary nickname.
From that context, what I wanted to communicate was that IRC will facilitates solving issues within the porteus distro without having to explicitly creating a login. In fact this is what I am implicating in the next line below....
brokenman wrote: Most people who register don't always participate in the forums. They simply want to solve the problem they are facing and just use the distro.
No problem. They can do this even without registering. If they want to participate, then they need to register.
From the above para, we can see that because the of the login mechanism tied to even the chat also, people will create a login to participate in chat/forums, but may not return regularly after the issue was resolved. But, we are left to maintain a bigger and bigger user database with many, many one-off users. OTOH, if there is simply the IRC, users that are only interested in resolving that particulat issue at that particular point, will simply create a one-time nickname, login to the webIRC with the CAPTCHA, and get the issues resolved. Our user database overhead also flattens out.
brokenman wrote: 1. In IRC, the moment I log in, I can see how many users are (not) logged in.
You can see this at the bottom of the mchat window too
Our user count is based on past activity, and not "real-time". So, sometimes I see that "2 users are chatting" on the bottom and start typing, but since that was based on 30-mis ago, it is not valid anymore, and I am sitting there feeling foolish, typing repeatedly "anybody home", "yoo hoo", "hello", etc. And then, you have to just hang out there hoping that someone will see your message on the other end. I am not saying IRC is vastly different, but the feedback with IRC on whether there are other users, is more instantaneous than our mChat. You just have to look on your left/right of the IRC window to see the total number of logged users at any given point ;)
brokenman wrote: 2. In IRC, the chat log is so much more easy to follow, it is not as limited as our mini-chat (only 10 chat lines are displayed).
The chat has a history which you can view.

3. Chat command history for IRC is much much longer. Runs to 1000s of lines instead of just 10 lines.
In both cases the history would be purged regularly if serverside.
If there is such an option, I was not aware of it, (Found it now: Archive button and I can view up to 170 messages only, that too staggered across multiple pages). Now contrast this with IRC, where I can view real-time chat messages for 100s of lines at a stretch, at the same time, at least before the freenode server clears it.

brokenman wrote: 6. Believe it or not, IRC will foster more people to hang around, to chat with each other, to just stay and help anyone that drops in, etc.
Perhaps this is true. Either way one needs to log in somewhere and stay logged in to offer help. This is attainable in both mchat and IRC.
The forum login logs me off on non-activity more quickly. In IRC unless I log off, I am always signed in on a chat session.
brokenman wrote:I have used irc since its inception and am very comfortable using it. This is a matter of taste i guess. I like the simplicity of mchat and it's integration into the forum. We could start an irc channel if there is a community interest in it. People enjoy having a choice. Let's see how interested the community is in it.
Compared to you, I am actually an IRC newbie! ;) I have only started with IRC since I started participating in FOSS as a user that wants to take help and give help back. But everytime I use our chat I can see that IRC will be a much better user experience over the mChat experience. No doubt, I use the chat, and I am also comfortable with our flow, but why restrict ourselves when there is another (and in my view, better) alternative that is just as easy, out there.

Regarding integration into the forums: as I mentioned before, the qwebIRC plugin will be just the same as the mChat, and comes with much more advantages:
1. freenode takes care of the user load,
2. multi-tasking of user queries,
3. ad-hoc team meetings,
4. a much more longer real-time chat log,
5. easy to scroll and to follow all the plain-text chat messages, etc., etc.

Of course, we cannot have both mChat and IRC, as that would be an absolute pain for the mods and users. One possible way is to get in touch with freenode admins and get the porteus channel registered to one of the forum mods. And roll out the IRC web plugin mode for a short trial. If things go well, we can continue with it. If not, I am happy to fall in with the majority's verdict and happily use the mChat along with the rest :)

@hamza,
np.

@rayyu,
A determined spammer/troll is not deterred by any mechanism, to be sure. See my earlier paras above. However, as you note, the users that abuse in channels don't log in, heap abuse, and then disappear, they are actually kicked out by the channel bots, and banned by the bots (combination of IP and user names) from relogging.... IRC is pretty effective once the rules are configured for the bots -- it's all automatic.
Last edited by surio on 23 Apr 2013, 15:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#14 by Hamza » 23 Apr 2013, 14:45

The forum login logs me off on non-activity more quickly. In IRC unless I log off, I am always signed in on a chat session.
That is my fault and my decision. The system is based on a time out you can see below the mchat. I could leave anyone logged in for the life :P
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Re: freenode vs. minichat

Post#15 by surio » 23 Apr 2013, 15:37

Hamza wrote: That is my fault and my decision. The system is based on a time out you can see below the mchat.
No, I don't think it is a fault. All forums must log people off on inactivity. Good call :) The thing is, we are clubbing two things on one login -- chat and forum posting, and therefore, correct behaviour on one ends up as funny behaviour on the other. If chat is decoupled from the forums, the forums auto log off is in my view, *correct* behaviour. ;)
Hamza wrote: I could leave anyone logged in for the life
Please, don't do that. please. :)
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