Hi all,

In the IRC there's been talk of making it easier to join and
contribute in the chat by setting up a bridge between the IRC channel
and another chat service. Both Slack and Discord have been mentioned
as possibilities. In the last 24 hours, I just set up a basic
functional bridge, so we know its possible, and that it works
relatively well. However, Nicholas pointed out (rightly so) that we
should proceed with caution, and ensure we get everything down pat
before we consider it finalized.

The Freenode policies (freenode.net/policies) state that to "publish
logs", we must follow several guidelines:

"If you operate a service that scrapes internal channel content or
publishes logs, always make sure to obtain permission from the channel
owner or freenode staff before you start publishing logs or other
data, and ensure that there is an easy way for projects to
opt-out later and to request removal of previously published logs or
data. You must respect the opt-out requests in a timely manner."

There appears to be no other specifics about operating bots or bridges
to other services.

So, with that being said, I understand that mwedel is the "official"
CF project manager, and Leaf is the IRC "owner". Could I get one or
both of you to weigh in with thoughts on whether this is something
that we want to do, and if so, what limitations should be imposed? In
particular, some things that should be addressed:

* Which bridge services should be acceptable
* Chat history retention time
* Either querying or notifying the "active people" on IRC to ensure they consent
* Moderation and regulating access to the Discord (will there be a
need to appoint moderators, for anti-spam or other reasons?)

Of course, input from all others is welcomed as well!

And now, my personal thoughts: I think that one of CF's greatest
problems is that of attracting and retaining new players. After all,
the bigger the community is, the more likely it is to survive, and
have active development. Currently, there are several issues that make
it more difficult for new players to pickup the game, enjoy it, and
join in the community, but one of those issues is that communication
is handled almost exclusively through ingame chat, IRC, and the
mailinglist. Unfortunately, the mailinglist web server is down, and
IRC is not a popular chat system these days, so new community members
find it difficult to engage using either of those methods. Many people
who play videogames are already familiar with other chat services, in
particular Discord, so I believe it would greatly increase the ability
for others to join if we had a bridge set up to such a service.

There are other things that I think it would help too, such as those
who do not have an IRC client running perpetually in a shell account,
or or those who would like to communicate using their smartphones
while away from their computer. For example, if my machine crashes, or
I reboot and forget to relaunch my IRC client, I may miss some hours
of discussions in chat, but with a service like Discord, I can access
it from any device, and simply scrollback to see what I missed.

There are certainly valid objections to be made, and so I would like
to hear what everyone has to say. One of the biggest items is that of
privacy, and rightly so. From my perspective, Discord as a company is
minimally different from that of Freenode, I have to trust them to
keep my chat history private, and to "not be evil". Some people may
take offense at Discord's desktop app being a bloated Electron-style
system, but remember, they also have mobile apps and a web interface
as well. And besides, for those who prefer IRC, this is merely a
bridge, not a replacement. Another common objection is that of stored
history; IRC traditionally has the feeling of being rather ephemeral.
I personally enjoy having all the scrollback on tap (and searchable),
possibly more so because I never really assume privacy on the internet
anyway. However, if the amount of material contained in the scrollback
becomes a problem, then there are certainly some solutions available,
depending on what chat platform we would be integrating with.


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