OpenSearch Chat?

Although Github and this forum are wonderful, it would be great to have a chat room/platform. Preferably on Slack or Discord (please no Gitter). Any thoughts on this to make communication more async?


i’m maybe very old-school, but what about IRC? freenode offers free hosting of channels (see also their wikipedia page). there’s also a webclient (and of course a ton of 3rd party web clients) for those who don’t want to use a real client.

EDIT: just realised that some bad stuff has happened over at freenode, seems that Libera Chat (wikipedia) is the new place to be :frowning:


Not very active and not “official” Slack workspace but it is something.

As adopted also by Rocky Linux, I find Mattermost as a good open-source solution.

Can’t seem to sign up for the Slack. I tried to use this link. Sign up for a new account | Slack and it seems to require an email address which I do not have.

Mattermost is pretty dated/difficult to use, but I understand it’s open source :slight_smile:

This link might work to join the Slack org, but it’s not very active: Slack

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Let me ask you this:

What does a sync chat (discord/slack/etc.) concretely give you that a forum does not?
[Context: this was brought up previously - I couldn’t answer that question honestly]

Properly managing a sync chat can be a bear according to some of my colleagues at other organizations (CoC issues can get out of control extremely quickly, etc.) but that shouldn’t sway what folks want/need maybe just how we do it.

To me, the ability to chat directly with members of the community and get questions answered quickly is an advantage of a sync chat. Discussions are best held at a forum / community meeting (as long as the meeting is recorded and made available).

Slack is more inviting and better for making connections - I am here adding a comment in a forum which is akin to getting into the center of the market and telling all what I think about this subject. Many members of the community don’t feel comfortable (sometimes on a grammatical level) to communicate a message to everyone (like stage fright i guess?).

To top it off, in this forum there are (I hope) many readers who remain completely anonymous while at slack you are listed as a member and can be contacted by other members - therefore you are a more active member:)

I think both this forum and a sync chat are important and both should exist for a healthy discourse.

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@amitai OK. Good feedback - to summarize slack/chat gives you answers more rapidly and is more… casual? (messing up a slack message is not a big deal but a forum post is?)

I’m not sure I understand the difference in anonymity - you don’t have to sign up with a real name on Slack/Discord/etc - unless I’m missing something.

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By anonymity I meant that in slack you may be using an alias yet you are approachable whereas here any number of people may be reading without committing to the possibility of a two way conversation.

Users like to have ways to interact in real-time. We have a lot of users asking questions on Slack in other projects I work on. Many of them will use issues, but it’s more intimidating to post on GitHub than ask in a Slack.

If we have bigger issues to discuss it should be deferred to the community meeting. I think we need to make these more open and accessible. For the CNCF projects I work on (OpenTelemetry and Jaeger) there is a publicly editable google document which contains agenda, meeting minutes, and attendees.

Anyone can put something on the agenda for us to discuss, normally with some references and context. The recordings are also all public as we connect zoom up to YouTube: (2) OpenTelemetry - YouTube

Lets make some changes and be more open!

There is also the convenience of the Slack app. The UX of most forums on a mobile device is not very high, and is much better with the Slack app. I am currently a member of 17 different Slack Orgs/Communities, yet they are all easily accessible in a single app that is on my phone, tablet and laptop. I have Slack open 24x7. I will visit the forum much less often. So I would vote for a Slack community.

the asynchronicity of the forum allows for communication over different time zones and for potentially more people to chime in on a specific topic.
a live chat is a lot more fast-lived: if you are not looking into it for a few hours you’ll just have missed what happened then (ok, there are also those chats with only 5 messages a day - but then they’re pointless anyway). so far i always used such chats (mainly IRC) in a private setting where i would just “hang out” in the chat all evening long (having it open on one screen) while doing other stuff on the main screen.
i will definitely not be doing this for opensearch - this is a pure work-topic for me (i’m active here because i need opensearch for the products we’re building, i can imagine other things for my free time than doing the same thing i already do the whole day :slight_smile:). and at work i need to be able to focus - which isn’t possibly if you constantly have a chat open on another screen (it’s already annoying enough with all the MS Teams & email notifications which are work related).

i already now have pinned the forum in my browser and configured it to show me with an icon the amount of unread posts (limited to the opensearch category), so i can jump back here fairly fast if something has been posted (to check if it’s relevant for me and maybe directly read it) - but i don’t have to do so right away since things aren’t lost here.

so i’m kind-of re-considering whether i’d want a chat for opensearch and might end up with saying “no”. or at least “no” for actual discussions, etc (these would always exclude everyone who doesn’t have time at that specific moment / wasn’t around just then). an informal chat for trash-talking, hanging out and the occasional off-topic question about opensearch: i can see the point for that but wouldn’t know when i’d join (not during my free time but probably also not often during work time).

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This is all good stuff - keep it coming.

OK, I spoke to colleagues in other projects – and got some other feedback about this issue.
First of all, I changed my mind and prefer we steer clear of sync chats. The reasons for this are:

  • ​Questions on sync chat tend to get lost easily (slack is notorious for this) and there is a high chance they remain unanswered.
  • People think harder about what they ask and write in this forum than in a sync chat
  • Maintainers would have to be going over this chat constantly to answer questions otherwise there could be frustration from the community for being “ignored”.

I believe the maintainers of this project are communicating via chime or email, regarding this project, making decisions in the fastest and most comfortable medium available to them.

What I would like to see is the communication moving out into the open, on a channel dedicated to maintainers discussions only (non maintainers would be encouraged not to participate in these forums except viewing them). Other OSS projects state that anything and everything must go through the mailing lists: the email model is not the most comfortable but the idea of making any and all decisions out in the open is what sets real open source projects apart from the not so open ones we all grew to dislike.
I don’t think we will reach such a model overnight but we could start by drafting the requirements for such a model.

Perhaps I went off topic, but basically the need for a chat stemmed, for me, from the need for better communication. To me, this proposition solves that need.


@amitai Thanks for the thoughtful response. I (personally) agree with nearly every point you’ve made.

Internally, we do have an Amazon slack and conference calls on development but there has been a concerted effort to move these discussions and decisions to the public as much as possible. I’m pretty sure people get annoyed with me as I keep saying “we should ask the community” or “this should not be on an internal slack, please take it to the forum or github.”

There are certainly topics that don’t belong in public (stuff like keys/signing, support infrastructure, legal requirements, etc.) but the vast majority of topics should default open in an ideal world. Realistically, I don’t imagine 100% of conversations occurring in the open, but I definitely see the Amazon team bending in the direction of more open communication. It won’t come overnight, but there is an alignment inside and out that open communication is the trajectory.

I think it might be healthy to draft a framework for what/where should be outwardly communicated. I love to hear thoughts on this.