Thinking about switching from Telegram to Matrix as mainchannel

As this project is about open source and privacy, i suggest switching from Telegram to Matrix as main-communication-channel. The best client right now is https://element.io/ . Everything is open source, protocol, server software and client software, unlike Telegram.

The advantages as i see it:

  1. Group rooms together in a community (already one created https://matrix.to/#/#anytype:matrix.org) - the current only active room is https://matrix.to/#/#AnyType:matrix.org
  2. It is possible to set a space to “Just invite” (for dev-channel, for example)
  3. Threads are already in beta and will be available soon (usefull later with more poeple in rooms)
  4. Group-Videocalls are currently via Jitsi, but it is going to be implemented native without jitsi currently
  5. Bridging to other channels (irc bridge, slack bridge natively implemented; Telegram bridge, discord bridge for example available, own server or third party needed currently)
  6. RSS feed to “News & Announcements” added to the channel
  7. Completely open source, not just partially

On the opposite i don’t see a real disadvantage beside team-members having to switch their preferred messaging app. (But, i’ll be honest, i don’t use Telegram, so maybe i’m missing something here as well :slight_smile: )

Maybe this can spark a discussion about this stuff in general. (Or, it will end with an “No, we won’t switch.” and i thats fine as well :slight_smile: ) Or maybe there are others who already are on Matrix and want to join as well. Would love to hear other opinions about this.

(As far as i’m aware, you guys know about this already as Ender is in the room (inactive, but i made him Admin), as well as div3xi (who left?)

Best regards

16 Likes

I stand behind this proposal 100%. If Anytype truly aims to realize the super long-term vision they’ve propounded repeatedly, I believe consistency dictates we contemporaneously invest in tools that similarly seek to enable greater user freedom—even if this means utilizing a product missing some key features or lacking the stability of services provided by more established, but less privacy-concerned, for-profit companies, a trade-off many of us are all too familiar with.

Having said this, Element, the client I’m guessing most Anytypers will use, is fairly streamlined at this point, substantially more than it has been in previous years. However, it’s not yet the messaging app flagship experience people have grown accustomed to.

There’s lots of work to be done and rough edges to be smoothed out for sure, but, like that niche Anytype feature request you desperately need implemented (and, to be honest, likely won’t see the light for years to come—looking at you, Vim keybindings, modes, and commands), this will be cured with time. We’re already swinging for the fences, so let’s make sure we follow through.

There actually already exists an official Anytype Matrix Space (created by Enda). You can find it here: You're invited to talk on Matrix

Btw, I think it would be nice if the unofficial chat you linked (https://matrix.to/#/#anytype:matrix.org) could donate its public address (#anytype:matrix.org) to the one created by Enda.

6 Likes

+1. Telegram and discord are certainly much more popular and it is indeed easier to reach a wider audience with those platforms than with Matrix. But Matrix is much more aligned with Anytype principle’s in that it is open sourced, decentralised and privacy respecting.

Making matrix the main channel with bridges to Telegram and discord is as trivial as setting up a bot and no one has to migrate to matrix and can continue to use their favorite apps to communicate with the team members and community. It would also be much easier to manage the community since all announcements and releases has to be posted only in one platform (Matrix ideally :sweat_smile:) and the bridge would take care of posting the same in the other platforms.

Anytype using Matrix as the main channel would also help in promoting Matrix a bit and thereby making people aware of the privacy respecting alternatives and getting them to use such apps

Using a bridge linking various platforms also gives the freedom of choice back to the users so that they can use their favorite apps and not miss an update from the team. Currently, the iOS developers are only available in discord and android developers are mostly active in the telegram group. Having a bridge would remove such problems as well

The team could start bridging the discord announcements channel with a separate room in the anytype space for starters and check how it goes from there :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

The feedback form has been completely replaced with the forum. The team is working on self onboarding to replace Zoom. It would be great if the team looked into the possibilities of mangaing the community through Matrix as well.

Element has most features one would want from telegram and discord. It is much more in feature parity with discord than telegram in that it has message reactions, spaces etc

+1 to this as well

5 Likes

There actually already exists an official Anytype Matrix Space (created by Enda). You can find it here: You’re invited to talk on Matrix

Btw, I think it would be nice if the unofficial chat you linked (https://matrix.to/#/#anytype:matrix.org) could donate its public address (#anytype:matrix.org) to the one created by Enda.

I’m utterly stumped neither Enda nor div3xi mentioned this fact at all. I was not able to find any room about AnyType, thats way i created it and as soon as spaces were available, i created that as well.
And, i made the rooms public available.

It’s also important to mention that it’s quite easy to sign up for Element (you can simply use a temporary mail service) in contrast to Discord, which has a possibility to ask for a phone number, and Telegram, which you cannot sign up for without a phone number.

5 Likes

I fully second this request. I do not use Discord and I do not want to start using it just to follow Anytype alpha testers discussions. Matrix is becoming more and more used, instead, and I would love to have main conversations there.

6 Likes

Agreed. It would probably be best to be on Matrix.

4 Likes

+1
I would love to see the switch to matrix happen.

2 Likes

I don’t use Telegram, but I can support the shift to Matrix. I’m using Element app for matrix on a daily basis and it’s very stable and matrix is quite widely used in open-source communities.

6 Likes

If i get mod-rights in the ‘old’ rooms i could set up a tombstone event so everybody gets redirected to the new rooms, even if someone joins the old room-id mentioned above. I’m in both rooms (General & Random) @endac (your in there with the user “@eannac:matrix.org”). I pinged you in both.

I set up a RSS-Bot to get the news with new posts from the forum (for example Anytype Android 0.6.0 released got posted automatically)

If someone from the Telegram-side is willing to work with me, i could set up a bridge to the telegram-channel as well.

In other news: Now in Beta in Element are threaded messages. As far as i know, its currently 1 level and its beneficial if everybody has enabled it, otherwise its possible to get confused about some stuff.

2 Likes

I’m going to respond here with my personal perspective. Keep in mind this does not reflect any official stance of the Anytype organization or staff.

Matrix is cool and interesting and certainly in alignment with Anytype’s expressed principles of openness, privacy, self-hosting, etc, etc. But Anytype is also a business, and as a platform the relatively small reach and low adoption of Matrix is problematic to be considered as a “main” channel. Yes, you can bridge in other platforms, but the actual experience of that is suboptimal from what I’ve seen so far. Alignment on ideals is definitely not the only criteria that should be considered in adopting an “official” communications channel.

There is a lot to consider in the long-term, but to put it plainly, I think Anytype should adopt Discourse’s in-development integrated live chat in the short-term, and I suspect that in the longer-term Anytype itself may become a capable enough communications tool to have some form of “community” within it. Using Discourse for now has the following advantages:

  • All official community can exist in one place (here)
    • Same user account and same user info can access chat and forums
    • Chat messages can easily be turned into official feature requests or bug reports by moderators and staff (unique Discourse chat feature)
    • Fewer channels to maintain and monitor for staff means better and more consistent support for all
    • Focusing community here means it’s easier for people to find existing info and past discussions that may relate to their needs and questions
  • Discourse is self-hosted and private
  • Discourse supports a wide range of SSO/linked login protocols, including Google, Twitter, Facebook, and others, while still maintaining privacy and self-hosting
    • So, although signing up for an account is in some sense a requirement, it is so easy to do so if you have an existing account with any supported service,
    • In this way the practical barrier to entry is much lower than Matrix, where SSO options are more limited and more difficult to setup, or almost any other system, including Telegram and Discord, both of which require unique account signups with a 3rd party with their own data policy, etc
  • Discourse organizational and moderation tools are second-to-none in this space
    • Out-of-the-box “Trust Levels” and other tools and systems make Discourse better at handling spam
    • Categories + tags, along with a wide range of other plugins, allow for a much richer and more well-organized community experience

In short, with the recent introduction of live chat, Discourse now has almost all the advantages of Matrix and other platforms, with few or none of the drawbacks. The actual user experience will differ, and absolutely some will prefer interacting with Discord, or Matrix, or Telegram, or whatever. But there is no single platform the entire community would likely agree is preferable in terms of UX. As long as Discourse + integrated chat is a “good enough” experience (and I believe it will be), then the platform decision can and must be made on other criteria.

Anytype needs to focus on tools and platforms that do the best job of balancing its principles as a company, and its very real need for broad visibility and ease of adoption. Putting any unnecessary barriers in the way of participating in the Anytype community (or at least in the official outlet(s) of that community) will be likely to relegate Anytype to a more obscure and poorly adopted position than it otherwise would be able to achieve. Although the core of Anytype’s current user base definitely values highly the aforementioned principles (security, privacy, etc.), for true long-term success I think it will need to appeal to people beyond that core group of passionate people. And greater reach and success for Anytype will be good for every one of its users, too. It will mean better and faster development, more interoperability with other tools and services we all use, etc.

This is a classic tension of open source and other non-commercial businesses, and I think many organizations have failed in good part because they were unwilling or unable to make the appropriate and well-considered compromises to balance openness with accessibility.

Personally I don’t think what Anytype needs is more communications channels. In fact I rather think what it needs is less, at least from an official standpoint. The Discord should probably be maintained as it’s quite a common platform to use for software tools these days, and although many people still don’t have Discord accounts, many in the PKM space do, whether because of participating in the hugely popular Obsidian server, or Notion, or others. Telegram is much less of a cohesive PKM space, and along with its variety of other organizational and moderation challenges, makes me feel strongly like it should be dropped ASAP. Its adoption compared to some other platforms is also limited. Likewise with Discord, although it’s a much better organizational and user experience than Telegram, it still has limited adoption compared to the combined user base of Google + Github + Twitter + Facebook and more (all of which are methods you can use to login to a Discourse account). Discourse + login integration clearly wins here in terms of accessibility.

I am hopeful that Discourse Chat will be available for people to experiment with here soon.

P.S. I can also imagine that in the further future Anytype itself might have a plugin or even core support for Matrix! That would be a great feature, and I think that would be the better way to help support and popularize Matrix, by implementing it directly. Anytype choosing Matrix as a primary community platform right now would likely not “move the needle” on its overall popularity, but could have the opposite effect on Anytype’s own success at this critical stage of early adoption.

9 Likes

Do you know where I can learn more about the new Discourse live chat integration? I’ve tried googling it, but I only found third-party plugins.

Thanks for your response @Oshyan

But Anytype is also a business, and as a platform the relatively small reach and low adoption of Matrix is problematic to be considered as a “main” channel.

Various corporations, businesses or organisations way bigger than AnyType are using Matrix already.

Yes, you can bridge in other platforms, but the actual experience of that is suboptimal from what I’ve seen so far.

It’s working great in all the channels i’m in (i’m mod and admin in multiple channels and spaces as well). I’ve seen IRC, Gitter, Github, Discord and Telegram bridges, sometimes at the same time.

I think Anytype should adopt Discourse’s in-development integrated live chat in the short-term

Disagree. Its currently experiemental and i can not find anything about that anywhere on their website. Just the github (https://github.com/discourse/discourse-chat) and and another official discourse-chat-integration (https://github.com/discourse/discourse-chat-integration) - for matrix, i might add.

All official community can exist in one place (here)

You raise some interesting questions, but still, why using Twitter or Facebook at the same time? Its okay to use various channels but they should be connected - ideally via matrix. If someone wants to use telegram, why not. Of course i would like a chat without ties to other, but it does not matter that much for an open chat. For a closed-room, its something else.

Discourse is self-hosted and private

Same for Matrix.

Discourse supports a wide range of SSO/linked login protocols, including Google, Twitter, Facebook, and others, while still maintaining privacy and self-hosting

Same for Matrix, currently: GitHub, Google, GitLab, Facebook and Apple.

Discourse organizational and moderation tools are second-to-none in this space

Matrix is a established chat with proper moderation tools. As pointed out above, i’m mod and admin in multiple channels and spaces. Matrix is increasing their efforts on that matter as well.

In short, with the recent introduction of live chat, Discourse now has almost all the advantages of Matrix and other platforms, with few or none of the drawbacks.

I don’t agree at all. There are multiple rooms that can be connected with spaces. Polls are possible. Proper moderation.

Anytype needs to focus on tools and platforms that do the best job of balancing its principles as a company, and its very real need for broad visibility and ease of adoption.

Personally I don’t think what Anytype needs is more communications channels. In fact I rather think what it needs is less, at least from an official standpoint.

The goal of using matrix is to connect various channels - because I don’t believe discord and telegram will be left after a experimental discourse chat is introduced, for example.

I think matrix is a massive improvement over discord, telegram or a integrated discourse chat solution for various reasons.

Matrix does have threaded messaging in beta now and is starting to integrate videocalls directly without having to use jitsi.
Its possible to write a frontend to integrate a support-chat on the website, for example. https://github.com/nomadic-labs/safesupport-chatbox

Matrix is the most future-proof way to move forward and keep privacy and open source and a good functionality.

4 Likes

Yeah, it’s still in pre-alpha, so it’s not super visible. But you can test it on the official Discourse “Meta” forums. Read more in this topic:

@natrius I’ll reply more in-depth below, but overall I think it’s clear we are two evangelists, but neither of us are, I think, all that experienced with the other person’s platform of choice as a moderator or admin. I appreciate you bringing some more information on Matrix here, based on your own experience. If you’re not already experienced with Discourse mod/admin, you might want to check it out.

While I have some specific responses to your points below, I think the summary of the case is this: Discourse is already here, we are on it, and the team actively uses it to get feedback from the community. Indeed it is the bug report and feature request platform of choice. And enabling the Chat plugin is literally a matter of adding a single line to a config file and rebuilding the container, then enabling it wherever you want it to be available. And all our existing forum accounts would “just work” with it, chat would be immediately available to everyone here in the forums. It could be done in 15 minutes total.

In contrast implementing Matrix is a whole process, not necessarily a difficult one, but non-trivial compared to simply installing and enabling a plugin for an existing platform. It is also a separate tool to administrate over time, as well. Administrating Discourse Chat is no different than Discourse itself, and personally I think it’s quite important to avoid the team having more admin work to do as far as tools are concerned.

Almost every single one of your examples is using Matrix in an internally-focused environment where they can essentially “enforce” a choice of platform/tool and where adoption by the “general public” is a complete non-issue. Anytype’s situation is different and one of their primary needs for any official communications medium is low friction to adoption.

When you join a school or company, you use whatever they tell you to use, you don’t really have a choice. But when someone discovers some new software and they want to participate in the community, the more effort it requires to join and participate, the less likely they are to do so. Anytype needs to appeal to a broad demographic to be truly successful outside of the smaller microcosm of open source enthusiasts, security-conscious people, Web 3 pioneers, etc. To reach e.g. Notion levels of success, they need to use tools that are low friction. I am suggesting that Discourse is lower friction than Matrix/Element for 2 major reasons, both reflecting my personal experience.

  1. Discourse is web-native, SEO-compatible, and performant for anonymous users, i.e. “browsing” (sampling content to see if you want to join). In contrast, in my testing just now, Element Web is extremely slow to initially load a “preview” (this will put off people looking to see if they are interested in even joining), and obviously anyone not already a Matrix user is unlikely to download and setup an entire desktop client just to check out the community, so web performance and overall experience matters.
  2. Discourse has a large number of login integrations with popular commercial login providers, including Google, Twitter, and Facebook, so although you do need to “sign up” for an account to use Discourse, you can essentially do so with existing login info if you prefer, making it lower friction than Matrix/Element.

Also note that Mozilla uses Discourse, and it’s quite active. :grin:

I’m glad to hear it’s working well for you! Are you a user of any of the platforms you’re bridging too though? Or do you just use it all from Element? I’m curious if you’ve heard from anyone who doesn’t use Matrix, but rather one of the bridged tools, about how their experience is.

It’s not “experimental” any more than Anytype is. It’s essentially in alpha, yes, and as such they are not advertising it widely, but it is very functional and can be used at-will if you self-host Discourse (which is trivial, and which Anytype most certainly does). The Chat plugin is likely to be installed here soon, and will be tested by internal staff and mods, though it’s not my call when it would be made available to general users (alpha testers). And it’s also worth mentioning that Matrix and Element are very much under development as well and things like Threads, for instance, are still being tested and finalized. I am not saying Discourse chat is 100% ready for open deployment, but given the pace of development it seems reasonable to believe it will be soon.

I’m not sure exactly what you are asking here. Do you mean why should the team communicate via Facebook or Twitter, or are you addressing my point that you can login via Facebook or Twitter, etc?

Do bridges handle moderation? In my view that’s one of the biggest reasons to centralize official channels. There is a difference between unofficial community and officially-maintained channels, the requirements and standards of quality, etc. are different. We’re talking about the latter, about official community here.

Cool, I guess (like anything) it depends on what protocols the host has provided. I’ve only tested a couple of servers and they provided just Google and Github, which is good, but not as extensive as Discourse provides. If the auth options for Matrix are as good or better than Discourse, that is definitely a point in its favor.

I would imagine you are not familiar with Discourse’s tools then. I’m not saying Matrix doesn’t have any, but between Trust Levels, Akismet support, and powerful Groups and Roles, Discourse is almost certainly better at moderation than Matrix.

I don’t understand your point here. Are you saying these abilities make Matrix superior, or just “equivalent”? You can do all that with Discourse and more, which was exactly my point.

Which reasons make it superior over an integrated solution here in the already official forums?

All of your points above are interesting and good to consider. But at best they establish that Matrix is “as good” as Discourse for the purposes that matter to Anytype, and personally I still disagree based on my above points and concerns, though you definitely made me more aware of some Matrix features and benefits.

Something important that is missing from Matrix, though, and which is unlikely to be addressed any time soon - if ever - is the value of integration. Discourse-native Chat allows the development team to focus on one platform and, perhaps most importantly, to turn Chat messages/threads into Forum Topics with very little effort, thus making tracking of Chat messages as bug reports and feature requests much easier than any other platform. Matrix does seem to have some possible ways to make this sort of thing easier than e.g. Discord, which is a much more closed platform. But it would be hard to beat the ability to multi-select chat messages and turn them into a Topic with a single click in Discourse itself, which would then put it into the same internally-reflected issue prioritization and dev management system the team already uses.

Look, I’m not saying Discourse chat doesn’t have disadvantages. Mainly I wish it were further along in development. But given the sensible (in my view) standardizing on this place as the primary feedback channel for testing and, I would think, for open access feedback in the future as well (until/unless direct feedback via Anytype itself becomes an option), and given Discourse Chat is progressing rapidly toward a stable, functional, feature-rich solution that is integrated with all that, I think it makes sense to strongly consider it. If there are advantages to Matrix, it can be adopted at any time - after all one of its main strengths is the ability to connect to many other platforms. But in my view Discourse chat should be tried first.

None of this is going to happen overnight, Telegram and Discord are still going strong, etc. Chat can be tested internally for a while and, if it proves to be a good solution, it can be opened up to everyone. By that time it is likely to be much more mature (though it already works quite well in my tests, try it out yourself on Discourse Meta!).

In the distant future maybe Anytype itself will implement Matrix and this whole debate will be made irrelevant. :grin:

4 Likes