Should the FarmBot community have a real-time chatroom?


#1

@Albert recently emailed me expressing a desire for a real-time chatroom for people in our community to discuss things more casually and be able to connect and help each other more quickly. Here are some of my thoughts:

Pros of a chatroom:

  • High bandwidth form of communication which is faster than the forum, Github, or email for solving problems
  • More casual and personal, which might be better for brainstorming and forming real connections with others in the community
  • Might be less intimidating to get involved

Cons of a chatroom:

  • Has a relatively large amount of “noise” compared to “signal”. ie: it is usually less focused than an organized forum so being a part of the chatroom might mean reading a lot more messages that aren’t relevant to you.
  • More casual, which lends to off-topic discussions and increased “noise”.
  • Not as searchable/historical compared to a forum. Discussions in a chatroom are usually lost in the stream within hours. Any valuable information exchanged during a discussion is therefore only useful to the people who were in the chatroom at the time. Forum posts can be easily found and picked back up a week or a year after the original discussion happened.
  • Large chatrooms with a high influx of new people become extremely redundant because of the lack of historical discussions. We would get a lot of people coming into the chatroom asking the same questions that were answered yesterday. That happens a lot less on a forum.
  • Requires participants to be online at the same time.
  • Having a chatroom dilutes where our community hangs out and spreads information in more places. Conversations that could have been on the forum might happen in the chatroom, but then lost after an hour. So the chatroom in some ways cannibalizes the effectiveness of the forum.

So my questions to the community is: Should we make a FarmBot community chatroom? And, why do you think it will be more beneficial in the short and/or long run than not having one?[poll type=regular]

  • Yes, the community should have a real-time chatroom
  • No
    [/poll]

#2

The biggest issue is indeed searchable/historical, until now it’s not always easy to find information on the project. But if there’s one I would happy to join :slight_smile:


#3

As 350 of us receive our kits and start assembly I hope to be in touch with others for the quick question. I am a non - techie, coming from the gardening prospective. I will use skype or facebook or many of the other Chat portals as the possibility arises. I just thought that a chat within the farmbot framework would have more focused. I noticed that Open Garden has a chat function. I don’t understand Github well enough. Have I missed something. I am seeing changes every day in the console. The following was not there yesterday or was there and I missed it.

best

al


#4

Hi all,

I would really appreciate it if we can open up a chat channel in slack or the like.
Many topics are just running for days if communication is only possible via e-mail or forum.

I would rather encourage any user to help develop a good wiki, as I tried to get my inputs into it.
But the “burden” on the farmbot side (long response time for wiki entries to check etc.) is quite high, so I am
loosing confidence in editing the wiki.

Maybe you could choose some community moderators to be “admin” like on the wiki pages and you could only check
the things from time to time as you have more important stuff to take care of at the moment.

Please let get the discussion about the chatroom started again :wink:

Thanks, Best
Klim

P.S.: If you want to join in the meantime there is a slack farmbot europe channel: farmboteurope.slack.com


#5

Anybody can edit the community wiki (wiki.farmbot.org) without needing their edits approved by us. We only need to approve edits for the documentation our company has created (genesis.farmbot.io) and (software.farmbot.io) which we prefer to keep a little tighter control over, though we’re always looking to improve them.


#6

We used to have a Gitter channel. What was the reason it was closed? And, is that reason no longer valid now?

I think a chat is great, if done well. I’m a huge fan of the chat rooms on Stack Exchange. They don’t dilute from information on their Q&A platform because the chat room so easily integrates with it. Users can mention questions (topics in our case) with greatest ease and they integrate into the messages. Useful chat messages can be starred by others and are displayed at the side so there is still some sort of useful historical message listing going on.

Users can also highlight a portion of a conversation and bookmark it. It creates a link to that conversation (from first selected message to last) which can be shared anywhere (so for us it could feed back into the forum again to preserve useful conversations even longer).

I highly encourage you to check out the Stack Exchange chat rooms.


#7

We shut down the Gitter channel for the following reasons:

  • Large chatrooms with a high influx of new people become extremely redundant because of the lack of historical discussions. We would get a lot of people coming into the chatroom asking the same questions that were answered yesterday. That happens a lot less on a forum.
  • Has a relatively large amount of “noise” compared to “signal”. ie: it is usually less focused than an organized forum so being a part of the chatroom might mean reading a lot more messages that aren’t relevant to you.
  • More casual, which lends to off-topic discussions and increased “noise”.

I checked out the Stack Exchange chat rooms and noticed a lot of noise, even in the supposedly more technical focused rooms: people greeting each other and posting off-topic things and jokes.


#8

We could use some more feedback from the community. I’m pinning this post for the time being.


#10

#12

I believe that a real-time chat service would serve the makers of the community greatly.

All of the above signal-to-noise ratio points are absolutely valid but strict enforcement of topic-related rules can counteract that (but granted this is not a fun job to have).

I personally prefer IRC (I am on the freenode network around the clock in various channels) but know others prefer Slack, Gitter, etc.

Slack is nice (record keeping, search, images, etc.) but isn’t as easy to join as other services (such as IRC) because it requires a level of commitment that someone may not feel comfortable with (giving out your email and creating an account).


No matter which service is picked I think this would be a fantastic idea. FarmBot is a complex project of love and having real-time answers (from other community members who are possibly stumbling just like you are!) would be invaluable.


For the time being I will begin hanging out in the #farmbot channel on the Freenode IRC network.

Here is an online IRC client that anyone can use with ease.


#13

I don’t know: I guess that would imply multiple chatrooms… I guess that nobody in the US will be awake when we (The Netherlands/ Europe) are preparing or working on our Farmbot… The Forum shows that problems aren’t always formulated clear enough, neither are the answers. Maybe talking real time will help, when people understand each other: qua language and technical skills/lingo.

But who am I to decide. :wink: ,


#14

3 posts were split to a new topic: Where to buy complete FarmBot kit?


#15

Hi I am new but I can see that this will help.

I made a discord. Happy to give anyone the admin powers who rightfully deserves them or asks for them. This is not me invading, or trying to usurp power or anything. Just trying to get things done and get into conversations.

Signal noise is a problem but that’s fine. Just see how it goes.


Where to buy complete FarmBot kit?
#16

I agree. discord would be the best option for you. plus I’m apart of a bunch of other discord servers so I always have a tab open. Its really convenient.


#17

No