@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