Idiot thinks you should use IRC instead of Slack



  • His point "you shouldn't use Slack for open source projects because Slack themselves say it's not suitable for that use" is good and normal.

    Then he goes off into crazyland spending the rest of the article talking about how IRC is just as good. And it's all open source-y and freedom-loving and all that bullshit, too! The problem is: it's not just as good, and he's a liar saying it is. It's not even remotely close.

    Oh hey look:

    If you want to reduce the barrier to entry for non-technicals,

    He's an asshole too! What a shocker!

    Blakeyrat featured comment:

    yesimahuman • 3 months ago

    I think you left out the only point in "Problems with IRC that Slack solves" that actually matters: is easy to understand and use. The reality is figuring out an obscure IRC client, find the right server, find the right channel, etc. is just hard or too time consuming for most users to do with regularity. Nothing else matters beyond that.



  • Another featured comment:

    Christopher Stanton • 3 months ago

    When IRC removes the 'effort' barrier and 'just works' then people will use it instead of Slack. When you're spending more time getting your tools to work than doing the job, and for them IRC is that tool, then it's detracting from their productivity rather than something like slack that 'just works' for them.

    I'm glad to see there are people reading this open source-y blog who get it. I feel like the Good News is spreading.


  • SockDev

    Slack is not a tool built for open source projects to use for communication with their userbase.

    Nor was IRC. On the other hand, tools like Gitter are designed for that, so use them.

    Slack has several clients that use the API. That being said, there are fewer of them and for fewer platforms than IRC clients, and there are more libraries around IRC than there are for Slack.

    There's a reason IRC has more clients and works on more platforms: Slack is only two years old, while IRC was around when Jesus was riding T-Rexes. Hardly a fair comparison.

    On Slack, I leave as soon as I’m done getting help because tabs in my browser are precious real estate.

    :wtf:? Just use the desktop client already!

    That way, I’m more likely to stick around after I get help with whatever issue I came to you for, and contribute back by helping others as I idle in your channel until the end of time.

    Translation:

    I'm an elitist fucktard who judges people by the tools they use.



  • And another, from an employee at Disqus:

    Adam Hitchcock Disqus Engineering 🚀 • 3 months ago

    We used to use IRC at disqus but we could only ever get about 40% of the company using it. The others ended up using gchat/hangouts or slack because they could figure them out. This is even when we were using IRCcloud. When we switched to slack we got 100% adoption in less than a week.

    I also think you missed some other huge benefits slack has over IRC:

    • works really well on mobile
    • push notifications work!
    • keeps a searchable history, in irc you have to setup a bouncer
    • deals with being logged in on multiple clients gracefully

    At the end of the day it is about productivity, not ideals.



  • This all reminds me that I'm pissed we had to move to HipChat instead of Slack, because due to HIPAA data we have to keep the chat server in-house. Fucking Slack, make an on-premise solution already! HipChat sucks ass!


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @RaceProUK said:

    tools like Gitter are designed for that

    I've seen Gitter crash way too many times to be comfortable with it for prime time. But I'm waiting for a better solution still.

    That said, getting people from roleplay forums to join roleplay chats on IRC is... challenging. Even tools like mibbit present unfriendly configuration options and require hand-holding to get someone up and running.



  • Ben L tried getting me set up on IRC, and it's just utter garbage. Utter, utter garbage. It's software I would have thrown in the trash in 1990, in 2015 the travesty is that it's not extinct.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    obscure IRC client

    You're joking, right? If you think that, say, mIRC is somehow esoteric you lack basic computer skills.

    @blakeyrat said:

    find the right server

    Heaven forbid you have to click on a label (gasp) or enter in form fields exactly as they show you with pictures!!!

    @blakeyrat said:

    find the right channel

    Yeah, no IRC clients use a GUI or anything. Duh.

    Sometimes, blakey, I wonder how you get up and function in the morning with an IQ as low and critical thinking/reasoning skills as poor as yours. Does your mother still dress you? Is dressing yourself too hard? Does that require too much thought and energy expenditure to accomplish?


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    I use it daily, so it's second nature to me by now. I've yet to see a client that handles things like formatting text well. Arcane keyboard shortcuts or magic strings are the order of the day.



  • @Yamikuronue said:

    I've yet to see a client that handles things like formatting text well.

    That's true, but at lest ANSI colors are mostly standardized.

    @Yamikuronue said:

    Arcane keyboard shortcuts or magic strings are the order of the day.

    But they're not necessary to simply chat on IRC. They're more for advanced user or op stuff.


  • SockDev

    @Yamikuronue said:

    @RaceProUK said:
    tools like Gitter are designed for that

    I've seen Gitter crash way too many times to be comfortable with it for prime time.

    The desktop client is about as stable as the San Andreas Fault in 19036*; sweet merciful Chaos, it crashes when receiving messages!

    @Yamikuronue said:

    But I'm waiting for a better solution still.

    Agreed.

    @Yamikuronue said:

    That said, getting people from roleplay forums to join roleplay chats on IRC is... challenging. Even tools like mibbit present unfriendly configuration options and require hand-holding to get someone up and running.

    I'd rather use a forum for RP anyway; that way you can have pictures and other stuff. Plus they're usually much easier on the eye.

    *See next post



  • @RaceProUK said:

    The desktop client is about as stable as the San Andreas Fault in 1903;

    ... huh? Do you mean 1906? The big San Francisco earthquake was in 1906.

    Those who fail to learn history are doomed to make minor faux pas in forum threads!!!


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    It's a very different world, IRC roleplay vs forum roleplay. I prefer IRC, because I feel like there's less pressure.



  • IRC is still an ass environment.

    There used to be tons of RP MUDs around, and while they're still text-based and use obscure commands, they're a shitload better than IRC for that purpose. Set one up.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    Got a recommendation? I was a bit too young for the height of MUDs, but I really miss the shitty browser-based games that I was involved in that tried to replace them.



  • Nope; I haven't played one since about 2004 or so. My old hangout died off, sadly, because I'm pretty sure it was by far the most advanced RP MUD in existence and even years afterwards, new RP MUDs didn't have a third the RP-related features it had. Also I wrote a lot of the code.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    >We used to use IRC at disqus but we could only ever get about 40% of the company using it. The others ended up using gchat/hangouts or slack because they could figure them out

    I haven't used IRC all that much, but I'm having a difficult time figuring out what's so hard about using it. Can someone explain please?

    Also, I've never used / seen slack. What makes it so much easier?


  • SockDev

    @boomzilla said:

    Also, I've never used / seen slack. What makes it so much easier?

    The main benefit I see with Slack is how freaking easy it is to share files. Want to send an image? Drag-and-drop. Want to share a Word document? Same. Also, push notifications can be set up with just a few clicks, it's simultaneously more powerful and easier to use, and it's more configurable while also being easier to manage.

    Basically, it's what IRC should be.



  • @boomzilla said:

    Also, I've never used / seen slack. What makes it so much easier?

    A billion things. The guy who wrote the article even admitted it's better in a few ways.

    1. Slack has notifications (and mentions, natch)
    2. Slack saves your scrollback/history (including before you joined a channel)
    3. Slack has as many channels as you like, also PMs
    4. Slack has smileys/emoji
    5. Slack has code formatting
    6. Slack has copy-and-paste or drag-and-drop image uploads
    7. Slack can share files other than text/images, you can upload your CSS file, or a .dll, or whatever
    8. Slack integrates with your ticketing system and build system and lets you remote-control them or lets them send notifications
    9. Slack works well on mobile and uses push notifications instead of keeping a socket open 24/7
    10. Probably a million more things
    11. Oh yeah, Slack reserves your fucking username, something goddamned basic as fuck but IRC doesn't do it

    IRC has:

    1. Uh
    2. Hm
    3. I guess it works a bit?
    4. There's lots of different clients for it, all of them awful?
    5. Ugh

    HipChat has:

    1. About 2/3rds of the things Slack does, but all implemented awfully
    2. A tendency to crash at least twice a day, usually without actually closing out the client or flashing its notification icon, making it impossible to tell it's crashed
    3. An annoying habit of opening its window off-screen when you're running it on a laptop that frequently gets docked/undocked
    4. But you can host it in your own company's data center, which is the only reason we're using it instead of Slack, fucking Slack


  • @RaceProUK said:

    The main benefit I see with Slack is how freaking easy it is to share files.

    Ah, OK.

    @blakeyrat said:

    The guy who wrote the article even admitted it's better in a few ways.

    Thanks.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    The reality is figuring out an obscure IRC client, find the right server, find the right channel, etc. is just hard or too time consuming for most users to do with regularity. Nothing else matters beyond that.

    ROFLOL! Sure, it's so hard that teenagers--shit, probably pre-teens--have been doing it for literally 25 years. "go to mirc.com, install application, go to server whatever.com, type "/join #somechannel".

    Now I'm not arguing that people should use IRC instead of Slack for collaboration, because I know that's the first conclusion Blakey's going to jump to, so he can try to gin up another flamefest. I'm just taking issue with the idea that IRC's hard to use and stuff.

    If you can't figure out how to use mIRC you must be pretty dumb[1], given that children can do it.

    [1] or maybe dyslexic, but even then, 15 years ago you could do almost everything graphically in mIRC.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @rc4 said:

    Does your mother still dress you?

    Have you ever been to Seattle? They are not exactly snappy dressers around there.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Fucking Slack, make an on-premise solution already!

    Wait...it requires using a public server or something? Ugh...no way.

    We have our own jabber server that we use.



  • @boomzilla said:

    Wait...it requires using a public server or something?

    That is far and away it's hugest weakness. Other than that, it's pretty great software.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    There's lots of different clients for it, all of them awful?

    You've never used more than one.



  • Most IRC clients will do some of the things in your list of things Slack does. Specifically, notifications/mentions to some extent (they will, for example, highlight uses of your name and get all "Hey pay attention"), multiple channels and PMs are very much standard, most clients support smileys.

    Usually things like code formatting are done using pastebin, and reserving your username is done by a bot on the server you're logging into.



  • @jmp said:

    Most IRC clients will do some of the things in your list of things Slack does. Specifically, notifications/mentions to some extent

    That's bullshit, IRC doesn't even have authentication or accounts. Don't bullshit me, bro.

    @jmp said:

    multiple channels

    For a server yes, but not for a single organization. Totally different.

    @jmp said:

    and PMs are very much standard,

    I didn't know that.

    @jmp said:

    most clients support smileys.

    Part of the problem is there's 54382432784632846832468723647832687467823783 different clients.

    Remember that discussion a bit ago about whatever new hipster programming language we were talking about, and I said the biggest problem they had was they weren't at all in control of their user experience? Because they didn't have any kind of official user-facing apps or branding? You used it by just taking someone else's editor and hooking it to your CLI compiler?

    Yeah. IRC is that mistake exactly.

    So not only is it terrible, but it can't become better. Not without becoming something entirely different.



  • Maybe I'm misinterpreting your feature list; I haven't used Slack.

    @blakeyrat said:

    That's bullshit, IRC doesn't even have authentication or accounts. Don't bullshit me, bro.

    So you're connected to a server as Blakeyrat, idling in #grumpyfarts . Your IRC client is minimized and you're doing something else. Suddenly:

    some_other_person: @blakeyrat you are a butt
    

    Most IRC clients will notice that someone in a channel you're in said 'blakeyrat' and that you are connected to the server as 'blakeyrat', and will start flashing or whatever you've configured it to do. When you open it, you'll find that the text 'blakeyrat' is rendered in a different colour.

    I don't know if that's what you meant by 'notifications', but there you go.

    @blakeyrat said:

    For a server yes, but not for a single organization. Totally different.

    I do not understand your complaint. One server can host infinity-billion channels; one IRC client can usually connect to infinity-billion servers and infinity-billion channels at once; they're usually displayed as separate tabs. I've seen several groups that had multiple relevant IRC channels - Kerbal Space Program, for example, has an official channel named #kspofficial (IIRC), and there's a semi-official #kspmodders channel on the same server for people who mod KSP.

    @blakeyrat said:

    I didn't know that.

    Again, depending on what you mean by 'PMs'. Synchronous ones - i.e., you're connected to a server and someone on that server writes `/tell blakeyrat you are a butt' - are standard. Asynchronous PMs are sometimes provided by a bot on the server, the same way consistent identities aren't standard but NickServ is a de-facto standard.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Part of the problem is there's 54382432784632846832468723647832687467823783 different clients.

    Let me put it this way: I have never used an IRC client that /didn't/ support smileys, and AFAIK all the popular IRC clients support smileys. /Mibbit/ supports smileys, and it's a goddamn webapp version of IRC.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Yeah. IRC is that mistake exactly.

    So not only is it terrible, but it can't become better. Not without becoming something entirely different.

    HTTP has the same problem; I guess that's why it never became a big thing.

    (IRC is a /protocol/, not a product)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    That's bullshit, IRC doesn't even have authentication or accounts.

    Bots that register nicks, run by server admins, have only been a thing for 20 years.



  • @rc4 said:

    @Yamikuronue said:
    Arcane keyboard shortcuts or magic strings are the order of the day.

    But they're not necessary to simply chat on IRC. They're more for advanced user or op stuff.

    :doing_it_wrong:



  • You know, it sounds to me like we need a new open standard...

    (xkcd 927)


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    We use IRC at work and I occasionally hear someone asking to switch to Slack because "waah IRC is tooo haaaaard" This is an IT company, so I have to ask - if someone can't figure out multiplayer Notepad, even with the many tutorials and setup guides we have for various clients, what are they doing here? Even if it's non-technical staff, like someone from sales or marketing or HR, I'd still expect them to have the ability to follow simple directions (with screenshots that highlight what goes into where!) and to be able to use a friggin' GUI. Everyone in the last few decades managed it, and I'm sure the special snowflake we just hired can manage it too with some adult supervision.

    At least I learned from this thread that Slack doesn't have an "on-premise" version, so now I can stop worrying because until it does have that, there's no way in hell we're using it. Which is good, because I'd rather avoid a conversation with my boss where I explain to him that no, I'm not installing some shitty app on my personal cell phone just because he asked me to, and I'm definitely not going to "be available on work chat just in case" when I'm not at work - which would probably become an expectation with Slack's push notifications and mobile support. Eff that. When I'm in the office I'm on IRC and available and once I log off, I cease to exist till I log back in as far as my employer is concerned.


  • BINNED

    Just use Hangouts

    :trolleybus:



  • @jmp said:

    I don't know if that's what you meant by 'notifications', but there you go.

    It's not even close to what Slack offers.

    Moreover, the instant I leave that room, someone else can just arbitrarily make themselves "Blakeyrat", so I have basically no identity whatsoever. Anybody can impersonate me at any time, and I can impersonate anybody else. Fucking awful.

    @jmp said:

    I do not understand your complaint.

    Undoubtedly true. Maybe you should try actually using Slack.

    @jmp said:

    Again, depending on what you mean by 'PMs'. Synchronous ones - i.e., you're connected to a server and someone on that server writes `/tell blakeyrat you are a butt' - are standard. Asynchronous PMs are sometimes provided by a bot on the server, the same way consistent identities aren't standard but NickServ is a de-facto standard.

    So, no it doesn't have that feature. Of course.

    @jmp said:

    Let me put it this way: I have never used an IRC client that /didn't/ support smileys, and AFAIK all the popular IRC clients support smileys. /Mibbit/ supports smileys, and it's a goddamn webapp version of IRC.

    ... and it's named "/Mibbit/"? Wow. I think I actually prefer GIMP.

    @jmp said:

    (IRC is a /protocol/, not a product)

    Right, but the problem is: it's a really shitty one.

    Look, I'm an end-user. I do not give a fuck if it's a protocol, if it's a dancing clam, or if it's Celine Dion. The point is, someone shows me a web interface and tells me, "hey, this is IRC." And I use it, and it's shit. Utter shit. Complete ass.

    Slack is both a protocol and a product, and it's a pretty damned nice version of both, and that's why everybody's using it except for open source idiots stuck in 1978-- and even a lot of THEM are using it!

    @FrostCat said:

    Bots that register nicks, run by server admins, have only been a thing for 20 years.

    But it's not a feature of IRC. And it's about a million times more complicated to figure out than what Slack offers right out of the box.

    @blek said:

    We use IRC at work and I occasionally hear someone asking to switch to Slack because "waah IRC is tooo haaaaard" This is an IT company, so I have to ask - if someone can't figure out multiplayer Notepad, even with the many tutorials and setup guides we have for various clients, what are they doing here?

    Maybe they can figure it out, they just don't want to?

    Why do you people ALWAYS MISS THE POINT WHEN IT COMES TO USABILITY? Yes, I can figure out IRC. THAT IS NOT THE FUCKING POINT. The point is I spend 50 times longer figuring out these shitty products than the competitors, the competitors offer more features, and I have to spend less of my precious grey matter storing all kinds of arcane bullshit because nobody in the open source community knows what the fuck the word "usability" means.

    Or put in a more pithy way: yes I can figure out IRC. Why should I have to?

    @blek said:

    Which is good, because I'd rather avoid a conversation with my boss where I explain to him that no, I'm not installing some shitty app on my personal cell phone just because he asked me to, and I'm definitely not going to "be available on work chat just in case" when I'm not at work - which would probably become an expectation with Slack's push notifications and mobile support.

    So your reason for hating Slack is you don't want to work from home? That makes so little sense, I think I actually got a little bit dumber reading it.

    @blek said:

    When I'm in the office I'm on IRC and available and once I log off, I cease to exist till I log back in as far as my employer is concerned.

    Because it's obviously impossible to log off of Slack. Once you install it it crawls into your brain like those little worms in Star Trek II and controls your every movement.

    Moron.


    If you open source idiots want to get people to stop using Slack, here's an idea:

    #Make something better than Slack.

    But of course you can't, because nobody in the open source community knows how the fuck to write quality software.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    Maybe they can figure it out, they just don't want to?

    Maybe I could use Slack or whatever other shitty app is en vogue this week among ADHD-ridden hipsters, but I just don't want to because I have a setup that already works, and so does literally everyone else at the company except for the occasional super special snowflake who can't take 60 seconds to master a simple chat interface?

    @blakeyrat said:

    I spend 50 times longer figuring out these shitty products

    @blakeyrat said:

    I have to spend less of my precious grey matter

    What shitty products? Slack is a shitty product, IRC is simply a protocol supported by a large number of different clients. Those are the products you're complaining about, despite having seemingly never used any of them.

    If you have, and you spent more than a minute or two "figuring out" how to chat on IRC, then a better word to describe your grey matter would be... scarce, maybe? The problem is you.

    @blakeyrat said:

    So your reason for hating Slack is you don't want to work from home? That makes so little sense, I think I actually got a little bit dumber reading it.

    No, that must have happened before you read (well, tried to...) what I wrote, since that's not what that post says.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Because it's obviously impossible to log off of Slack. Once you install it it crawls into your brain like those little worms in Star Trek II and controls your every movement.

    It also doesn't say any of that, what are you talking about?


  • BINNED

    If only IRC had a nice CLI:

    ./irc -f cnx.json "@company behold #LOL #SongOfTheDay http://frking.tiny.url"
    

    That is what snowflakes like blakey look for.





  • @FrostCat said:

    Sure, it's so hard that teenagers--shit, probably pre-teens-- nerdshave been doing it for literally 25 years. "go to mirc.com, install application, go to server whatever.com, type "/join #somechannel".

    I like how you throw your own argument under the bus in one sentence! +1



  • @blakeyrat said:

    It's not even close to what Slack offers.

    Moreover, the instant I leave that room, someone else can just arbitrarily make themselves "Blakeyrat", so I have basically no identity whatsoever. Anybody can impersonate me at any time, and I can impersonate anybody else. Fucking awful.

    This is what NickServ is for. Solving the impersonation problem. The server admins run some bot, when you connect to the server it messages you and says "Oi, gimme your password" or "This nickname is unregistered, to claim it message me back 'register some password'". You don't give it a password, it boots you off the server. Easy to interface with, very common.

    I get the feeling that you have never used IRC.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Undoubtedly true. Maybe you should try actually using Slack.

    I'm not in the position of choosing a chat product to use for something. I've used IRC because of KSP modding and some other stuff. If I run into something I want to do that uses Slack, maybe I'll use it then.

    @blakeyrat said:

    ... and it's named "/Mibbit/"? Wow. I think I actually prefer GIMP.

    It's named "Mibbit", I was using slashes for /emphasis/ because I'm not familiar with discomarkup. Is it emphasis? Oh that's what I should have done.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Right, but the problem is: it's a really shitty one.

    Look, I'm an end-user. I do not give a fuck if it's a protocol, if it's a dancing clam, or if it's Celine Dion. The point is, someone shows me a web interface and tells me, "hey, this is IRC." And I use it, and it's shit. Utter shit. Complete ass.

    Slack is both a protocol and a product, and it's a pretty damned nice version of both, and that's why everybody's using it except for open source idiots stuck in 1978-- and even a lot of THEM are using it!

    I get it, this is why the web never took off, shitty interfaces on top of a shitty protocol.



  • @blek said:

    If you have, and you spent more than a minute or two "figuring out" how to chat on IRC, then a better word to describe your grey matter would be... scarce, maybe? The problem is you.

    Read blakey's comments again. He specifically tells you it isn't about him using the IRC environment. He claims it has a shitty usability. Using it is not an argument to claim that the it has great usability. I've been playing with turds for years but I'll tell you it's a turd any day.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    I don't think I understand how the usability of IRC differs from Slack. In both cases you have a window with a big box where messages appear and a small box where you type your messages. And a channel list somewhere outside these boxes. It seems identical to me, every screenshot of Slack I can find looks like a generic graphical IRC client dressed up in a web 3.0 interface - except with IRC I can pick a client I like and customize it however I want, if I feel so inclined, while apparently with Slack I'm stuck with whatever they give me and maybe I can change some colors or something.

    I think it's just a case of "this thing is old so it's unusable while this almost identical thing is new and therefore Good".


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Luhmann said:

    the it

    The it?

    NOT THE IT!?!
    Sorry, had to.

    Anyways, yeah I'm actually with Blakey on this one. I've looked into IRC a few times and it's really not worth the effort IMO. The documentation is... Less than great for any of the server side stuff and very rapidly hit my "no fucks given" level. The clients are... OK... I guess. Slack definitely provides a good product, and beneath all the foaming bile Blakey spews, there is a nugget of truth. A lot (and I do mean a lot) of OSS products have little to no good documentation. There are good ones too (and that's why I don't think it's the philosophy that's the problem, just asshole/lazy developers) but IRC is a good example of a system where the docs leave much to be desired.



  • @blek said:

    In both cases you have a window with a big box where messages appear and a small box where you type your messages.

    The usability battle is lost by any IRC based product long before you even get to that screen.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Is Slack any simpler than that?



  • Open source slack alternative for Blakey

    I didn't try it so I don't know what it's worth but on paper it looks fine

    Mattermost is an open source, self-hosted Slack-alternative

    Mattermost is “Slack-compatible, not Slack-limited”, supporting a superset of Slack’s incoming and outgoing webhook integrations, including compatibility with existing Slack integrations

    Mattermost is written in Golang and React

    Installs in one-line with Docker

    (hi, first post btw :smile: )



  • I agree that Slackware's ancient startup system, lack of PAM, dependency resolution in the package system, etc., make it an odd choice for … wait what?





  • @Yamikuronue said:

    I've seen Gitter crash way too many times to be comfortable with it for prime time.

    How so? I leave the desktop app running 24/7 and if you're running it in a browser you could just refresh. Never had a crash.



  • @FrostCat said:

    or maybe dyslexic, but even then, 15 years ago you could do almost everything graphically in mIRC.

    And if not, there was always MS Comic Chat.



  • @jmp said:

    I get the feeling that you have never used IRC.

    Oh no, he did. Spent like half an hour trying to figure out the syntax for registering on NickServ, then gave up, called us all idiots for using shitty software and left.


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