I've been thinking about Slack a lot lately.
As both a service and a communication platform, it's really fantastic. Rich formatting, plugins and integrations, channel history/archiving, easy bots etc.
The recent announcement of Gitlab + Mattermost (http://www.mattermost.org/
) is really good news. Communications should never be closed source. I hope it picks up steam.
In concept, these services are IRC. Multi-user real time chat in topic-centered channels or direct messaging.
Now, there are hundreds of different IRC clients out there. Thousands of IRC networks as well. Hundreds of thousands of channels. IRC is free, open source, distributed. If you don't want all the bells and whistles that Slack brings and just
want a multi-user, topic-centered communication platform, IRC is perfect - a much better solution than a web-based service.
But why is it so hard? Why don't networks themselves adapt?
Why is it that, in order to do anything
interesting with the channel (such as github integration), I have to create bot instead of, for example, scripting the channel?
And I don't even mean very advanced features - something as simple as channel archiving isn't possible without creating your own bot.
Integration/scripting is one thing. But how about security?
Why is it that someone can completely destroy a channel by having hundreds of bots constantly join/leave? Why aren't networks doing any spam filtering? Why aren't projects such as Watchtower (https://github.com/watchtower/reports
) sponsored by the IRC networks?This is the problem with IRC
. Just today, a channel with hundreds of users got wiped out and took hours to recover. The culprit? Someone set auto-OP (mod rights) on a nickname
instead of an account, years ago. That meant that you could join the channel with the nickname in question and kick everybody.
Why is this possible? Why did the network allow something so blatantly insecure?
I'm speaking about Freenode, by the way. Maybe there are networks that do
spam filter, and do
allow scripting. I haven't heard of them. Now don't take this wrong - I absolutely love Freenode. But it baffles me that these problems have clear solutions which aren't being applied.
I find it really odd that IRC hasn't really evolved. Compare it to the web, which has constantly changed, gained scripting, styling, better browsers, protocol improvements... It's understandable IRC wouldn't gain all that. But why has it completely stalled
? It's not like nobody uses it - there's a lot of really smart, really dedicated people that both use IRC and work on IRC clients and
So why are the basic problems not getting fixed?