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regarding-fsf-irc-presence.md (4239B)


      1 # "Regarding FSF IRC presence"
      2 <!--[time 202105271717.09]-->
      3 
      4 in response to [FSF's meeting agenda][], I wrote an E-mail voicing my
      5 opinion on the matter:
      6 
      7 > Hi,
      8 > 
      9 > I'll be unable to make the meeting on freenode #fsf (not necessarily
     10 > due to time constraints, but due to my decision to leave freenode
     11 > entirely), and while I am not a FSF member/sponsor, I still want to
     12 > give my input on the following points:
     13 > 
     14 > > Current state and long-term future of the [f]reenode network;
     15 > 
     16 > At first I was unsure how this transfer would pan out. I know Andrew
     17 > Lee from outside of freenode, and I know he associates with unstable
     18 > and untrustworthy personalities such as Shane Allen (aka rdv and
     19 > nirvana, co-founder of Snoonet). Most other information I can give
     20 > about Lee is already public information, and I assume FSF is familiar
     21 > with such literature, so I will not expand on it unless prompted.
     22 > 
     23 > After seeing an array of events pan out -- takeover of ##hntop,
     24 > promotion of known abusers such as eskimo to staff, promotion of other
     25 > staff (such as bagira) who are too personally invested against Libera
     26 > staff and thus may have conflicts of interest for the larger freenode
     27 > community, and finally the recent mass takeovers of on-topic project
     28 > channels who so much as mention Libera in their topic -- I am now sure
     29 > of the collateral here. I can safely say that it is not a political
     30 > decision, but rather a practical one, to relocate away from freenode.
     31 > 
     32 > > Assessing alternate IRC networks (Libera, OFTC); and
     33 > 
     34 > Personal conflicts aside, both seem equally capable to host project
     35 > communities such as FSF. But, leading into the next point, it may be
     36 > better to leave IRC entirely for several reasons, or at least open up
     37 > the community to alternate platforms in conjunction with IRC.
     38 > 
     39 > > Viability and freedom status of alternate communication networks
     40 > > (Matrix, XMPP).
     41 > 
     42 > Personally I see a lot of promise in XMPP, despite not a lot of focus
     43 > being placed in it as of recent years, due to Matrix offsetting
     44 > development efforts. Matrix gave hope to a lot of people, including
     45 > myself, for being a promising federated platform, but it ended up
     46 > suffering more from decisions influenced by venture capital and
     47 > misaligned priorities. The software ecosystem is still *very* immature
     48 > compared to more-established platforms, and I believe the split between
     49 > developer groups working on many servers and clients will not be
     50 > beneficial in the long term.
     51 > 
     52 > XMPP is great for one-on-one chat these days; clients, servers, and
     53 > standards are more mature (not perfect, but overall I believe there is
     54 > less effort spent in cleaning the ecosystem up compared to Matrix).
     55 > Multi-user chats are XMPP's shortcoming still, and while there are
     56 > extention proposals to "decentralise" MUCs, so far those standards take
     57 > after IRC's spanning-tree protocol and don't scale as well as Matrix's
     58 > mobile room identities.
     59 > 
     60 > In general, federated platforms such as XMPP and Matrix allow for more
     61 > agency than IRC networks do. Several organisations (Mozilla comes
     62 > immediately to mind) host or have sponsorship for their own
     63 > homeservers, which allows them to create their own policies for their
     64 > spaces, while also allowing users to participate with remotely-managed
     65 > homeservers that may have differing rules and standards.
     66 > 
     67 > Matrix has seen wider adoption for group chats than XMPP in recent
     68 > years, primarily due to the hype and some of the features it promises
     69 > over IRC (message history, media attachments, mobile-friendly clients,
     70 > et cetera). So, that's definitely a point to weigh into consideration
     71 > for platform choice. Just as well, I know there is a group of people
     72 > who do not wish to leave IRC for these other platforms.
     73 > 
     74 > I believe it would also be worth to bridge protocols and allow people
     75 > to make the choice for what platform they want to use in order to
     76 > participate in the FSF community discussions. This way, even if an IRC
     77 > channel has issues down the line, the community can still remain at
     78 > least partially active on other platforms with less effort.
     79 
     80 [FSF's meeting agenda]: <https://www.fsf.org/events/community-meeting-on-the-future-of-our-irc-presence>