Online discussions among partipants

in zurich we are starting a new “data visualization” learning group and one of the participants asked about setting up a slack.

my question(s):

  • do we have a “platform” where participants can run discussion on the workshop / learning group they’re attending?
  • would be find to get them to start discussions in here?
  • is there already a category for it?
  • should we use the meetup forums?
  • do we already have channels on slack?
  • irc should be enough for anyone?

ideas and feedback are welcome!

This slipped through the cracks with our current Discourse outage.

We do have a Gitter setup, and had a Slack setup which we ultimately abandoned (I still think it was a configuration problem.)

Some news here.

One of the C++ co-learning participants has suggested that we should try IRC (since he wanted to try it out) and has setup a channel for ##ots-zh on freenode.

And I’ve finally found a “friendly” chatting tool that is based on freesoftware: . there is a opentechschool-zh channel there.

Both are not really in use yet, but we will see if pople like them!

How does this compare to Gitter and Slack? I’d rather not spread our community even thinner than we already are. / is free software…

I understand your concern, but I try not to push platforms that are not based on free software (or at least very friendly with free software and let one switch to free software at any time).

Of course, I use platforms that are not free software too, if other people set it up and they are active.

For what I can tell, neither Gitter not Slack are really in use @ OTS. And they are not free in any way (except for the fact that there are ways to use them without paying a cent).

Time will tell…

Gitter is in use @ OTS:

Of course everyone is free to use whatever suits them but as @robert said, I’d also like to encourage you to join the existing effort so all of our rooms are visible and accessible once a participant joined the platform.

Gitter is not perfect and I share your concerns about free software but the decision to use it is the result of some discussion and testing and we found Gitter to be a pragmatic compromise between IRC and Slack. (I was actually leading this discussion and it seems that it mostly happened in calls, meetings and in person as I cannot really find references, sorry.)

Amongst other reasons Gitter was chosen because it

  • has proven valuable for big communities like FreeCodeCamp
  • supports mobile and file sharing out of the box
  • open for everybody to join without invitation
  • free to use for unlimited users

Martin, I would love to agree with you : - )


I know that there are several Gitter rooms. But at a first glimpse they do no look very busy: the last chat in Gitter seemed to be a month old.
And there does not seem to be a real chatting going on.
But I might have judged too fast.

Anyway, all the advantages you see in Gitter are also valid for
But the former is not free software.

Please have a look at and check if it’s not too late to revise the idea of using Gitter.

I’m ok with OTS using non free software. But if a solution pops up that has the same features (or even slightly inferior features) and is free, I really think that a switch should be seriously considered.
(Yes, using Meetup is a real issue for me! But I don’t see a valid alternative yet… Openki, openki… why nobody uses you?)

Personally, I don’t think it’s “too late” and it’s basically possible to change platforms any time if it’s really worth it and there is some momentum (some people evangelizing and supporting). For me, switching to something more open is not a priority right now (Gitter is good enough). I see some effort evaluating, testing, setting up, convincing people to move (Gitter is being used right now) and avoiding the impression to change thing around all the time.

I’m sure in the future there will be reasons to deal with this such as Gitter making an unfortunate move or Vector becoming overly popular…

Yeah, the world can change for better : - )

Now Gitter is (somehow) free software… and last Sunday John asked for a way to let the participant to communicate during the week…

Would it possible to have a ZH-Colearning group for us?

Yes of course! I added you to the GitHub organization. If you accept you should have permission to create rooms.


I’ve created a public “ZH-Colearning” room!

I hope that’s fine…

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