Introducing Clojurians-Zulip


#1

last week on…

In my previous post I described how local communities, while once present on Clojurians-Slack, are no longer there. Even more so how the Clojurians-Slack (by becoming more popular) (unintentionally) ‘favors’ a question-answer type of conversation: great for users of Clojure looking for help in the larger channels, not so much for conversations that are needed to get your local community (or your opensource project) of the ground.

Technical reasons behind this ‘favoring’ were briefly described. They come down to the way Slack implements chat (IRC style, unstructured) and messages being deleted after a couple of days (because of our Slack plan).

Clojurians-Slack is a great place for the community

I want to stress this again: Clojurians-Slack isn’t going anywhere; it’s getting more popular and let’s continue doing that.

This post describes a solution for users within the Clojure community that need a different kind of conversation (ie asynchronous). It’s aimed (mostly) at users currently not (or no longer) on Clojurians-Slack, it’s about getting an additional tool in order to expand the community.

Clojure sub communities: let’s meet (again)

…at Clojurians-Zulip.

Clojurians Zulip is an opensource and free chat-platform with unlimited searchable message history and structured conversations.

It’s specifically build for conversations in organizations that work asynchronously:

Part-time organizations like learning communities, standards bodies, advocacy groups, hobby groups, and alumni organizations often need different things out of chat than companies do.

The topic-based threading allows for more focused discussion and makes catching up with conversations easier.

Or as they describe it themselves:

  • Makes the catching-up experience fast and fun, even if a user has been away for a while. On Slack or email, wading through hundreds or thousands of unread messages is taxing at best.

  • Makes it easy to respond to conversations that started hours or days ago, so that users that drop by occasionally can contribute rather than just lurk.

Julia Evans did a great drawing about how it’s differing from Slack channels.

A full list of features can be found here: https://zulipchat.com/features/

Some (Clojurians-specific) highlights:

  • markdown support with syntax highlighting
  • mentioning Jira-issues automatically links to them
  • articles posted to /r/Clojure, HackerNews-submissions about Clojure and ClojureVerse-posts are automatically announced (but can be easily muted)
  • it’s append-only, no messages get deleted (like more systems we know and love)

We think it’s a great fit for the type of conversation that’s currently less suitable for Clojurians-Slack. Especially for smaller groups within our community (meetup groups, small opensource projects) we think Zulip is a great addition.

by and for the community

This is an initiative from Andy Fingerhut, Dominic Monroe and the author. We’re dedicated to get this thing going and make it part of the Clojure community.

So if you’re an owner of a (small) Clojure OSS-project, or involved with Clojure meetup groups (or someone that wants to join their conversation): give it a spin.
Start your own stream and invite others.

Let us know what you think, or what you need.

Thanks for reading,

The Clojurians-Zulip admins,
Andy Fingerhut,
Dominic Monroe,
Gert Goet


#2

Wonderful. I was looking exactly for this.


#3

I completely agree that Zulip is, by far, the best (and innovative!) approach to instant messaging, allowing to keep the focus of a conversation and to avoid the waste and repetition of always the same questions on tools like Slack, MatterMost, Discord and co.

I invite everybody reading this thread to try Zulip out and make the effort to understand it. You will be blown away.


#4

Is Zulip implemented in Clojure?

What’s wrong with the mailing list for asynchronous threaded discussions that span an infinite amount of time?

EDIT: I guess I was thinking of http://www.braidchat.com/ which is open-source and implemented in Clojure.

And I tried it, Zulip that is, and I can see the appeal. Anyways, good to have options. Though sometimes it is a bit overwhelming also, especially if you try to keep up with all of them: IRC, Slack, Discord, now Zulip :stuck_out_tongue:


#5

I, too, was thinking of Braid, as it seems like they have the same idea, treating everything as a thread. The overview is better with Zulip though, and I like it much much better than Slack. :slight_smile:

EDIT: It would have been nice to support something built by the community though, as it could have maybe sped up the development of Braid; which I think is a really interesting chat concept.


#6

Wonderful initiative. At first I got a bit stressed out about yet another place to try follow the Clojure conversations, but it really seems to be a big improvement over Slack. And a bliss to know that messages stay searchable!


#7

Happy to see the positive responses in the community. And thanks for stopping by - a lot of new users today!


#8

I think Braid was much rougher and barely more than a concept when it was first looked at by a bunch of community folks (back in the day when we expected Slack to shut us down/kick us off if we reached 8,000 members) – so I suspect it just hasn’t been promoted much since then for folks to give it another chance?


#9

Meanwhile on Clojurians-Zulip: topic-based conversations make catching up actually fun :slight_smile:


#10

Thank you for providing a screenshot.

A question: does a topic work a like a topic in a forum, say ClojureVerse? The screenshot shows only broad topics, no topic like “How do I do X?”


#11

Yes, similar like ClojureVerse (but with chat dynamics).

It can definitely be used for howto-questions! It might take a bit more time to get an answer, as we just started. But a topic is also more easily retrievable by others - so during the course of a day they can still add to the conversation.

But it’s a good observation you make because I think we’re already seeing that Zulips allows for different topics than purely technical once.


#12

I made a topic for a particular question I had and the conversation has been going on for two days now. I don’t think there is a guideline yet on how to create topics. Every use can create as many as they like.


#13

How long will Zulip keep the messages in the context of a community like the Clojurians?


#14

Gert asked for, and Zulip provided, their full service offering, which Zulip offers for free to all open source groups. This means that at least as long as Zulip is around, all messages sent are readable and searchable by anyone who joins Clojurians Zulip. https://zulipchat.com/for/open-source/