Options for Transitioning From Rocket.Chat

The Maker Foundation recently notified the community it will be dissolving Rocket.chat, which is one of MakerDAO’s primary communications channels. Mandated actors have discussed alternative options along with Tech-Ops and would like to get feedback from the community before proceeding.

Please consider this a starting point for a discussion on how we as a community want to manage this transition.

The Options

The options being considered include:

General Sentiment

Other mandated actors can speak for themselves but the general sentiment seems to be in favor of Discord since many in the crypto/blockchain community already have Discord accounts, Discord is a common choice among crypto projects, and the platform is highly customizable.

There is some concern that moving to Discord could compromise the culture that’s been cultivated in Rocket.chat, increase difficulties around moderation, and increase the amount of spam/scams/nonsense community members have to deal with day-to-day.

Platforms like Rocket.chat have a higher barrier to entry since new users must sign up for an account and most people don’t already have accounts but this helps decrease the amount of spam/scams/trolls/etc…

A higher barrier to entry may not be a big deal for regulars in the community but it could pose an obstacle to more casual or occasional users simply looking for help or information and/or to community growth in general.

Mitigating Spam/Scams/etc.

Spam, trolls, scams, etc. can be problematic regardless of what communication channel we decide to go with but different platforms come with different pros and cons.

To help mitigate these issues, we can:

  • Have a “Trollbox” or “Random” channel for off-topic discussions.
  • Link specific channels with channels in Discord servers run by Core Units.
  • Require users to pass a CAPTCHA before posting.
  • Allow Facilitators to moderate conversations
  • Hire professional moderators
  • Maintain a public list of handles of moderators and mandated actors.

If you have other ideas, please mention them in the comments.

9 Likes

Isn’t the more important question how the server(s) are going to be run and by whom? Will every core unit run their own? Will there be one official centralized server? Something in between? How will the permission structure be set up? Dedicated or cloud service?

Discord seems to be the obvious choice and I don’t disagree with that. But if there will be any reasons not to use it, it will probably come from the answers to those questions.

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Let’s use Discord - I know people are worried about the culture impact but we need to get more people involved.

Discord is an extremely powerful tool and there’s a reason most crypto projects use it. Similar to RC, we can always add a private channel for the “OGs” or any other private group.

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Some suggestions:

Perhaps a technical operations CU, should it ever come about, is the appropriate party to run an “official” server at first before we are able to move to a more decentralized model.

Permission structure meaning choosing admins? I say leave it to governance – Signal, Gov Poll and Executive. We have time before the Oct. 31 deadline to get this right.

Cloud service should be the way – non-US based cloudfare servers to begin, I’d say. The technical operations CU can have part of their budget allocated for paying the required bills.

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As a discord user, I tell you that Maker can create a good community, even improve a bit the engagement of social networks. I like what you propose with the issue of security and the random channel, no doubt they can create thematic channels, channels dedicated to links, faq maker or any topic in general.

I really see a lot of potential for an official MakerDao server on that platform.

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I love that idea, discord is the best to be able to create chats of specific communities, of course it is not easy to use discord for many people, even I get confused or in the forum or in discord in many cases.

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Discord doesn’t offer self-hosted servers, so we rely on Discord to run the infrastructure. This is a centralized solution, and unfortunately splitting it up into individual core unit servers doesn’t really help with that, it just makes it harder to communicate and interact between core units.

I feel like it’s probably better to go with an official server. Core Units will be free to operate their own servers, and / or to setup their own private or public group channels within the official server.

I think if we use Discord as a primary solution, we should look at one of the more decentralized options as a backup solution. Matrix looks very cool, and could be setup such that it bridges messages from Discord.

The tech-ops folks we know and love (previously of the Foundation, and looking to form a core unit in the future) have agreed to handle the actual setup. We’ll also try to figure out a way to give actual ownership to the Dai Foundation in line with their mandate.

I’m not sure it’s really valid to have on-chain governance votes on admins and such. The communications platforms are more of a DAO / community issue than an Maker Protocol issue. It also feels a bit silly, does the average MKR Holder care who is administrating the communication platforms? Not sure.

We’ll need to put together a set of information for the tech-ops folks so they can actually set this up. Namely:

  1. Channels structure (names, private/public).
  2. Users who need to be invited.
  3. Roles structure and permissions (high level, we will do the rests).
  4. List of moderators who are willing to help maintaining channel(s), or set of channels.
  5. Server name, logo, rules, welcome message for the users and other practical things.

I think the current plan is for @seth and I to work on putting this together over the next few weeks. I don’t see any reason we couldn’t publish it in the forum for comments and adjust to feedback. We could include one or more discourse forum polls to confirm the community is happy with the setup.

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99% of integrations like this don’t work well, but I have no experience with this particular one.

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Yeah, I’m also sceptical, my thought was that it would be an effective backup if messages were bridged one-way with the backup platform in read-only mode otherwise. It would mean that we had chat history from the primary choice on the backup in case we needed to switch. With those requirements it maybe doesn’t matter too much if the bridge is a bit janky.

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I’d like to throw another bid in here for transition to Discord. I understand the concerns over it changing the vibe we get with Rocketchat, but honestly I think it will be a net positive with the community growth we’ll get.

It would also make sense to set up something on Keybase as well, especially if we decide to engage legal council and need extra privacy.

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To piggyback on @LongForWisdom’s response, who runs the server is less important than who can maintain backups. On Discord, at least, admins can create backups so even if Tech-Ops is managing the implementation, we should be sufficiently decentralized so long as there are a few different admins who are maintaining backups.

2 Likes