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(DUPLICATE) Moving from Slack to another service #17

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benigeri opened this Issue Sep 20, 2015 · 58 comments

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@benigeri
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benigeri commented Sep 20, 2015

PLEASE DISCUSS IN #25

Why don't we leave Slack?

In short, we haven't found a better alternative.

1. High switching cost

7500 people already have Reactiflux Slack account. Dozens of repos link to their respective Reactiflux channel. Switching to another service would be a big deal, and we'll probably lose a significant chunk of the community.

We're not opposed to moving away from Slack. We have very high switching cost though, so we'll only move if we have very good reasons to do so.

2. The product is amazing

Slack is great, and lots of people love it. Many of us believe it's the best messaging service for teams.

3. Many of us have it open by default.

Reactiflux is unusually active compared to other public Slack groups, Gitter channels, IRC channels, etc… Why is that?

Probably because so many of us use React and Slack at work.

Many of us are thinking about React at work. We’re working using libraries, building libraries, and running into bugs and problems. So we’re inclined to talk (read complain) about it with other people.

Many of us work at startups and tech companies that use Slack for team communication. So we open Slack every day and leave it running almost all the time.

And several months ago, Slack made it incredibly to switch between all of your teams.

Which means that even though most of us could never justify having yet another app or webpage open 24/7, just to talk to Reactiflux people, it happens automatically.

Obviously this isn’t the case for everyone on Reactiflux, but it is for many of us. In the early days, tons of people that joined kept on telling me “Oh, it’s so nice to be able to ask React questions on Slack since I already have it open all day.”

What are the top contenders?

Gitter

Gitter's benefits are that:

  1. It works well with GitHub, which probably everybody on Reactiflux users.
  2. It comes with unlimited message history.

But Reactiflux would not make sense in Gitter world. Gitter channels are based on repos. So instead of what we currently have, in Slack world:

  • reactiflux/react-router
  • reactiflux/redux
  • reactiflux/fluxible

Gitter world would look like this:

  • rakt/react-router
  • facebook/react
  • yahoo/fluxible

All channels would no longer be grouped under Reactiflux. The community would break up and separate into dozens of smaller organizations, like Facebook, Yahoo, and Rakt. (Are we even sure that Facebook or Yahoo want Gitter organizations?)

So in Gitter world, what would be left of Reactiflux? Not much. Why do we need another Reactiflux/redux room? There will already be a Rakt/redux room.

I don't think Gitter world would be better.

In Slack world, Reactiflux creates an overlap between all of the React sub-communities. It brings people from #redux, #alt, #reflux, and #fluxible together because it's so easy to go from one channel to the other, or to mingle in #general.

In Slack world, it's easy to find channels and to peek inside to see if you like it. You can tag people across channels, so everybody's around all the time.

Slack let's Reactiflux be a higher order community for all of the smaller React and Flux communities.

@eldh

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eldh commented Sep 21, 2015

It won't solve points 1 (though it seems user accounts can be migrated) or 3, and I'm not sure about 2 either. But anyway, I would like to throw in http://www.mattermost.org/ as an alternative. It's built with react, it's open source, and at least on paper it provides a similar feature set as Slack. The operating cost would be limited to the cost of running a server. It's at least better fit to the Reactiflux community model than Gitter.

@zackify

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zackify commented Sep 21, 2015

I have used mattermost and let me assure you: it is far too buggy to be
used yet. I wish it was stable, but it has a lot of problems. Bugs. Tons of
them. No native apps, and a lot more.
On Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 04:51 Andreas Eldh notifications@github.com wrote:

It won't solve points 1 (though it seems user accounts can be migrated) or
3, and I'm not sure about 2 either. But anyway, I would like to throw in
http://www.mattermost.org/ as an alternative. It's built with react, it's
open source, and at least on paper it provides a similar feature set as
Slack. The operating cost would be limited to the cost of running a server.
It's at least better fit to the Reactiflux community model than Gitter.


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@eldh

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eldh commented Sep 21, 2015

Ok. Too bad, it seems like an interesting project and it would be awesome if there was a viable open platform alternative.

@benigeri

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benigeri commented Sep 22, 2015

Yup, I bet that it will get some love one day and become a viable option for many communities. But today it feels like a premature product. Lots of bugs and missing features. It's really hard to beat Slack's product quality and polish.

@aaronjensen

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aaronjensen commented Sep 22, 2015

fwiw, you can have rooms within a gitter, so you could do: reactiflux/f/redux, reactiflux/f/alt (where f is just a short name I picked out for a project).

If projects wanted their own room, that'd be fine, you could just have reactiflux be a curated list of react gitter rooms, many of which are hosted at reactiflux/f/*

@vcarl

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vcarl commented Sep 24, 2015

Sam C (Slack)
Sep 24, 3:24 PM

Hi Paul,

I’m writing to inform you that we've disabled the ability to add more users to the Reactiflux Slack team. We're happy that you've found Slack to be a great platform for your community but from both an administrative and performance perspective this is proving to be unsustainable.

Although we do simple chat and file-sharing very well, Slack simply isn’t designed for communities of thousands of users to chat. Slack's ideally designed for teams of coworkers who collaborate closely and frequently to get work done. That said, looking into ways to better support communities like yours in the future is something that has been suggested many times! The idea is under consideration, and if changes are implemented to make this easier in the future, we'll be sure to get the word out.

I’m not sure how you’re sending out your invites, because if you’re using the web interface it should tell you that your maximum user limit was reached. If you’re using the undocumented API, we’re returning a user_limit_reached error that you'll run into soon.

If you do want to continue to use Slack to manage this community, I'd recommend you spin up multiple smaller teams and cap each one around no more than 1,000 users. Once one team fills up, stop inviting people to that team and start a new one for the next group of people who want to join your community. That's the best way to ensure that your teams remain manageable and that the service stays nice and snappy for you.

Thanks so much for your understanding. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to drop us a line!

Regards,

Sam

TL;DR Slack says Reactiflux is too big and needs to find a new home.

@robotmayo

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robotmayo commented Sep 25, 2015

My heart belongs to IRC.

@cobbweb

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cobbweb commented Sep 26, 2015

Another option: https://www.zulip.org/

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vcarl commented Sep 30, 2015

We've talked about Rocket, Zulip, MatterMost, IRC, Gitter, etc. The main downside of a lot of these is that they're self-hosted, so Reactiflux would have to cover server costs and have somebody keeping it running. Given that Slack has mentioned performance and administration issues, that might not be viable.

  • Gitter: Few people like it, but it's not terrible and they've supported communities of >7k in the past. It's hosted, so we don't need to worry about keeping it running, and it's free.
  • IRC: Would work for the scale, but clients are meh and discoverability isn't as great.
  • Rocket: Self-hosted, but otherwise looks good.
  • Zulip: Looks like it would meet our needs, but it's still self-hosted.
  • MatterMost: None of the people who'd used it had good things to say, and it's self-hosted.
@morenoh149

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morenoh149 commented Oct 4, 2015

http://www.reactiflux.com/ should be disabled then no? I've shared the link with colleagues and they have received no email. A note would suffice.

@Aaike

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Aaike commented Oct 4, 2015

i have the same problem , tried entering my email several times at reactiflux.com, i get no invitation email...
how can i get an invite ?

@germ13

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germ13 commented Oct 4, 2015

@morenoh149
I believe the invite screen is rendered by slackin.

The README.md there states one reason why emails wont be received.
Might be a good idea to look into this.

Although, there are a multiple places where things might be going wrong:

  • slackin itself and/or config
  • server config
  • mail server (i dont know what is handling this)
@morenoh149

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morenoh149 commented Oct 4, 2015

@Aaike @germ13 no. We found out in this thread that slack is not allowing new members to join reactiflux. I'm suggesting the signup page be disabled altogether or replaced with a note.

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vcarl commented Oct 5, 2015

Agreed. @benigeri, I'd be happy to do some of that, but I'm unaware of where anything is hosted or where the code lives.

@BerkeleyTrue

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BerkeleyTrue commented Oct 11, 2015

Hello Everybody,

I work for Free Code Camp. A couple of months ago we also ran into the same issue that the Reactiflux community ran into with Slacks invisible user limit. Unlike this community, we where given no warning that we where going to hit the ceiling. I won't go into further detail, but you can read about it here if you have a couple of minutes.

We switched to Gitter. We had an exceedingly warm welcome from the team and assurances that they could accommodate our community as it grows. In our main chat room we have over 24 and a half thousand users and we have 500 rooms under Free Code Camps organization. There has not been any noticeable drop in quality of service. In fact we have noticed a steady climb.

The Gitter team is incredibly accessible. We know them on a first name basis (The team is only four strong). Can you say that about Slack? And even though they are located in England we have have met with the team in San Francisco twice now. They let us in on what their plans are and how they could effect us in the future. They give us sneak peaks into new unannounced features (I'm extremely excited about one of them and can't wait for their public announcement).

Reactiflux is going to be huge and ever expanding. I think Gitter is the perfect platform. Just the response we got from the Gitter team when they heard Slack decided to stop letting our new users join our chat is enough of a reason to switch.

@vcarl

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vcarl commented Oct 12, 2015

We actually saw your blog post about the difficulties you had, Gitter's pretty high on our list because of your positive experiences. It's cool to hear they're so accessible, that's definitely a plus.

@Aaike

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Aaike commented Oct 12, 2015

@BerkeleyTrue that is good to know , we are also using Gitter on the Aurelia team , Our user base isn't as big as yours but we have a little over 2000 members now , and have experienced this steady increase in quality like you mentioned.

Would be really great if the switch to Gitter could happen sooner rather than later since a lot of people including me are feeling a bit left out when it comes to Reactiflux ;)

@BerkeleyTrue

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BerkeleyTrue commented Oct 12, 2015

Awesome. I'm really hoping every thing works out regardless of the platform y'all choose.

When you all do switch one thing you could do is create a bot that responds to all messages in Slack that the community has moved and how to join the new platform. That will ensure people move or they will constantly see an annoying message for every one of theirs. One thing you definitely don't want is for people to hang around the old Slack.

@benigeri benigeri changed the title from Consider moving from Slack to another service to Moving from Slack to another service Oct 12, 2015

@benigeri

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benigeri commented Oct 12, 2015

Unfortunately, we have to leave Slack.

I got on the phone with a couple of Slack people last week, and they have decided not to support infinitely large public communities. Slack wants to focus on building team communication software, and groups like Reactiflux don't fit into that.

The main issue is with our rapidly growing user base. We are already causing a decent amount of load on there servers, and many of us are already experiencing performance issues. It would take Slack time and effort to attend to these issues, and they have not allocated the resources to do that.

The only way we could stay with Slack would be to cap our user base at < 8k. Probably around 1-3K. This obviously doesn't work for an open community. The most important thing about our community is that it's open and anyone can join in less than a minute. So when new people want to join the conversation, it's very low friction. We obviously can't keep the friction low if we start moderating accounts to keep our numbers low.

This is a bit sad, but at least we know for sure that Slack is no longer the right platform for us. Now we can focus our efforts on finding a better platform for Reactiflux.

I'm going to create a new issue to focus the discussion on which product/service we should migrate to. I hope we can make a group decision in the next 1-2 weeks.

@Sing-Li

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Sing-Li commented Oct 12, 2015

Please pardon me for this plug. And feel free to delete this if you deem it inappropriate.

I'm from the Rocket.Chat project, a 100% MIT-licensed open sourced slack alternative.

We are in the midst of adding a provisioning and hosting service (attempting to do it free - long term - for all true FOSS projects). Please try us out here in our support and demo community server - it is filled with helpful core devs and contributors around the clock during the work week.

Contact any one of us. We will gladly supply you with more information on the project/service - or assist with migration whenever you are ready.

@chiedo

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chiedo commented Oct 12, 2015

I'm a fan of IRC. Let's keep things simple. IRC is easy if you want to participate in a conversation (via web options) It only gets difficult when you want to do more.

Rocket.Chat is looking pretty cool to me though. It's at least worth looking into.

@sgoldsmith

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sgoldsmith commented Oct 12, 2015

Have you considered www.hipchat.com ? Native clients on all platforms (incl Linux), unlimited integrations + free for teams of all sizes forever. There's even an easy Slack importer to migrate all your current teams, channels & people over to the new instance.

We have many customers operating at the scale you're looking for; give it a try!

@Aaike

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Aaike commented Oct 12, 2015

i know IRC is a popular option and i do like it.
but let's consider easily sharing screenshots, code/syntax highlighting, basic markdown formatting and searching chat history.
if i'm not wrong these are all things that are lacking in IRC

@commadelimited

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commadelimited commented Oct 12, 2015

I'm indifferent as I'm not part of this community, but I recently heard about a free alternative to Slack called Ryver:
http://www.ryver.com/features/

@elwayman02

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elwayman02 commented Oct 12, 2015

Hipchat is the way to go, almost as good as Slack

@elwayman02

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elwayman02 commented Oct 13, 2015

That is incorrect, Dan:
https://support.discordapp.com/hc/communities/public/questions/205313137-API-for-bots

On Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 10:07 AM Dan Schuman notifications@github.com wrote:

I'll add my vote toward any rich client with it's own collection of rooms.
I think IRC would be a loss because of its lack of rich communication and
higher bar of entry.

I thought Discord was awesome, but the lack of monospace formatting is
a huge deal to me. Also, currently lacks an API, so we would lose our bots.


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@elwayman02

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elwayman02 commented Oct 13, 2015

https://github.com/Arcbot-Org/Arcbot

On Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 10:10 AM Jordan Hawker hawker.jordan@gmail.com
wrote:

That is incorrect, Dan:
https://support.discordapp.com/hc/communities/public/questions/205313137-API-for-bots

On Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 10:07 AM Dan Schuman notifications@github.com
wrote:

I'll add my vote toward any rich client with it's own collection of
rooms. I think IRC would be a loss because of its lack of rich
communication and higher bar of entry.

I thought Discord was awesome, but the lack of monospace formatting is
a huge deal to me. Also, currently lacks an API, so we would lose our bots.


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@quicksnap

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quicksnap commented Oct 13, 2015

@elwayman02 Glad to be wrong!

@quicksnap

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quicksnap commented Oct 13, 2015

@elwayman02

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elwayman02 commented Oct 13, 2015

Yea, it's not officially released/documented yet, but it's there.

On Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 10:14 AM Dan Schuman notifications@github.com wrote:

I was pulling my info from here:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/spa/4moihw0kt47f2sy/bj3as-wh.png


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@vcarl

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vcarl commented Oct 13, 2015

Discord is blocked by corporate webfilters as gaming related, so IMO it's not the best choice.

@elwayman02

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elwayman02 commented Oct 13, 2015

I think there's an argument to be made to get it whitelisted for work
purposes, though... I don't think it's a strong enough reason to discount
the best available product.

On Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 10:23 AM Carl Vitullo notifications@github.com
wrote:

Discord is blocked by corporate webfilters as gaming related, so IMO it's
not the best choice.


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@elwayman02

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elwayman02 commented Oct 13, 2015

In fact, pretty much the only way Discord will stop being blocked as
gaming related is if some non-gaming communities like Reactiflux start
using it. Otherwise, we create a vicious cycle where we don't use it
because it's blocked for being gaming, and thus the only people using it
are gamers.

On Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 10:24 AM Jordan Hawker hawker.jordan@gmail.com
wrote:

I think there's an argument to be made to get it whitelisted for work
purposes, though... I don't think it's a strong enough reason to discount
the best available product.

On Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 10:23 AM Carl Vitullo notifications@github.com
wrote:

Discord is blocked by corporate webfilters as gaming related, so IMO it's
not the best choice.


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@vcarl

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vcarl commented Oct 13, 2015

It advertises itself as being for gamers, I don't think that's a concern for them. Their main userbase is people using it for gaming, and there are already features we won't be taking advantage of.

I think Gitter is the best option. Other than personal preference I haven't seen a reason it wouldn't work, and it's previously been extremely friendly to groups larger than ours in the past.

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taion commented Oct 13, 2015

FWIW the voice features on Discord are so cool that at least a few of us are thinking of trying it out for more work-related stuff.

@elwayman02

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elwayman02 commented Oct 13, 2015

Chat room discovery on Gitter is pretty awful. There doesn't seem to be a
way to create a channel list other than making people navigate to each
channel via the links/badges.

On Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 10:28 AM Carl Vitullo notifications@github.com
wrote:

It advertises itself as being for gamers, I don't think that's a concern
for them.

I think Gitter is the best option. Other than personal preference I
haven't seen a reason it wouldn't work, and it's previously been extremely
friendly to groups larger than ours in the past.


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@quicksnap

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quicksnap commented Oct 13, 2015

Do we have a sense of how many Reactiflux users would be affected by corporate blacklist?

@BerkeleyTrue

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BerkeleyTrue commented Oct 13, 2015

Chat room discovery on Gitter is pretty awful.

You would just navigate to /rooms. See: https://gitter.im/orgs/FreeCodeCamp/rooms

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vcarl commented Oct 13, 2015

Also https://gitter.im/orgs/reactiflux/rooms, we made a few while exploring options a while ago

@mydigitalself

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mydigitalself commented Oct 13, 2015

@elwayman02 we're working on improving that, but it's certainly not the case that there isn't a channel list. in any room, there's a globe of the world in the top right corner and that will take you to the directory of rooms ala:

https://gitter.im/gitterHQ
http://gitter.im/dotnet

Admittedly it needs to be better surfaced, and we're working on some designs for that right now.

@chiedo

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chiedo commented Oct 13, 2015

Just my opinion but we've heard a lot of options at this point. Could someone authoritative narrow it down to a few top contenders now so the conversation can continue from there?

If I made the call, we would continue with the assumption that we'd now be choosing between one of the following:
IRC
Gitter
ChatGrape

Just my opinion though!

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vcarl commented Oct 13, 2015

The community has expressed interest in IRC and Discord, mainly. The group coordinators have settled on Gitter as the most viable option, but didn't discuss Discord at the time. Pretty much everything has an IRC bridge (and would be simple to bot), so I think the IRC crowd can remain content-ish no matter what platform.

For the purposes of narrowing options, the shortlist is

  • Gitter
  • Discord
@chiedo

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chiedo commented Oct 13, 2015

So right now, we're practically deciding between the following?

Gitter
Discord
IRC

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vcarl commented Oct 13, 2015

IRC was decided to be nonviable because of the relatively high switching cost for people who don't already use IRC, and the availability of bridges for those who really want IRC.

Also, lack of discoverability of rooms.

@engelgabriel

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engelgabriel commented Oct 13, 2015

@vcarl what about our offer to host Rocket.Chat for you guys?
I think it would be awesome opportunity for the community to use/support an nice open source project.

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taion commented Oct 13, 2015

IRC is also pointless because if you wanted to use Freenode#reactjs, you'd already be using it. There's no "switch to IRC option", the "switch to IRC option" is just "shut down Reactiflux and use Freenode#reactjs instead".

@chiedo

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chiedo commented Oct 13, 2015

Good points @vcarl and @taion.

So now it's just a matter of choosing between Gitter and Discord?

I personally am in favor of trying Rocket.Chat and taking up the offer from @engelgabriel but if that's off the table, let's officially put it to rest

@geekgonecrazy

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geekgonecrazy commented Oct 13, 2015

Another contributor to Rocket.Chat here.

Just something to think about. We're rapidly growing, features are being added daily. If you want feature X you can open a PR and get that feature in the core. That's not something you can do with these other platforms.

/end plug

@Daniel15

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Daniel15 commented Oct 13, 2015

#25 seems to be the more relevant issue to discuss this in :)

@benigeri benigeri changed the title from Moving from Slack to another service to (DUPLICATE) Moving from Slack to another service Oct 14, 2015

@benigeri

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benigeri commented Oct 14, 2015

Thank you all for the great feedback. I've read it and will try to update #25 to include the major points.

Closing this issue to focus the conversation in #25

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