Syncthing room in [matrix]

This is just to let you know that somebody created a (public) room in the [matrix] federation with “Syncthing” as its own topic of discussion:

1 Like

Yep, I’ve seen it. Matrix seems technically neat.

Might it be an idea to use that tool for volunteer-based support to Syncthing users, as they do in Mozilla for Thunderbird, for instance?

#thunderbird:mozilla.org

#maildev:mozilla.org

I suppose that’s what already happens? Similar to other existing IRC channels, Telegram groups, QQ … somethings, etc.

Ah, sorry! I saw you were already in that room.

Usually I am the Matrix evangelist, and for a moment I thought maybe I had even created that room since I have done so for one or two other FOSS projects (because I didn’t want someone to scoop the obvious room address e.g. #syncthing:matrix.org).

Just now I rediscovered what I had apparently already discussed in the room last July:

The room settings show that @MacAdder:matrix.org is the room admin. If they are unavailable or have left the room, is there no way to elevate someone else to the Admin role? I suppose the matrix.org admins could do it, but my guess is that they will direct you to Element Home

Back then I then sent the admin a direct message requesting that they add someone else as an admin but I received no response. I will try again today.

This is a problem, because it means no one else can moderate the room or kick/ban participants in the event bad actors take the stage. For the sake of the project’s image if nothing else, I recommend that we consider creating a Matrix Space with at least three admins, two of which are @calmh and one or more of the other core developers such as @AudriusButkevicius or @imsodin. We will have to abandon the current “best” published address if MacAdder does not respond. However, this presents an opportunity to establish a proper Space such as #syncthing-project:matrix.org wherein there are two rooms #syncthing-general:matrix.org and #syncthing-support:matrix.org. The room list could expand/shrink in the future as needed, but with this approach the project can take advantage of the Matrix Space hierarchical permissions system.

Nothing I am proposing would require anyone associated with the Syncthing project to do anything aside from accept a permissions role, but given the likely popularity of Matrix among the people who use Syncthing, it would be wise to at least take control of the project’s presence on the platform.

1 Like

Not to disparage Matrix, but I don’t think it scales to have us hunt down and officially “take command” of chat rooms created by random people on the latest hot chat technologies. At least I personally don’t want to take moderating responsibility for more things than I already do, and as mentioned I know there are several IRC channels, at least one Telegram group, some QQ group, probably some Slack somewhere, probably some Discord group, now the Matrix room, Reddit, etc.

The forum is Official™. The other things are not, really, and that’s fine I think.

2 Likes

At least I personally don’t want to take moderating responsibility for more things than I already do

I totally understand that, and you should not be expected to take any more responsibilities than you wish.

I’ll take the lead on this little corner of the internet associated with the project and do my best to spread the admin/moderating roles properly. If I offer a role to someone, I definitely will not be offended if they decline (not that I assume people are particularly sensitive to my feelings :laughing:).

Completely off topic: Thanks again for all your work on Syncthing. I’ve been spreading the gospel of decentralized FOSS solutions to a primarily astrophysics and nuclear physics community at my current job in my role as hybrid research scientist/DevOps sysadmin (a.k.a. a “research software engineer”). The researchers are slowly grasping how Syncthing can make their lives easier when transferring massive amounts of data between collaborators from different, often international institutions, where the proprietary solutions licensed by the individual institutions do not make it easy or even possible to securely and robustly share data like Syncthing does. In fact this week I am preparing a talk for a conference in England where I will definitely be mentioning Syncthing.

3 Likes

I created the rooms I suggested above. You can view the public rooms in the space #syncthing-space:matrix.org as a guest without an account:

By the way, I was wrong about the “Matrix Space hierarchical permissions system”. It is not hierarchical, at least not yet?

1 Like

Seconding this strongly. Splitting up official rooms is messy, takes time from moderators by forcing them to check multiple places and complicates things when the same issue is reported multiple times in multiple places. Crosschecking issues as a form of “duplicate detection” takes time. Time that could have been used otherwise.

Furthermore, Matrix does not offer “sub-rooms”, as any forum or issue tracker provides. It is a chatroom. Issues are not “bundled” and cannot be closed, once addressed.

It is nice for fast live communication, as there are user profiles and videoconferencing, personal messages and calls are possible, but apart from this…

I think Matrix could be a tool for developers of syncthing to keep in personal contact and to work on things that may not necessarily be published, but to manage the large mass of people having questions and proposals, I think any forum or issue tracker is a lot better.

By the way: Thunderbird already has this problem. The first channel that pops up when searching on Element for Thunderbird is managed by a single person that does not respond: #markar:matrix.org. Thunderbird has their official matrix chat room, which originally was named “Thunderbird Support” (#Thunderbird:Mozilla.org), but I wonder for how long that name will remain…

1 Like

I agree that Discourse is the best tool for coordinated support and topical discussion. Personally I love Discourse. In other situations like this, the Matrix support room is mostly a place where people give a quick welcoming “hello” to a newcomer and pass them along to the official Discourse forum if they cannot quickly or easily answer their question. This continues the tradition of FOSS IRC channels.

What Matrix really offers, aside from perhaps a place to hash out ideas in real time (although now Discourse is pretty good at that too with its typing notifications), is a decentralized platform for situations where that might be advantageous. If an individual Matrix server goes offline (temporarily or permanently), the other participants in the room can still continue communicating and the data is not lost. Even if that is never utilized, it is aligned with the decentralized ethos of Syncthing.

Again, a maintained Matrix presence is not necessary for the Syncthing project, but I’m happy to facilitate an unofficial channel for discussion there. Anyone who is interested is free to join those public channels and request moderator or admin roles as appropriate.

2 Likes

Well, I am afraid some context is missing here.

Matrix is not like the other chat and collaboration applications @calmh mentioned. Text chat (and in the future A/V conference calls) are applications written using the Matrix protocol. Please, read this post to understand what is boiling in the pot.

The protocol, in itself, aims to replicate a hierarchical database (the ‘room’) between all servers where a user is registered in the room (Perhaps a remote relative of the BEP etc.). It follows from this that a room is only truly redundant if, within it, there are users registered on different servers (as in all n-way mirrors, n≥2).

The ambitious goal of Matrix - as a chat and collaboration application - is to potentially act as a bridge to all other systems.

With the final ratification, expected this autumn, of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), it is expected that many big boys on the web who engage in chat and collaboration (in the EU) may adopt Matrix as the protocol required by the DMA itself in order to expose public APIs. The first to officially declare that they will use the Matrix protocol to talk to everyone else was Rocket.Chat.

So, I think I correctly interpret @manning-ncsa’s thinking and his creation of spaces and rooms as a first attempt for the Syncthing project to establish a sort of root, a hat, under which to channel all existing discussion areas (using bridges). With the implicit objective not to increase complexity, but to decrease it.

1 Like

Spaces can contain spaces and rooms, thus allowing the creation of hierarchies, or trees of rooms.

Unfortunately, as ‘spaces’ were introduced as a stable feature last year, there is still no tool to navigate through room trees, or to search through existing spaces. However, recent versions of major clients such as Element are starting to support ‘spaces’.

1 Like

Space and rooms created by @manning-ncsa are redundant. You can see that from the number of servers (n≥2) the space/room is spread over:

FYI the #syncthing-space:matrix.org space contains, since a few days, a new read-only room Forum Topics #syncthing-forum-topics:matrix.org, in which new topics from the forum.syncthing.net are published periodically (through a lightweight, read-only integration between [matrix] and Discourse, set up and configured by @manning-ncsa ).

The space, therefore, currently has this structure:

1 Like

Yet another reason to love Discourse: it provides many RSS feeds by default. This topic shows how you just tack on .rss to category URLs and the result is a feed that can be parsed by apparently any standard feed reader including the Matrix RSS Bot “widget” (operated by matrix.org).

1 Like