Slack Alternative

Hi All,

The 10k message history in Slack is pretty inconvenient: one of our Google Summer of Code interns was attempting to view old messages from the Student Application Period a few months ago where we debated the specifics of the proposal and the reasoning behind them, as well as broader discussions of the tools in general. Unfortunately these messages were already gone.

Some of this discussion probably should have happened on the forum where the messages would have persisted and been searchable. But in general I think that we as an open source community should maintain our public history and that we should have ownership of that data. I remember when we transitioned from Google Groups to this forum that a lot of work was spent migrating that old history. I think that was time well spent, and its something we can't do with Slack.

I understand that Slack is the default choice for teamchat across the tech community. I also understand that moving the community away from a communication tool is a big and difficult task. I was hoping to discuss alternatives that would align more with our needs as an open source community and explore whether it would be worth it to switch.

Zulip is an open source alternative that @downey pointed me at. It has a nice model for open source users:

Rocket Chat and Mattermost are self hosted alternative that seem to be popular, and we would completely own our data.

Does anyone else feel the same way?

I think we should start by exploring a way to archive Slack messages. Slack is a defacto standard and I think using it has made it a lot easier for people to be online consistently and drop in when the conversation is of interest.

When we first got set up and until a couple months ago, we had great searchable history through That hosted service has gone down but it's now open source and available for self-hosting. I think hosting would be a lot less painful than changing platforms for 800+ users.


@Jeff_Beorse I think that having a way to see old slack messages would be nice. Maybe add this to your dirty jobs infrastructure proposal? I think the community could discuss whether to go with or go down the zulip or rocket chat route. The nice thing about having it part of the proposal is that the project would have actual resources to make the switch if the grant is successful.

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Just a note to any non-profits smaller than 250 users who are facing the 10k message history issue:

Slack for NonProfits offers free Standard plan to NonProfits.
The 2 big wins on this are lifting of the 10k message limit, and access to Guest accounts (which allows you to let collaborators access only specific Slack channels, and not all of them).

Unfortunately for organisations over 250 users they only offer a 85% discount, not a completely free Standard plan, so this probably doesn't help ODK.


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