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Discussion on: Do we have a chat channel?

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Jason C. McDonald • Edited on

I'm partial to IRC (as anyone who reads my articles here will know), and I think the biggest benefit to it is that it's inherently synchronous. We want permanent and official conversations to occur on dev.to(), so IRC's default non-permanence definitely contributes to the separation of purposes.

In other words, it wouldn't split the community at all: IRC is ill-suited for everything dev.to does, and dev.to is ill-suited for everything IRC does.

I think the main point of a chatroom should be for little conversations and general socialization under the same rules that govern dev.to(). IRC is simple, straightforward, and works on everything with little effort.

Meanwhile, putting together a chatbot to integrate IRC and dev.to() is pretty simple and straightforward. One could use Limnoria or any number of other basic bots and just expand it.

Finally, it's dead simple to get onto IRC. You don't need a special account to get on, and if you did want to reserve your nickname, an IRC account is about as easy as it gets: email address for recovery only, and some incidental little password. There are only several dozen clients out there, for literally everything from iPhones to Linux terminals.

In short, IRC is quite simply that: dead simple, ubiquitous, synchronous chat that isn't capable of taking on any part of dev.to's functionality. No bells, no whistles, just good old chat. Reserve a room in Freenode, throw in a few OPs and a basic chatbot, and you're good to go.

(For the record, I've used both Slack and Discord, and I agree that either risks splitting the community. Same goes for most other chat platforms.)