Social Media and Collaboration

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There has been some discussion as to what tools to used to communicate. This is an attempt to find out the pros and cons from each. Each system has to be described by the same parameters.

As of right now, we're using the following:

Comparison Table

Comparison of quick communications tools. Only options with live chat. Options not discussed above. WORK IN PROGRESS

Name Freedom in Software (hackability) (%) Mainstream (y/n) Project focused (y/n)
WhatsApp 10% Y N
Telegram 50% Y Y (with in-line bots)
Mattermost 100% N Y
Slack 5% Y Y
GroupMe 0% N N
XMPP/Jabber 100% N Y (with addons)
IRC 100% Y (?) Y (with bots)


Mailing list management and distribution.


  • It is free as in freedom (open source)
  • We have it installed in our own server
  • It is in use now
  • Uses email which everybody has.
  • Well known technology and stable
  • There is access to archives.
  • Can be made public or private.
  • Can be configured as a webforum.
  • Has threaded discussion (if email configured as such)
  • Lots of similar guidance in Netiquette


  • Not everybody likes using email.
  • No separate notification system (unless your email client can set)
  • Looks dated.


Group-based messaging


  • Mobile app and web app
  • Notification system on mobile
  • It is used already by some members
  • Modern interface (vs. Mailman)


  • Proprietary
  • Uses freemium model (not in our servers)
  • Requires telephone number even for web version.
  • Does not have threaded discussion.
  • Only private
  • No access to archives
  • Structured for live-chat only - not meant for messaging and discussion

XMPP / Jabber

Online instant messaging chat platform


  • Free software clients (notification apps) available
  • available in all platforms.
  • Standard protocol (international standard)
  • Encryption and anonyminity available.
  • Free of price accounts available.
  • Easy to set up
  • Compatible with other protocols such as SIP?
  • Voice, video and Internet of things
  • if not used as messaging still intersting for IoT control.
  • Same proven technology used by Facebook whatsapp/messenger, apple facetime , googlehangout,...


  • Structured for live-chat only - not meant for messaging and discussion
  • No native clients built into mainstream mobile platforms
  • We had an RML conference available and we had a maximum of two participants at any given time. Not a huge push for clientele at the best restaurant if it's in Siberia.


Multi-modal collaborative space (chat, messaging, document exchange, etc.) Alternatives exist


  • Designed for group work
  • Threaded discussions and/or tags
  • Has chat system as well?
  • Works with IRC?


  • Proprietary
  • Uses freemium model (not in our servers)
  • Only mobile app (not all OS)?
  • limited to 10k messages. Not for profit option not available in UK


Multi-modal collaborative space (messaging, wiki)


  • It is free as in freedom (open source)
  • We can have it installed in our own server
  • Threading, tags, @mentions
  • iOS app
  • Modern HTML5 web app with embedded notifications
  • Used by South London Makerspace and they are happy with it (they have shut down their legacy Slack, Google Groups, and IRC channels)
  • No difference between Open-Source Discourse and the paid hosted version


  • No live-chat system built-in
  • External authentication mechanisms (LDAP) require plug-in


Online instant messaging chat platform - very old-school and not very mobile-friendly Though modern apps exist.


  • Stable technology
  • Free as in freedom
  • Could install in our server (federated)
  • Web and mobile apps (many!)
  • Allows for rooms ~ threading
  • Mentions
  • A large array of robots to do different things
  • Can be recorded or forgotten
  • network is already by many other maker/hackspaces


  • Live-chat only - conversations typically require participants to be concurrently active (If this is an issue, user should use Telegram instead!)

Google Groups

Google-hosted mailing list management and distribution platform.


  • Similar to Mailman
  • Many (most?) other Hackspaces using Google Groups
  • Free (Google adware supported?)


  • Management requires Google Account
  • No simple data export

Facebook, Twitter, Google+

Proprietary social networking systems


  • We have a Facebook site
  • We have Twitter
  • Used to reach out to and cross-promote other like-minded orgs.
  • Used to score free stuff from makerspace-interested companies wanting to do good
  • Many normal people use Facebook/Twitter/Google+ as their social ecosystem and may not find RML otherwise


  • Proprietary - a walled garden where content goes in but is difficult to export
  • Freemium
  • Limited publishing mechanisms offered
  • non-privacy data hoarders
  • Not federated
  • Forces others to subscribe to it get you loved ones off facebook.
  • Manual updates not triggered from another source: Ideally we would want some sort of tool that will update the Twitter and Facebook account every time the wiki changes.


Fully open source microblogging system


  • Free as in freedom
  • Can install in our own server
  • Federated
  • Threaded conversations
  • Notification
  • Mobile apps
  • Has WordPress add-on


  • only public
  • No built-in chat platform
  • it is like twitter but without the 140 carater limit


Collaborative messaging system


  • End-to-End Traditional Groupware Offering
    • Email, Contacts and Calendars
    • Files, Tasks, Notes
  • Open Source
  • Offline clients available


  • Traditional collaboration is becoming less dynamic
  • No built-in instant messaging
  • No integration into social networks
  • Lots of components required to integrate
  • ...


Fully open source collaborative messaging platform (seemingly latest and fastest developing) See alternatives


  • Open source alternative to Slack (see above)
  • Better than slack including the infuriating 10k message limit not an issue
  • Rapidly being developed & adopted
  • Noisebridge deployed system already running
  • LDAP integration
  • We can host our own or use a service
  • Chose own channels
  • Can have private channels
  • PM messages supported
  • Apps for IOs and Android, amongst others
  • Can use Bots


  • need fast server to be useable


The Facebook and G+ like social media platform


  • Free software
  • federated
  • can be closed off (like Facebook and g+)


  • "Not-Facebook" platforms like Diaspora or Ello may not be enough for users to want to register and participate


Mailing list management and distribution system


  • Free software
  • Web-based mailing list manager
  • Combined mailing list and web-based interface (for administration and consumption of list info)


  • Mailing-list only (Most of us are using multi-modal platforms)

Telegram super group

Messaging app comparable to whatsapp but with extra functionality


  • Available cross platform
  • Messaging app/cloud storage
  • Can create groups
  • App code is normally found as free as in freedom software
  • Some RML members already are using it.
  • we can send many different files across
  • search features within the chat
  • @mentions


  • Server side is propietary (there is no cloud just other peoples computers)
  • Very similar to group me and most are already in group me.
  • Developed by the same person that developed vk (the russian equivalent to facebook)
  • Requires registration (If this is an issue, use the IRC chat channel instead!)



  • everybody uses it
  • end to end encryption
  • Available cross platform
  • Can create groups
  • we can send many different files across
  • we can export chats
  • can create bots


  • Facebook
  • Close source


Similar to telegram and whatsapp


  • Fully open source

Let's Chat

An semi-emphemeral Open Souce Slack-like chat service


  • Open Source (MIT)
  • XMPP Integration
  • Multi-room
  • Password protected rooms
  • File uploads
  • API
  • Hubot integration
  • Roll your own or Heroku
  • Built on JavaScript
  • Complete log archives
  • Works in browser
  • @mentions
  • Somewhat friendly UI


  • No IRC integration (could be worked around)
  • No e2e encryption/privacy
  • No mobile apps
  • No federation


Gaming Chat service, mostly free


  • Multi-room
  • User privileges
  • Chat Groups
  • Free to use, paid services don't affect main use
  • IP & DDoS Protection
  • Minimal CPU Usage
  • Free mobile apps


  • Not open source