Some context: some long-time members of the OMG community have been using Slack for real-time chat and collaboration. It feels like time to move off Slack and onto a more values-aligned platform - something more featured than Telegram but less proprietary than Slack (or Telegram for that matter). This forum is a great place for longer-form discussions but there’s value in having multiple venues to enable different ways of exchanging thoughts! I’ll make my own recommendations here, but others should feel free to jump in with other ideas - ultimately it should be decided by group consensus.
SSB (Secure Scuttlebutt) is a gossip protocol, which is a sort of network-of-networks which gives users a lot of control over who they see and connect with, but also contains a cool mechanism for expanding your view of the world. If you choose to connect with someone, then you’ll see everyone that’s in their network - sort of an individualized reputation system. In practice, it’s a little bit Twitter, a little bit Slack, a little bit old timey chat room, and a little bit something else entirely.
Ideologically, using SSB alongside other open source protocols sends a clear message of anti-maximalism, ie openness to using whatever protocol best serves a specific need rather than trying to shoehorn every use case onto a blockchain. Similarly, it lets us reach a new community that has similar values and interests to blockchainers but is focused on different tech.
I won’t go deep into pros and cons of the tech itself, other than to say that the concept is interesting but the UX is still clunky and not necessarily optimized for small groups to get off the ground, and there’s no good mobile app right now (one team has a beta out for Android and Google, but no iOS).
Riot comes closer to replicating the experience of using Slack, but runs on Matrix which is another decentralized-but-not-a-blockchain protocol. It has a well-developed ecosystem, focused on interoperability with other protocols and platforms (with Riot being the most widely known and used). There is a mobile app available, which in my experience is ok but not amazing.
We could throw Status into the mix here, but I’m not sure if it makes sense for this use case. The group messaging feature feels more like Telegram in my experience, whereas Riot or SSB have a more robust ecosystem allowing for multiple intersecting groups/conversations. The dapp itself is also still in beta and does break occasionally. That said it is (fact) an Ethereum project and is (opinion) both very promising and already very cool in a lot of ways with in-app payments, native support for other dapps and adorable animal names as default user IDs.
All of these platforms are open source, free to use, decentralized and enable encrypted p2p messaging. Overall, SSB requires to most adjustment but has deep implications that I think would be positive in the long run; Riot would require the least change in user behavior for people who are used to Slack or Discord; and Status keeps things in the Ethereum family.
Please share votes or opinions related these or any other platforms out there!