Re: Collaboration Tools

Edward Warnicke


Community personalities differ, and its important to find the tool that fits them.

I’ve worked in communities that *only* operate via mailing lists, you can’t get *anyone* on slack or IRC.
I’ve also worked in communities where almost *everything* happens on slack and IRC and the mailing lists are moribund.

Slack and IRC each have their pluses and minuses.  Choosing one is something that the ASWF community is going to have to do for itself.

You also need to decide whether to have a single ASWF slack with channels for the projects, or a slack channel per project.
Again, the appropriate choice is going to be dictated by the particular personalities of the projects in ASWF.

My recommendation would be to make a quick ‘starter call’ and get something going, and then see how it goes.  Some things simply require experimentation.


On August 22, 2018 at 9:45:55 AM, Thanh Ha (thanh.ha@...) wrote:

On Wed, Aug 22, 2018 at 9:01 AM <sean@...> wrote:

I'm on the development team for OpenColorIO, and would like to raise the conversation around project communication platforms. Quickly looking at the Collaboration Tools list for ASWF I see the usual options of Mailing Lists and Issue Tracking. However, OCIO has greatly benefited by having real-time communication through a Slack group which promotes candid responses from maintainers and community members instead of long essays like this. I believe this fosters a greater feeling of participation and community which was very helpful in re-kindling development with the project.

I'm am definitely not a proponent of Slack. In fact, I really dislike it and am starting the conversation with our community on switching to an alternative. When/if OpenColorIO is moved under the care of the ASWF, I would like to see a real-time communication platform promoted. At the moment the best option which I have yet to use in practice is Zulip (

The features they offer seem to be a substantial gain over Slack or alternatives.
  • Apache 2.0 Licensed
  • Free hosting for OSS (maybe ASWF hosts a server)
  • Join without invitation
  • Permalink to conversations
  • Github issue links e.g. #1234
  • Github/Jenkins/TravisCI integrations
  • Proper nested conversations (thank goodness)
  • Public archival coming soon apparently
In summary, real-time communication with asynchronous participation is vital to project success. With the declining use of email-lists ( I'd love to see an option promoted and used across ASWF projects.

Many Open Source projects use Freenode IRC. Something that I think a lot of these new tools miss is that there's no single agreed upon server for Open Source projects in general, so if folks want to cross collaborate with another community it's harder (need new accounts on different systems just to join 1 channel).

If you work with 10 different project communities and have to connect to 10 different tools / protocols it quickly get's out of hand. I'm not sure if anyone else participates in multiple project communities but if ASWF plans to cross collaborate with another community (maybe dependency projects) it is much easier to just "/join #channel" then to have to sign up for an entirely new account on another system.

Something ASWF might want to consider when choosing a collaboration tool.


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