This is a retrospective post, summing the state of where our chat situation is at, and starting to think about the future.
Firstly, the history:
- Matrix & Libera took a join decision to disable “portalled” rooms and only allow “plumbed” rooms. The technical details don’t matter too much, the TLDR is that almost all the Ansible rooms are portalled, so they needed to be recreated by Jul 31st
- This work was tracked here and was about 50% complete when the tooling for making new bridges broke down entirely
- Shortly after this, Libera and Matrix agreed a 2 week extension (to Aug 11th) on the deportalling deadline.
- A few days later, due to identified security concerns, Libera requested the bridge be shut down entirely. We currently have no ETA on it’s return, but it is unlikely to be “days”. Weeks, or even months, are expected before it returns.
- Libera have posted a retrospective on the last few months, which is an interesting read.
As a consequence, we have no IRC bridge, and no way to create one - running your own Appservice-IRC is no small matter, and Libera wouldn’t permit it right now anyway. That means:
- No communication between the networks, either in public rooms or DMs
- Not able to create meeting logs on Matrix (zodbot is an IRC bot)
- Nobody getting kicked from Matrix rooms for 30-day inactivity (the bridge does this to preserve the connection pool)
To combat (1) I have deployed Matterbridge on the Ansible bot host, and enabled it in a few rooms - it seems to be holding up. But relaybots are ugly so that’s really a sticking-plaster at best. To address (2) I am writing a new Matrix zodbot (in conjunction with Fedora) which can post meeting logs here in the forum (to MeetingBot Logs specifically). It will be ready for testing soon. (3) is clearly a nice side-effect
The relay-bot may be with us a while, so I wanted to also share some of my data about the chat usage in Ansible. Here’s the picture right before the troubles:
The first (left-to-right) is the daily percentage of users coming from IRC. This looks high, given 2 years of Matrix, but it’s misleading, because we have one room (the largest,
#ansible) which is still IRC-focused. If we exclude that one room, we get the second plot, which shows IRC somewhere in the region of 30% for the rest of our rooms.
The last plot is a trend (accounting for day-of-the-week variation, but not month-of-the-year because we haven’t enough data yet). It’s clear IRC has been slowly declining for some time, dropping around 35% in the last year. Until March, I would have expected Matrix to become bigger later this year - but the summer always makes FOSS go quiet, and that seems to have been felt more in the Matrix side (possibly because of presence & history? We expect to be able to return and catch up later…).
Right now, it’s clear we’re caught in the middle. I’ll be updating these scripts to work with the relaybot, and we’ll monitor it for the moment.
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