Synchronous and pseudo-synchronous communications

Before explaining what tools can be good for OpenStack, we should clarify what (pseudo-)synchronous communications mean, and explain the problem with the current status-quo.


The synchronous and pseudo-synchronous communications are the happening between our community members, for which people expect a relatively quick answer. The relative notion depends on the context. For example, on a idle IRC channel, one might not be expected to answer instantly, while instant present is expected during synchronous IRC meetings or video conferences.

The current mechanisms for (pseudo-)synchronous communications are for example is OpenDev’s meetpad service and our OFTC IRC channels.

The problem

With the community being more distributed, it is probably easier to deal with the distribution by relying on more asynchronous tools. Yet, our processes and asynchronous tools limitations make us use more synchronous communications, which limits the scalability of the community. Some people will always feel left alone in the current ways.

Next to this, IRC seems alien to the “new generation of developers”, which prefer Slack or Matrix: Those record conversations when you are disconnected for example.

The proposal

I propose to move our IRC communication by moving to matrix (and optionally a front-end/web client, like Element).

I believe using it would increase attractiveness of our synchronous communications. Additionally, this could integrate well with a more modern asynchronous tooling like Discourse.

Mozilla has also chosen matrix.

People using IRC could easily adopt matrix, as a IRC bridge exists.

For new joiners, a web interface would be a welcomed change, as communication can be done from the browser, like Slack.


This is a disruptive change, like for the asynchronous communications. This could lead to a split in the community, for people not wanting to change.