Spectrum.chat as an alternative for slack

Hello everyone,

I currently discovered spectrum as a perfect community chat alternative for slack.
There is already a Elixir group which can be found here: https://spectrum.chat/elixir

Here (https://blog.apollographql.com/goodbye-slack-hello-spectrum-8fa6b979645b) is a nice article about the Apollo GraphQL community which fully switched from slack to spectrum.
Basically because of these main reasons:

  • Short-lived channel history
  • Walled garden (Slack messages are never available outside of Slack)
  • Problematic searching

I myself have experienced these problems with Slack and I really think spectrum is a nice approach of solving these problem. Hoping to see more of you on the spectrum elixir chat in the near future.



What I’m wondering is:

  • Who runs Spectrum? Apparently GitHub? This was surprisingly difficult to find.
  • How are they making money? Will they monetise us?
  • Can we trust it will stay online and not have all the history be lost when they decide it wasn’t worth it?

It’s switching from one garden to the other. But I do agree Slack’s short channel history and closedness is not good for open communities. Something visible to search engines would be much better.

I think the biggest problem is network effect, though. A lot of people use Slack at work or for other projects already, and don’t want to switch to other systems. It’s good enough, even though it’s bad. So unless there is an official push from the Elixir core team, I don’t think a switch will happen. More likely is that it will just stay as an alternative.

I will check out Spectrum though.


Since I am banned from the Elixir Slack, I might join the Spectrum one. But tbh, I don’t miss the real time chat that much. If I have a problem, I just post it here in the forum and usually get a much faster reply than in Slack.


Spectrum is more like a forum with a Twitter-esque UI rather than a chat (you click a thread to reveal and participate in a discussion), and after joining the Apollo Spectrum, I started receiving tons of email notifications by default…

Not to say Spectrum isn’t a useful platform, but I find the Elixir Forum for threaded discussions + Slack && Discord for realtime chat to be sufficient – it’s a nice distributed community :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

Sunsetting the Apollo Slack is also an interesting choice on Apollo’s part… they seem to really want people to use Spectrum.

@Nicd The magic revenue-positive words in Spectrum’s privacy policy under Use of Data: To gather analysis or valuable information so that we can improve our Service


I totally agree with you.

Personally I think Slack is great, but the aspect of lacking message history is really annoying.
Especially in communities where many people write/ask/chat much.
Which is great but sometimes when you want to lookup sth that was 2 days ago you can’t find it anymore.
I can’t understand why slack doesn’t support open source communities in some way that messages persists for ever without the need to pay.

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What about giving a try to https://matrix.org/blog/home/?
It’s free software, has history, search, a bunch of clients (including mobile ones) – has bridges to IRC, gitter, and many more. – Not polished as slack, however it looks to me good enough to have a conversation :wink:

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Using it for quite a while and I don’t really like it. It’s really really really slow and often messages are delayed for hours or even days.


It happened to me in the past, not that much in these days.
That’s why I said that we “could give it a try” (maybe I was not clear) in the sense to experiment with it.
And slack keeps partial history if you don’t pay for it.

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Has anyone messed with https://zulip.org/ as of yet? I ran across it recently, seems interesting as well.


Aren’t there any elixir/erlang based chat apps out there that can accommodate this community?

The Elixir community is active on Discord :stuck_out_tongue:


It’s a YAPP (Yet Another Proprietary Platform)

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Of course, it is only a matter of time until someone builds an alternative on top of the foundation provided by Planga, and then we’ll have a nice free, open-source alternative that to top it off will even use Elixir under the hood :angel: . (cough shameless plug cough)

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Clojure has a Zulip chat and the cool thing is that it also archives the slack channel, so it’s easily searchable.

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I think the only truly non-proprietary chat would be based on IPFS because it’s truly decentralized.

Is IPFS truly decentralized? If the node that is persisting your data goes down, your data goes down… You need to cultivate a network of nodes to back up your data if you want it to persist over time, which seems distributed but centralized to me

Relevant link: https://discuss.ipfs.io/t/how-permanent-is-data-stored-on-ipfs/354/3

If you want to persist your data, you need to pin it; there is no “free lunch”. Presumably though, if someone values the data, they will pin it too, which I believe is a reasonable trade-off altogether. For instance, if you had a Facebook-like site which your ipfs-enabled browser allowed you to click a “like” button which, under the hood would perform an ipfs pin command on a node other than the original post, that would be far more decentralized than Facebook now.

Does anyone have experience with matrix by the way?

I’ve used it a little, it’s IRC integration was extremely lagged, and setting up a server was not terribly simple.

On another hand I’ve been playing with zulip, thinking of setting it up for an open source project I manage the backend of. It’s IRC integration is simple and fast, and easy to modify to add more features as well. It has web, electron-desktop (win/mac/*nix), and native android/ios clients (and a really awesome pure-terminal client too, soo surprisingly awesome!), all open source, good auth integrations, full history, easy to link to unlike slack, it’s very Discourse’y actually, if you were to make a Discourse style chat I’d say it would be Zulip, lots and lots of other little features as well (it would be entirely possible to make a bot that maps discourse to zulip both ways in a stream actually). It’s also really easy to whip up instances of it, in fact let me do that so whoever wants can play around with it (don’t expect this instance to be up permanently, this wouldn’t be the appropriate server for it if I did that anyway): https://elixir.chat.gregtech.overminddl1.com/join/8tx7v1cm6y864c11x71pcj02/
I have public signups disabled here currently, so that join link will give access if anyone wants to screw around with it, it’s a bog-standard default setup.