Suggesting Slack for better Collaboration

Hello everyone, trust we are doing good.

Communication is vital in collaboration, and I think a good communication platform would reduce the limitations posed by distance. Quick response would increase team activity and remove the tension of waiting for a reply ( like when one is stuck).

The communication platforms that we use presently are awesome and we can add more features such as realtime notification, group chat and pinned message. As for me, I only get notifications on Talk if my name is mentioned in a thread and I think this can be made better.

In order to increase collaboration and bring more fun to work, I’ll suggest we try out a platform like Slack.

Here are my reasons

  1. Every member of the OpenMRS team gets a notification whenever a new post is been added thereby allowing people to contribute more and in due time.
  2. It will make it easier to communicate with each other
  3. Different channels can be created for different modules and every new member coming into the team can see previous chat history making it easier to catch up with the state of the module, be able to communicate directly with people that have previously worked on the module and thus help in getting started easily.
  4. A different channel can be created for Standup to ensure that only standup related stuffs are posted there. Doing that will help in tracking everyones progress and be able to identify who’s stuck on a task.
  5. The app is available on mobile meaning that we can still collaborate on the go!

Although it might take some time to fully migrate to slack. But I think it’s worth a try.

I’ll be looking forward to everyones opinion on this.


Thanks @dbamidele. If you search Talk, you’ll find this conversation has come up a few times over the past few years. In fact, I believe we already have a Slack channel for OpenMRS.

Slack is very nice – many would say the best option – for team/organization communication. While I don’t believe we’re against Slack for dogmatic reasons, the two main. challenges have been in its application for open source:

  1. People need to be able to join the channel on their own without requiring someone to invite them.

  2. It needs to scale to hundreds or thousands of users.

Googling for examples is a bit tough, because most of the hits discuss open source alternatives rather than the use of Slack for open source communities, but I was able to quickly find this one.

As an example of how good solutions don’t always scale as expected: Google Groups can be very useful, but we had to migrate away from them several years ago, because we were exceeding the 10,000 daily email limit to non-Google accounts.

Can you find examples of large open source communities successfully using Slack? If you can, perhaps we could learn from them.

Thanks @burke. Your points are very valid.

I’m part of a slack group with close to 7k members although it’s not really an open source community but it’s more of a support group.

Reading through the post you included in your response, I see the reason why slack won’t scale for a big community like OpenMRS.

I’m glad I raised it up though, because I won’t have known if I didn’t :grinning:

Thank you.

@dbamidele thanks again for continuously looking for ways to improve our collaboration in the community!!! :slight_smile:

This is quite an eye opener really. Thanks @dbamidele for bringing this up

If we could find a way to make Slack work for the community, I would love it. Juggling Telegram, Slack, HipChat, IRC, etc. isn’t so much fun.

I think the two main blockers are:

  1. A mechanism for self enrollment. Maybe there is a decent plugin/bot that could automate this.

  2. A way to capture history. I believe Slack history is limited. Maybe there’s a bot that could capture it for us.

If we could implement #1, we could certainly give Slack a try. I would feel a lot more confident if there were some examples of large open source communities successfully using Slack.

This is a solution for #1.

One suggestion (that I think has been brought up before) is an open-source slack-like solution called RocketChat ( We host our own instance and use this on our team ( and it has worked great. It supports self-registration, unlimited history, support for many slack bots, and a whole bunch of admin config options.

If slack is meant to be a replacement for talk, then this is a very valid point. But I think talk is great but not so much about irc. I tend to see slack as an alternative to irc not talk. We hadly get up to 100 participants(at least I’ve not seen it for my two years here at OpenmRS) on #openmrs even on the most busy days.

But this is a blocker too.

Docker community has a platform like talk powered by mobilize where you can create threads like on talk but Docker community also has a slack channel for real time communication with over 8k members

Kubernetes slack channel has over 24k members.

To me I don’t think slack should be a replacement for talk mostly because of this point

One feature I like with talk is how easy it is to revisit pasts posts I’ve interacted with either through bookmarking or just going through my history. Something I’m not sure slack supports.

@burke I assume the latest activity emails we received from Slack was you or something you are aware of, and we weren’t hacked :smiley:

I’m not sure, but I think active users & notifications for Slack apply to all registered users, not just the users in the channel at any given moment. So, assuming we don’t automatically close accounts, I think the constraint to consider applies to all people who have ever used IRC or Telegram.

No longer, considering @pascal’s comment above.

Yes, we’ve considered as well. If we could make Slack work, it would be nice to avoid adding more moving pieces to our infrastructure.

LOL. I was investigating and transferred ownership from Michael’s old account.

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