Real-time communication is somewhat of a pain point for the Wikimedia movement. There is a large contingent of IRC users with highly specialized workflows (various notifications, highlights, personal scripts, helper bots, vandalism tracking bots etc) for whom moving to a different chat system is probably a no-go. There is also a large contingent of less technical users for whom the cost of learning IRC (with all that setting up a convenient environment involves - cloaking, a bouncer, notifications etc) is prohibitive. Using a different system for them creates a rift in the community, and is often contentious (as the most popular options are not free software). Matrix / Riot.im (backend and default client for the same chat system) has the promise of fixing this problem - it is backwards-compatible with IRC on a low level and aims to provide a modern UI with all the bells and whistles people have come to expect from a chat system.
We what it would take for Matrix to be the offical chat system recommended for Wikimedia community members (IRC users could stay on IRC if they wanted, the two systems are fully interoperable) and see if we can help them get there. As a first step we should evaluate whether there are any features / UI improvements we'd want and whether those are must-haves or nice-to-haves.
Matrix.org is federated so there is probably not too much value in setting up our own instance. To evaluate, follow the steps on the Matrix.org Meta-Wiki page.
- T222458: Evaluate Riot as recommended IRC client
- T230531: Run Matrix trial using the Vector.im-hosted instance