Of course, the technology is important but this is another debate.
XMPP, Matrix, a home-grown chat solution or integration with a SaaS service are all viable options. But in all cases, we need to decide what integration really means., but mostly the user interface and information architecture.
In large communities, chatrooms become hard to follow. The signal-to-noise ratio becomes unbearable.
Problems with a community with just chat rooms
- No good way to build up content over time (that is what wikis do)
- No good way to track tasks, bugs, etc. (that is what trackers do)
- Not suitable for long form essays: Other data formats like blog posts are better, and a link and summary can shared in the chatroom.
And it goes beyond just chat. As described here, there are 8 use cases which have different needs/usage patterns:
- Ongoing Team collaboration on projects
- Meetings / conference calls
- Webinars / Scheduled Course
- Community presence and support
- Help desk for team members (Remote Assist)
- Help desk for customers
- Remote Management
Each wiki page represents something (idea, concept, etc.)
Each wiki page can have its chatroom, and anyone who edits the page is automatically invited to it. And anyone can join the chat to pages they are interested in.
It should be possible to share same chatroom throughout many wiki pages. Say there are 10 closely related wiki pages, you'll likely want just one chat room for the 10.
Trackers are versatile, so chat room really depends on the context.
- Each project should have a chat room
- Sometimes, it makes sense that they have a chat room each. Ex.: Collaboration, brainstorming, etc.
- Participants can share additional info about the topic.
- Ask questions that speaker can address
In some cases, it can make sense to have a chatroom for all content of a category, whatever the object type (wiki page, blog post, etc.)
- Should chat rooms simply replace comments, which already are available all over Tiki?
- Should chat simply replace inter-user messages?
It should be easy to embed a chat room anywhere in Tiki, and maintain context. Now, say we use tools from an open protocol like XMPP or Matrix, it will mostly just be a list of chatrooms. How do we provide context? Can we do better than a URL in the description of each chat room? (Which would take to main content (wiki page, tracker, user profile, whatever which also includes chat interface)
Chatrooms facilitate some types of discussion. In some cases, it would be nice to be able to select a series of chat message and to move or copy them to another chatroom. Like
- a spin off chatroom, which can then be associated to another task/topic/project/whatever...
- spin off to a wiki page as a documentation stub or brainstorming.
- spin off to a tracker item (task, timesheet, project, etc.)
Chat logs should be available via search results, which lead you to the chat log in context (of the wiki page or project or whatever) and the capacity to scroll back and forward to see the context of the discussion, and any follow ups.
- Add a way for a user to select a series of chat entries (like Telegram offers) and make accessible as a new URL (A bookmark showing the discussion) and permit various actions like
- Add tags/keywords
- Associate to a category
- Link (relate) to any item. Ex.: this relates to a task, a project, a wiki page, etc.
- Share via email, on social media
Chat clients are sometimes part of webmail clients so you can chat with someone instead of sending email