Announcing the new PHP-FIG Discord server

Greetings, PHP-FIG!

With regards to the recent thread about migrating from a mailing list to some other medium, there has been some internal discussion off-list of late on that topic that I'd like to share.

First of all, no, the mailing list is not going to go away. The list is and will remain the official location for voting, discussion, reports, reviews, etc. Aside from the decade-plus history it already has available and searchable, mailing lists, for all their faults, remain the most widely available, most widely compatible, most robust, and least proprietary communication tool available today. While one could argue that is a rather harsh condemnation of the current state of affairs (and I would do so myself), it is the situation we're in 2020. Asynchronous communication also has the value of slowing down a discussion, allowing people to catch it later, and encouraging longer, more thoughtful commentary, all of which are benefits in a group like this. The list is not going anywhere.

Second, there has been a Secretary-maintained PHP-FIG Slack channel for some time, although it's only of marginal use. Mostly it has been a resource made available to Working Groups, who are free to communicate within the Working Group however they feel like. (Slack, IRC, GitHub issues, Google Hangouts, carrier pidgeon, smoke signals, etc.) Some have used it, some haven't. It doesn't do a great deal otherwise.

However, we do realize the value of real-time, informal communication, not just for working groups but for FIG in general. Slack, sadly, is a fairly poor tool for that due to its well-documented challenges for open source projects (limited history, poor access control, convoluted invite/joining mechanism, etc.) That's one of the reasons it's never been publicized except for working groups.

We have therefore decided to open a public PHP-FIG Discord server for such informal real-time chat. It's more or less set up now, although we'll likely be fiddling with settings for some time. (Such is the nature of Discord.) All interested parties are welcome to join using the link below:

https://discord.gg/RdSV6tnjRa

It's also listed on Disboard here:

https://disboard.org/server/788815898948665366

There are channels setup for general PHP-FIG talk and general PHP talk; more channels will undoubtedly be added over time. In particular, Working Groups are free to request both public or private channels for their work as needed. The Secretaries have admin control over the server, although they can appoint other moderators as well.

Why Discord and not X?

We discussed a number of options, and all had their limitations:

  • Slack is too inflexible and its access control is paltry.
  • There has been a PHP-FIG IRC channel for almost a decade. You probably didn't know that. 'nuff said.
  • While we had an offer of server space to host our own Mattermost chat server or similar, that would require managing a Mattermost server. We didn't want that additional hassle.

Why not migrate to X tool instead of the list?

Because that doesn't solve an actual problem. What's missing from the mailing list is the ability to have real-time synchronous discussions when needed. That's what a chat service (Discord) offers. Most other alternatives would offer no real benefit over a mailing list in terms of the communication it enables; it just moves it from a low-maintenance, universal tool (email) to a high-maintenance (if self-hosted) or proprietary (if a feature of GitHub or similar) tool, usually with fewer (useful) features than email has.

That's stupid, I refuse to use email in the 2020s, I'm not going to deal with PHP-FIG!

Have a nice day.

Who has what power on the Discord server?

  • All Secretaries have Administration access, and can do basically anything.
  • The Secretaries can name additional Moderators who have limited access to moderate discussion generally.
  • The Core Committee and Project Representatives have their own private channels if needed.
  • Most everything can and should happen in one of the two public rooms (#fig-general and #php-general).
  • Anyone who feels like joining may join.

What will happen to the old Slack group?

Undecided, although it will most likely get shut down at some point. There's little point in maintaining it anymore.

What should be discussed on the list vs in Discord?

Formal proposals, votes, and status updates from working groups should happen on list. Public feedback on a PSR in Draft should happen mostly on list.

Discussion about a PSR in progress, kicking around ideas, brainstorming, implementation nitty-gritty, etc. can all happen in Discord, although summaries of any significant discussions or decisions (by working groups or for PHP-FIG generally) should get posted to the list.

May your 2021 be better than your 2020.