Re: Matrix IRC bridge considered harmful


I've used the matrix bridge for years now (I'm generally only on irc "for real"
to fix things after the bridge does crazy things like de-op me or change my
nick without warning...)

Matrix isn't perfect., the main "homeserver", regularly has high
latency further exacerbated by the bridge. Hopefully hosting our own would
avoid that

I know there are some (possibly even the majority of people on this list) that
will never move away from IRC for one reason or another so it does seem
reasonable to allow IRC access to matrix (rather than the current matrix-to-
IRC). I guess this would still have disappearing PMs but at least it has a
chance of getting status right giving you a fighting chance

RocketChat is a really nice idea but so far only the web/mobile clients are
available which leave a lot to be desired whereas Fractal does the job for
matrix (personally I'm a riot-in-firefox person though)

My concern would be the "federal" nature of matrix where people don't need a specific chat account to join a room. Whilst there are a lot of
arguments for this I'm increasingly convinced it's an anti-feature especially
if we want to enforce CoC (which, of course, we do)


On Wed, 2020-02-12 at 12:30 -0600, Michael Catanzaro wrote:

I just got an email from a new-ish contributor: "I sent you some PMs 
about a week ago but I think you weren't online when I sent them so I'm 
assuming you didn't receive anything." Problem is the Matrix IRC bridge 
presents all IRC users as online, even when they're not. If an IRC user 
is offline, it lets you send private messages, but they get *silently 
dropped*. From Matrix, it appears as if the message was successfully 
delivered, but it was never actually sent to IRC.

Basically our chat has broken down into a dystopian scenario where 
users message other users, thinking they've successfully sent messages 
that were never actually sent. We've been living with this for a couple 
years now and it's just not OK that we tolerate it. I have no way of 
knowing how many messages I've missed due to this issue, but I'm sure 
it's causing problems for newcomers who don't realize their messages 
aren't being delivered.

WORKAROUND: Matrix users should ask "you there?" whenever starting a 
conversation, and assume your message was dropped unless you receive a 
response. If you get a response back, then a human is reading, at least 
initially. This applies to all stages of a conversation: if I sign off 
IRC partway through a conversation, the Matrix user has no way of 
knowing, so Matrix users must assume all messages sent to IRC after the 
last message received from IRC may be unread.

Anyway, a workaround is not a solution. Can we please either:

 (a) Shut down the bridge to Matrix and force everyone to use IRC, 
which actually works properly; or
 (b) Replace our IRC with an actual Matrix server, so we get native 
Matrix. Matrix is very nice as long as you're not using the abysmal IRC 
bridge, which is unfit for purpose.

Personally, I think native Matrix would be a *lot* nicer than IRC, if 
we have sysadmin time to get it set up, but I'm not going to be picky 
here. I'd just like us to be able to trust that we're not missing 
important messages.

(Note I don't include rocketchat in the list of options because I don't 
consider it a serious option when compared to Matrix, which has become 
extremely popular and has a variety of client options: desktop Riot, 
mobile Riot, fractal, or whatever UI you prefer, sure to keep almost 
everyone happy. Or use the reverse IRC bridge, which I can only hope is 
not as awful as the bridge we're using now.)


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