GHC and the future of Freenode

John Ericson john.ericson at
Sat May 22 18:50:42 UTC 2021

As Ben and others say, Matrix provides many modern features new users 
will expect, while preserving the spirit of IRC. Without wading into the 
details, the design of Matrix I find impressive and to my liking, and it 
has seemed to get steadily better over time for quite a while now.

Re Zulip, in one of the 
lead Matrix devs says their up-and-coming threading model aims to 
support what Zulip does and they've been discussing deeper integration 
with Zulip. Granted, It would be better to hear about those discussions 
from the Zulip side as Matrix aims to assimilate everything and Zulip 
could have some reservations, but I remain hopeful. (I certainly would 
like to see culled the current explosion of mutually-incompatible chat 
applications, leaving us with fewer protocols but as many competing 

What I recommend for now that we make some official Matrix channels, but 
also bridge them with the ones once the bridge is up (should 
be a few days). Creating a matrix room and bridging it is a bit 
different underneath the hood than using a channel generated by the 
bridge on demand. We can give them nice names on the matrix side, and 
basically keep both options open of being "IRC-first" or "Matrix-first" 
down the road.

For reference, see which is the 
Matrix "Space" (room that is a directory of sub-rooms, filling the role 
of a Discord "server") that Nix community created while they debate what 
to do next. See also where this 
same discussion is playing out.


On 5/21/21 4:00 PM, Iavor Diatchki wrote:
> As I said, I am not a heavy IRC user, for my online chatting needs I 
> mostly use Mattermost, Discord, and Slack. So I don't have an informed 
> opinion on the technical merits of the various platforms---mostly I've 
> heard that the Matrix clients and servers are quite a bit less robust 
> than IRC ones but I've never personally used them.
> If there is a feeling that GHC wants to use a new chatting platform, 
> by all means we should try it out.  I just don't think that the 
> unfortunate situation with free-node is a good reason to drop IRC 
> entirely.   Despite its flows, I think it has served our community 
> well, and while it may look "old" to "young" users it does have the 
> benefit of being pretty stable, unlike the myriad of chatting services 
> that seem to be popping up all the time.
> -Iavor
> On Fri, May 21, 2021 at 10:41 AM Ben Gamari <ben at 
> <mailto:ben at>> wrote:
>     Iavor Diatchki <iavor.diatchki at
>     <mailto:iavor.diatchki at>> writes:
>     > Hello,
>     >
>     > I am not a heavy IRC user, but I'd say it makes most sense to
>     just use
>     > Libera.  It is essentially the same people that were running
>     free-node
>     > running pretty much the exact same service, and I believe they
>     are trying
>     > to make it extra easy to just switch, so this should be the
>     least effort
>     > transition.
>     >
>     > I believe IRC has served the GHC community quite well so far,
>     and there is
>     > a reddit post by Ed Kmett that the normal Haskell channels have
>     already
>     > been transitioned over, so I think it makes sense for GHC to
>     stick with the
>     > rest of the Haskell community.
>     >
>     The problem is that, in order to grow (or even merely not to shrink),
>     the community also needs to adapt to the preferences of younger users.
>     The fact of the matter is the younger users tend to be, at best,
>     unfamiliar with IRC. In the worst case, the need to leave a
>     browser/sign
>     up for a new account means that they simply won't participate. Of the
>     new contributors I have had approach me in the past year, less
>     than half
>     have had any familiarity with IRC.
>     Matrix has the advantage of being accessible to "web-native" community
>     members while being open enough to (at least in principle) allow
>     community members who are accustomed to IRC to continue to participate
>     via a bridge.
>     Cheers,
>     - Ben
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