The philosophy behind our plugin ecosystem

  • Global Moderator Plugin & Theme Dev

    @cytrax would a group chat room system similar to Google Hangouts work?

    Just in case anyone doesn't know what I'm talking about, this is the flow of using Hangouts:

    • You open the app or site, and your existing conversations are displayed listed by order of last message received
    • If you wish to create a new conversation, you click the +, and a screen comes up asking you to select people to be in the conversation
    • After creating the conversation, you can change the name, add people, leave the conversation, or change the specific notification settings
    • At any time, you can archive conversations, removing them from your recents list
    • In order to delete them entirely (for yourself), you can go to your archived conversations list
    • If you make a new conversation with a person you have already messaged before, then if there is an archived conversation between you and them, the conversation will be resumed
    • Google+ Circles can also be selected as part of the conversation

    A couple of changes could make this a nice PM and chat system:

    • Ability to add an optional conversation name when creating the conversation (as opposed to only afterwards)
    • Prompt the user if they want to resume a previous conversation

    This should be implemented as a replacement for the current chat system.


  • @cytrax I personally prefer a chat system. It's live and suits nodebb better. PM systems are rather primitive. In my opinion,obviously.


  • @a_5mith Agreed but there's a lack of archiving messages with chat system. Also the chat system is rather primitive because of it's PM like behaviour I mean what's a chat between two persons other than a private discussion. The core feature missing here (but on the roadmap I think) is to able to create group chats in order to have private conversation between more than two people.

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    Message archival is an ongoing concern. When all messages are contained in
    a single set, it becomes hard to differentiate when one conversation
    begins, and another ends.

    Group chats (and by extension, the ability to have custom self-contained
    chats) would be a good step forward for the chat system.

    As for whether it should be a plugin instead of core, @pitaj would say so,
    but I'm not sure I agree 😉

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    Hahaha yes! Reply by email works! :shipit:

  • Global Moderator Plugin & Theme Dev

    @julian I would say, if mentions and markdown are plugins, then yeah, chats should be a plugin as well. However, they should be a plugin that is shipped with NodeBB, is under github.com/NodeBB, and is maintained by the NodeBB developers.

    I'm a strong belief is decentralization. It works with GNU/Linux distros really well. This is why it works:

    Say you have a piece of software that isn't modular. After this software is out of active development, a bug is discovered in its chat system. After the maintainer of the code base gets around to it, he finds the source of the bug and fixes it. Since it isn't modular, they can't just push out an update to the chat system. They have to update the whole software, and everyone has to download the large update. Either this, or they have to write a patch script which everybody has to run.

    If you have a modular system, sure, you may need to update the plugin every time there is a breaking change, but that had to be done anyways. In a modular system, there can be competition between plugins, which allows the end user more options. When fixing the above issue, either the maintainer can fix the issue in the plugin and distribute it, or, if he's taking too long, another person can fork the plugin, fix it, and distribute it as a fixed version.

    If the users of a non-modular forum like the Whatever chat system more than the built in one, they don't have any choice but to request it. The developers probably wouldn't implement the change, because their system works fine for most people.

    If the users of a modular forum like the Whatever chat system more than the shipped-with one, they can get somebody to build it for them, and use it in place of the shipped-with one.

    That's my reasoning behind using modular software.


  • When I say, trying to reinvent the wheel is not necessary, you can see what I mean by the fact that many are still fixated on debating whether or not chat system should suffice.

    I really don't see how one could replace the other. I mean, look at Facebook. Would FB exist in its form without a PM? Can you imagine the loose if everything has to go through chat. chat compliments PM. It doesn't replace it. The same way PM doesn't replace PM.

    I also don't think the value of the functional features that I've listed would be detrimental to NodeBB. On the contrary, they would accelerate the adoption of the system.

  • Global Moderator Plugin & Theme Dev

    @cytrax Facebook has PM? I thought they only had chat...

    I just made a quick search, and I don't think Facebook has PMs. They have chat (Facebook messenger), but not PMs as far I can can tell.

    My main concern with PMs and chat is that then there will be just one more way of communicating with people, and I think oversaturating the communication routes is bad for the software. I think a unified system would be best. JMHO

    If chats were plugosphered, you could implement it either way 🙂

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    @pitaj Facebook has chats and private messaging integrated into one. There are two interfaces but they all plug into the same backend.

    Facebook pushes the chat aspect, even going so far as hiding the ability to create new chats with someone you already chat with (fb will just open the same chat window then), but if you have a group convo, you'll see a new chat session made. That's what would be nice with NodeBB, I'd think


  • @pitaj said:

    @cytrax Facebook has PM? I thought they only had chat...

    I just made a quick search, and I don't think Facebook has PMs. They have chat (Facebook messenger), but not PMs as far I can can tell.

    My main concern with PMs and chat is that then there will be just one more way of communicating with people, and I think oversaturating the communication routes is bad for the software. I think a unified system would be best. JMHO

    If chats were plugosphered, you could implement it either way 🙂

    @julian said:

    @pitaj Facebook has chats and private messaging integrated into one. There are two interfaces but they all plug into the same backend.

    Facebook pushes the chat aspect, even going so far as hiding the ability to create new chats with someone you already chat with (fb will just open the same chat window then), but if you have a group convo, you'll see a new chat session made. That's what would be nice with NodeBB, I'd think

    Admittedly, I've been off facebook as user for over 3 years. But I still have an account that I use for the API. I've checked out what you both mean and you're absolutely correct that it is now part of a single system. That's definitely changed from years ago. I believe that revolution is related to when FB decided to ditch the isolating mailing system idea or could have been part of preparation to create a complete separate mailing system for @facebook.com. That didn't gain traction due to fears over privacy from users. But let's digress from there..

    I still think that a functional piece of forum is PM system. Just looking at Facebook's new integrated system, it is obvious that there are limitations. One, I can't choose to delete messages related to a thread in one shot. I have to hand select each message or simply completely remove the conversation. I don't see how scales when compared to threaded system.

    Maybe there is a way to still control it from single backend but enable threading? I dunno.

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    The thing I am afraid of is building out a feature that becomes too much like another existing feature.

    IMs are scarily close to "emails", what with the "one message at a time" method of communication, the automatic prepending of "Re:" when you reply... etc.

    ... and emails, I feel, are a bit outmoded, even if it's not going away any time soon.

    I will say I do like the Google Hangouts' way of managing conversations... similar to chat rooms.

    Granted, NodeBB's expanded chat system can be used in more of a "private message" way, no?

  • Community Rep

    A discussion about PMs, IMs, chat, email, etc. would be a great one to have at MangoLassi Day on Friday because most of the folks on there come from a background with some very intensive communities and have a lot of experience with what they've liked and disliked in real usage.

    I know that there are going to be a lot of people pestering you about "real time" email alerts too 🙂

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    @scottalanmiller Would you be happy to know we have that working here right now? :shipit: (enable it in the user settings!)

  • Community Rep

    Is that part of the 0.7.0 chain?

  • GNU/Linux Admin

    I believe it made it into 0.6.1, look for the option there. The second part
    of it, replying via email, currently is in development and testing via the
    mandrill plugin.

    In fact, I'm using it right now 😄

  • Community Rep

    We found it and everyone is jumping all over it 🙂


  • @scottalanmiller said:

    We found it and everyone is jumping all over it 🙂

    Screenshots?

    Are we talking about group chat in the forum interface or some kind of mailer?

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