#232 Telegram as communication channel
Opened a month ago by x3mboy. Modified 3 days ago

What?

We are using telegram from a while, and even when we have a directory, we never set Telegram as an Official Communication channel.

My idea is to create and advertise our channels as "Official channels".

Why?

I found a lot of channels, but I'm recently concern about an Spanish channel that is claiming to be "The official Fedora Spanish Channel", and is not the channel when we really have control.

How?

Well, the idea is to create a set of rules or milestones to be considered an official channel, my proposal are 2:

  1. Channel's admins must be community members.
  2. Approval from Mindshare (via a Pagure ticket).

After this, they (admins) can ask to be included in the pinned message of the main channel.

Telegram channels should fall under Legal:Community_sites_and_acccounts


What do you propose this would be used for?

If we make a channel official, then it would not fall under https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Trademark_guidelines#Community_sites_and_accounts since that page states that the sites should say that Fedora does not endorse them. Therefore it seems that we need to reach out to the Spanish telegram channel and ask them to comply with the trademark guidelines. It requires that

the site indicates clearly that it is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Fedora Project; in addition, where possible:
the site must include the text "This site is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Fedora Project" prominently on any page that includes the Fedora Trademarks, and

When they follow these guidelines, then the channels do not need to request permission (the guideline is from the section "Usage That Does Not Require Permission").

If you would like to pursue to also allow for official telegram channels, then the rules for these channels need to be more precise except for just having community members and Mindshare approval. There need to be at least a list of criteria that the channels needs to have so that Mindshare would approve it.

I think we should separate this into two things:

1) Unofficial channels, like the Spanish Telegram referenced above need to be asked to comply with our guidelines. This is on my plate (anyone want it?) but I haven't had time to do it yet.

2) The core of this question for me is, are we officially suggesting that we have a second real-time chat system for Fedora. This would mean that things like Fedora Meetings could happen there, etc.

This is a larger issue, and is partially philosophical, partially political, and partially cultural. As someone who spends a lot of time in Telegram and who has (unironically) had long conversations with community members about the importance of IRC, in Telegram, it would be easy for me to just +1 this. However, I think we need to understand who we are trying to serve and how before we move forward. Is this really the platform we want "required" for contributors? If this is mostly user focused, do we want to craft a more nuanced policy for that versus contributors? Do we need things like zodbot support in place before we can move forward on this?

While I also use Telegram quite heavily every day, I wouldn't want to force Fedora contributors to use it. Unlike Freenode, Telegram isn't really a free platform.

I have no problem with unofficial Telegram channels. They contribute to fragmentation but also potentially help with outreach. I'd refrain from making them official in any way, let alone "mandatory" for anyone to watch.

Some teams are already using telegram, to help members to communicate, including bridges that help with meetings. Some examples are: CommOps, Marketing, Mindshare, Join and Docs.

But this is not the point I want to raise here. I want to focus in "community outreach" or even in "help and support": We, as a Project, doesn't have a support channel, because we are not a company, we have several places where some experts, community members, and even some developers and packagers can help people, but today those spaces aren't enough. We have ask.fp.o, that is far from being the best way to help others. Even for us, have been ages since we answer a question there. IRC is legacy, sad but true, we are becoming old people, and IRC is not friendly to newcomers looking for support and help. More and more people is reaching us via telegram (the international group, @fedora, has 1873 members and counting). We manage it with a separate group for the 12 admin and moderators of the group; almost all of them known contributors.

My main concern is that people is not necessarily being directed to this kind of channels, where real contributors and community members are helping. For example, in Spanish there is a group claiming to be: "The official Spanish Fedora's group", and even when they aren't misbehaving (I've been monitoring this group for a while), my concern is that it doesn't have community members or contributors, while others like (@Fedoraesp and @fedoralatam were created by Ambassadors thus offering better help, keeping members closer to the project, an9cd reaching Fedora People in a better or more direct fashion.

I know we have a list: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Telegram where some groups and channels are listed, but there is no official position about them other than being listed in the wiki.

I understand the non-free nature of Telegram makes it hard to take a position, but I really think we need to be where people are. We could even direct people to Telegram in our booths, stands and talks.

It is not my point to make it "mandatory" to new contributors or any team member. But being able to connect people from different platforms will help our community to grow.

I know we have a list: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Telegram where some groups and channels are listed, but there is no official position about them other than being listed in the wiki.

You added a statement to the page that the channels would be supported by Fedora in
https://fedoraproject.org/w/index.php?title=Telegram&type=revision&diff=528367&oldid=526423

I reverted this. Also it seems to replicate the list that is used on the Fedora telegram channel in the pinned message there. And for some reason the flock channel is missing which is one of the first channels that I would think of when thinking of official channels.

I understand the non-free nature of Telegram makes it hard to take a position, but I really think we need to be where people are.

Since there are Telegram groups about Fedora, this is covered IMHO and everyone is free to join these groups.

We could even direct people to Telegram in our booths, stands and talks.

I do not see a benefit to endorse Telegram other than pointing out that it exists if people would like to use it.

It is not my point to make it "mandatory" to new contributors or any team member. But being able to connect people from different platforms will help our community to grow.

Why do the channels need to be "official" for this? Also IMHO making something official means to me that someone would also take care of them instead of just putting a label on it.

Also see my other comment which you did not address.

Hi,

You added a statement to the page that the channels would be supported by Fedora in
https://fedoraproject.org/w/index.php?title=Telegram&type=revision&diff=528367&oldid=526423
I reverted this. Also it seems to replicate the list that is used on the Fedora telegram channel in the pinned message there. And for some reason the flock channel is missing which is one of the first channels that I would think of when thinking of official channels.

Sorry about that, I was going to revert but forgot to do it. Thanks for reverting it.

I do not see a benefit to endorse Telegram other than pointing out that it exists if people would like to use it.

I do. Being an ambassador I normally attend InstallFests, and you can direct people to a channel they feel more confortable, like an IM platform, instead of chat rooms (like IRC), and get support and help.

Why do the channels need to be "official" for this? Also IMHO making something official means to me that someone would also take care of them instead of just putting a label on it.

Yes, the idea is that "official groups" and/or "official channels" would be managed and moderated by contributors, like the @fedora group.

Also see my other comment which you did not address.

I would like to make channels official, that why I open the ticket. In your comment you mention that we could ask to follow the trademark guideline to be "unofficial channels", and that's not the intention.

Also, you commented:

If you would like to pursue to also allow for official telegram channels, then the rules for these channels need to be more precise except for just having community members and Mindshare approval. There need to be at least a list of criteria that the channels needs to have so that Mindshare would approve it.

Yes, and that's why I'm here for. What should be those criteria?

@psabata said…
While I also use Telegram quite heavily every day, I wouldn't want to force Fedora contributors to use it.

Related, I've run RITlug/teleirc bots in Fedora's infra cloud for the last eight months. Now that the deployment is fully automated, I opened fedora-infrastructure#7389 to discuss moving these bridges into the Fedora production environment.

The bridge bots help address concerns around fragmentation of Fedora sub-projects between IRC and Telegram.

I do. Being an ambassador I normally attend InstallFests, and you can direct people to a channel they feel more confortable, like an IM platform, instead of chat rooms (like IRC), and get support and help.

AFAIK there is nothing preventing you currently from mentioning the telegram groups as an Ambassador at install fests.

Yes, the idea is that "official groups" and/or "official channels" would be managed and moderated by contributors, like the @fedora group.

What is preventing these contributors to manage/moderate non-official channels?

I would like to make channels official, that why I open the ticket. In your comment you mention that we could ask to follow the trademark guideline to be "unofficial channels", and that's not the intention.

You wrote that the channels would follow the guidelines for unofficial channels...

Yes, and that's why I'm here for. What should be those criteria?

Propose them and we can discuss them. So far you only proposed that Mindshare would decide about approval (you are part of Mindshare). Therefore I would like to know which criteria Mindshare would follow when making the decisions.

Metadata Update from @bcotton:
- Issue priority set to: Next Meeting (was: Needs Review)

14 days ago

Added to tomorrow's tickets meeting agenda.

AFAIK there is nothing preventing you currently from mentioning the telegram groups as an Ambassador at install fests.

Sure it doesn't, but if you're recommending something that is not endorsed by the project and something goes wrong (in general, not only chat rooms), the project takes the hit. A normal example of this is recommending external repositories.

What is preventing these contributors to manage/moderate non-official channels?

Nothing, but they do it by their own. Being endorsed by the project allow them to come from help and guidance in official ways, like council tickets.

Propose them and we can discuss them. So far you only proposed that Mindshare would decide about approval (you are part of Mindshare). Therefore I would like to know which criteria Mindshare would follow when making the decisions.

Pre-Process:
Create a ticket in the Mindshare's Pagure, you should met this criteria on your ticket:
1. Name should start with fedora
2. The pinned message of your channel should reference the use of our CoC
3. The channel need to have 2 admins as minimun, and those admins needs to have a fas account, their wiki page updated and being part of at least 1 team in the project (CLA+1).

Approval Process
Approval needs to be done with one of the Mindshare's approval process:
1. One week open for voting
2. Lazy concensus with at least 2 +1

Post Approval
Once the ticket is approved the requested will need to:
1. Request of being added in the Telegram groups wiki page
2. Request of being added in the pinned message of the global channel (http://t.me/Fedora)

This process assume that the global channel will be accounted as "Official" directly.

@x3mboy I like your process for getting added to our list of known Telegram channels. I don't think we should have a process required to create unofficial channels. If the @fedora channel wants to mirror our list of known Telegram channels, I support them but would not require them to do so.

I am of mixed opinions about having extra requirements for channels that are bridged. I think that we should encourage bridging channels, and then block the bridges like we would any other bots if they become problematic. Doing this also allows us to point people to those channels, for example at an installfest, without needing to bless them. "To get help you can visit #fedora on freenode IRC. This channel is also bridged to @fedora on Telegram, so that is an option for now too."

I think we can work this out in 2 different parts:
1. General chat groups (support groups, like @fedora)
2. Teams/WG/SIG chat groups

They have different scopes and issues to deal with.

Should I open 2 different tickets about it?

I think we can work this out in 2 different parts:
1. General chat groups (support groups, like @fedora)
2. Teams/WG/SIG chat groups
They have different scopes and issues to deal with.
Should I open 2 different tickets about it?

I think a single document that outlined a cohesive policy is best. While they are logically separate, they are still part of a whole and by working on them at once we won't get split brain syndrome.

@bex:
2) The core of this question for me is, are we officially suggesting that we have a second real-time chat system for Fedora. This would mean that things like Fedora Meetings could happen there, etc.

@x3mboy:
I want to focus in "community outreach" or even in "help and support": We, as a Project, doesn't have a support channel, because we are not a company, we have several places where some experts, community members, and even some developers and packagers can help people, but today those spaces aren't enough.

I re-read this ticket, and I feel like part of what @x3mboy is asking for is permission. I see one helpful outcome is an "endorsement" of Telegram communities, backed by the Fedora Council (or Mindshare, or CommOps, etc.). This empowers existing contributors to do great things under the Fedora flag and also reduces the level of complexity to let people go out and do these things.

What would an endorsement mean?

I think it's better to define base criteria, like an existing sub-project or SIG. If I started a Fedora SIG today, what changes if instead it is a new user support group for Spanish speakers on any platform (Telegram, IRC, Matrix, forums, etc.)? Is anything else required than compliance with Fedora's Code of Conduct?

"People don't need permission to do this though."

Yes, people don't need permission. However, my observation and experience tells me it is a cultural communication mishap that makes it harder for some underrepresented groups to contribute. It is an expectation in some cultures to receive "permission" or acknowledgement that it is okay to contribute and to go ahead with these things. (You'll notice this often too as a mentor of an international GSoC student.) I think we should strive to support this and give people the verbal support they may need to go out and do cool things.

One specific example of this is a video @x3mboy showed me from Mark Shuttleworth, inviting people to the Ubuntu community for the FLISoL 2011 conferences in LATAM.

Overall, I think it is better to steer away from a formal structure to define these things, and keep it loose and flexible. Let these things happen organically, or I think they will suffocate in a long process. Perhaps set the bar at following the Fedora CoC and opening a ticket with someone to be acknowledged on a wiki page. This could be a responsibility of Mindshare or CommOps perhaps, to maintain a list of these known communities.

Personally, I believe that bridged Telegram may certainly be considered an official channel, when bridged to one of the Fedora IRC channels. That already exists, of course. I don't see why native stuff on Telegram should be considered official at all, rather than perhaps "endorsed", as it would leave out the users on the current official platforms.

I say that because it is not acting as its own channel, but rather a gateway to the real deal.

We have discussed this at length in the Council Hackfest and we have a strategy document that addresses it that we are finishing.

Metadata Update from @bex:
- Issue assigned to bcotton
- Issue priority set to: Waiting on Assignee (was: Next Meeting)

3 days ago

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