Please read the below before casting your vote. The results of this poll are not binding one way or another.
Are you in support of moving over to a topics based telegram group? (if no please leave comments explaining)
A recent update to telegram provided a new feature to have ‘Topics’ within one group chat. This makes it more similar in style to Discord. You enter the Manchester Hackspace Telegram group and are presented with sub-chats to chose from.
I’d like to propose we move away from our current system of having lots of completely separate group chats, and instead turn the main group chat into a topic divided group chat. The group chat that get replaced can be archived, so all chat history is still available, but no one can comment.
The current network of chats is streamlined for the everyday user. We will no longer need to point every new member to the pinned post of different topics.
It is easier to mute all notifications from Manchester Hackspace when you want some away time. You can mute the one chat, rather than having to navigate 10 different chats muting each one.
Less group chats clogging up your telegram! They’ll all appear under one banner.
This doesn’t stop us making any new chats separately of course where they are needed, it just streamlines our core conversations.
Easier for the admins. When admins change, they just get changed on this one group rather than on all the separate ones we have now.
Makes it easier to ban users from Hackspace conversations - currently we would have to go through each and every group chat banning the person. If they make a new account, we have to do it all again.
Each topic has its own pinned posts, photos, etc. just like before.
Makes the boundaries of different areas less finite. E.g. you don’t have to join a new group chat to see what conversations are being had around the space, in metalwork for example.
Removes the stress of trying to keep up with all the conversations. Topics you don’t visit frequently will automatically sort lower down your topic list when you enter the group chat.
Chat history from other group chats will not be present in this chat, but will be available in other chats.
Change tends to come with temporary teething issues.
As above, I’d suggest we convert the current HacManchester Group chat.
I’d suggest we set up the following Topics as a start point:
General & Help
Chit-chat (incorporates clutter exchange)
Open Evening Tour Guides
Hack the Space Day/Meetings
I am genuinely struggling to see downsides to doing this, other than the one time faff of moving over. Please do comment if you have reasoning against.
some of the groups also have “Team” versions as well
for example for “Weldy Grindy” there’s “Team Metalwork”
where the team ones are more for maintenance or managing a given area
So I’m not sure if those need to move over as well or if they should be in they’re own group
Some of them include
Digital Infra Working Group
3DP Committee of Maintainers
although I think we’ve ended up with more than one in some cases due to people not realising some of them already exist
(I think this might have happened with the laser cutter one)
There’s one called “Hackaspace Access Control” for example that hasn’t gotten any updates since 2019 and I think was replaced by the Digital Infra group
For the naming I’d be tempted to try and keep the original names for the metal / wood ones
(just to be less boring like “Got Wood” and “Weldygrindy”)
Hackscreen - announces when someone enters through the door
and maybe some in here as well - Telegram - Hackspace Manchester Documentation
Personally I’d tempted to try and do it a little bit at a time to try and get all the existing members copied over if we did do this.
I originally suggested trying this out for hacman training. Here’s a link to the trial chat if anyone wants to play around:
Had some discussions with @Josephxtian and just reiterating my thoughts in this thread:
- The system doesn’t allow multilevel. Admittedly it’s a nice system for a chat with several topics, but you’d not remove the need for spin off chats
- I’m worried you’d end up with multiple complex chats and the old chats still being used which would be chaos
- My main concern is that there won’t be buy in for a new system and the new one will have to be really compelling for people to move
Another issue we discussed was the ongoing issue with different admins for each channel, some of whom are no longer contactable. It would be great if there were a hacman account that was admin of everything, but this needs a number (there are things like google voice numbers that could be used; by no means insurmountable, just a thing to consider).
In terms of implementation I think it needs to be a good system with buy in from some of the more active members that’s rolled out consistently.
If people are keen on this I would propose:
- Setting up hacman account that could be owned by board members and shared.
- Making that account owner of the main group and introducing topics (rather than making a new group).
- Disabling posting on other channels for non-admins with the last post being an admin explanation.
- Keeping team chats as they are as these need more granular permissions.
- For training leaning more on the members’ system now this allows e-mailing people on the waiting list.
Quick note: Admins are set globally for topic chats. Disadvantages could perhaps be mitigated by setting more granular permissions, but you couldn’t make someone admin of just woodwork etc. There is also of course the advantage that this gives more visibility of who has what permissions. Anyway, something to be aware of.
It took me a while to understand precisely what this new system is, but it seems like it would work.
I don’t personally identify with the cons of the current system, but everyone’s experience is different, and I do see the practical shortcomings for other users.
IMO we would keep the Team groups as invite-only. I guess the older chats would be locked off?
I’ve seen this in practice at other organisations and it does help keep things focused and accessible. It helps new people.
Not all of the areas we use groups are applicable. Like tool maintenance, board, sometimes training chats.
It’s an interesting idea. I also don’t struggle with the existing setup so land on the broadly positive view of moving. What’s the worst that could happen we resurrect the old chats?
I’d personally like to see an (active) members only area in some form at some point. It feels sometimes that people who don’t really attend or perhaps contribute have a lot of opinions. I personally feel that those who engage meaningfully ought to have a space to themselves.
Thanks for the thoughts everyone.
To confirm some worries. My thinking is only to do this for the main group chats where the general members congregate. Teams chats and all the more niche ones won’t be touched as part of this suggestion. I included the open evening team in the list though as this is a group who need more engagement, and there’s no reason any member can’t help out with that.
@mikeh correct the older chats would be locked off with the last message explaining the move.
@klkl indeed, if it really flumps we just move back to the old chats. I concur with you but have met resistance previously for suggesting more members only places. I’d like to see the forum become members only (as its full of this sort of post that really aren’t of interest to anyone looking to join), but i don’t have the time to push these ideas along.
So far we’ve had noone opposed to the idea.
I’ve had a quick look at Google Voice phone numbers to allow us to set up a board telegram account. The information i’m getting on each google page is different, but it’s either not available in the UK yet, costs a fair bit of money extra each month or it needs to be used every 6 months in order to not get taken away.
If those things are true it is probably a none starter. However, as we would be converting the main chat, if we did figure this out at a later date there’s no reason we couldn’t then add a board account as admin.
I’ve also been having a play with RoseBot recently, and this looks good, so i am thinking about adding that into the main chat to help administrate.
I think in terms of admin, whilst you need a number, you can set a backup email by enabling tfa. So backup email could be email@example.com and that would allow the telegram account to be recovered if the mobile number’s owner is MIA