FIRSTCodes: New Slack chatroom for FRC software developers!

Team 1540 has created a Slack team at for students and mentors in FIRST who want to talk about writing FRC software!

Topics include:

  • Newbie questions about getting started with FRC software
  • Advanced questions about difficult topics, like autonomous vision
  • Discussion of best practices for software development in FRC
  • Code releases of your team’s code
  • Announcements and discussion of open-source libraries and frameworks for FRC software
  • General chatter about FIRST
  • And much more!

Members of all skill levels and all teams are invited - click here to receive an invite! Please read the instructions once you get the invite, and suffix your username with your team number!

If you have any questions, feel free to post them here or in the Slack’s #meta channel!

The concept is good, but I’m not sure Slack is the right tool for this. Slack is great for relatively small teams where everyone knows each other in real life and you have relatively tight management control, but it has very limited tools for more “public” membership and appears to not really be designed for that application. For example, you can’t restrict people from changing their display name, so it’s easy for someone to play the Ender’s Game trick of adding a space to their name to appear like someone else. Easy to deal with in a small team, but difficult to manage in a larger semi-anonymous group.

I’ll stand and be contrary here - first, the Slack invite link expired, so I can’t get on. Some large open source communities use Slack for their primary means of communication - whether that’s a good fit or not I’m not sure, as I’m not actively involved in the one I’m a member of (Kubernetes).

For the invite problem, there’s some open source stuff (this is an example) that will handle doing the invites for you - you can also simply allow non-admin users to invite others (which may be all you need for this).

Don’t we already have ChiefDelphi for this?

Slack is not the perfect tool for this, but I’ve been part of other large Slack communities and am aware of both the limitations and ways to address them. I am aware that moderation work can be harder with a case like this.

The most significant issue with Slack for communities is that large Slack groups have limits on their maximum size (around 8 thousand members) and only a very limited scrollback unless you pay a significant amount of money. This isn’t perfect, but that’s why we also have Chief Delphi for longer-term and more public posts.

Yes - I plan to set up an invite automation solution at some point, but that’s going to have to wait. Non-admins are already allowed to invite others in the current Slack, but that doesn’t mean that anyone has used that feature.

New invite link!

This is not a replacement for Chief Delphi, but a supplement to it. Chief Delphi is good for everything that should last a long time. For asking a short one-off question when it’s not clear that anyone else will ever benefit from it, or for chatter about FRC software, Slack works well.

By all means - if this doesn’t seem useful to you, don’t bother using it. It’s insufficient for someone to post things like code releases in it, because it doesn’t count as “public” - so even if it were to gain a huge adoption, you’ll still see everything important outside of the Slack.

Why not use IRC? Easy to use, no invites needed, withstood the test of time for over twenty-five years.

I came here to say the same thing.

I haven’t recently tried IRC, but the consensus I’ve heard is that it requires users to download extra software (a barrier to entry), doesn’t support cohesive communities across channels, feels twenty-five years outdated in terms of everything, and isn’t necessarily easy to use for people new to it. I’m sure that IRC is the correct tool for many cases, but it doesn’t sound to me like this is one of those cases. If you really like IRC, you can even use Slack’s IRC gateway to connect to Slack.

I’ve resolved the invite problem: this link allows you to ask for an invite and automatically receive it.

I have yet to receive an invitation code. +1 for IRC.

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F4 uses slack and I can tell you it will work well for this. We are a community of about 40 people who did not previously know each other which is similar to this. I might join just to see how it is although I’m not much of a programmer.

Sent from my LG-H810 using Tapatalk

Connor Worley did in fact receive an invite; it just took half an hour for it to get through email. There are now thirty-two members of the Slack, and climbing!

I much prefer Slack to IRC. It’s more flexible and useful than the more barebones IRC.

+1. Slack has a killer feature that IRC does not - persistence across reboots of your device, restarts of the app, etc. as well as effortless integration of multiple devices - mobile, web, and desktop apps. Try getting that for free with IRC.

If you’re hard-set on IRC, there’s even Slack->IRC integration. Not sure how well that works though.

Update: we’re up to 55 members in the Slack after the first day, and having plenty of discussions!
Click here to join us, and make sure you suffix your username with your team number.