One option is Nextcloud Talk, the advantage of this is that it is already installed and available, the disadvantage is that it is an add-on to Nextcoud and it feels like one.
Another option is Discourse Chat, again the advantage is that another system wouldn’t be needed, it can be added to this forum, however we have added it to the CoTech forum and the disadvantage is, again, that it is an add-on and it feels like one.
So, assuming we want to avoid corporate tools and platforms (need I explain why?), what else is there?
However my feeling is that we want the best available option, something that could be used on a desktop in the manner Slack is, but also on mobile devices in the manner in which WhatsApp and Signal are – assuming that whatever we adopt, if it takes off, would be one of the most central tools that
workers.coop uses for comms and organising.
So I’m drawn to Element as it seems to be the best option:
Running it ourselves would involve setting up a server running Synapse to provide the backend and also (to start with, in the future it might make sense to run them of different servers) the Element web interface for browser access.
One thing to note is that the Element web interface and the Synapse backend should be run on separate domains from
workers.coop so I’d suggest
theworkers.coop for the web interface and perhaps
ukworker.coop for the backend.
Of course, in the medium term, or sooner if possible, we would have SSO (single sign on) for all our Internet based services, Synapse looks like it has good SSO support, however configuring this will be a significant amount of work and I’d suggest that to start with we try Element without SSO and if we like it and agree that it is going to work for us we then work out how to intergrate it with Nextcloud and CiviCRM/WordPress.
Does this sound like a potentially sensible plan?