Zcash Community Chat Closing

Zcash Community Chat Users,

The Zcash Community Chat is sunsetting its current form and moving elsewhere. For several years, the Zcash communities’ home for real-time chat been a RocketChat instance hosted at the URL chat.zcashcommunity.com.

On Febuary 23rd 2020 (UPDATE a time extension has been requested by ECC and the new close date is February 29th)we are shutting off the service, due to increased costs and decreased usage. We feel that there are several other Zcash Community based social chat groups that are not directly funded or controlled by the Zcash Foundation that can fulfill the needs of the community.

In the spirit of decentralization we recommend that users who wish to have real time chat with other Zcash users join the Community Telegram https://t.me/Zcash_Community or the newer Community Discord https://discord.gg/PhJY6Pm
(note to existing Discord users, search for “ZcashCommunity” and join instead of clicking the invite to avoid accidentally creating a second account)

The Zcash Foundation sponsored forums will remain active as the primary way for Zcash users to discuss and debate all things Zcash. https://forum.zcashcommunity.com

@acityinohio @sonya

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Can you please archive and make accessible the logs of (public) channels chats on the community? There’s years’ worth of valuable information on many of those channels.

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Once the live instance is closed there won’t be a way for the public channels to be “seen” unless another instance is running to provide it. The database itself contains all messages public and private so can’t be made accessable to the public.

Ugh. No way to migrate the content from Rocket.Chat to Discord, either?

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I absolutely support the move to Discord. It’s quite similar to Rocket Chat and also uses the idea of “channels” so it’s a natural move there. I would stay away from Telegram, it’s a mess.

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I don’t think there is a way, they are drastically different platforms. I will investigate further.

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Two ways that come to mind, either copy and paste the contents of every thread which will be kind of time-consuming and should probably decide on who should do what thread, one thing about that is that it doesn’t preserve the date stamp and you would have to put that in every so often to kind of know how many days have passed
Or run a screen recorder at a high frame rate and scroll through every thread, that seems less useful but it would all still be there and then you could kind of pause and go frame by frame as you read

I’ll do general, it’s actually really interesting looking back to the old posts although it’s very inconvenient the way rocket chat employs the search function, I have to look for a word that hasn’t been used in 3 years then scroll for a good while the rest of the way

General thread (sir), the longest and probably least worth saving!


I’ll try to get to another one or two but if any of y’all are going to do some heres some tips
Start at the bottom (now) working your way up (history), stop at a date stamp when you copy and paste over and then type it in, that way if you mess up you’ll know where to return to and start again
Eventually you’ll need to refresh the page, do a Boolean search on a somewhat unique looking phrase near where you are, ensure that it brings up the post that you desire first
(I have to go back and and count but I’m guessing something like 80,000 lines and it did take a couple hours but I’m guessing the rest of the threads probably aren’t nearly as heavy)

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FWIW Matrix is a federated messaging protocol with tons of existing tooling to bridge IRC and Discord. It has been successfully used by other FOSS communities.

Riot is the most popular client AFAIK:

FAQ on [matrix]:

Looks like there’s already one chat room on Riot.im: https://riot.im/app/#/room/!kPZkQowEreZTacFqxd:matrix.org

The UX isn’t that great frankly.

Yeah, we looked at Matrix several years ago when we decided to go with RocketChat. The UX wasn’t that nice and I think we would have the same issues with it that RocketChat has. Namely that almost no other cryptocurrency projects use it.

I think having to download a separate app (RocketChat/Matrix/etc…) just for a Zcash unique chat is a bigger barrier to entry than we give credit for. Several other Cryptocurrency related groups including Ethereum make use of Discord and lots of people already have the app installed, so for them to join the ZcashCommunity server is simple.

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New closing date is February 29th to give more time to archive channels.

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There are at least two projects to do this on GitHub:

I haven’t tried either of them yet.

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Did anyone get either of these (or anything else) to run?

Can they share their recipe (urgently…) or their download?

Never mind, the whole chat was just shut down, so no more API access to use anyway.

(I did try https://github.com/willardb/rocketchat-history-downloader before the shutdown and it just threw obscure exceptions and crashed when logging in; and https://github.com/frdmn/rocketchat-export-channel-messages required admin access).

Way to go, Zcash Foundation. You’ve killed years’ worth of community discussions and technical information, without bothering to help people keep a copy.

To reiterate what @Shawn said before, and what I’ve written to the ECC when they requested a backup two weeks ago:

Unfortunately there’s no easy way to divide the database between public and private communications, and we’re uncomfortable providing a data dump of the entire database which may include conversations with participants who had a reasonable assumption/expectation of privacy. We aren’t planning on keeping a database backup of the chat for exactly this reason.

The Foundation’s technical capabilities are currently resourced on far more important endeavors (like zebra and FROST) and we didn’t have the bandwidth or desire to work on providing nuanced public backups that still respect users’ privacy — particularly since this chat channel was only partially funded by the Foundation and was a community-led medium for most of its existence. Users had 14 days to backup public channels if they found it worthwhile, but no one on the Foundation’s technical team was tasked to do so.

The only people expressed a desire or concern of public archives were the ECC and you @tromer. The ECC reached out directly to the Foundation 10 days ago and while I couldn’t furnish the complete database — per the privacy concerns above, as I wrote to them verbatim — I offered to personally help them in their endeavor by engaging in the copy/paste strategy that @autotunafish suggested. But I wasn’t going to take (extremely limited) technical resources away from our engineering team to help, nor was I going to advocate for @Shawn to go down a terrible rabbithole of Rocketchat backend whack-a-mole. I believe the ECC was still working on a different strategy for backups — if they succeeded, I hope they decide to share those public archives, but it was not a Foundation priority to furnish them.

Again, the ECC is the only other party that reached out requesting help (and 10 days ago, I might add). I did “bother to help them” by both offering to help on the copy/paste strategy and agreeing with @Shawn to extend the sunset period to give them more time to make their own archives of public channels:

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A bit of context for newer users.

As many know I ran the community chat on my own for years prior to signing it over to (and working for) the Zcash Foundation. It was a stop-gap back in 2016 for when the ECC (then called Zerocoin Electric Coin Company) decided to close the community Slack channel and Zooko closed the r/Zcash Reddit so ZECC employees could focus on important development tasks and not have to host/moderate public discussions. Without the RocketChat the only place for Zcash users to post was these forums (which at the time were ran by the ZECC) since the community was small and no other channels existed yet. Later the ECC gave the forums to the Zcash Foundation and about the same time I gave the chat over to the Foundation. I signed the RocketChat over because the Zcash Foundation is more accountable to the community than a single party.

The closing of the chat is a bittersweet goodbye for me personally, but I am really happy to see that the Zcash community has grown so much that there are now lots of options (Keybase, Telegram, Discord, Reddit) for users to choose from. Horray for decentralization! :tada:

As @acityinohio has requested, since the chat is now closed, to preserve user privacy the database and local backups has been deleted. I support this decision, this is what Zcash is all about, preserving users privacy.

@tromer I’m pretty sure that @daira and others from the ECC had success archiving public channels for posterity, that’s why they requested more time. So if the community wants public channel archives to be posted publicly somewhere (GitHub for example) I would suggest contacting them.

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We did get the rocketchat-history-downloader to run successfully, yes. Thankyou to @Shawn for waiting until that could be completed.

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