I was thinking that it might be useful for us to have a group chat application that we could all use to stay in contact more regularly. There are a couple of them I thought might work well for our group so I’ll try to list some pros and cons as well as my contact information on each platform
First one I would like to recommend is Keybase https://keybase.io/
This one is very polished and has a lot of great features such as a group git repository so we might be able to share useful scripts and applications with each other. It is very easy to use and uses PGP encryption on the back end for full end to end encryption forced by default. Open source clients that have been verified by security experts to not be leaky with your info. Clients for web, linux, windows, mac, and mobile. It allows for linking to many different platforms for identity verification. It has the ability to easily add bots to any channel adding features such as Jitsi to make things easy. The platform is simple to use so is great for any less techy friends to join up. It also allows for crypto currency exchanges between members.
While the client is open source the server is not and there is no current way to host your own server. So this is a centralized model. I prefer federated when possible so this is kind of a let down for me. It is a text/image only platform at the moment so no way to integrate voice or video other than linking to other services. Since it is E2E encrypted by default if you lose a logged in device you lose your chats. I have not messed with account recovery to see how that works.
My Contact Info
To join a team select “Teams” on the left side menu bar then at the top right click “Join a team” then type in the team name above and request to join. Admins will have to approve members for now unless we decide to open it up publicly.
The other application I would recommend checking out is Riot.im https://about.riot.im/
Completely open source both client and server. Is federated so your server can join the multitude of others around the world. Has end to end encryption (must be enabled for the chat room you are in). Has support for Video/Audio communication. Very privacy first mindset.
Does not have ability to link identity with other services. Matrix.org’s server is rather buggy so it is better to setup your own server and federate it. Encryption is not the default and may be a little confusing to get setup (not hard to do). You have to manage your own encryption. You lose the keys, you lose the data. Groups and people may be harder to find. Platform specific nomenclature can cause some confusion. IE @ = people + = community # = rooms, etc. Rooms and Communities are not clearly defined or particularly simple to manage.
My Contact Info
Communities are a bit confusing. Only way I know how to join one is to create one or be invited. So shoot me a message and I’ll send an invite.
To summarize the main reason I am suggesting Keybase is that is uses known good tech “PGP” to incorporate E2E encryption, it is enabled by default. It has many tools to assist in collaboration.
Riot.im while open source and federated and overall is a great system is also more complex and can be a challenge to learn how to use well which may deter new-comers to our group.
Please try them out and let us know what you think and which platform you prefer.