[IPython-dev] Results of last year's user survey

Aaron Meurer asmeurer at gmail.com
Fri Mar 14 11:29:47 EDT 2014

SymPy's IRC channel has been mostly dead. I was too often the only
core member on there. And if I was not online, there was no easy way
for me to be notified about things (I did try setting up a bouncer
with Colloquy, but I never got it working). The entry barrier for IRC
is way too high for new users. You have to install some client, or use
some webclient, none of which are very user-friendly. What has
happened all the time is that people have gone on there, asked a
question, and no one answered (because I was not online basically).
This turns people away from the project.

Gitter has backlogs, and is super easy. If someone comes online and
asks a question and no one is online, I can answer later, @mentioning
the person (which will email them). You can look at the Gitter logs
for SymPy vs. our IRC logs for the past month or so, and see a huge
difference in usage (a lot of that also because I recently promoted
Gitter on our list).

I agree that IRC is de-facto among "hackers" and a certain class of
software engineers, but quite a few developers for SymPy (and IPython
too I'm sure) are not part of this class, and very few of our users
(the more important group of people) are.

I wanted to point out that Gitter does now allow you to create custom
rooms. They are owned either by you or any organization you belong to,
are namespaced under the owner, and can be public or private
(invitation only). That's a pretty nice feature for something that
didn't exist a week ago.

Aaron Meurer

On Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 11:30 AM, Thomas Kluyver <takowl at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 11 March 2014 05:13, Matthew Turk <matthewturk at gmail.com> wrote:
>> We're a smaller project (by a good amount) than IPython, but we've had
>> good luck with the Freenode web gateway for yt:
>> http://webchat.freenode.net/
> For the record: before we switched to hipchat, we did promote the freenode
> web version of the #ipython IRC channel with a link on the homepage.
> In addition to the reasons Min mentioned, Hipchat can handle images inline,
> which is handy for screenshots as the project has more of a visual
> component. @mentions are the nicest thing, though - if I see a question in
> the help room that I can't answer, but I know who can, I can ping them, and
> most of the time, they log in a few seconds later.
>> On surveys, and communication in general, could you not just add a feature
>> to the Notebook that allows it to connect to a central server onload, so it
>> can let users know there's some news and lets them load the content
>> directly? Users should have an obvious, one click toggle to disable the
>> connections, but few would.
> We have actually talked about having some kind of statistics gathering, on a
> strictly opt in basis. Delivering information would be an interesting
> extension of that.
> Thanks,
> Thomas
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