7 votes

I'm asking for some initial insight into a problem that I'm trying to solve for hundreds of users that are dismayed with Discord

I have just been introduced to a few hundred (maybe more) of Discord users that would like to break free of the constraints there.

These users are made up of academics that, for the most part, are not technically savvy. They have tried to make use of what is currently available to them with Discord. On the other hand, they are increasingly becoming frustrated by its limitations and the fleecing of monies in order to do certain things.

I've looked at their concerns and if I had better than a DSL connection to the Internet, then I would host a server my self and call it a day.

Do you have any initial recommendations for a platform that they could move to? Should I consider self-hosting more?

24 comments

  1. [3]
    determinism
    Link
    Have you considered Matrix/Riot? My employer uses a locally-hosted Mattermost server. A former coworker set it up and it's been running for at least a year since he left. He was a big fan of...

    Have you considered Matrix/Riot?

    My employer uses a locally-hosted Mattermost server. A former coworker set it up and it's been running for at least a year since he left. He was a big fan of Matrix/Riot, I'm not sure why he decided on Mattermost over Riot for the department.

    10 votes
    1. blitz
      Link Parent
      If you don't want the hassle of hosting it yourself, modular.im is a service that is run by the same people that develop Matrix/Riot, and who are currently hosting Mozilla's Matrix instance, as...

      If you don't want the hassle of hosting it yourself, modular.im is a service that is run by the same people that develop Matrix/Riot, and who are currently hosting Mozilla's Matrix instance, as well as helping out the French government with their system.

      If you guys are doing academic work, it may be worth getting in touch with the Modular staff and seeing if they'll cut you a break on pricing. (I don't know that they will, but it seems like a reasonable thing to ask).

      I've been running a Matrix instance for over a year. It's been pretty awesome. They recently launched End-to-End text chat encryption out of beta, and I've been using it. It's a great feature which means that even the people who have access to the database where all the messages are stored can't read them.

      I can't recommend Matrix highly enough!

      4 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      Thanks. I hadn't heard of Mattermost before.

      Thanks. I hadn't heard of Mattermost before.

      1 vote
  2. [10]
    precise
    Link
    What functionalities of Discord would you like to replace?

    What functionalities of Discord would you like to replace?

    7 votes
    1. [9]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      One of the primary ones is file storage.

      One of the primary ones is file storage.

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        precise
        Link Parent
        If you are down for self hosting, Nextcloud is an option. I'll be honest, in my experience it's kind of a pain in the butt to get up and running, but sometimes I chalk that up to my inexperience...

        If you are down for self hosting, Nextcloud is an option. I'll be honest, in my experience it's kind of a pain in the butt to get up and running, but sometimes I chalk that up to my inexperience with web hosting. I have seen tons of positive responses from users though, might be worth a look.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          cwagner
          Link Parent
          Wouldn’t most Linux distros have packages available for it? On Archlinux it was a simple pacman -S nextcloud. Then whatever server you want to put in front, but nginx and Apache both have configs...

          Wouldn’t most Linux distros have packages available for it? On Archlinux it was a simple pacman -S nextcloud. Then whatever server you want to put in front, but nginx and Apache both have configs available and Caddy (which I use) almost worked out of the box with nginx.

          3 votes
          1. precise
            Link Parent
            I ran into a lot of permission and dependency issues with my installation. Even after I fixed it Nextcloud would pop tons of error codes, or sometimes not even work and I'd have to check the logs....

            I ran into a lot of permission and dependency issues with my installation. Even after I fixed it Nextcloud would pop tons of error codes, or sometimes not even work and I'd have to check the logs. It could have been my environment or inexperience, but I've got at least one friend who has expressed frustration. I found that error handling was lacking, almost anything that went wrong would grind my install to a halt. This was about a year ago, could be different now.

            1 vote
      2. [4]
        Pistos
        Link Parent
        Someone already mentioned Nextcloud, but I'd like to add my +1 to that. NC is pretty easy to use, even for non-technical people, insofar as its interface looks like a web-based File Manager or...

        Someone already mentioned Nextcloud, but I'd like to add my +1 to that. NC is pretty easy to use, even for non-technical people, insofar as its interface looks like a web-based File Manager or Finder -- meaning to say: files, folders, presentable in either icon view or list view. You can also share with people that don't have NC accounts by way of sharing a URL. You can even provide an upload folder for people without accounts by sharing a URL. I've used NC for general file sharing for quite a while now, and find it does the job quite well. There are also mobile apps which let you upload or download. e.g. take a photo with a phone, upload to NC

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          suspended
          Link Parent
          Hey thanks for that additional information. I played around with NC this morning and couldn't locate those features that you mentioned. I've asked @Moonchild for help through PM and I haven't...

          Hey thanks for that additional information. I played around with NC this morning and couldn't locate those features that you mentioned. I've asked @Moonchild for help through PM and I haven't heard from them since they're probably busy.

          Specifically, we (my self and the other academics) want to supplement their Discord stuff with a more robust file sharing option like NC.

          The first step is choosing between amazon, microsoft, and google for a server and getting NC set up. I'm not as savvy as most people and need a little hand holding getting this done.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Pistos
            Link Parent
            I set up NC on a VPS. Based on that experience, it's true that installing NC in this fashion takes a moderate amount of Linux know-how. If you don't think you've got the skills to do that, you...

            I set up NC on a VPS. Based on that experience, it's true that installing NC in this fashion takes a moderate amount of Linux know-how. If you don't think you've got the skills to do that, you have a couple other options:

            There seems to be a web installer available at https://nextcloud.com/install/#instructions-server which only requires you to have PHP-ready web space somewhere. At that same URL, there are packages like Docker images. That might be workable for you, too.

            Also, what looks to be an easy way to get NC is to pay a Nextcloud provider. There's a listing here: https://nextcloud.com/signup/ (click "change provider"). The default/first one is https://cloudamo.com/cart.php?gid=1 , which has pricing beginning at 4 USD / month.

            2 votes
            1. suspended
              Link Parent
              Hey! Thanks so much for all of this. I'm going to attempt the web installer.

              Hey! Thanks so much for all of this. I'm going to attempt the web installer.

              1 vote
  3. [4]
    Moonchild
    Link
    Self-hosting is a great idea. For about $5/month, you can rent a commercial server, from amazon, microsoft, google, digital ocean, or any number of others. The first three all have a year-long...

    Self-hosting is a great idea. For about $5/month, you can rent a commercial server, from amazon, microsoft, google, digital ocean, or any number of others. The first three all have a year-long free trial, so you don't have to venture any money up-front if you just want to experiment. Feel free to ask if you want any help with the process


    You mention file storage; the server you get for $5/mo is a fairly low-grade one (still more than powerful enough for chatting/file storage for 100s of people, though), but you can upgrade storage separately, which tends to cost about 2-3¢/mo. You'll probably also want a domain name, which is ~$12/year.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      I am super interested! Please elaborate if you don't mind.

      I am super interested! Please elaborate if you don't mind.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Moonchild
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Sure. What more do you want to know? There are plenty opensource, self-hostable solutions for functionality you might want from a discord replacement (or augmentation, since it seems you want...

        Sure. What more do you want to know? There are plenty opensource, self-hostable solutions for functionality you might want from a discord replacement (or augmentation, since it seems you want more), like:

        • matrix or irc for instant chat

        • phpbb for persistent fora (it can be made to look less ugly)

        • tildes itself for a forum with tree-based threads

        • nextcloud, as mentioned by others, for file hosting. Note that you can also share files through matrix, phpbb, and irc, but you may want something more organized (you mentioned academia)

        Once you've acquired your server, the process for installing any of those programs isn't terribly difficult, although it can be a bit daunting if you're new to unix or have never done it before. Hard to give advice beyond that without knowing more specifically what you're after. Can also discuss over PM if you'd prefer.

        5 votes
        1. admicos
          Link Parent
          alternative: Flarum. The last time I used it, it was still a little bit rough around the edges, and it's still in beta, but I remember it being a lot easier to work with than phpbb (though it's...

          phpbb for persistent fora (it can be made to look less ugly)

          alternative: Flarum.

          The last time I used it, it was still a little bit rough around the edges, and it's still in beta, but I remember it being a lot easier to work with than phpbb (though it's been ages since I checked it out)

          1 vote
  4. [3]
    stu2b50
    Link
    Both microsoft teams and slack have better file support. Teams in particular has onedrive (microsoft's cloud storage) integration, and a more generous free tier than slack. Teams might be a good...

    Both microsoft teams and slack have better file support. Teams in particular has onedrive (microsoft's cloud storage) integration, and a more generous free tier than slack.

    Teams might be a good solution for something fast, easy, cheap, with better enterprise team features.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Adys
      Link Parent
      Teams voice/video chat is horrible though if that is a concern for OP. Buggy as hell.

      Teams voice/video chat is horrible though if that is a concern for OP. Buggy as hell.

      1 vote
      1. vegai
        Link Parent
        Odd, I’ve seen it used for two years in a company I worked for, and it seemed to work pretty well for voice. The chat part was weak and bloated though. What platform are you on?

        Odd, I’ve seen it used for two years in a company I worked for, and it seemed to work pretty well for voice. The chat part was weak and bloated though. What platform are you on?

  5. [4]
    monado
    Link
    by the way discord allows for other file hosts, even does the embeds for images, for example: this

    by the way discord allows for other file hosts, even does the embeds for images, for example: this

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      Which ones? Do you have any more information about this like places where I can read about it?

      discord allows for other file hosts

      Which ones? Do you have any more information about this like places where I can read about it?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        monado
        Link Parent
        just anything on an outside server, arxius.io is owned by the creator of IglooIRC, the iOS IRC client I use/test for. Stuff on an outside server probably works fine, I haven't messed with it as I...

        just anything on an outside server, arxius.io is owned by the creator of IglooIRC, the iOS IRC client I use/test for. Stuff on an outside server probably works fine, I haven't messed with it as I don't have access to income to buy myself a vps. Like others here, I'd probably try NextCloud. I don't think there are any whitelists, I've had some stupid experiments using git with a netlify site and a domain as an imagehost just to see if it works and discord will still embed the images.

        2 votes