Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2018


Building Decentralised Communities with Matrix

Introducing Matrix Communities (and more!) as a decentralised alternative to Slack Teams or Discord Servers

Over at we've spent a lot of the last year refining the Matrix protocol for open, secure, decentralised communication to make it more usable for larger scale usage. One of the major recent additions has been the ability to group together sets of users and rooms into 'Communities' - equivalent to Slack Teams or Discord Servers, which give a way for existing projects and communities to give their users a much more focused and friendly environment for decentralised communication with Matrix. In this talk we'll explain how Communities (aka Groups) work, how they're implemented, and how FLOSS projects in particular are using them and other recent features to escape the centralised tyranny of proprietary alternatives!

Everyone should be painfully familiar with the sinking feeling of their favourite online community (be that FLOSS or any other topic) fragmenting and getting trapped in proprietary communication technologies. Matrix exists to defragment these silos and provide an open standard with open source implementations as a decentralised alternative. One of the main improvements over the last year has been the introduction of Communities - a new feature in Matrix which provides a much-needed ability to define decentralised sets of users and groups alongside other community metadata (profile page, avatar, etc) to create a friendly home in Matrix for existing organisations of any kind. This makes it way easier to migrate from proprietary silos into Matrix for communication and collaboration within a community, as rather than users being thrown head first into the open ocean of Matrix, anyone can now produce curated landing pages for given communities which users can participate in... without having to constantly sign up for new accounts or having communities locked into proprietary platforms. Meanwhile bridges lets Matrix connect through to IRC, Slack, Discord, Telegram and others to fix the fragmentation problem. We'll be showing off how folks like NextCloud, OpenSource Design, and Cosmos are using Communities already, and how they work under the hood.

Meanwhile, lots of other stuff has landed in Matrix this year focused on improving usability: entirely new UX for managing end-to-end encryption; all new native desktop clients (e.g. Nheko from the community); the addition of Widgets to embed arbitrary webapps into Matrix rooms; integrating with Jitsi for video conferencing and more! Alongside Communities we'll show off the latest stuff and demonstrate how Matrix clients like Riot are becoming an increasingly viable open source alternative to Slack and friends.


Photo of Matthew Hodgson Matthew Hodgson