Wikimedia currently uses Zulip for its Outreach programs to connect students and mentors. Zulip is an open source chat group app with its distinctive characteristic that is conversation on an organization is divided into "streams" and further subdivided into "topics", allowing users to discuss a topic with more focused and structured compared to other single-threaded chat apps.
How to join Wikimedia Zulip
Wikimedia uses the Zulip instance which can be found at http://wikimedia.zulipchat.com. You can sign up for Zulip with your email address, Google or Github credentials.
How messages in Zulip are organized
Messages in Zulip are organized into streams and topics. Streams are similar to chatrooms, IRC channels, and email lists in that they determine who receives the message. Each conversation in a stream also has a topic, which plays the role of the subject line of an email (though topics are usually shorter, e.g. "logo" or "logo design", not "feedback on the new logo design?") in that it organizes messages into threads. By using those methods, users can search their messages and get started on particular topic faster, since the messages are organized in their topics.
Chat workflows in zulip
Most users who don't know about Zulip before have some difficulties when trying to understand chat workflows in Zulip. These are some explanation of how chat workflows in Zulip that might help users to get started.
- When starting a new conversation, remember to start a new topic.
- Don't worry about interrupting, each conversation has its own space ("topic").
- If you see a conversation where the last message was sent a few hours (or days!) ago, feel free to reply anyway. It'll be easy for everyone to see your reply in context, regardless of anything else that has happened on the stream in the meantime.
- Feel free to @-mention a person when you want that people to see at your topic, the @-mentioned people will get a notification in their Zulip account.
Documentation about the usage of Zulip are available in: https://zulipchat.com/help/.
Why we want to encourage the use of Zulip
IRC is currently our default communication tool for most projects, and it is quite appropriate for many of them. But it is not a mobile friendly tool, and not ideal for adhoc but timely mentoring. For GCI, Google Summer of Code, and Outreachy (and others), we should be offering participants and mentors the best technology in order to maximise the outcomes and reduce the failure rate. In a mobile world, that means a good mobile app is mandatory for mentors to be available for the participant in a timely fashion.
For further information, this topic had been discussed before in phab:T150732.